Unearthed: 1985 Porsche 928 S

Classic Cars

The Porsche 928 was originally deemed to replace the 911, but purists would never allow such a thing.

Once upon a time, Porsche had the idea that they would soon begin to faze the 911 out of production. Seriously. Back in the late 1960s, the German automaker became interested in developing a future flagship model because they felt their engineers would soon no longer be able to perfect upon the 911. They wanted to switch to a front-engined GT car that was also more luxurious than the 911. They ruled out both mid- and rear-engine layouts, the latter because they were nervous about the US outlawing rear-engined cars.

This was due to safety concerns stemming from the Chevrolet Corvair and it was soon decided the new model would be powered by a large-displacement V8. Early prototypes were powered by a 5.0-liter V8 with about 300hp. Due to the 1970s oil crisis, however, there was also some early talk of powering it with a 3.3-liter 180hp unit. Fortunately, this talk quickly dissipated and Porsche product planners and engineers agreed the new car would be powered by a 4.5-liter V8 with 219hp. They believed this engine was the ideal combination of power and efficiency. The resulting Porsche 928 debuted at the 1977 Geneva Motor Show.

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Although the motoring press praised it for its solid balance of performance and comfort, initial sales were disappointing. Not surprisingly, the reasons were because of its high base price (compared to that of the 911's) and because Porsche purists didn't approve of its water-cooled front-engine design. As the years went by, the 928 began to grow on people and sales improved. However, it never gained the popularity Porsche had hoped and was eventually discontinued in 1995. During its lifetime, the 928 received some styling changes that included the addition of front and rear spoilers along with other minor updates. For 1979, Porsche launched the S variant in Europe.

Although it didn't arrive in North America until the summer of 1982, it proved to be worth the wait. Power at first came from a 4.5-liter V8, but was quickly replaced with a 4.7-liter with 234hp. And by 1985, Porsche ditched the 4.7-liter in favor of a new 5.0-liter V8 with 288hp, which powers the 928 S seen here. According to its owner, he bought the car for the sole purpose of pleasure driving. It needed some work at first, such as updating the suspension to Bilstein shocks and springs along with other cosmetic repairs. Most recently, he added a set of 17-inch 996 911 generation wheels, which are one size up from the stock rims.

He claims these are the best tires for road comfort and low noise. Overall, his goal with this project was to have a great GT car and so far, his 928 S has delivered in every way.

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