From what I know about that car (which is very little) it is fairly fast and one of the best cornering production cars. It looks to be just the thing to restore, unless:
Replacements parts are prohibitivly expensive/difficult to get
The car isn’t nearly as fun to drive or unique as I thought.
There’s something I don’t know about the car that will make restoring it nearly impossible.
What say you Dopers? Anyone have experience with one of these? Any idea where to get parts (assuming NAPA doesn’t carry them) or how much parts would be compared to a domestic car? Any advice at all?
I suppose it’s not a “restoration”, in the strictest sense. You should still do it though. I thought the trans axle might be a bit of a problem (I mused about doing something similar with my mechanic some time ago, it came up) but I read the site a bit more and it looks like the stock trans axle can be used if you buy their bell housing.
When you say “fairly fast,” keep in mind that it has roughly the same power-to-weight ratio as the previous generation of the Ford Taurus, definitely back-of-the-pack for modern sedans, let alone GTs. The 0-60 MPH time was on the order of 8.5 seconds, not exactly ripping up the pavement.
Not that that should dissuade you from your project – just that you should be aware of what your expectations should be.
I’m not so much wanting to do a restoration. I more just want something to work on. But I want that something to be something good when I’m done. If there’s no potential for a cool car when I’m done with it, there’s not much reason to do it.
Transaxle? The 944 has a front engine. And unless it is front wheel drive (which is a instant no go for me) there shouldn’t be a transaxle.
By fairly fast, I don’t just mean acceleration (Which, by the way, that sounds pretty anemic. I think my Cherokee Sport has a better 0-60 time than that). I also mean that it handles well, and would be fun to drive on windy roads.
Of course with the conversion that TWM suggested, the 0-60 times should be helped substaintially!
To add to that, I think the implication here is that you’re stuck with using the stock trans axle, because there’s no place to put a T56 if you were going to swap in an LS7. From the sounds of it, your 350 sounds like the perfect engine for this car.
The transmission and rear end are one assembly in the back of the car. One of the first to have this was the first generation Pontiac Tempest. The engine and transaxle were connected by a curved driveshaft (actually a torsion cable in a tube). The Tempest even had independent rear suspension, the only other US built car to have that at that time was the Corvette. The Porsche has a very similar setup.