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Old 10-15-2012, 12:23 PM   #1
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944 track car?

Anybody run a 944 on the track? How do you like it? What should I consider while shopping for one
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Old 10-15-2012, 12:46 PM   #2
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I don't have one but I know a number of people who do. The NASA spec 944 races are always a blast to watch; those guys run bumper to bumper the whole time! I understand that the cars are well balanced and a total blast to drive even though they are a bit slower. Good luck!
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Old 10-15-2012, 01:03 PM   #3
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Never tracked but had one a long time. They can be expensive to maintain as they are belt driven and the belt needs to be changed frequently as they are interference engines and will bend the valves if one breaks. They also have rollers and brass hats and oil seals that need to be minded as well. That said, they are incredible cars once wound to speed with great handling but getting them to speed will feel slow compared to a 986 especially an NA unit. They have delicate gearboxes as well.
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Old 10-15-2012, 01:45 PM   #4
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Generally, you'd be better off in a Spec Boxster. There are fewer and fewer 944's to race against while there the Spec Boxster classes are growing. And a Spec Boxster is faster than a 944 on the track.
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Old 10-15-2012, 01:57 PM   #5
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Fun car. I have never owned one but I spend a lot of time in the right seat of various 944spec cars. NASA has by far the largest racing car counts and there are about 30 active 944Spec cars in SoCal. Comparable cost and lap times to Spec Pinata. Like any car, look for one that is well maintained and cared for with all the basic build and reliability mods done.
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:06 PM   #6
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I don't own one but have driven a couple of DE purpose built ones: they don't qualify for spec class for any of a number of reasons, but they're a blast to drive. Are you looking to race it or just DE it? If the latter, they can be built pretty cheap and still outperform our cars , or at least my 01 base 986. I've got one on order (in planning actually) Don't know much about a true spec 944.

Or are you asking about a streetable 944 that you can take to the track? There are quite a few of those around the midwest and seem to be mostly issue free. As issue free as a car that old and with that many miles on it can be. If you're a wrench at all they are not that complcated to work on either.

They can be a lot of fun and quite fast with the right setup. Have fun with the search

Bob
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Old 10-16-2012, 08:30 AM   #7
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there are two things I can alwasy be sure to see at my mechanic's garage:
old tires in the back
a 944 needing work

Personally I think for their time they were interesting looking cars. Growing up I was never a fan of the 911. It looked too much like a VW to me. The 944 and 928 had forward looking designs. Once I started driving cars and not just reading about them in magazines 911's weren't just VW looking cars to me. They sort of reminded of the go karts I went around in as a kid. But 80's and 90's Carreras have become simply to valuable and expensive to consider for racing. Every year they go up in value as do the costs in keeping up with them. Meanwhile the supply of water-cooled Porsches goes up while prices go down, not the maintenance unforunately. But they're as reliable as you're going to get.

As far as racing on a budget, I doubt you can beat the Boxster as far as Porsche/BMW/Audi. An easy car to learn how drive fast in with more than enough power to get you up in the trees. Although I think I'd rather get one of those Toyota FRS for racing. A RWD boxer enigne that can't be anywhere near as expensive to fix/maintain sounds like a winner. Its sorta what a 944 would be today. Subaru BRZ seems to be the spendier version.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa6-Z8fcPjQ
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Old 10-18-2012, 12:22 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Ghostrider 310 View Post
Never tracked but had one a long time. They can be expensive to maintain as they are belt driven and the belt needs to be changed frequently as they are interference engines and will bend the valves if one breaks. They also have rollers and brass hats and oil seals that need to be minded as well. That said, they are incredible cars once wound to speed with great handling but getting them to speed will feel slow compared to a 986 especially an NA unit. They have delicate gearboxes as well.
What is the typical frequency and expense of changing the valve train belts....
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Old 10-18-2012, 12:26 PM   #9
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Generally, you'd be better off in a Spec Boxster. There are fewer and fewer 944's to race against while there the Spec Boxster classes are growing. And a Spec Boxster is faster than a 944 on the track.
Yeah I am with you but we are behind the times up here and Boxsters still command a high price.....didn't really want less power but I was told it will really make me work.....not many Boxsters on track here
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Old 10-18-2012, 12:29 PM   #10
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I don't own one but have driven a couple of DE purpose built ones: they don't qualify for spec class for any of a number of reasons, but they're a blast to drive. Are you looking to race it or just DE it? If the latter, they can be built pretty cheap and still outperform our cars , or at least my 01 base 986. I've got one on order (in planning actually) Don't know much about a true spec 944.

Or are you asking about a streetable 944 that you can take to the track? There are quite a few of those around the midwest and seem to be mostly issue free. As issue free as a car that old and with that many miles on it can be. If you're a wrench at all they are not that complcated to work on either.

They can be a lot of fun and quite fast with the right setup. Have fun with the search

Bob
Thanks ....street and DE then club race
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Old 10-19-2012, 01:59 AM   #11
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What is the typical frequency and expense of changing the valve train belts....
I was doing them at 15K and this was in the nineties and the cost was 7-800 range, I think the service interval was 20K or 25K. With a 944 you are always revving it hard, hence the doing it early, the oil seal should be changed each time as well. There is a special tension tool for setting the belts and because the engine uses a counter balancer it is a somewhat complicated arrangement. Clutch jobs were expensive, lots of dis assembly, around two grand at a good indy back then. I'd say keeping the car from overheating would be the largest challenge. Also, if it's important to have ice cold free flowing AC you do not want a 944. The system is weak and robs huge engine power, the rear glass is like a greenhouse too so the interior can get pretty hot, couldn't see it in say Arizona.

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Old 10-19-2012, 01:27 PM   #12
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jaykay,
What are your reasons for considering a 944 track car?
Faster than a Boxster? Nope
Less expensive to build out? Nope. Suspension, cage, safety and reliability mods about the same.
Lower maintenance costs? Nope. Actually might be higher on the 944 over time.

If you want a track car, finding one already done costs about 1/2 of building one yourself. Some just enjoy the build process because they like turning wrenches but it is indeed a black hole for dead presidents. You can find a well worn Spec 944 that was properly done for about $6k where a clean and tight, built Boxster Spec will run $25Kish. After 3 years they might be even money though.
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Old 10-19-2012, 02:09 PM   #13
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Solely for the price point you mentioned. I would rather have a spec box with soft springs and two seats for sure if I could find
one for a good price.
I would also consider driving in winter to get more car control practice and experience. It would be sprayed down with rust protectant but I would still cringe once the salt shows up. Not sure I want to subject a nice race car to that!
I just thought it maybe best to start with the lowest value car I can run...but of course that might cost big later
Oh yes if I loose the engine I can easily slip in an LS!
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Old 10-20-2012, 02:40 AM   #14
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I have a 944 that I am building into my first track car. It is a 1983 and has sat for year but I got it running. I need to reseal the engine, do the belts, brakes, locks,weather seals, interior, fix one dent, tires, and a bunch of other items. Sure it is a lot but when making a track car you don't have to spend gobs of $ on originality for a show car. Check out 944onine.com for all your 944 needs.

I've never tracked but always wanted to and didn't want to trash my Box. The 944 has so much support and parts available that it is and extremely viable car. I plan on keeping it street legal so I can run it whenever I can.

Chris
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