Friday, March 27, 2015

15k: $1 Per Mile: 1980 Porsche 928

The Porsche 928 is a fantastically complex and cool classic grand tourer from Porsche's era of experimentation in front-engined sports cars.  The pointy headed product planners in Stuttgart envisioned that the Wolfgang Möbius designed 928 would replace the aging rear-engined 911, but the 911 has more lives than a family of cloned zombie cats -- and it watched as the 928 pulled an Elvis over the years (fatter, louder, capes, etc).  Find this 1980 Porsche 928 here on eBay bidding for $9,800 reserve-not-met with a buy-it-now of $15,900 located in Miami, FL.

You would do well to be leery of vehicle listings that show cars with nice high resolution photos and short descriptions where the seller says -- this car is great, but shows average wear/tear, just look at the photos.   What this means is that the seller isn't going to do you any favors by pointing out flaws, and it is up to you to find the issues and make a proper value assessment.  What the seller does say is that everything works, which is highly suspicious on a 1980 Porsche 928, regardless of a 16k mile odometer reading.  And don't put all of your faith into that odometer reading making this a great car, this thing either sat for large periods of time, was only driven 1 mile per day, or the odometer gear (with time they all crumble into a cheese cake crust like pile) has been broken for the last few decades. Trust a good PPI more than an odometer reading on this thing.

Under the hood is a very nicely detailed 4.5 liter V8 that was Porsche's first foray into production V8 engines and produces 229 horsepower in catalyzed US specification from its 16-valve setup.  It isn't a bad engine and while the European spec uses higher compression to generate more forward thrust, the US version is under-stressed and should last longer. 

Porsche used a rear mounted transaxle to help keep weight distributed toward the rear of the car and this one uses the preferred 5-speed manual gearbox.  You wouldn't want to use a 928 for commuting in traffic anyway, so getting an automatic is sort of like putting beach cruiser handlebars on a carbon fiber road bike.   The 928 in your garage is a weekends/road trip kind of fun car, get the 5-speed.

See another low mile classic for cheap?


  1. Everything works? Uh huh. Maybe.

    To me, that is all the money in Miami for a 4.5L low compression US car. But I'm not going to feign unbiased opinions. That MB auto was built to transmit torque from six and half liters or so, making its 928 application like using Picasso to paint your garage flat gray. The manuals, OTOH, seem to have been made from Waterford crystal.

    The electrics are an absolute hoot! Seeing the panel in the passenger footwell for the first time is like standing next to the Nimitz. They are both gigantic, complicated, gray masses of metal that somehow accomplish their prescribed function and you just have to marvel at the sheer enormity of them. Fun times to be had with the multimeter for whoever picks this one up. Maybe not the day of purchase, maybe not within a month. But sooooooon....

    1. Ah yes -- the mysterious collection of relays and switches under that piece of wood in the passenger footwell. I know it well. I had a 928 a few years back and the prices for those "relays" were insane. I assumed that I could just find something as a substitute, until I pulled one apart and discovered that they were not "relays" but complex analog computers in a relay enclosure. But, you forget about all that stuff when you are blasting down a road rocking out to Whitesnake on the FM.

  2. Nice observations DoctorDel. Thanks, You helped me bring my fantasy to a quick end, so I can accomplish something useful today.

    These days, I want to co-exist with cars that do not demand constant attention, and certainly not ones that are prone to "mystery".

  3. I've always loved the IDEA of the 928, and after a couple decades of owning and wrenching on BMWs, Audis, and Taurus SHOs there's not a lot that scares me mechanically...but this is one.

    As far as I'm concerned you have to want this car because you first got laid in your girlfriend's daddy's 928 back in hgh school or something. As far as I'm concerned that's a perfectly sane reason to want a car, though one that might be difficult to explain to your wife (unless it was her daddy's car...)

    But...the fact is that while you're recalling just how tightly your toes were curled when you finally figured out that Yes She Was Interested, and that you know exactly where your foot got stuck in the passenger footwell and the stitch count of the passenger's headrest, you might spare a brain cell or two for the advantages of C6 Z06.

  4. Thanks.
    Between this and the rolling motel room featured today I had a "Risky Business" flashback.
    I like Bob Seeger well enough, but Tom Cruise in jockey shorts.....
    Like I said, thanks, I'll probably need to burn a sick day.

  5. I like these older 928 examples and the purity of the original shape. I even like them with the automatic.

    Was that mess of analog electronics in the passenger footwell replaced on later versions? Was it to control the ABS or something?

    1. My limited experience with the 928 suggests that the electronics are there to make random systems fail when there are perturbations in the orbit of Pluto.

  6. Maybe it's just me, but those do not look to be the seats of a 16k vehicle.

  7. The body is just fantastic but I am thinking about an ls swap and a painless wiring kit. woot!


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