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The decision to restore a 1987 Porsche 944 Turbo for the national Classic Restoration Challenge didn’t come arbitrarily out of a hat. This wasn’t a random selection. It was paramount that the vehicle we chose held meaning to the Porsche Centre Oakville team.
When the idea of a 944 Turbo was brought to the table, it seemed like everyone involved with the project had some personal history with it. The sentiment it generated was overwhelming: nostalgia.
For Francesco Policaro, CEO of the Policaro Group, the 944 represents his and much of his family’s introduction to the Porsche brand. Back in the mid 80s, Francesco’s father, Basil Policaro purchased his first Porsche, a 1986 944 Turbo, which Francesco remembers washing and polishing the car as a teenager, getting up close and personal with the German manufacturer’s work for the first time. Evidently it made a lasting impression.
Similarly, for Porsche Centre Oakville General Manager Hans Ulsrud, the allure of the 944 Turbo traces back to his childhood. But rather than falling for the 944 in the flesh, he appreciated the machine and its ilk from the pages of his boyhood Road and Track subscription.
“I taught myself how to read with a Road and Track,” he recalls. “I had a subscription from a very young age…I can distinctly remember the Porsche covers. Whether it was in 86 or 87, they had the whole Porsche lineup in red and the 944 Turbo was prominent on there. I still think it’s a special car.”
The 944 was something of a departure for the Porsche brand, with a far more neutral weight balance than the 911s. “It didn’t have a lot of horsepower, but it could hustle around a track,” says Ulsrud, “The braking, the handling, it was an exceptional car.”
Deepening the car’s roots within the organization is Pre-Owned Sales Manager Pat Cubellis, who raced the 944 Turbo in the 1989 Rothman’s Turbo Cup, a Canadian series that featured many iconic drivers. Workshop Foreman Dirk Dunschede, meanwhile, recalls the 944 Turbo as a challenging but formative project for a mechanic. He met one early on in his career.
“It’s funny, I started with Porsche in 99, but when I began my apprenticeship with Volkswagen, and my first experience was with the 944,” says Dunschede. “The son of the dealership owner had a 944 and nobody else in the shop wanted to work on it, and me being the silly, naïve apprentice decided that I would volunteer. So this is a chance for the 944 to redeem itself (laughs).”
Perhaps most importantly, however, is the connection our clients will have with this piece of 80s nostalgia. Beyond its iconic cameo in 16 Candles (if you don’t remember, maybe it’s time for a rescreening), the 944 Turbo aptly represents the culture that blossomed in the 1980s. This culture is dear to many of those who enjoy Porsche today. Our restoration team is no exception.
Stay tuned to our blog and ReviveRestoreRelive social channels (linked below) to follow along with the restoration’s progress and vicariously relive your 80s glory days.
Date Posted: November 16, 2018