No Reserve Gray Market Car: 1979 Porsche 928

When it comes to European cars, the words “gray market” tend to elicit some squeals of joy from one side of the room, and deep sighs from the other. The reason being is that these so-called Euro-spec cars have plenty of advantages, but they can also prove challenging to get past stringent emissions regulations and occasionally come with parts attached that can’t be replaced stateside. Still, plenty of enthusiasts seek these rare pieces of forbidden fruit out for the improved performance or just the novelty factor alone, such as this 1979 Porsche 928 equipped with the preferred manual transmission and exceedingly rare Pasha interior. Find it here on eBay where bidding is at $9,300 with no reserve.

That crazy upholstery pattern is desirable enough among some Porsche enthusiasts that I wouldn’t be surprised to learn there’s at least a bidder or two who are simply vying for a chance to buy this car to swap these seats into their own 928. That would be a shame, in my opinion, because this 928 looks like a solid driver that should be used and enjoyed, not harvested for spares. I would say it’s highly unlikely this car will be hacked up, because it’s too complete – and anyone that has ever perused the 928 market knows there are numerous beaters available at any given time, but very few survivors and/or drivers that can be put into service with minimal fuss.

Of course, the other major selling point in this 928’s favor is the manual gearbox. Loads of 928s were sold with the automatic transmission, and this isn’t a terrible offense given the 928’s character is that of a grand cruiser – the automatic suits it well. But there’s no denying that a 928 with a five-speed manual is a hoot to drive, especially when it’s cranking out a few extra horsepower thanks to not having the same emissions restrictions as the standard U.S. model. The seller doesn’t go into much detail about the history of the 928, just noting that it’s a “…diamond in the rough” and that it needs some additional work to be perfect.

Maybe because I’m a pessimist by nature or because it’s incredibly rare for a project car to actually have fewer needs than advertised, but you have to wonder what the details are regarding a 928 that is running well enough for weekend drives but still “….need some work.” Is it a case of needing brakes and tires, or something more significant? The European-market cars usually have a few other features besides less restrictive exhausts, like the sidemarker lights, no side impact bars in the doors, and upgraded H4 lighting. If this 928 hasn’t been properly federalized, it could be worth the risk to throw up a bid regardless of what maintenance needs it still has.

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Comments

  1. RayT Member

    Jeff, I don’t think a “gray market” ’79 is going to cause much of a fuss at the DMV. The parts counter at a Porsche dealer might be a different story; don’t remember what the company’s attitude was/is about non-U.S.-spec cars and parts/service for same.

    For me, as a driver and not an owner, the 928 was wildly underrated. That’s especially true for the manual-equipped cars, which even in emissions-legal trim, were plenty fast. I enjoyed every mile in 928s, with the late S4 being a real standout.

    Can’t complain about the disdain for these, as it seems to be keeping prices down. That means a 928 is on my “maybe someday” list and not the “never gonna happen” list….

    Like 8
  2. alphasud Member

    I love the Pasha interior. I checked a while back when I saw another one that needed upholstery repairs and they do make replacement fabric. I think all 928’s are work in progress. The repairs he is referring to is probably gearbox related. The automatic ones were more reliable but less fun to drive. I bought a euro 83 with a broken timing belt. Fixed it up, enjoyed it and then moved it on.

    Like 2
  3. t-bone BOB

    Item location:
    Aurora, Illinois

  4. Fran

    Grey market 928’s get ruined by side lights and taking the good looking headlights. I had a grey market 928 years ag and they did not touch it and it was wonderful.

  5. Euromoto Member

    Pasha…yum, yum.

  6. douglas hunt

    always loved these and would like to get a project maybe, the 5speeds are way harder to find though. heck, the swap with an LS motor is appealing to me if i can find the right donor, as i wouldn’t mess up a good V8 car.
    i just really enjoy the styling of these cars

  7. MLM

    The 928 is my favorite Porsche hands down. I wanted one of these when I was in Germany many moons ago.

  8. t-bone BOB

    Ended:
    May 20, 2021
    Winning bid:
    US $9,800.00
    [ 18 bids ]

  9. Regg

    I had an 82 and 84. Both 3 owners when I got em.

    Both automatics. They were FUN to drive and highway cruisers.

    Likened to a German Corvette. I left a corvette in my dust at 120-125. Walked away to 135. These have high end grunt in spades.
    Going from No Ca. to Oregon at night. That was in the 90s when my 82 was about 10 years old and in top shape (tires, wheels etc.)

    I loved the auto and at speed you don’t need all those gears. In the mountains on turns at 80 I could drop it down a gear if needed to slow down or power out of a turn. Also had a lot of balance in the turns and inspired confidence…unlike an old 911.

    Like 1
  10. Will Irby

    My roommate in 1980 worked at the local Ferrari dealership in Jackson, MS, where they often found pristine used cars for “special clients”. He brought a 928 home from work one day, and of course that was our transportation for the night. Alas, the next day it was on the way to its new owner, Roy Orbison.

    Like 1
    • douglas hunt

      nice to know that the legend Roy Orbison was a 928 driver

      Like 1

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