Was The Porsche 924 A Success?

Was The Porsche 924 A Success?
Image: Jalopnik

What defines a successful car? Is it how it sells when it’s new? They fly off of the lot, you see them everywhere. They’re affordable, a dime-a-dozen on the roads, and super popular. But, decades later, many of them sit underneath a highway overpass gathering dust, someone wrote “wash me” on the window, it has been rear-ended a few times, and overall looks neglected.

Or does success mean that a car that didn’t necessarily sell like crazy at first, but people want it 20 years down the line? It is timeless, revered, and doesn’t depreciate in value. You envy the person who has their hands on one now.

Today, we are looking into a car that falls into the first category: The Porsche 924. It was developed as a collaboration between Porsche and VW, following the success of the mid-engine VW-Porsche 914. However, for the front-engine/rear-transaxle 924, VW dropped out, deciding instead to put money into its new Scirocco, which was basically an extra sporty Golf. Simple and easy for VW, but a pain for Porsche. Porsche took over the project on its own as its next entry-level model, something to get people into a Porsche for less than the cost of a 911.

Because the 924 was so affordable, it sold great. (Certainly by Porsche standards, with well over 100,000 cars built.)

All sounds good, right?

For a moment, it was very good. The initial success of the 924 lead to two more models, the 944 and then the later 968. That’s lovely, but what about now, in 2020? What once was an affordable German sports car to buy new slowly became an expensive German sports car to maintain. (A “dreaded timing belt replacement” keeps these cars cheap, among other things.) Even now it’s hard to find a 924 treated like a vintage gem to cherish forever. Most on the street look like beaters.