Porsche 944’s History and Its Evolutionary Journey as the successor to the 914

Porsche 944’s History and Its Evolutionary Journey as the successor to the 914

The 944's Rocky Start

porsche 914/6 (1970)
A Porsche 914/6 model (1970). Source: Porsche Newsroom

The inception of the Porsche 944 can be traced back to the origins of the VW-Porsche partnership, a collaborative effort between Porsche and Volkswagen. This joint venture, aimed at developing and manufacturing the 914, a sports car marketed under both the Porsche and Volkswagen badges, set the stage for the birth of the 944. In 1972, plans were set in motion to create a successor for the Volkswagen version of the 914, known internally as the EA-425 project. The intention was for the model to be sold as an Audi, as part of the VW-Audi-Porsche marketing agreement, with Porsche handling the production of its own version.

blue Porsche 914
Source: Porsche Newsroom

However, the fate of the 944 faced a twist when Volkswagen’s chief, Rudolf Leidig, declared that the EX-425 would be exclusively a Volkswagen vehicle, effectively denying Porsche the opportunity to create its own successor to the 914. Despite testing having commenced in the Spring of 1974, Volkswagen ultimately canceled the EX-425 program. This decision stemmed from significant financial losses resulting from declining sales and escalating development costs for new vehicles, coupled with the departure of Leidig.

white Porsche 924 in a desert
Source: Zoltán Krepsz via Wikipedia

This turn of events led Porsche to seek an alternative solution. In order to replace the 912E, a temporary US-only model for 1976, and their version of the discontinued 914, Porsche purchased the design and finished development mule equipped with a Bosch K-Jetronic mechanical fuel injection system from Volkswagen. This acquisition laid the foundation for the creation of the 924. Despite receiving positive reviews, the 924 faced criticism from Porsche enthusiasts for its Audi-sourced 2.0 L engine. Rather than discarding the 924 from its lineup, Porsche made a strategic choice to evolve it into the next generation, much like they had done with the revered 911. While the model numbers would undergo a transformation, the 924 would serve as the foundation for this exciting new mid-level offering—introducing the world to the remarkable Porsche 944.

red Porsche 924s with pop up headlights
Source: withers via Wikipedia

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