You know those classics that every time you see one, hear one, or even glance at a classified for one, make you consider restructuring your fleet to accommodate an example? That's what this is all about. Well, this is just one of scores of classics that affect me that way.
I have never owned a Porsche. I have driven and adored many a rear-engined car, but never felt the need to buy one. Anathema it may be, but the same does not apply to the front-engined cars. Not the 924, of course. Nothing wrong with it, mind, but three yards of reversing and 1st gear in Graeme Hurst's (which you could never mention without him pointing it out that it was an "S", which in turn just invited a load of suggestions of what the "S" might stand for) put paid to that.
The 944 has been hovering on the little "sticky" on my Mac screen for a while, though. A nice S2 manual, lovely. Except that I just know – as you do with plenty of classics – that it will never quite rise to the top of that long list of dream garage fodder. There are just too many other cars ahead of it. I also find their efficiency, reliability and competence a little bit clinical and sterile; not a sensation you ever get with a Lotus Elite, I must admit.
So perfection would surely be to add a bold animalistic tinge to that package? C&SC's Simon Taylor (or "Throttle" as he is known, a command sub-editors might occasionally be tempted take a bit too literally) has often regaled me with tales of his transcontinental epics in his 928, endless super-high-speed touring that made him rate the model as the greatest GT of all time. Considering the cars this former Haymarket chairman has driven and had at his disposal, that is quite a feather in the cap for the Stuttgart master-blaster.
Certainly enough to make me consider the stats (well I know the stats pretty much off by heart, but I feel the need to share them). Selling more than 60,000 in total – mindbogglingly good numbers for a big-engined GT that cost £20,000 in the late 1970s – by the late 1980s it was a 5-litre 300bhp-plus supertanker than could storm to 60mph in a smidgen over 5 secs and top out at 170mph. That's my sort of GT, in stupid performance just as much as looks (and fuel consumption) it is to all intents and purposes simply a more modern iteration of the Jensen Interceptor.
Maybe that is the appeal, and why I keep coming back to them. The weird thing is, I have never spent that much time with a 928 – just one brief drive to date – which may go some way to explaining why I am so enamoured with them.
Every owner I have talked to has sung their praises briefly before delivering a much longer speech on parts prices and technical sophistication (ie the nightmare they present if they do go wrong). Clearly 928s demand a dedication and patience that makes me admire those owners in the same way as I bow down to those with the guts and wherewithal to own another of my favourites: the Citroën SM. Even the excellent website dedicated to them is refreshingly honest about their shortcomings.
All this is surely an exaggeration? I think not. Here's me, a bloke who will happily drive an Interceptor (on paper a worse car and a bigger risk in every conceivable way) daily, plus run an Elite and an Elan, yet has heard sufficient about the generation-younger 928 that, even when they skirt across fleabay for a couple of grand, I can't quite summon the courage (or down enough cider) to plump for one.
What a perception problem this is for the mighty Porsche. Tell me I'm wrong.