This German Tuner’s Porsche 944 Shooting Brake Is the ’80s Performance Wagon We Deserved

The Porsche 944 is one of the greatest handling cars of all time, but let’s be honest—it could use a bit more space.

byStef Schrader|
Porsche News photo

Wagon worshippers know that some of the best longroof designs can come from the unlikeliest of places. The sleek lines of certain sports cars or grand tourers, for example, lend themselves to a shooting brake conversion—the Jaguar XJS, Corvettes, and most front-engine Ferraris to name a few. However, I submit that the Porsche 944 is the perfect example of a performance car that really should've been offered as a performance wagon, too.

Porsche never went there—but German Tuner DP Motorsport did with its sublime dp44 Cargo conversion.

DP Motorsport

DP Motorsport's most famous project may have been the Porsche 935 K3 that dominated endurance racing for many years, but they also made one of the most beautiful shooting brakes of all time in the late eighties. 

In place of the 944's large glass hatchback, DP Motorsport installed a heavily modified squared-off roof from a Volkswagen Passat wagon to make the dp44 Cargo, per Flat Sixes. It's pretty fitting, given that the 944's predecessor, the 924, was a project that got bounced around from Volkswagen to Audi and eventually Porsche. The 944 remained a similarly cross-Volkswagen-Group affair as it was built at Audi's Neckarsulm plant. 

It's a project filled with DP's custom parts, complete with some necessary upgrades inside. There's a flat floor for loading cargo in your Cargo, plus color-matched leather for the seating, headliner and side panels. The electronic closing mechanism for the hatchback itself came from a Mercedes W124 T, per Speedhunters. Back on the outside, you can see that the fuel filler neck has been moved back to the D-pillar, it's lowered a little bit, it rides on larger wheels, and there's a custom exhaust. The taillights look stock until you open the hatch and notice that they split in two. 

It's such a well-executed build that it looks like it came from the factory, but no! Porsche did not give us a 944 three-door. Perhaps they should have followed DP Motorsport's lead—again. As Petrolicious notes, people were so enamored with DP Motorsport's slant-nose cars that Porsche decided to make their own. 

According to Speedhunters, only eight dp44 Cargos were built in the world along with a one-off turbocharged 924-based Cargo, and that's a shame. This is really the more practical 944 that Porsche should have built. A 944 that would fit a spare set of track wheels and tires in the back with room to spare is truly all of my non-Paris-Dakar-959-ownership dreams come true. 

There's a small chance that you could still get one, though. DP Motorsport told Flat Sixes in 2008 that they still had five to 10 dp44 Cargo kits around the shop, and that the total conversion costs about $30,000 and takes about two months if you provide the car. The Overath, Germany-based tuner shop is still alive and kicking, tuning all manner of roadgoing Porsches, with cars up to the 997-generation 911 and 987-generation Cayman listed on their online parts catalog.

The 944 is listed in said catalog, but unfortunately, there's no dp44 Cargo kit in there. You'll have to call and inquire about that one yourself. As Speedhunters notes, a continuation of the dp44 Cargo could happen if just the right person comes along. 

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