“Now with five litres, four camshafts, 32 valves and re-shaped extremities, Porsche’s 928 is more than ever the ultimate grand tourer.” Motor, December 20th 1986
The fact that a Sports Car clinched the Car of the Year award in 1978, a competition that traditionally lauded mainstream products that had some relevance to the man in the street is some indication as to just how ground breaking the 928 was. From its fold flat exposed headlights to the original Alice in Wonderland chessboard interior, the guys in the Zuffenhausen design studio might arguably have been on the strong stuff while at their drawing boards.
Intended to replace the 911, (as we have said before, just how’s that working out for you Porsche?), the more user-friendly, luxurious, and it should be said expensive, GT-ambitioned 928 sold well over a very respectable seventeen year lifespan but it is perhaps true to say that at the time the diehard Porsche fans were just not ready for a car with an engine in the wrong (right?) place, never mind all that nasty business with water pumps and anti-freeze.
The galvanised steel inner body-shell was clothed in aluminium over some 75% of its surface area, and with a transaxle and silicon aluminium ‘front/mid’ mounted engine, the weight was kept both admirably low and equally distributed over both axles. Suspension was fairly conventional ‘coil and wishbone’ up front, though at the rear the double wishbone ‘Weissach Axle’ (the German equivalent to the less well known British Leyland ‘MIRA Leaf Springs’) provided an early version of rear wheel steering in extremis, hence reducing that old Porsche (and body repair shop) favourite, lift off oversteer.
The single overhead cam per bank, 90 degree V8 engine started at 4.5 litres with two valves per cylinder but by the time the S4 arrived in 1987, it was up to 5.0 litres with double the number of valves and camshafts, giving an accomplished 320 brake horse power, 80 more than when launched. Entirely in keeping with its GT character the 928 was offered with a Mercedes derived automatic transmission and the fact that some eighty to eighty five percent of all cars were optioned that way (Porsche actually withdrew the manual for the S4 in 1990) confirmed that this was the best ‘box for the car; effortless around town and yet giving the driver the ability to hold onto a gear right to the engine’s red line when (ahem) circumstances allowed.
Plastic bumpers on aluminium crash structures were smoothly integrated into the overall body shape of the Porsche giving a sleek and totally resolved look to the car. Good luggage capacity backed up the GT credentials and though it was still as tight as a 911 in the back, the large rear windows made it an airy space for small inhabitants – they even got their own sun visors.
Constantly improved throughout its life (well the Porsche design team weren’t exactly busy reworking the 911) by the time the S4 arrived in 1986 it was truly a ‘World Model’ with an identical specification regardless of market. Redesigned bumpers and lights plus a separate rear spoiler improved looks and stability while the Bosch fuel injection system, transmission and brakes were all upgraded. The additions for 1990 included the use of 928 GT specification pistons to increase the compression ratio to 10.0:1 and a ‘Porsche SperrDifferential”, infinitely variable LSD.
G620 OKY was built for export to Japan and duly registered in Osaka on 11th April 1990, where it resided for the next 24 years in surroundings apparently fit for an Emperor. Over this period the car enjoyed the attentions of just one careful owner before being sold to the UK, where it was re-registered on 1st May 2015. Since then the car has been looked after exclusively by Porsche specialists and has (as you would expect) wanted for nothing, with roughly £2,500 having been lavished on buffing and fettling over the last couple of years (bills on file, along with the original build sheet from Porsche).
Being originally destined for Eastern markets is of course nowhere near as significant as for the USA, where power output is often strangled and the steering wheel gets bolted to the wrong side of the car. Happily for this example, it remains in exactly the same specification as any car leaving Germany for the UK would, with the exception of a speedometer calibrated in KPH over MPH, something that - apart from giving an exciting (if inflated) impression of speed - would not be a huge job to change should the new owner so desire.
Further (essential) reassurance comes in the form of a full service history from Porsche in Japan which confirms the mileage at now just a shade under 31,000 from new. Once landed safely on these shores, G620 OKY was given a full check over by the Official Porsche Centre in Bristol which duly rated it as exemplary in every department.
As a later car, G620 OKY benefits from a 4 speed box and LSD, Brembo brakes with ABS and a digital trip computer. Optional extras include a driver’s air bag, electric sunroof and mirrors, air conditioning, electric memory front seats, cruise control, uprated lighting and RDK tyre pressure monitoring system. Most pleasingly, the car’s original Sony radio cassette player is still in place to drive the optional 10 speaker stereo system.
In terms of current condition, we hope that our usual extensive photo gallery manages to convey exactly how special this 928 is. As ever we have tried to show all the bad points as well as the good ones, but the struggle to find the former had us crawling all over the car for over an hour with precious little to show for our efforts. Those few blemishes that we could find can literally be numbered on the fingers of one hand (only a couple were big enough to be picked up on camera and are shown here), and whilst the car is of course not ‘production line fresh’ it is undoubtedly in quite remarkable condition for a 27 year old.
The Velvet Red (a rarity, having been available for just four years, but well suited to a 928) paintwork can fade on plastics but this is not an issue here and the black leather interior is also unmarked, as are the ‘as new’ carpets which have been protected by overmats. A further highlight is the engine bay, being ‘un-restored’ but factory-fresh (please see photos).
The original and correct unpolished 16” alloy wheels have recently been refurbished to great effect (again, please see photos) and all four are shod with Porsche recommended Continental tyres with plenty of tread left on them. The car sailed through its MOT last spring with no advisories and is currently covered until 24th May 2018.
Plans for a full test drive on our visit were cruelly cut short due to unforeseen circumstances (the arrival of Autumn). Indeed, it Autumned it down pretty much all afternoon, so we had to content ourselves with a quick and very local low speed trundle between the showers. We can however report that the car starts on the key with no drama, smoke or rattles, and settles down to a lovely deep V8 waffle with oil pressure and other fluid temperatures reading exactly as they should. Steering, brakes, transmission and suspension are all as you would expect (allbeit at modest speeds) and all the electrics work perfectly.
The car’s current custodian, a renowned Porsche aficionado, rates it as the best 928 he has ever come across, an opinion seconded by the owner of the specialist classic car dealership in West London where the car is currently ensconced. Having driven G620 OKY up to London from Bournemouth himself, our man in the know declared it as ‘a remarkable find’, and the finest example he has ever driven – and he’s been in the business of selling Porsches for the last 28 years.
In summary then, if you’ve been looking for the best 928 in the UK then your search almost certainly ends here.