The Porsche 924

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Sir,

I have never coveted a Porsche, regarding them as technically ugly and eccentric, over-priced, and suspect in the handling department. At the same time, only a fool would deny the excellence of their engineering. Consequently, with the advent of a Porsche with the engine in the right and proper place, I traded in my ageing Alfasud TI (grand little car!) for a new 924.

At 1,200 miles, I am more than satisfied, so that C.R.’s strictures in May’s Motor Sport made me wonder if I am becoming senile and putting up with second best. I don’t think so, because reading his list very carefully, he speaks well of almost everything except the “harshness” which seems to have coloured his whole attitude to the car.

I do not find the 924 engine and transmission “harsh” and I also drive a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. What I do find is that if one hangs on to too high a gear there is a “snatch” caused I think by the prop-shaft “winding up”. One soon instinctively compensates for this as one did with the Lotus Elan’s “doughnuts”. Road noise is surely no worse than with most cars?

The 924 doesn’t pretend to be a “supercar” but a civilised compromise between performance, accommodation and economy. Yesterday I took the family to Prescott, averaging over 65 m.p.h. there and back and 31 m.p.g. As I am still “running in”, I did not exceed 100 m.p.h. on any of the short stretches of Motorway involved in the journey, so that the averages between Stratford and Prescott are even more to the car’s credit.

I do have one criticism – the rear seats that C.R. finds acceptable. But C.R. and I seem poles apart, because I recently tried the Alfetta GTV 2000 that he praises and found it cramped, uncomfortable, with “rear end steering” and vicious kick-back at the wheel and with a gearchange that condemned it for me if nothing else had done! That car may well have been a “bad-un” and so may C.R.’s Porsche as he acknowledges. I hope that my few words (and no doubt there will be letters from other 924 owners) may be of interest to prospective buyers.

Loughborough, G. B. Woolley.

(There is no question that the 924 test car was unduly harsh and certainly not because of holding too high a gear, although the car is overgeared in any case. It would be interesting to know which tyres Mr. Woolley’s car wears: the test car had the optional 185 (instead of 165) section Uniroyals, which Porsche have acknowledged are harsher. But there was much more to the harshness than a tyre problem. I found the rear seats acceptable in the context of a 2 plus 2, not in saloon car terms. Rear end steering and vicious steering kick-back from the GTV 2000? Yes, it must have been a bad one! – C.R.)