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Cheap Supercar: 1979 Porsche 928 V8 5-Speed

The Porsche 928 should be irresistible to car enthusiasts who bemoan the high prices of vintage cars these days. Prices for these supercars have remained subdued and while I loathe predictions (“It’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future” – Danish proverb, often attributed to Yogi Berra), the 928 will likely mature into a higher price realm one of these days. Launched in 1977, this model was a response to the 911’s problems: it spun ’round like a carousel when pressed yet wasn’t very powerful, it was uncomfortable, and it looked weird. Porsche 911 production in the 1960s amounted to just a few thousand each year. Also, US emissions and safety regulations were coming into view, agonizing the engineering team. Rather than fixing the 911, Porsche decided a GT was the answer. Gestation began in 1971, and fully six years later, out popped the 928. With a brand new water-cooled V8 and a conventional layout, the new car sent Porsche-philes away hissing and spitting, but new buyers flocked to the model. Here on craigslist is a 1979 Porsche 928 with an asking price of $25,500. This car can ferry you home from Burnsville, North Carolina. Thanks to PRA4SNW for sending in this great tip!

These cars provide a silky, competent ride without losing the sporting feel we all want. The 4.5-liter Bosch-injected aluminum V8 makes 220 hp. The power plant is mated to a five-speed transaxle for a near-50/50 weight distribution. Schooled by the 911’s poor habit of snap-around, Porsche introduced the Weissach axle to ensure  -without a doubt – that even in the most aggressive hands, the 928 would steer straight and true on the hairpins. The seller indicates the motor has been re-sealed and the timing belt is new; the water pump and clutch cylinders were replaced, and brake work was performed – all receipts are with the car. The 928 will rocket from zero to sixty in seven seconds, and you won’t know how you got there – it’s that mannerly.

The interior is a B+ at the least, with no visible wear on the seats or dash. Clean up the driver’s heel pad by the pedals, and you might not know this car has traveled 82,000 miles. The AC has been serviced, the ignition and door locks are new, and the radio is Bluetooth-capable. Later cars acquired a lot of power-assisted functions in the cabin, which can be annoying to fix; early cars are simpler.

The underside is free of visible rust and largely straight. The front valence is undamaged. The phone-dial wheels look sharp, as does the paint. Ok, there’s one fly in the ointment: these cars are not cheap to maintain or repair. For that, you want an MGB. But if you can afford to adopt a sporty supercar, the seller’s price is on the reasonable side, with much of the tricky mechanical work already completed.

Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    These are actually pretty reliable if you stay on top of service. I had a 83 euro model with the 4-speed auto supplied by Mercedes. It was a nice GT cruiser. I bought mine with a broken timing belt. By the time I had it all sorted I was in it for 5K. It was a lot of bang for your buck and fun to drive. Nothing like the sound of a V8.

    Like 20
    • Orca17

      Not to put too fine a point on it, but you live in a different world than I do if you consider 25 grand for a 45 year old car “cheap”.

      Like 0
  2. Thompson

    Is it difficult to change the timing belt?
    Interference engine?

    Like 4
    • Salvatore Giacchina

      I did it in my drive way. It was not hard to do. I did do it with original service manuals in English. I still have them. It is 7 volumes or so. There was only one tool to buy. It lock the flywheel. I may still have it. If you decide to change it. You do the waterpump at that time forsure.

      Like 6
    • alphasud Member

      2 valve engines were not interference engines but the 4 valve cars are valve blenders. That was my concern with the high compression ROW (rest of world) engines. Took a gamble based on what I read before purchase and was pleasantly surprised.

      Like 5
  3. Joe Mec Member

    This car’s claims to fame was in the Tom Cruise movie ‘Risky Business’ when he inadvertently drives it into a lake. When the car is pulled out of the water and comes to the repair shop, the famous line from the manager is, “Who is the U-boat captain?” One thing you don’t want to repair on one of these is the clutch…. It’s a 3 disc system, that I cannot comprehend! I believe it was around a $3000 job back in the heyday of this car! I wouldn’t even know who could do one today!! It really never thrilled me a Porsche!!

    Like 4
    • Sam61

      I thought it was “who’s the u boat commander”….either way I think I have a decal made for the rear window that says that. Still a bad a$$ looking car.

      Like 5
    • Frog

      The 5speed manuals were known for having soft synchronize the transmission. The other noteworthy thing was the shift pattern was totally opposite from any other vehicle I have owned. The word cheap and Porsche do not belong in the same sentence.

      Like 8
      • alphasud Member

        Yes they use the dogleg 1st. gear ZF transaxle. Synchronizers are weak especially 2nd. gear and need to be treated gently especially with cold gear oil.

        Like 2
      • Sam61

        A Porsche is not cheap to own regardless of how maintenance is followed. Hah, just used both words in the same sentence.

        Just messing with you….

        Like 9
    • Thomas L. Kaufman

      The last estimate I had on a 928S for a tune-up, which includes a valve adjustment was $3500.00. That is just a bit too steep, but it was at a dealership.

      Like 3
  4. TomP

    I had a Weissach Edition back in 1997 when I was 27. That car could transform even the most nerdy person into a superman, just by getting in and driving it.

    Like 9
  5. Ricardo Ventura

    It appears to be in excellent condition however the color combination is a bit unfortunate.
    The price is pleasant.

    Like 4
    • Euromoto Member

      I beg to differ. The red over chocolate is a very period combo.

      Like 17
      • Ricardo Ventura

        I respect your opinion, but at the time I didn’t like this color combination. Not in a Porsche. What matters is the state of conservation.
        But it’s just a personal preference and nothing more.

        Like 1
  6. Don Oberloh

    Compared to the price of 70s and 80s trucks that aren’t even restored, this is a steal. 25k seems very reasonable for such a supercar. I have had many trucks and cannot comprehend the price they are going for, I’ve had a few 944s and a 911 but I have always wanted a 928.

    Like 3
  7. Beauwayne5000

    Had more than a few at our 2 Porsche stores-my neighbor a Formula III driver working his way up managed to SNAP the right front suspension going roughly over railroad tracks- going fast hit the brakes & the full weight of the 4400lb car momentary on the front suspension & CRACK.
    He left it on the side of 63rd st RR crossing for 3days – needless to say it was the Single worst publicity our dealership ever had for what was considered an exotic super car of the Era.
    My Porsche Master Mechanic Fat Joe hated them, he had to do special machining on suspension parts as the Factory would send us the Euro spec parts which didn’t perfectly fit the U.S. spec cars …yes its true.
    Course Dad ever fascinated by Anything from Dr Porsche-they were personal friends-raved about it.
    Mid-Ohio race track dealer Gymkana & Porsche Factory Werks drivers in an attempt to educate other dealers to push the 928 had us race eachother & for comparison Mercedes BMW Corvette- these drunk fools rolled the Mercedes Blew up the clutch on the Vette & Safety fenced the BMW.
    Myself because as a teen I’d Sneak the cars out at night & go Street racing- I came in 2nd over all to 1 very hot driver who’s dealer sponsored him racing.
    Werks drivers took us on Hot laps in the Famous 930T Race variant 911 – very fun but nothing I hadn’t experienced before w/myself at the wheel late at night in Sneaked Rides
    Fantasy teen life? 100% & I miss it everyday.
    928s are a ride out of time & out of place even HERE in Munich Bavaria the Heart of Porsche country they are RARE so are 924s & 944s the Germans themselves dislike them.
    25k$ price is right have fun drive it into the dirt & then LS swap & rip out the Super heavy suspension & Slap it on a BLAZER 4×4 High Lift frame & wagon wheels for Mud Competitions
    Or go full on MAD MAX & add Pop up Vulcan Cannon peeking out from rear glass on a turret w/center console joy stick control

    Like 6
    • jwaltb

      “Supercar”?
      “Rockets” to 60 in 7 seconds?
      That wasn’t real fast even then. And it’s a GT, far from a supercar. C’mon, Michelle, you know better…

      Like 6
      • Michelle Rand Staff

        Mea culpa! I maybe don’t have a good excuse but let me try this on you: We own one and it just does every. single. thing. right. Fabulous car and I love it. It’s an ’88 S4 in Venice Blue.

        That said, it’s not in the class of an M1 or a Ferrari of the era.

        Like 9
      • tompdx

        The 928 was literally featured in a book I owned (British, circa 1980) titled, “Supercars,” alongside Ferraris, Maseratis, and other supercars of the era.

        Like 2
  8. Kevin McArdle

    Has the IMS been done?

    Like 5
    • Euromoto Member

      That made me laugh.

      Like 6
      • Frog

        Newbie. Go easy on him.

        Like 2
  9. Fran

    Supercar? It aint! Ford GT supercar yes. I know I owned both. Not many would be cars are. There is a place in my heart for the 928, not in the supercar area!

    Like 3
    • Frog

      Hmmm…..great question Lucas wins this contest.

      Like 2
  10. Cobraboy

    I’m not sure which is a deeper money pit: XJS or 928.

    Nice cars, though, if $$$ is no object.

    Like 4
    • Jobilizer

      xjs!

      Like 1
  11. Blackcat

    Amusing and apt question @Cobraboy. PCNA actually borrowed an XJS from us (Jaguar N.A.) back in ‘89, took it to their then HQ in Reno and presented the car to the Germans to explain why we were outselling them with an older, less advanced/complicated design. Most prospective customers just didn’t appreciate the engineering excellence intrinsic to the 928, and most manufacturers are averse to even constructive criticisms. Vive la difference.

    Like 0
    • Frog

      Couple jokes come to mind
      1. Do you know when it’s time to check the oil in a jaguar?
      When you don’t see any new spots on the ground.
      Why do people buy 2 jaguars?
      To rotate and keep one in the garage and one in the shop.
      When the auto manufacturers went to fire Lucas they couldn’t find him because it was dark.

      Like 7
      • ChingaTrailer

        Let’s not forget the Italian angle as it was Magnetti Marelli that gave Lucas a good name . . .

        Like 0
      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

        You know why Lucas got a bad rap? Too many people cut wires when they added their stereos and extra fuses!

        Like 0
      • Big C

        Actually, Lucas got a bad rap because folks liked to drive their cars. When they wanted to.

        Like 1
  12. BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

    The 85mph in 2nd gear was the fun

    Like 1
  13. RichardinMaine

    That aluminum block has reputation for scoring the cylinder walls and they cannot be bored or machined. The only repair is replacement. Porsche owners always mock Jaguars for maintenance while their own cars hemorrhage money.

    Like 1
    • Frog

      Good point Richard no arguing there. HOWEVER porsche does bore out and sleeve the scored cylinder walls. This issue was problematic with some older Porsches as was the ims bearing. Jaguar did have nice looking quality interiors. I have owned several. And after each new model year when the rubber met the road the claim by salesman was its better than the last model years. I person think when Ford acquired Jaguar they became worse. Porsche never did that even though they had a rough period for a brief period. But Porsche thrived and improved. Was there any other automobile manufacturer with a doctorate title?

      Like 1
  14. Tony

    I’ve owned 6 of these. They are wonderful cars and certain models are pretty quick. One of my favorites was a gray market 81 S 5 speed. It felt much lighter and more nimble than the US spec cars and was seriously quick. Another favorite was an ‘85 32valve 5 speed. By ‘85, they had changed the design of the synchronizers and it was no
    Longer an issue. The 928 was one of, if not the first production cars that could hit 150 mph. 120 in a 928 feels like 70 in most cars.

    Like 4
    • jwaltb

      Surely you’ve heard of the E-Type Jag, Ferraris, Maseratis, Lambos…

      Like 0
      • Frog

        Yes Italian cars. I’ve driven some now you’re talking about not only expensive but high maintenance as well. I’ll stick with German

        Like 1
  15. douglas hunt

    Personally I love these, unfortunately these too have priced themselves out of my wallet’s ability to buy.
    I can do a lot of my own work, but so far haven’t found the right one to convince me to put it in the garage for the extended time to rehab it
    I have a quarter panel and rockers to weld in to my Land Cruiser [80 series] and then on to building up the 1.8t in my mk1 TT quattro….good times

    Like 1
  16. jwaltb

    Michelle, your S4 is beautiful! I haven’t seen that color before.

    Like 0
    • Michelle Rand Staff

      Yes, in a certain light, it is blue, sometimes grey, sometimes green. Quite distinctive.

      Like 2
      • Frog

        FYI Michelle and anyone else interested Hemmings writer David Lachance just wrote a comprehensive article on the 928 and there’s one featuring what looks like the same color as yours. January 13th is the date of the article. So I think you might want to remove the word cheap from your post Michelle and get your suntan lotion floppy straw hat and umbrella drink and get ready to retire from your investment.

        Like 0
  17. Cobraboy

    @Jesse Mortensen: As a recovered Brit sled and scoot addict, I will say with great certainty that what gave Lucas a bad rap is moisture, terrible wire quality, crappy connections, components, and contacts. Other than that, Lucas rocks!

    Bad stereo connections were far downstream of root causes.

    I mean, really: positive grounds?

    My good friend was a serious Brit car OEM source for years. His shop was like a Wayback warehouse. In his office he had a classic poster of a little old Brit housewife in a flowered housedress and apron using a vacuum with Lucas branded on it.The poster said “Buy Lucas vacuums. Because if it is Lucas, it sucks.”

    I love Italian cars for the design, but hate the metal and general engineering. They are designed to look pretty for a year, then throw away.

    I love German cars for engineering but hate German maintenance. German vehicles are rock-solid, but you have to twiddle wrenches and soecial tools constantly. It’s like they are designed with twiddling as part of the experience.

    I love Brit cars for general budget-friendly funness and middle-class cool (except Jags), but hate Lucas electrics and Brit union/gubmint quality. Brit cars a slugs that make you thing they are fast, and you don’t care*. Plus: a whole new “English” vocabulary.

    I love Jap cars and bikes for reliability and low-mainrenance, but they tend to be really vanilla and somewhat boring.

    I likie old American iron for nostalgia, general muscle era bad assedness, and the deep rumble of throaty, testosteroned V-8’s, belching all manner of noxious gasses in stereo, while setting off car alarms cruising down the boulevard.

    *I had a ’62 Sprite my freshman year of college. I am 6’2″. I had to fold myself up to get inside. It was hard to start and cranky when cold. But when warmed up I felt like it was a Ferrari winding out the gears, traveling at a snail’s pace.

    Like 3
  18. Genemak1

    Think about the other vehicles plying the streets of the time when this first debuted as a 1978 model. All were squared off rectangular shapes with low low horsepower, choked off carburetors strangled by catalytic converters without any computer control and poor build quality. The 928 was an opera, an opus, compared to a Joe Cocker voice. This car shook the world with its advances in styling, engineering and performance. Just wish I had a little loose change available to invest in this one. GLWTS!

    Like 4
  19. Blackcat

    Great post @Cobraboy. I like that with each of your categories, you start with “I like” and find something positive about each of your car categories. My wife used to say that I “never met a car I didn’t like”, or to her consternation, want to bring home. In life, we choose whether we are positive ground or negative ground.

    Like 1

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