Porsche has never had a problem with creating cars that perform as they should, with even the much-maligned 924 being one of the premium handlers in its class, but the Stuttgart firm is sometimes accused of being less successful at capturing soul.
That, if anything, is the negative that could be aimed at its ultimate GT – the 928.
But with age comes a character that was perhaps less obvious when the car was new and current prices have left the C&SC office genuinely shocked.
Launched in 1977 – controversially Car of The Year, too – the big coupé was fitted with a 4474cc SOHC-per-bank, fuel-injected V8 that produced 240bhp and drove the rear wheels via a five-speed manual transaxle, while a three-speed auto was a (commonly specified) extra-cost option.
Despite its weight (2867lb), the Porsche could move with surprising vigour, dispatching the 0-60mph dash in 7.2 secs and topping out at more than 140mph. The ‘S’ variant, which was introduced in ’79, could knock a second off that time on its way to 152mph.
Even more power – 310bhp – came with the Series 2 of 1984, plus a standard four-speed automatic ’box, the manual being a no-cost option.
The Series 3 was for the US market only, but the Series 4, which made its UK debut in ’86, used a revised version of its DOHC 5-litre V8 to raise power to 320bhp. With that came a top speed of 168mph and a 0-60mph time that ducked under 6 secs.
The GT model that arrived in ’89 would bring 326bhp, fatter tyres and a wider rear track, while the searingly fast GTS of ’92 pumped out 350bhp.
Handling and grip were excellent, too, with none of the edginess that could affect 911s of similar vintage, thanks to near-ideal weight distribution with the rear-mounted gearbox and clever multi-link suspension. But the 928’s party piece was that it could cover huge mileages with ease, carrying its passengers in perfect comfort.
While a soul, or lack of it, may be subjective, the cost of running a 928 certainly is not, with genuine parts and main-dealer labour being notoriously expensive. So we reckon you should avoid a car that’s going to need a lot of work unless you are an accomplished mechanic.
All of the 928’s steel parts are galvanised, so structural rust is rare, although early models may bubble around the rear windows and hatch, while the alloy bonnet, front wings and door-skins are also susceptible to corrosion.
The powerplant is nigh-on bulletproof if properly maintained – with even a cambelt failure not proving fatal – although high-mileage cars can burn oil excessively.
Plastic fuel cells can implode and check the exhaust because a new one is an expensive item, a criticism that also can be levelled at the air-conditioning. Also, try the electric windows because they’re prone to jamming.
Even so, we hadn’t reckoned on picking up a car such as this for just £2300. Its price has been ‘radically reduced for a quick sale’ and the bodywork could be better, but it could be fabulous value for money depending on the severity of the ‘wheel bearing or diff’ whine.
A truly original specimen comes in the form of this tempting early car, with signature phone-dial alloys. It has always been garaged and had an engine rebuild fewer than 2000 miles ago. The broken air-con would appear to be the only negative for a price of £4799.
Spend a bit more, £8250, on this car and you could have a rare manual. It has been with the same owner for five years and its service record seems to indicate that he’s not skimped on maintenance and, as the GT, it is the penultimate model.
If only the best will do, though, this GTS looks to be just the ticket. It has just 55,683 miles on the clock and has full main-dealer service history, even the steep price must leave some room for leeway?
While the 928 may lack the charisma of its famous sister, it is much the easier car to live with day-to-day, but show it a corner and its undoubted pedigree will shine through.