It sounds crazy now, but in the 1970s, the Porsche 911’s days looked numbered. The signature sports car had been around for a while, and in the United States, where more than half of all Porsches sold at the time, safety and emissions regulations were becoming onerous and ever-changing. With all of the uncertainty, Porsche had to start facing the notion that the 911 might be too complicated to make compliant. Of course, the 911 never went anywhere, but just in case, Porsche started work on a new model. Read the full article on Hagerty.com:
My Dad test drove a used one when I was a little boy with me in the passenger seat, I cannot put into words the feelings I had. And then Dad came around a slow corner in 2nd and hit it, and the back end slid out for a while then bit and took off. I was in awe.
Then Risky Business came out and it was cemented, one of my favorite cars of all time. I looked hard at buying one years ago, and saw many under $10,000 that I felt were great deals, then I started reading forums about what it takes to keep these on the road and from burning to the ground and got spooked. Love 'em though!
Like you, potential repair costs scared me off. The final nail in the dream was an email from a car freak buddy of mine. "If you're going to pay Ferrari repair costs, then own the Ferrari." Once the chance on buying mine was passed, I suddenly had a rational thought: Yeah, it may cost as much as a Ferrari to repair, but it's a Porsche. Which means you're not going to have to repair it anywhere near as often.
I was just out of college in 1978 and worked at the Chrysler Proving Grounds. We were developing a new sports car so we brought in competitor cars to evaluate and perform extensive road testing to develop our criteria. A 1978 928 was one of the subjects that I fell in love with. The car design Chrysler came up with was the 2 door version of the Omni and Horizon! What a joke. I left Chrysler in 1980 during their darkest hours but never forgot the 928, I bought a Guards Red 1982 928S in 1986. It was a wonderful car to drive at any speed but I really remember taking it out on high speed runs at 140 MPH. Amazing car. I owned it for 19 years before parting ways. I think of it often, my kids who were 4 and 6 when I bought it still smile when any song by the rock group The Cars is heard. That cassette tape was stuck in the tape deck for years. A couple attempts to fix the tape deck were not successful so we all learned to love that group and the car. Thank god the Rainbow Bright tape was not the cassette tape that stuck in the deck!
Nice story Jeepster! I love The Cars too, especially Touch & Go and Let's Go! Actually a friend had the Plymouth Horizon, and that car was super reliable and never had any real issues, plus it was great in the snow! Not all cars have to be Porsche 928's, but I'm glad that some of them are!
I had a 1987 Chrysler Daytona Shelby Z in the late 1990's and early 2000's that I drove for a few years (2.2L Turbo II with Getrag 5-speed made 174 hp and was good for 135mph - there was no turbo lag and would go like hell). At the time I felt Chrysler had borrowed some styling cues from the 928 such as the rear side windows. So in 2007 I bought a 1989 928 S4.
I also worked just out of college at the Chrysler PG in the wind tunnel during the same time, got to evaluate many cars on the track as well. Remember the "family open house day"? Also own a 1986.5 928 S, purchased many years ago after failing the t-belt. I rebuilt the engine, but life got in the way and it never got installed. Maybe this winter's project...
I'm an outlier - the only Porsche's that have ever turned me on are the front engine, rear transmission models. Drove a 928 back in 1993, came oh-so-close to buying it (I think the lot was only asking $5000.00 for it), but chickened out because there were no repair shops in Johnstown, PA that had any idea what to do with one of them. If I'd have needed repairs, I'd have had to go 75 miles west to Pittsburgh.
In the end, I finally somewhat scratched my Porsche itch by buying a 924S. To this day, I consider it the best car I've ever owned. Stupidly traded it on a Pontiac Solstice (because I'd been promising myself a roadster for 40 years at that point, and after my wife's death I decided I'd better start fulfilling a few of my promises soon), and regretted the move within 60 days.
Still want a 928, 5-speed only please. And that's been the rub: Like C4 Corvettes (another unfulfilled promise), every one I've ever seen for sale has been an automatic. And there's no way I'm buying either of those two marques with a slushbox.
RE this comment:
"Under the hood, a larger crankshaft allowed for 5.4 liters displacement and 350 hp along with a top speed of 170-plus-mph."
If the writer meant a longer stroke, it would mean the crankshaft rod lands would be smaller. There is no other reason one would call it a LARGER crankshaft. Does anyone proof or edit these?
I fell in love with the 928 when they were new but at the time they were way too expensive for my blood. They were just so dam beautiful to look at, though.
I put the thought of ever owning one pretty much out of my mind until one day in the early 2000's while searching the internet I realized how much the price of a good quality used one had dropped. I started searching for an S4 or newer and finally had an opportunity to buy a 1989 928 S4 (dark blue on dark blue interior) in 2007. Even then the 5-speed manuals were fetching at least $10,000 more than the auto. I really wanted the manual but this auto was at a price I just couldn't refuse. The vendor lived 1050 miles from my home so I flew out to Vancouver on a Westjet seat sale, bought the car and drove it home through the Rockie Mountains (what a sweet ride - the radio wasn't working and all I listened to for 18 hours over 2 days was the sound of the tires on the road which sounded pretty good at the time - I've since replaced the old Blaupunkt cassette receiver with a Blaupunkt Hamburg c/w bluetooth). I still have the car to this day and love every minute I've driven it. With 316 hp and 165 mph rated top speed it can really boogie. With that big wing on the back the thing just seems to squat lower and lower the faster you drive. I won't lie, it's required some maintenance over the years but there has been other years of summer driving all I've done is change the oil. It sits in secure climate-controlled comfort all winter and the time is coming to get the thing out for another summer of fun. Wowee.
Oh, by the way, as you can see from my username I have a Trans Am as well.
I had a girlfriend who owned a 308. I loved that car. But compared to the 928 it was like a kit car. The Ferrari just did not have the sophistication or build quality of the Porsche. You really must drive a 928 to appreciate this Porsche.
Have always loved the seemingly timeless design. I bought my first, an 87 S4, five years ago. Since then have bought an 88S4 with no sun roof, a 90 GT, a 91S4 with xx8 option (GTS rear fenders) a 93 GTS, the 3rd one to come to the states and a 95, #24 of 77. I smile every time I start one of them up and take them for a drive!
How did you determine that your 95 is #24 of 77? Just by VIN? Do you know the range of US cars? I bought a 95 manual last year but it has been in TX getting some work done, so I don't have any seat time in it yet. Wondering where mine sits in the production list. Thanks!
I've owned a 1984 928 S automatic, and I now have a 1978 5 Speed Manual. I'm certainly not a manual transmission snob, and I remember back when these were new, a Porsche salesman said that they didn't need a manual transmission because they have so much torque. In the case of the Porsche 928 though, I feel the manual is so much better. I review cars and have a review of both of the cars I owned, with a full history of them in the 1984 video. Just google Drivin' Ivan and any car. Here's a link to the one I own now: https://youtu.be/F26tlSr1gVo
9xauto Porsche restoration specialists since 1997
I highly advice against purchasing this vehicle. It is plagued with electrical issues due to the cheap grade of wiring and parts used during construction. You will also find that not many Porsche specialist will work on this car. All electronics in this car was manufactured by Bosch, VDO and Hella and no longer available. All 928 where abused and had poor maintenance records due to lock of TLS by comparison to 911. The parts premium for these particular cars exceed exotic Italian makes. It will be absolutely impossible to restore any warped interior panelling since it used molded paper cardboard on all interior panels poorly glued to the vinyl. Not in the distant past we restored some and sold them.
Your comment has more false claims then a presidential tweet. Any old car can be a nightmare if neglected. And electrical issues are usually the fault of inexperienced mechanics messing things up.
"plagued with electrical issues due to the cheap grade of wiring and parts used during construction"
^^^That would also then apply to the 911's you seem to adore. Same company, remember?
"All 928 where abused and had poor maintenance records due to lock of TLS by comparison to 911."
^^^I see, and therefore ALL 911's are loved and cared for. Two nice buckets you got there for sorting. Wish it were that simple.
"The parts premium for these particular cars exceed exotic Italian makes."
^^^ 3x domestic (US) parts costs is what I always heard. I never worried about it - they are "driver cars" (meant to be driven) and very reliable, as long as any deferred maintenance is caught up. What used to happen when the 928 was undervalued (not long ago), is that many enthusiasts would buy them (cheaply) but could not maintain them, so deferred maintenance accumulated for the next buyer. Thats why a PPI (pre-purchase inspection) is important when buying any car. After catching up on its deferred maintenance, my first 928's ongoing maintenance was inconsequential - worst year I recall cost me a total of $2000 and included upgrades. This is for an 86. The last of the 928's rolled out in 1995, so the newest you will find will still be 25 years old.
"It will be absolutely impossible to restore any warped interior panelling since it used molded paper cardboard on all interior panels poorly glued to the vinyl. Not in the distant past we restored some and sold them."
^^^You contradict yourself there, and you are wrong about the panels. Thanks to a great and supportive 928 community, I restored my own warped fiberboard (not cardboard) panels. Straightforward process and I rarely do any of my own wrenching on my car.
You are clearly upset about 928's and I dont know what made you that way, but spouting misinformation causes me to believe it was more a personal incident than a factual one and I hope you are able to move past it. They are wonderful, well built, and very rewarding cars, once you find a good one, and there are plenty of good ones out there.
The 928 was a sophisticated car when new and is still a sophisticated car all these yrs later. It may take 1, 2, or 3 attempts to solve a problem. That's why old mechanics hate them - it may take a long time and some new parts that weren't necessarily needed to get it back on the road. Try explaining both of those to a customer. So they refuse to work on them. Young mechanics don't know where to plug in the OBD II on the older ones, so they don't know how to fix them. The good news is if you're a bit mechanical and have time, you can probably fix the problems. And there's an active community happy to assist and chances are someone has already had your problem and knows where to zero in on the solution.
As far as fires go, any 30-40 yr old car is a fire hazard. But replace the old rubber fuel and power steering lines that are sure to crack and spray fluid on a hot engine, and you should be good. There are several vendors that have most of the parts you'll need to keep your shark swimming. Just be sure you have a solid credit card, as parts aren't necessarily cheap.
I took the plunge back in Nov. I bought an 87 S4 that had been sitting for an undetermined time - anywhere between 7 and 15 yrs. I spent 2 mo and $1500 prepping the fuel system with new fuel lines and filters and another 3 mo on the CPS and a computer fix, but she finally started. I have to admit it's been a constant fist fight trying to get 30 yr old nuts and bolts loose, but now that she's running, it's been worth it. Now I can focus on the things I'm good at - fixing niggly things, changing brake pads and fluid, changing oil, trans, and rear fluid, and cleaning / detailing her. At some point I'll be selling her on, but I want to experience her first and go to some Cars & Coffee events with her. I'm a Boxster & Cayman guy (I own 1 of ea), but the more I learn about the 928, the more I'm intrigued. They're such cool cars.
These are lovely cars. As stated in the article, buy the best example you can. Services records are more important than mileage.
I found my 87 back in 2013. I purchased the car from the first owners neighbour. The car has had every tank of gas recorded since new, over 50k of service history from the first owner.
To this day I still keep in touch with the first two owners. Last year I was driving to my house and all of a the sudden this guy started running down my street chasing my car, when he caught up to us at my house it turned out he was the second owner (we never met in person). He was at a my neighbours house picking up some parts for an old Audi. It’s a small world and it is just amazing how these cars can touch so many lives.
There is no substitute.
I just purchased a 1993 late model 5-speed GTS. The car feels so heavy and comfortable and handles so well. It's handling is second best to a 1992 Ferrari TR I owned. That Ferrari was a lemon. I currently own a 1982 911 Targa resto-mod twin turbo, a 1970 Porsche 914 resto and a 1976 Trans am resto mod. All 5-speed.
I have a 1986-1/2, 928S with a 5, speed manual transmission. I'm surprised that the author of this article didn't mention it. It is a low production, special version, that retains the appearance of the original version with upgrades that would become standard on the 1987. That said, fun to drive, powerful, great design, small, low a more of a sports car than a GT. Worth it to o get all the kinks out and drive it, which evidently people do without fear of putting on the mileage. Some have reached 600,000 miles, without a rebuild, they were made that well!
I own a Black/Tan 1995 928 GTS 5 speed with 14K original miles. I have paid more than any of the numbers (with the exception of the club sport) you have mentioned. Its probably one of the nicest 1995 928 GTS'S in the US.
I've owned my 1980, 928 S, German Specs, Guards Red, beauty since 1984. I am the 2nd owner and bought it when I was stationed in West Germany. I love this car and spend whatever, to keep it going. It is a beautiful beast. 1st year with a 300 HP engine. It took until 1987 for the American spec 928 S engine to produce to 300 HP. Mine consistently did 260 kms on the Autobahn, (156 mph). Greatest thrill ever!
I just purchased a 1987 S4. I’m so excited. Diamond blue metallic with blue interior. 4 speed auto with 64k miles. Got it for a really good deal on consignment from a long term owner in Jersey. We’re PCSing back to the eat coast in July with the Navy, so I haven’t even driven it yet! I can’t wait for that first twilight summer cruise with the sunroof open.
Great article. I purchased my 1985 928S from the original owner in Orchard Park, New York about 1988. The vehicle had 8,000 miles on it. It was my distinct pleasure to drive this car until the Fall of 2019 when I sold it to my daughter and son-in-law in Catarpin, Virginia. So the car has been in the family now for 32 years. The millage when I turned it over to family was 38,500 . I have probably owned 50 cars or so. The 928S was the most fun and enjoyable. Former owner in Old Mission, Michigan.
It brings me great joy to see all the positive comments about 928s. While I found the "German Camaro" jabs from 911 fans entertaining, let's face it, these were better cars overall and they deserve better.
I've driven across the US about 6 times in a 928 in the past 5 years without a single problem. On the last trip, my son and I picked up an S4 in Nashville, then stopped at Purdue to check out the school and introduce my son to a little midwestern hospitality. Then up to Chicago for a little U-boat reunion on Lake Michigan, then onto the Colorado schools, where the S4 had a chance to stretch it's legs on our great US autobahns at proper speed. From Denver, we crossed the spectacular Rockies and blasted through the beautiful red rock of southern Utah, topping out at 145mph due to road limits not the car's (shhh... don't tell the wifey) and arrived home in San Fran for a late dinner. Best road trip of my life ... 4 rare days of captivity with my teenage son and the chance to discuss life, Led Zeppelin and cars. I even discovered I like a couple of rap songs (well maybe just one). Now my son is off to college learning how to design cars with his own 928 S as his daily driver. A 928 is more than just a car.
Also, a Competition Group is so much more than “spoilers”.
Just sold a 82 to fund a family trip to Spain, regret. On the sale, not the trip!
Per stamped ID numbers, it is a Euro S.
May try to get it back, kind of a unicorn.
It is more sport than GT.
My previous-83S was definitely more GT, both great drivers!
Better than my C6 on less than perfect backroads.
I do my own wrenching mostly, not difficult, parts can be pricey, but worth it.
Ps. Not a rich old fart, just a fast old fart.🥴