In 1982, German auto manufacturers Porsche began production on the Porsche 944. The 944 was a luxury sports car developed by the engineers of both Porsche and Volkswagen companies indirectly, as its immediate predecessor, the 942, was the brainchild of the two. Production lasted until 1991, when changes being made to its design were so radical, that engineers thought it was best to establish an entire new line rather than make such drastic changes to the 944.
The body of the 944 was sleek and streamlined, with a spoiler featured on some models. The wheels were commonly 16 inch, alloy wheels. Like most modern vehicles, the transmission was available in both three speed automatic and five speed manual options. Some models included a Porsche HiFi sound system and often a modified trans axle to reduce vibration and noise.
Originally fitted with an Audi engine, it was soon abandoned for a Porsche designed 2.5 liter, four cylinder engine due its small size and valued efficiency. . After Volkswagen dropped the line, Porsche bought the design for a 2+2 water-cooled rear engine. Porsche also developed a mechanical fuel injection system. The body of the 944 contained wide wheel arches, luxury interior, premium suspension, and brakes. The 944 reportedly had impeccable handling, and a comfortable ride and driving experience. Many models were produced over the ten year lifespan of the 944.
944 Turbo – Making its debut in 1985, this model featured a turbocharged engine, improved aerodynamics and an integrated front bumper. The Turbo had the widest turn signals to ever be placed on a production car. It also contained both driver and passenger side front airbags beginning in 1987, making it the first car in the world to do so. It could reach speeds of 60 miles per hour in less than six seconds.
944 Turbo S – The 944 S varied very little from the Turbo by way of noticeable changes, however a multitude of small technical changes were made to increase overall performance. Four valve cylinder heads, a redesigned camshaft drive, and revised exhaust system were among these performance based changes.
944 Turbo S2 – Then S2 was equipped with the largest four cylinder engine of its time, a 3.0 liter dual overhead cam. A revised transmission was also implemented, as well as more rounded nose and smooth bumper. This variation was capable of reaching up to 150 miles per hour. Units for all markets were produced, even right handed operation automobiles were crafted to be sent to the United Kingdom, Africa, and Australia.
944 Turbo Cabriolet – The Cabriolet features the Turbo S engine combined with a body built by American Sunroof Company. 600 were proposed, but 625 were actually produced. Japan, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Australia received right- hand drive variations, however none were exported to the United States or the Americas due to the low number of right-hand drive automobiles produced with the Cabriolet.
Changes to the 944 were made often. It was in 1990 that Porsche engineers were going over plans to overhaul the 944 for a new S3 edition. After considering the rather large amount of changes being made to the previous design, Porsche decided to abandon the S3 project and start a new line. The 944 was never upgraded and saw its last year of production in 1991 before being taken off of the assembly line for good. The 944 for succeeded by the Porsche 968 in 1992. However that venture proved to be short lived after water-cooled front engine models were discontinued throughout the Porsche lineup just two years later.