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“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. Plastic bumpers on aluminium crash structures were smoothly integrated into the overall body shape 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.
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. With the emphasis more on its Touring credentials, the 928 was offered with a Mercedes derived automatic transmission and some eighty to eighty five percent of all cars were specified that way, Porsche eventually withdrawing the manual for the S4 in 1990. Fine cars though the autos are, we do admire the few buyers who ticked the ‘manual’ option box’s box and we happen to be of the opinion that Porsche preferred to underplay the 928’s potential sporting ability bought to the fore by the ‘stick-shift’ for fear of stepping on the sacred toes of the 911, the marketing department’s designated Sports Car of the range.
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 a wonderfully well resolved machine. Redesigned bumpers and lights plus a separate rear spoiler improved looks and stability while the Bosch fuel injection system, the transmission and the brakes were all upgraded. Porsche did allow a few more driver-focused variants onto the market in the form of the lighter weight Club Sport and SE though neither was any more powerful than the standard S4. The GT of 1989 that essentially replaced them both addressed this oversite via upgraded pistons to increase the compression ratio to 10.0:1, more aggressive camshafts and sundry other engine improvements. The character-defining manual gearbox was specified as was a ‘Porsche SperrDifferential’ - an infinitely-variable LSD first seen in the 959 Wundercar. Still on a more rigorous diet than the S4, the GT was allowed the odd ‘cheat meal’ of cruise control, air conditioning and a sunroof; the result is one of the most useable sports cars ever to wear the Stuttgart badge.
Having covered a leisurely (by Porsche standards) seventy-one thousand miles since it was registered in March 1990, and having been looked after by Official Porsche Centres and renowned specialists all its life, this 928 GT is in fine order throughout. A world away from some financial ticking time bombs that the market has to offer, it has just been appraised by Strasse, one of the most respected Porsche specialists in the country who on their one hundred and seventeen point checklist suggested a new clutch might be a sensible precaution and this was duly fitted by them.
The oh-so fitting Guards Red paintwork is excellent throughout though as is often the case with this colour, the slightest of mismatches in shade between the self-coloured composite panels and painted areas of the bodywork can just be detected in certain lights, perhaps testament to the potential originality of the finish. The superb shine fails to reveal any significant blemishes to the mostly aluminium bodywork or any deformation or cracking to the impact resistant composites.
With virtually no chrome-work on the Porsche, the only shinny parts to speak of are the GT standard fit ‘D90’ alloy wheels and these, along with their Porsche logo centres are in perfect order, no doubt benefitting from the period correct 50-profile tyres encompassing them.
Inside the counterpoint to the ‘confident’ shade of paintwork is provided by jet black carpets contrasting with ‘linen’ leather piped in ‘braces red’. The carpeting is in very good condition while the abuse-sensitive leather is both clean and free from wear, aside from a small area on the drivers’ side seat bolster as shown in the photo gallery. The rear seats look to be virtually factory fresh as does the boot area, complete with its luggage net and blind. The gear knob is free from scuffs though the steering wheel has been lightly marked in one or two places, perhaps by a ring, though some attention with appropriate leather renovation products should improve this considerably.
Though the windscreen has a small chip in it, being outside the area swept by the wipers it is not an MOT issue and the rest of the glass is unmarked, as are the light units.
The engine bay reflects the care and attention that has been lavished on the car over the last nigh-on thirty years being clean, tidy and free from noticeable fluid leaks.
The Porsche is very well equipped with a full complement of 928 GT options such as a limited slip differential, electric sunroof and air conditioning along with electrically adjustable seats and door mirrors, the only non-standard item we could find is the free flowing exhaust; arguably a slightly frivolous addition but something that undeniably accentuates the V8’s soundtrack, further adding to its Sports Car credentials. Were all this to make the GT just too desirable, it is good to know that there is a Porsche Cars GB fitted alarm to ensure it is used only by those authorised to do so.
A healthy history file accompanies the car containing the aforementioned service history and full Porsche book pack, the V5C and MOT certificate valid until November 2019.
Registration number: G309 WGW