In 1975, Porsche established a new model series below the 911. The Porsche 924 was based on an entirely new concept featuring a water-cooled front engine and transaxle design.
The mid-1970s witnessed a revolution in the Porsche model range. With the 924, Porsche ventured from its traditional path and commenced production of an affordable entry-level model featuring a front engine in autumn 1975. The Porsche 924 had its origins in the Volkswagen development order ‘EA 425’ that was issued in March 1972 for the construction of a successor to the VW-Porsche 914. The aim was to create a new sports car featuring production, maintenance and spare parts costs significantly below those of the Porsche 911 thanks to the use of VW production engines and parts. Following the first preliminary drafts, a decision was made in favour of the transaxle design proposed by Porsche. This included a water-cooled four-cylinder front engine and a gearbox on the rear axle.
Volkswagen terminated the project in 1975 for reasons relating to its model policy. Confident in the quality of its in-house development, Porsche acquired the production-ready design and launched the sports car on the market at the start of 1976 as the Porsche 924. The new model contained only minor similarities to the 911, such as the presence of air inlets in place of a radiator grille. Under the long bonnet that sloped down towards the front was a four-cylinder Audi engine. Featuring fuel injection and 125 horsepower, this propelled the aerodynamically refined coupé to a top speed of 204 kilometres per hour. The transaxle design proved to be an outstanding solution in terms of driving dynamics. Like its predecessor, the 914, the new coupé also made an impression with superior agility for its class.
Another detail taken from the 911 were the sports seats for the driver and passenger. The seat shells in the back were a tight fit but large enough to accommodate children. They also featured fold-down armrests in order to increase the amount of luggage space available. The luggage compartment itself was located under a large curved boot lid made of glass.
The use of numerous components from the Volkswagen Group meant that the 924 could be offered for a base price of 23,240 Deutschmarks. In response to the high level of demand worldwide, production rose to 80 cars a day by July 1976. This led to the entry-level model accounting for a full 48 per cent of car sales at the end of the financial year. A total of 150,684 units of all 924 models had been manufactured by the time that production of the 924 S model ended in 1988.