∙Early 928S with low miles ∙Kept off road for over a decade ∙Fundamentally solid but in need of restoration ∙Interior needs re-trim
Voted Car of the Year 1978, the Porsche 928 was born out of a need for the brand to evolve away from a pure reliance on the air-cooled 911.
In the 1970s, Porsche had concerns that the 911, its flagship car, was reaching the end of its lifecycle. Certainly, there had been a decline in sales of the model to suggest as much. Something had to be done, and Porsche’s managing director Ernst Fuhrmann, was confident he had the answer. Porsche would build a grand tourer. A car that would be the perfect blend of sports car performance and of the luxury found in executive saloons. It would be bigger, it would be more conventional in construction and it would be the car to pick up from where the 911 would leave off.
As a result, the 928 became a significant point in Porsche’s history as it was the first ‘clean sheet’ car the company would design. Remember, the 356 evolved from the Beetle, and the 911 from the 356.
Various ideas were floated, such as mid-engine layout. However, in the end Porsche settled on the conventional front-engine, rear-wheel drive arrangement. And the engine, a V8, was of Porsche design, as the company was keen to distance itself from Volkswagen after the reputational damage caused by the pre-packed 924, which was developed as a VW and sold to Porsche after it was cancelled.
The resulting car was a long, low sports grand tourer that could, at a push, seat four. It was modern, too, with aluminium wings, bonnet and doors and circular pop-up lights.
While it never did displace the 911, the 928 did give Porsche more variety to its model line-up and made the notion of a water-cooled Porsche acceptable, especially as it evolved from GT to more performance oriented versions such as the 4.7-litre 928S, which is what we have here.
With 11 owners behind it, this isn’t a low ownership mollycoddled example. It’s a 928 that has seen a bit of action in its life and is now ready to once again be returned to its former splendour.
It’s far too good to use simply as a parts car (which is why the current owner hasn’t broken it up himself) but it does need quite a bit of recommissioning.
It was acquired by the current owner last year as he’d always fancied one to add to his collection of interesting Eighties and Nineties cars, but with two Jaguar projects on the go he’s decided that the 928 would be better off with someone who’ll do it justice rather than leaving it to stand. Prior to that it had been in off-road storage for over 10 years, hence the low mileage of just under 94,000.
Sadly, the only paperwork supplied with the car is a V5 in the name of the current owner, which proves legal title. Any previous bills and service history have been misplaced, though the owner prior to the current one did say it had been worked on by specialists in the past.
Obviously there’s no MoT present, the last one was passed in 2010, with the same recorded mileage as the car wears today.
The registration plate, OBN 959, is quite valuable in itself and comes with the car as part of the sale.
From 10 paces, this is a fine looking car. The dark blue metallic paint still retains a good shine and it presents quite well, though close up there are a few issues. There are scratches or dinks on every panel and while there’s no rust, there’s some aluminium reaction on the bonnet to wing join and the nearside wing.
If you wanted to make it into a show car then it would need a full respray, but if you wanted to give it a mechanical overhaul and use it as is, then it’s presentable but scruffy. The Porsche bonnet badge is missing, while the bonnet also doesn’t close properly.
It does have rare optional alloys that are in good condition and while the tyres appear legal, they will probably need replacing due to their age. The sports mirrors are also a rare option.
From what we could tell, the underside appeared solid but it was impossible to get the car in the air for a full inspection.
When the current owner acquired the 928, the interior was filthy and mouldy, but he has given it a thorough clean to bring it to the standard at which it is now.
It allows you to see both the good and the bad. The good is that the blue front carpets, rear leather seats and passenger seat are superb, while the driver’s seat is certainly passable – it has wear to the driver’s side bolster as you’d expect, but a partial repair rather than full re-trim would make it much better.
The rear carpets haven’t fared as well, nor has the blue vinyl dashboard which has deteriorated quite severely through sun damage. In probability, they are beyond repair and either a decent replacement dash or the skills of a decent trimmer will be required.
Unfortunately we were not able to start the 928, which the vendor tells us does run, but not very well. He’s had it running, but reports that the engine is smoky and doesn’t run well.
Whether this is due to a lack of use and a need for an overall service after a 10-year lay-up or something more specific is impossible to tell, though according the owner before him it was running reasonably well before it was parked up. There are no guarantees as to the car’s mechanical condition.
If you want a good, ready-to-go and show-worthy 928, then this is not the car. But if you want a really solid project that will evolve into an exceptionally good example then here are the positives. First, it’s a 928S. Second, it appears to be very solid. Third, the number plate alone would probably contribute a large wedge of cash towards its restoration should you wish to put it back on its original B-plate (it’s a June 1985 car).
With that in mind, what we have here is a fundamentally sound 928 that deserves to be restored and put back on the road, and which could feasibly be done so within a relatively short timescale as we can’t see any major structural work that may be required.
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