In another enthusiastic review from Roads Untraveled, we learn why pairing an American V8 with a German FR sports coupe is a wonderful idea. It blends what’s wonderful about a Corvette with the great visibility, short overhangs, modest proportions, and exquisite interior of the 944. Surprisingly, these very different front-engine sports cars complement one another. In fact, this particular car does the blending so well that the respective parts seem like they should fit with each other from the factory.
The particular example here is one of the first facelifted ’86 cars. The diminutive proportions, hints of muscle, and ability to mesmerize when the light illuminates some of its edges—all a feast for the eyes. Especially with those bucktoothy front bumpers removed and the signature turbo badge adorning the rear, it’s sleek. A few cosmetic tweaks like ’88 Carrera seats, some dished wheels, and the right stance give it enough presence to cause a few necks to crane. Still, it’s subtle; you can’t picture throngs of pedestrians gawping as it burbles by.
Knowing this one is fitted with an aluminum-block LS3 somehow makes it even prettier. It’s a fitting replacement for the M44/51 for several reasons. The reliable LS3 doubles the power output, reduces the running costs, and doesn’t spoil the weight distribution. The turbocharged four is actually a touch heavier than the aluminum V8, but so many of these swap kits keep you mystified in regards to the additional weights of the custom motor mounts, crossmembers, and the like. Regardless, it retains that near-50:50 weight distribution.
In addition to keeping the driven wheels nicely planted, the transaxle rear is robust (which, by the way, seems to be the word of the day). Robust enough to handle the torque, and with the limited-slip rear helping deploy that power, capable of using most of that power—a reported 430 at the rear wheels.
What’s more: it trims the heft from the pokier 928 and retains that wonderful V8 experience in a compact, agile, and understated package. There’s something oddly mesmerizing about this 944 and its refreshingly simple formula, and after you watch this review, you might agree.