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1987 Porsche 944 Turbo (951) LS1 Swap

1987 Porsche 944 Turbo (951) LS1 Swap

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Details

Price: SOLD

Mileage: 125,000 Chassis miles (TMU)

Engine: 5.7-Liter V8 LS1 Engine

Exterior color: Summer Yellow Exterior (L13K) (1987-only color)

Interior: Black Vinyl w/ Yellow Piping Interior

VIN: WP0AA2954HN151255

Additional features:

(1 of Approx 175 Summer Yellow 944s)

5-Speed 944 Turbo Transaxle

Swap Performed in 2011 by Texas Performance Concepts:

LS1 Sourced from 2002 Camaro SS w/ 45K Miles

333 Wheel Horsepower / 346 Pound Feet of Torque

ECM Tuned using HP Tuners

Cold Air Intake (routed in place of stock intercooler)

Ceramic Coated Long-Tube Custom Exhaust Headers

2.5” Dual Pipe Magnaflow Catalytic Converters and Muffler

Colorado Emissions Compliant

Bell Housing Adapter w/ C5 Corvette Bell Housing

Transaxle Reinforcement Plate

Naturally-aspirated 944 “Long” 5th Gear

Hydroboost Brakes from 2001 Mustang

Adjustable Wilwood Proportioning Valve

Converted to Manual Steering

Air Conditioning Deleted

Aerocatch Hood Latches (stock hood latch removed for CAI)

914 Driver-Side Dual Headlight Motor Conversion (to accommodate CAI)

968 Mirrors (original mirrors included)

968 Door Look Panels (made from the original panels)??

Momo Competition Steering Wheel (original steering wheel included)

Alpine 7838 CD Stereo

Pro Sport Performance Coolant Temp, Oil Pres, Oil Temp Gauges

Manual Removable Sunroof

Koni Yellow Front Sport Shocks

Bilstein Sport Shocks

17” Porsche Cup 2 Wheels (17” x 7.5” front, 17” x 9” rear)

Continental ExtremeContact DW Tires

Owner’s Manuals

Extensive Records Since 1999

Background

1987 Porsche 944 Turbo (951) LS1 Swap exterior photo

The Porsche 944 was the model that cemented Porsche’s grand touring category—and what became the post popular Porsche model until the Boxster was released in the late 1990s. The 944 built upon the 924’s architecture, but improved the latter’s lack of power with 4-cylinder engines that grew from just shy of 150-horspower to well north of 200-horsepower over the model years. Handling was also improved by shifting the gearbox to a rear-mounted transaxle to achieve a near 50/50 weight balance. In 1986 the 944 Turbo was released, featuring a turbo-charged version of the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, with 217-horsepower, later models to come with just shy of 250.The Turbo also received a different front bumper, stronger transaxle, re-tuned suspension, and borrowed the 4-piston brakes from the 911.

Summary

 exterior photo

This 1987 Porsche 944 Turbo came to us on consignment from a fellow Porsche enthusiast who I am selling it on consignment for. It is finished in the 1987 model-year-only Summer Yellow over Black leather with yellow piping—1 of approximately 175 Summer Yellow 944s. Tasteful options were a manual removable sunroof and modifications include a Momo Competition steering wheel, Koni Yellow Sport front shocks and Bilstein Sport shocks, 968 mirrors and door lock panels, 17-inch Cup 2 staggered wheels—and a 5.7-liter V8 LS1 engine under the hood. But, before we get to that last item, a little history in order.

The Carfax first pings a title registration in Granbury, Texas on August 25, 1989 at 36,992 miles. From there it landed in Colorado in June of 1992 with 54,000 miles, and has remained here ever since. The records pick up in 1999 at 81,883 miles with a timing belt service at Gunbarrel Imports and sale to the current owner shortly thereafter. It has been under the current owner’s stewardship for the last twenty years! An original page of Denver Auto Mart showing the classified ad is included in the records, along with printed pictures showing its evolution as he added the mirrors and wheels. The records also show regular services at Ed Carroll Porsche, Poudre Sports Car, and Cervelli Technical Service. Then, in 2010 at 117,500 miles, disaster struck; the 944 Turbo did what 944 Turbos occasionally tend to do—it caught on fire. Fortunately, the fire was put out quickly (thanks to having a fire extinguisher handy) and the damage was contained to the center of the engine bay and hood. The owner claimed it with his insurance, which wrote it off as a total loss with the option to purchase back (which he did). Pictures of the damage are included in the records, along with the insurance claim. The Carfax also documents the chain of events. The title is clean and remains clean, as it was over six years past its manufacture date in 2014, when the current legislation (Colorado House Bill 14-1100) governing Colorado title status was signed into law (a copy of which is also included in the records binder).

Rather than rebuild the 2.5-liter turbo engine, the current owner sent the car to premier 944 V8-swap specialists Texas Performance Concepts for an in-house LS1 conversion. The LS1 was sourced from a 2002 Camaro SS with 45K miles. It was fitted using a C5 Corvette bell housing and adapter. The ECM was tuned to 333 horsepower and 346 pound-feet of torque at the rear wheels. Long tube headers were ceramic coated and merged with a 2.5-inch dual exhaust routed through Magnaflow high performance catalytic converters and muffler. It passes Colorado emissions. The 944 Turbo transaxle (which has the taller naturally-aspirated 944 5th gear) was supported with a reinforcement plate to handle the extra power. The power steering and air conditioning were deleted, and a Mustang brake booster was added with an adjustable Wilwood proportioning valve powering the stock 944 Turbo brakes. Pro Sport coolant temperature, oil temperature, and oil pressure gauges were fitted to keep an eye on the new power plant. When it returned to Colorado, the owner re-routed the intake to the original intercooler location for a proper cold air intake. To accommodate this the hood latch assembly was replaced with Aerocatch hood latches and a 914 driver’s headlight dual motor conversion. The end result is staggering performance from a 944 Turbo that has the looks and color rarity to match. The LS1 adds nearly 150 more horsepower with no additional weight. There is plenty of torque down low, and that shove continues all the way through the rev range. The power delivery is night and day from stock, giving this example the ability to outrun many newer and more modern cars (ask us how we know!).

In preparation for sale, we inspected the work of Texas Performance Concepts and found little to critique other than an oil cooler line that was uncomfortably close the header (which has been subsequently replaced). We replaced the battery, front hood struts, rear hatch struts, the rear Bilstein sport shocks, and had the odometer rebuilt by Deluxe Speedometer (it reportedly failed in 2017 a few hundred miles ago). We also replaced the one-piece gearshift knob and boot. Several boxes of original and spare parts are included in the sale, along with the owners’ manuals, removable sunroof cover, records binder, and several keys.

As it sits, this has been one of the most unique Porsches that has crossed the hangar floor at Glen Shelly. The Summer Yellow color on the 944 Turbo’s lines draws attention and compliments from visitors, who immediately walk past much more potent vehicles in our inventory to check it out. Purists be damned, the LS1 is both lighter and more powerful than the stock engine—it is a perfect match! Out in the real world, it makes driving this 944 Turbo an experience fitting of its looks and an act of hilarity getting the jump those unsuspecting souls who are not anticipating the added power or the soundtrack that is made putting that power to pavement! We would like to find a new owner who cares for and appreciates it as the current owner has.

Exterior

1987 Porsche 944 Turbo (951) LS1 Swap exterior photo

The Summer Yellow paint is in good condition. Close scrutiny reveals minor imperfections, but there are no glaring dents or scratches. The paint is glossy; much of the car has been repainted. The front clip has been subject to minor rock chips, but not the sandblasting that year-round use cars see. There is no rust and the A-pillar and engine bay VIN tags are in place. All trim is accounted for and in place. The pop-up headlights function on command, and the taillights and side-markers are clear and crack-free. The windshield has moderate pitting, but no cracks are present. The side and rear hatch glass looks great. The Cup 2 wheels are nearly perfect, with no curb rash. They are wrapped in Continental ExtremeContact DW tires with 30% tread remaining.

Interior

 interior photo

Open the door and you are greeted with that lovely 80s Porsche smell—part leather, part engine. There are no odors and it has never been smoked in. The carpet is free of stains and has no tears. The door cards have no scratching or lifting trim. The seats were reupholstered roughly 20 years ago and still look fantastic. All adjustments work. The dashboard is in good condition for a 944, however it does have a few cracks from the Colorado climate. The Momo Competition steering wheel is in great condition with no notable wear (the stock steering wheel is also included in the sale). The speedometer and odometer work (thanks to being recently rebuilt), and the cluster needles are not UV faded. The “!” warning light has been disconnected due a latent irrelevant LS1 ECU codes. There is an OBD II port to access the LS1 ECU. The coolant sensor has been routed to the Pro Sport coolant temperature gauge, so the cluster coolant temp gauge is inop—as is the boost gauge. The Pro Sport coolant temp, oil temp, and oil pressure gauges function correctly. Both power windows and mirrors operate correctly. The Alpine stereo is functional, but only the through the front speakers. The glove box latch can be finicky at times. The shift knob and boot are in perfect condition thanks to being replaced. The heat blows warm; the air-conditioning has been deleted. The rear hatch carpet and trim are in excellent condition.

Mechanical

 engine photo

There are few driving experiences as visceral as this 944 Turbo with an LS1. The engine fires on command, idles smoothly, and pulls like a freight train all the way to redline. There are no oil leaks or drips. The clutch has zero slip, the take-up is correct, and the shifter is crisp. In typical Porsche form, the factory Turbo transaxle takes some finesse to shift smoothly; it can be difficult to get into first gear when it is cold. There are no driveline, transaxle, or wheel bearing vibrations. The suspension is firm and compliant. The brakes are strong; the factory Turbo brakes are plenty, even with the added horsepower. It is fitted with high performance pads, which can squeal when cold under light braking. It passes and we pay for emissions in the State of Colorado. As it sits, this is a turn-key LS1 944 ready to be enjoyed by its new owner. It certainly will require and deserves proper care by its new owner, but the LS1 into a 944 is a known swap, and this one well documented in the records. I wouldn’t hesitate to drive it across country tomorrow!