There are cars famous for high mileage and longevity. Matt Farah's million-mile Lexus LS 400 comes to mind, as does Irv Gordon, who put over four million miles on a 1966 Volvo P1800. But a Porsche 944 with 571,000 miles? At first glance, that seems like an exercise in self-flagellation.
That's not to say it isn't possible. As sports cars go, the Porsche 944 was comfortable and economical, getting close to 30 mpg on the highway. However, the car is somewhat maintenance intensive, requiring frequent timing belt servicing and having a reputation for water pump failures and electrical issues. It's also not an easy car to work on, even for the experienced DIY mechanic.
This 944 seems to be in surprisingly good shape despite the high mileage. The body is straight and rust-free but could stand to be repainted. Based on the amount of gorilla tape covering the edges, the sunroof needs work and is probably less waterproof than a screen door. The interior is clean and looks better than some cars with 50,000 miles, let alone ten times that amount.
Besides the sunroof issue, the only problems are that the car won't start and the clutch is nonexistent, two huge red flags. The Porsche 944 has an interference engine, meaning the pistons and valves collide if the timing belt breaks. The car also has a rear transaxle connected to the engine via a torque tube. The transaxle layout provides excellent handling thanks to a 50/50 weight distribution. But replacing a clutch is not easy or cheap.
Even so, a Porsche 944 with 571,000 miles is intriguing, and Randy, the host of the Auto Auction Rebuild YouTube channel, is certainly interested in the car. For the right price, it would make an excellent Lemons racer. Even if the engine is shot, there is no shortage of interesting options that will fit. In addition to the knee-jerk reaction of dropping in an LS engine, people have installed the Toyota 2JZ inline-six, the Mitsubishi 4G63 turbo four-cylinder, and even a turbocharged Buick V6.
High-mileage cars are becoming more common as people hold on to their cars longer. We covered a 300,000-mile Toyota Camry getting an engine rebuild and a Porsche 911 Turbo S with over 200,000 miles before that. We've even seen a Ferrari 812 Superfast with over 100,000 miles fly down the Autobahn.