Reader test: Porsche 928
You don’t see too many 928S around these days, just as a good 635CSi, 450SLC or XJS V12 is so scarce … the classic grand tourers of the 80s. Headturners all, thirty years ago, and even more respected today.
The Porsche 928 was, is, amongst other claims to fame –
• The most expensive car in the UK in 1995 - £72000
• World’s Fastest Production Car in 1986 – at the Bonneville Salt Flats
• Only sports car to have won European Car Of The Year – in 1978
But the 928 was not conceived as a sports car. Rather a czar of the grand tourer genre, intended to criss-cross countries in long legged strides. The ultimate autobahn stormer. Not one to commute from Sandhurst to Sandton City - a domain now left to the black metallic excesses of the X5 brigade.
Mine’s a 1982 928S, bronze metallic with new leather trim, 4.7 litres of seriously burbling Buick-ish all-aluminium V8 driven through a three-speed (no fancy 4matics or dubious DSGs here) solid Mercedes auto box mated to the famous Weissach transaxle, giving close to the perfect 50/50 weight distribution. The manual boxes have clutches as heavy as old 911s, but as the 928 was built for comfort, most of them have just the two necessary pedals. 221kW (297 bhp), a maximum speed of 240-ish and 0-100 km/h in around seven seconds, the S4 and GTS even more so.
It’s no lightweight Lotus flower at around 1 500kg, even with the benefit of some aluminium body panels (bonnet and doors); the rest being galvanised steel, so no rusty versions to be found towards the coast.
Originally conceived in the mid 70s as the first water-cooled front-engined Porsche (and once mooted as a successor to the iconic 911), around 61 000 928s were produced from 1977 to 1995. Perceived wisdom reports that some 40 000 are still up and running worldwide.
Stunning performance and road manners only got better series by series. Power steering that actually gives the driver some feel, combined with some minor surface roar on coarse-ish surfaces. So you always know what’s happening between you and the road. No featherlight XJ6 Series1 feel-less insulation here.
A good one is hard to find
Though an inexpensive classic purchase, as many are, running costs are high. On petrol, expect 20l/100km around town, improving to 14l/100km on an Mpumalanga run. Parts are expensive via official SA channels, so your best bet is eBay and other online resources and hope the Post Office doesn’t nail you for VAT. And join the Porsche Club. There are a couple of specialist Porsche professionals look after you.
Market value? Around R100k. There are cheaper ones, but tata your chances at the dances.
Maybe that’s increased a bit since the (official) score of 4 : 1.
And we’re not talking compression ratio. Maybe just car and driver compatability.
Excellence is expected, and is delivered. Thanks Dr Ferry.