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:
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!