By on December 28, 2009

early 928

It’s been a long time since I saw one of these early 928s. This one is all-original, including those “telephone dial” wheels and mighty dinky rubber. Guess what size they are? 215 60 x 15″. That’s econo-box size today. The engine was the 4.5 liter V8 that put out 219 (net) hp in US trim; 240 PS in Euro tune. It was a fast, comfortable coupe for its day, and a pretty rare find today.

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37 Comments on “Curbside Classic CA Vacation Edition Outtake: 1978 Porsche 928...”

  • avatar

    jeez..this site has basically turned into the rose-tinted truth about old crappy cars.
    Seriously, there are like 5 curbside classics a day for the past month.

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      Seriously, no more than one CC, and one Outtake per day, maximum.

    • 0 avatar

      Those who don’t remember the past are doomed to repeat it.

      This CC is particularly relevant with the recent introduction of the new Panamera which, for all intents and purposes, seems very much like a 4-door 928.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey, I love the rose tinted truth about old crappy cars automotive nostalgia! You know what “Curbside Classics” means, so if you don’t like it, don’t read it. This feature has its fans, don’t belittle the greatness of Mr. Niedermeyer’s work here.

  • avatar

    So that’s what the Panamera needs — A teen pimp U-boat commander!

  • avatar
    Sammy Hagar

    That car would look a hell of a lot better with Rebecca de Mornay standing beside it.

  • avatar

    I had a 84 928 euro s.  The car had 37,000 miles on it when I bought it in 1999.  The euro s had 310 hp vs the US 240 hp.  The car had twin distributors, no cat, and a evil exhaust note.

    Porsche snobs hate the 928 with a passion.  They usually complain about the bloated weight and the engine being in the wrong place.  The 928 had the distinction of having the worlds largest timing belt at the time.  One of the big 928 vendors Devek ran in the Silver State challenge with a street driven car at 200mph and another vendor did quite well in the Speedvision World Challenge racing series long after the 928 was in production.

    The previous owner repainted the car cognac (rootbeer brown) from being red!  The bar nearly bankrupt me keeping it going.  The last straw was when the cam gear cracked and took the impossible to replace euro cams down with it.  It didn’t have the same pep with the US cams.

    I loved the car and once had it up to almost 160 mph on a deserted highway.  It was such a letdown because it was almost a non event.  The car was rock solid at speed.

    • 0 avatar

      Absolutely loved these cars. It was the Porsche equivalent to the Corvette; a real European muscle car. Large V8 engine in the front and posi-tracked rear end throwing down the power. I think they had one of these on an episode of “Wheeler Dealers”. Real problem to maintain.

  • avatar

    Almost bought an ’85 back in 1993.  The dealer tossed me the keys and said, “Just have it back by the end of the day.”  He knew what he was doing, the car sold itself.  Fast, comfortable, stable, good handling, and one of the most gorgeous bodies ever put on four wheels.  And that was the beginning of a decade and a half (plus) fascination with front engined Porsche’s.
    Why didn’t I buy it?  Two reasons: 1. It was an automatic (manual transmission versions aren’t exactly plentiful).  2. I let another guy on an internet car site scare me off with, “If you’re going to pay for Ferrari repair costs, get the damn Ferrari.”  Only later did it dawn on me that while it might cost as much as a Ferrari to repair, it’s only going be need repairs 1/10th as often as a Ferrari.
    Nowadays, I drive my 924S, and still look for a nice condition 928 with a manual.

  • avatar

    Ugly, bloated, uninspiring in every detail.  The first Porsche, designed solely for the US market, I presume, anticipating design atrocities like the Cayenne and Panamera.

  • avatar

    Ah yes the Porsche-vette!  But seriously I’d take a manual transmission one in a heartbeat (at the right price.)

  • avatar

    Were these even available with a manual in North America?

    I think the ’86 and newer models still look fresh.

    • 0 avatar

      I had a 1988 with a manual transmission. The problem with the manual was that reverse was where first gear should be, first where second s/b. So it was real easy to put it into reverse when you got to a stoplight. Porsche’s logic was that you didn’t really need first, you can start off in second instead. And it was bloated, a disappointment compared to my 944 Turbo.

    • 0 avatar

      Porsche’s logic was that you didn’t really need first, you can start off in second instead.

      Some one can correct me if I am wrong, but I believe Porsches have had this shift pattern for a long time.  If I am not mistaken the logic is that you don’t need 1st gear on the track so take it out of the H-shift pattern.  (On the other hand you rarely need 2nd on the track either especially with a high torque motor…)

  • avatar

    The 1978’s 928 curb weight was slightly under 33oo lbs with a 5 speed.  It is funny how people’s idea of bloat changes.  The new Mustang/Camaro are downright fat-asses by comparison.

    I think the car’s look has aged very well.  The 928’s interior was far better in every way than a similar year 911.  Porsche basically let the car rot on the vine over time.

    I think the key thing to realize is the period when these cars were designed/engineered- the 70’s.   What cars from that time period are remotely modern today?  The corvette C5 copied the rear mounted transmission how many years later?

  • avatar

    Had a chance at one in 1993 but it was high mileage. Same color too. With a stick. But the idea of maintenance costs exceeding the GDP of a small country convinced me not to go for it.
    BTW the curbside classics are the best part of TTAC these days. If one doesn’t like it go elsewhere, thanks.

  • avatar

    Look at it this way — the early BMW 6-Series and Citroën SM both had 195/70R-14 rubber, and a Mercedes 450SLC had 205/70R-14. The 928 had fat boots, by comparison.
    Interestingly, the 928 was styled under the auspices of Tony Lapine, who was an ex-GM stylist. He had, in fact, worked on the Sting Ray, so what goes around, comes around…
    More on the history of the 928:

  • avatar

    Always wanted one of these, since I was a preteen when they came out…
    Of course, at this point, I’d only want a very late model GTS with a manual… good luck finding one :)

  • avatar

    It’s not very often that a car  instantly seizes my attention. I first saw a 928 in the late 70s and couldn’t take my eyes off it. Styling was strikingly different, but right. The wheels were a significant part of the attraction.
    The 928 was wasted on the United States. Its real home was the autobahn where you could take advantage of its ability to cover long distances in a not much time. Think about doing New York to Miami, Chicago to Denver or Los Angeles to Seattle in eight or ten hours instead of fifteen to twenty.

  • avatar

    That was my favorite car when I was in high school.  Kinda ruined it for me when it was restyled a few years later………

  • avatar

    always thought these looked like Pacers with the roof chopped.

  • avatar

    I love Curbside Classic!  It keeps me coming back to the site!
    I also love the 928.  I fell in love with hit even before Risky Business, though the movie solidified my affection for that car.  In 1978, my dad bought an Audi Fox.  Before that car, I didn’t even know what Audi was (I was six).  When my dad took delivery, a soldier was in the showroom looking at a chocolate brown 928.  I loved the Audi.  But that 928 had me hooked.  After my dad bought the car, he through me his import car buyer guide.  I flipped right to the Porsche page and read the 928 description over and over again.
    My post high school summer brought with it a porter job at a local Porsche Audi dealership.  I didn’t take miss Rebecca for a ride, but I did have my fair share of seat time in brand new 928S4’s (as well as 911’s, Speedsters, Ruf’s, etc).
    I’m not sure what it is about the 928’s style that does it for me, the laid down frog lights, or the big rear end…
    Anyway, keep the column going.  It’s awesome.

  • avatar

    I fell in love with the 928 at an ADAC Oldtimer race in Bavaria in 1979. It was safety orange with a checkered flag pattern (one of those optical patterns that no one offers anymore) on the seats. It had the dopey little pace car lights on top like they used to use over in Europe. Two impressions of that day that still stick with me are the ripping canvas sound of the classic Bugatti engines and the low moan of the 928’s V8. Sweet.

  • avatar

    I always liked these, it was the only Porsche that didn’t seem like a high perf  VW Beetle and the V8  heightens that.
    Curbside Classics is is a great feature – regarding the complaints, the cars featured aren’t necessarily “classics” is in the usual sense…

  • avatar

    I had a ’79 928. I had driven the demo ’78 that Porsche supplied to the West coast car magazines. It was a 5 speed. They were available then. I ordered a ’78, but it arrived as the first ’79 at the dealership. White with a tan leather interior, including a tan leather dash board….beautiful. It was an automatic because my then wife was unable to drive a stick and too intimidated to learn. The automatic was sourced from Mercedes;  it was the 3 speed automatic used in the 6.9. The owner’s manual warned not to drive the automatic over 120 mph. The 219 horses seemed very fast for that day. The biggest problem was accelerating up a freeway on ramp. Invariably one would run right up against one of the econoboxes wheezing its way into traffic. Remember that in ’73 President Nixon had lowered the speed limit on interstates to 55 mph. The 928 was wasted at such speeds. I, and all acquaintances with 928s, found them to be rather unreliable. Everything from major engine parts to plastic A/C controls broke. Maintenance was expensive. Porsche went to the 928 because emission controls were supposed to end air cooled engines and, at the time, it was thought that the Porsche 911 engine couldn’t work as a water cooled unit. Also constant rumors of the end of convertibles (because of roll over requirements) circulated. The 911 was supposed to be gone by early ’80s. Didn’t history surprise us!! By the way, that 1979 Porsche 928 was $27,000 new.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    I love CC, Paul. Thanks for all the work you put in.
    I also love the 928. I think it was one of the most beautiful cars of its era.
    The Panamera, is a beast. The only thing it has in common with the 928 is the f/r layout.  Of course, I am not a 911 fan, so what do I care.

  • avatar

    A friend’s parents, who were longtime VW fans, splurged on one of these (used) in the late 1980s. At that time, the water pump part was $800. They didn’t own it long.

  • avatar

    We had a customer of ours, a plumber, buy a ’79 as his mid-life crisis ride.  Back about 20 years ago, he’d come to the supply house to pick up fittings and small stuff so we could see his Porsche and his sophisticated self.

    It all came to a crashing end when he needed to replace the dual pressure plate clutch. Parked it under a tree, and drove a van like the rest of the plumber’s.  Putz.

  • avatar

    I never liked nor wanted a Porsche…but, I recognized this one from Scarface.

  • avatar

    anybody know anything about the plans to bring the redesigned 928 into production?

  • avatar
    Oregon Sage

    I guess you need to come back to Eugene. I walked by one of these in the parking garage this morning. Apparently one of the DAC morning people drives it since I see it from time to time early in the day.

  • avatar

    Undoubtedly Chrysler used this car as the inspiration for the 1984 Dodge Daytona…

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