Wednesday, October 26, 2016

When LS Is More: 1986 Porsche 944

The lure of more power is always tempting. For those with the ability to stick it out and finish a project the rewards can be worth the wait. The rest of us can get a head start by finding a well sorted, but not yet finished project. The key is to plan your own swap and compare the components being used in the car you intend to buy. Quality parts signal you have a better chance of a well thought out swap by the prior owner rather than something your crazy uncle Charlie thought up while drinking his dinner. Find this almost completed 1986 Porsche 944 with a V8 swap for $8,800 in Kansas City, Missouri via Craigslist. 

One of the ubiquitous 80’s cars the 944 model along with the 924 were credited as saving Porsche by selling in greater numbers and at a lower price than the beloved 911. Lowering the barrier to entry is what we are all about. Originally powered by a four cylinder, it was only a matter of time before the bottom of the depreciation curve allowed for tinkering. By now LS engine swaps are well-documented and swap kits available to speed the process and make may people yawn. Been there, done that so why bother? The desire for cheaper, more reliable power with less maintenance and a familiar engine wrapped in that beautiful shell is what makes this such a tempting offer.  


Seller states the LQ4 6.0 liter block has an estimated 430 horsepower. Up from the 147 horsepower of the Porsche four cylinder this could be twice as much fun or at least a surprise for those unaware that this German/American hybrid has had performance enhancing modifications. A custom oil pan, cross-member, custom headers with muffler and exhaust are fitted. While the engine turns over, one of the "left to do" items is mounting the fuel regulator, and plugging in fuel lines so getting to see the engine run may require an external can for the time being. A PSI conversion harness is a good sign to avoid electrical issues - but make sure it has been installed correctly.

Paint and interior look serviceable and all interior parts are included. Keeping the interior stock is the secret to keeping this a sleeper until you're ready to announce the surprise. By the time anyone figures out something is going on it will be too late.

The seller is realistic and having seen well sorted, running V8 swapped examples for $7,000, we think this could be a fun project to finish and enjoy. Might be fun for a winter project to keep under wraps until this coming spring.  

See a better German/American hybrid for the money? email us here:

A refugee from the frozen north who loves running and watersports, Adam can be found looking for the next slow car to drive fast when he has access to electronics he hasn't immersed in liquids. He is an analog kid not a digital man.


  1. Normally I'm suspicious of project cars that are 80% done and up for sale. It's like they ran 22 miles of a marathon and then gave up without crossing the finish line. Really, there's nothing else wrong?! In this case, the seller seems pretty straight forward though and there's a lot of high quality parts so maybe it's worth rolling the dice.

    1. At a little lower price I agree. He does say OBO so maybe he's realistic too.

  2. I love these cars and would love to try one with a swap. This car may be great bargain or a financial trap. So I would need to factor in the cost of towing it home, etc. If it can't be driven home the value goes down in my book.

    1. That is a great standard to have as well as a negotiating tactic. Some of are not as smart.

  3. Really needs a LS3 instead of that LQ4! that's over a 100lbs difference.

  4. Really needs a LS3 instead of that LQ4! that's over a 100lbs difference.


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