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Monday, December 15, 2014

‘80s Porsche 944 or Nissan 300ZX: Which Would You Buy?


porsche 944 turbo 1987 photo

In the 1980s, if you wanted a lithe, visually striking sports car, you really couldn’t go wrong with the Porsche 944. While it might have been an affront to the legions of rear-engined Porschephiles, the front-engine 944 Turbo held a high step amongst ‘80s performance cars. 

So high in fact that it garnered more than a few capable (and much cheaper) Japanese rivals, including the Mazda RX-7, Toyota Celica, Mitsubishi Starion, and the Nissan 300ZX. We found two worthy competitors – this 1987 Porsche 944 Turbo and this ’85 Nissan 300ZX – and we want to know, if it were your funds, which ’80s sports car would you buy?


Although around since 1982, Porsche introduced the turbocharged version of its 944 for the 1985 model year … and it was quite the performer. The intercooled 2.5-liter, four-cylinder spat out 217 horsepower, 243 lb-ft of torque, and would rocket the limber Porsche to 60 mph in around six seconds. However, retailing for around $30,000 in those days, the 944 Turbo was expensive.

This red Porsche 944 Turbo, up for sale on eBay (link above), comes fitted with leather upholstery, a sunroof, and Porsche’s five-speed gearbox. Its red paint – a recent respray – looks well done, and other than black, this would be the hue to have. Admittedly, mileage is fairly high with the odometer reading 154,000, but the list of repairs, clean appearance, and low price make it a tempting buy.


One of the 944’s cheaper rivals from across the Pacific was the turbocharged Nissan 300ZX. While its successor – the twin-turbo ‘Z32’ – gets all the fanfare, this mid-‘80s Z car was no slouch.

 The 300ZX sported 3.0 liters and 200 horsepower from its V6 engine, capable of zipping the Nissan from zero to 60 mph in seven seconds. It even packed electronically adjustable shock absorbers. At around $21,000, it was remarkably less than the 944, but that interior styling is a good indicator as to why.

This ’85 Nissan 300ZX comes nicely adorned in “Blue Mist,” and is up for sale by its original owner. The owner notes that the five-speed ZX was their primary vehicle for years, with stints as a weekend driver when a company car joined the garage.

With 145,000 on the odometer, mileage is right where you’d expect for an aging daily driver. Diligent repairs and a detailed history speak to its owner’s careful stewardship.