Home » Throwing Common Sense Out The Window: 1980 Porsche 924 vs 1984 Mercedes-Benz 380SEC

Throwing Common Sense Out The Window: 1980 Porsche 924 vs 1984 Mercedes-Benz 380SEC

924 Vs 380sec
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Welcome back to Shitbox Showdown, where we sift through the online classifieds looking for a weapon to surpass Metal Gear. Today, we’re lighting our money on fire. But before we get to that, let’s look at how yesterday’s battle of very reasonable cars went.

Pt Cruiser Vs Echo Final

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

It’s unbelievably close, but the PT Cruiser takes it by precisely two votes. Anyway, we’ve had too many practical cars so it’s time for some projects. Let’s jet off to the most cursed state in the union according to the internet, Ohio, in search of some proper shitboxes.

1980 Porsche 924 – $2,500

924 1

Engine/drivetrain: Two-liter inline-four engine, five-speed manual gearbox, rear-wheel-drive.

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Location: Batavia, Ohio

Odometer reading: 40,000 miles

Runs/drives? Nope.

Ah, the Porsche 924. Perhaps the cheapest way into a Porsche sports car, this little coupe has a bit of an unfair reputation as an unloved Volkswagen cast-off. While originally intent to be a Volkswagen-Porsche joint product, VW pulled out as a result of the 1973 oil crisis, which meant that this thing went into the world with Porsche badges alone. These days, a 924 might just be your ticket to Porsche ownership on a budget, a rare phrase given the values of 911s these days.

924 2

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You’ve probably heard jokes about how the 924 uses a van engine, jokes that aren’t entirely accurate. While a version of the EA831 engine was used in the Volkswagen LT, the 924’s lump was also used in the Audi 100. Either way, it didn’t make a ton of horsepower, but it did come mated to a transaxle which gave the 924 excellent weight distribution. Think of these coupes more as momentum cars than autobahn stormers. Mind you, this 924 makes zero horsepower at the moment, given how it doesn’t run.

924 3

This particular 924 is painted a beautiful pastel yellow and the seller claims it’s rust-free, a boon on any car out of the rust belt. Aside from paint and condition, these cars are just classic wedges with fantastic glass hatches that add a dose of drama to the silhouette. Sure, the 924 might not have the flared-fender aggression of a 944, but it’s charming in its own right.

924 4

Upon first glance of the interior, it seems like this 924’s odometer might be telling the truth of how few miles it’s traveled. The driver’s seat seems almost free of wear, while the carpets and door cards look pristine. Good interiors for these cars can be hard to find, so the condition of the cabin looks to be a massive plus for this cheap Porsche.

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1984 Mercedes-Benz 380SEC – $2,500

380sec 1

Engine/drivetrain: 3.8-liter V8 engine, four-speed automatic gearbox, rear-wheel-drive.

Location: Deer Park, Ohio

Odometer reading: 138,000 miles

Runs/drives? Not a chance.

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In most conversations about luxury cars, it doesn’t take long for the big Benzes to come up. Although Rolls-Royces and Bentleys may be more opulent, the S-Class and its kin have long been mass-produced previews of the automobile’s future. Plus, they have great presence, especially two-door models like the 380SEC we have here.

380sec 3

Power in this SEC comes from a 3.8-liter variant of Mercedes-Benz’s M116 V8. While earlier variants of this engine were known for stretching their single-row timing chains, this motor was revised with a dual-row timing chain in 1984, which means this car should be free from this issue. Power goes to the ground through a four-speed automatic gearbox, and zero-to-sixty happens eventually. Hey, it’s more about style than speed with this one. The seller claims that this big Benz ran when it was parked back in 2006, although it’ll likely need a lot of work to get back in running condition.

380sec 2

Looking at this 380SEC, it’s obvious that it was once very loved before it was neglected. Someone fitted all manner of AMG bits including bumpers, wheels, and skirts to make this thing a proper cocaine cruiser. Imagine power-washing the filth off, dropping all four windows, and reveling in the pillarless layout of this big coupe. Fabulous, right? Alright, maybe the rust isn’t fabulous, but you can just play it off as patina.

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380sec 4

On the inside of the – oh dear god, what happened here? According to the seller, the sunroof leaked, resulting in the biohazard situation you currently see. Strap on your N95 and break out the Spray Nine, this thing’s going to need some serious work. Still, that AMG steering wheel shows potential, while the beige upholstery seems like a solid choice against the white paintwork.

So, two big projects, one sporty and one plush. The Porsche is likely a better choice for twisty road fun, but the Mercedes just has such presence. Both will cost a small fortune to recommission, so pick your poison and have fun with this one.

(Photo credits: Craigslist sellers)

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SparkySparkington
SparkySparkington
1 year ago

To paraphrase Shitbox Showdown OG Mark Tucker: only one of these is still a car. And it ain’t the Merc.

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
1 year ago

Sure, black mold sucks, but look at that BODY KIT. THOSE WHEELS. I can’t tell if I’m getting hot and bothered or if it’s just the respiratory damage.

Porsches have never done much for me, much less the geschwafelwagen 924.

DRFS Rich
DRFS Rich
1 year ago

White 80s Mercedes with a body kit that was DEFINITELY used to transport coke? Cannot. Be. Beaten.

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
1 year ago
Reply to  DRFS Rich

The 20 keys of uncut Columbian gold are just part of the provenance.

Donald Petersen
Donald Petersen
1 year ago

I’d have picked the 924 over Swamp Thing’s personal hooptie even if the Benz were clean as a whistle. The Porsche just looks like more fun as a project, and eventually more fun to drive.

Huja Shaw
Huja Shaw
1 year ago

Each and everyone of these showdowns hurts a little bit more than the previous one. I can’t even . . .

Clark B
Clark B
1 year ago

That Porsche looks a few weekends away from being a fun weekend car, especially if the ad is accurate and it only has 40k on it. The Benz is a parts car. Sixteen years of water leakage means mold everywhere, and if the leak was bad enough I’d expect to see rust under the carpets as well. Plus water damage to any number of electronic parts and gizmos.

AustinAmbassadorYreg
AustinAmbassadorYreg
1 year ago

As much as I wanted to go with the Benz, the Porsche is the only viable candidate given it was stored inside. Water intrusion over the last 15+ years is too hard to come back from.

Bobfish
Bobfish
1 year ago

Ouch, massive nostalgia on the 924 – dad and I worked on one together long while back. And it’s an hour away!!!!!!! We only have Porsche today because it floated on the backs of unloved (at the time) 914s, 924s, and (ugh) Cayennes.

Bobfish
Bobfish
1 year ago
Reply to  Bobfish

Oh, and the 924 stays rust free because Porsche still did the full-dip galvanization on the post-1980 ones! Couple years before were only waist down dipped.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
1 year ago

I voted for the Audi over the Benz

Also, how the fuck did the PT Cruiser beat the Echo?

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
1 year ago

The Porsche is priced about double what I’d pay to take it home. Probably fun to get running.

The Mercedes is priced about double what you’d have to pay me to haul it off. Just get running.

S13 Sedan
S13 Sedan
1 year ago

I’m an absolute sucker for white on white 80s/early 90s cars but I’m afraid that Benz is a parts car at best. You’ll at the bare minimum need a whole complete interior to swap in and who knows what the rust situation is like after all those years of water sitting inside.

I’ll take the Porsche as that one looks like it very realistically can be put back on the road and probably won’t make me sick from mold exposure

Data
Data
1 year ago

Are Mercedes and Sheryl available? I hear they have the tools and the talent when it comes to mold remediation. In this match-up I’m going to have to go with Porsche; there is no substitute.

CSRoad
CSRoad
1 year ago

For some reason the voting stuff was not showing up on my screen.
I’d have picked the Porsche as it looks good and probably just needs some basic VW love to get it up and running. The M-B needs to retire to a salvage yard.

10001010
10001010
1 year ago

As much as I want that Benz so I can roll around cosplaying as the “bad guy of the week” in an episode of Miami Vice, that interior pic gave me both the heebies and the jeebies.

IanGTCS
IanGTCS
1 year ago

Porsche all the way for me. I’m sure there are multiple kits that exist for an engine swap so if that one is pooched you’ll have options. Otherwise looks mostly complete and I have always liked the look of them.

JDE
JDE
1 year ago
Reply to  IanGTCS

I could only find ones for a 1.8T audi. weirdly enough I can fairly easily LS swap a 914 porsche but not this little darling.

Gubbin
Gubbin
1 year ago
Reply to  JDE

The Audi engine can put out enough HP to make it fun at least.

Automotiveflux
Automotiveflux
1 year ago

Resident Benz Biohazard

Forbestheweirdo
Forbestheweirdo
1 year ago

I really wanted to go Benz, as that is definitely my favorite of the two cars, but wow. One has a complete interior and just needs mechanical work, one needs everything, or better yet just needs to be scrapped and sold for parts. Even at half the asking price I think I would have to go Porsche on this round. Too bad as I love the big German luxury coupes.

Arrest-me Red
Arrest-me Red
1 year ago

The 924 in this as I wouldn’t not need to call a Hazmat team before coming within 10 feet of it.

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
1 year ago

At least the Porsche was stored in a garage

Cheats McCheats
Cheats McCheats
1 year ago

I wanted to pick the Merc. But no, it is too far gone.

FuzzyPlushroom
FuzzyPlushroom
1 year ago

I clicked through expecting to vote for the Benz and move on, but that 924 looks clean and fairly-priced, especially relative to its competition today.

I already have an old European sled (albeit a Swedish one) with a healthy coating of mildew on the outside… however, my neglected, for-sale-make-offer project isn’t a biohazard on the inside, and I’ve fired it up within the past several years.

Porsche by default, since aspergillosis isn’t on my bucket list.

Richard O
Richard O
1 year ago

Just tow that Benz off to the junkyard. Even assuming you could get that thing cleaned up, you’re still left with a pile of shit.

FuzzyPlushroom
FuzzyPlushroom
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard O

If the seller gets desperate enough to sell it for scrap value, it’d be a great LeMons car. Put those ‘savings’ toward a good respirator, of course.

Andrew Baglio
Andrew Baglio
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard O

If those bumpers and headlights were clean (it’s hard to really tell anything, but there’s some funky looking gaps) it would be worth at least half of the asking just for those exterior bits. But the interior looks totally fucked so unless that engine bay is surprisingly (and what a surprise it would be) clean, it’s not even close to worth $2500.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
1 year ago

No, no, no. Just no. Both of these are WAAAY beyond shitbox.

Stacheface
Stacheface
1 year ago

I’m taking the Porsche, no way that Benz will ever clean up.
And what sunroof leaked? From the angle of the pics I only see a solid roof on that thing

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
1 year ago
Reply to  Stacheface

Was it a steel sunroof on these? Feel like that was the case and then the seams are further obscured by the moss.

JDE
JDE
1 year ago

I am mostly amazed these two specimens are being offered at those prices. both should be pretty much scrap prices at this point, though I do feel the 924 being stored indoors would be a better starting point for a project, even if it is a hideous color and lacks the 944 Flare. Sadly their is not even a nice LS conversion kit made for these narrower cars. https://www.renegadehybrids.com/ But I suppose if I had to take one of these the Butterscotch Stallion would be it.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
1 year ago
Reply to  JDE

The 924 is so sad in Beige that I almost kind of want it.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
1 year ago

Porsche.

All day, every day.

You are NEVER getting the funk outta that Benz.

Rollin Hand
Rollin Hand
1 year ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

I went Benz. I think it’s doable. Those Benzes were built like brick sheissehausen.

And Tremclad/Rustoleum comes in white.

Forbestheweirdo
Forbestheweirdo
1 year ago
Reply to  Rollin Hand

Hasn’t ran in 16 years, has rust, and the interior looks like a chemistry experiment someone forgot about for the whole 16 year period. I like the idea, but man that one is ROUGH

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