Putting the “Grand” in GT: 1984 Porsche 928S

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I need to preface this article by saying that the Porsche 928 is one of my absolute favorite cars. Its performance, pedigree, style, and value are difficult to beat. You just have to buy the right one. Keeping in mind my obvious bias, let’s look on facebook Marketplace at this 1984 Porsche 928S, with an asking price of $5,000. This car is located in Attica, Michigan. Jim A. sent this tip along to us – thanks, Jim! The 928 was first conceived in 1971 in response to luxury offerings from Mercedes-Benz and BMW. After a long gestation, the car was finally presented at the 1977 Geneva Motor Show. Porsche believed that the 928 would be more popular than the 911, allowing it to usher out the aging air-cooled model. But no self-respecting Porschephile would accept a water-cooled engine mounted in the front as a replacement for the 911, so the two models were produced in tandem. Porsche made about 61,000 928s over its run through 1995.

For the first time ever, Porsche installed a V8 engine in a coupe, and front-mounted, no less. Early 928s were equipped with a 4.5-liter fuel-injected powerplant; by the time this car was moving down the line, the engine displaced 4.7 liters and generated 235 hp. A name change reflected the increased power: the car was known as the 928S in North America from 1983 to 1987. The factory crowed that the 928 was the fastest production car sold, with a top speed of 146 mph; later cars were even faster. My experience driving one (albeit an ’88) made me fall in love with this model. It’s nimble, incredibly responsive, and as powerful as you’ll ever need on the road. It drives like a sports car but coddles like a GT. It simply behaves perfectly. An automatic transmission was made available in 1983 and was surprisingly popular: eventually, about half of 928s were ordered with an automatic, like this example. The seller indicates his car runs and drives but needs new tires and TLC.

The interior should be signed up when the TLC is handed out. Fading makes it difficult to tell that the color should be brown. Divots show up on the armrest, who knows what’s under those seat covers, and the carpets could use at the very least a deep cleaning. You will note multiple switches and buttons in the cabin: this is a complicated luxury car that attempts to perform lots of tasks for you – meaning power everything. The opportunities to expend money troubleshooting electrics in a 928 are abundant.

The underside looks fairly straight though neglected. Cars after 1980 received black front and rear spoilers; a bit of separation shows up in this car’s rear spoiler. Scanning the exterior, the paint is not perfect either. While I love this model, seeking the absolute best car for the money is wise since Porsche repair costs are wicked expensive. Even a do-it-yourselfer will struggle with parts costs. Meanwhile, the 928 came in a lot of flavors. Early cars have cache in the market, especially if you can find one with a pasha interior, while later cars are even more powerful and mannerly than the mid-production models. GTS models are top-of-the-line six-figure cars; the S4 (post-1986) dished up over 300 hp and will cost you about $35k today. This bargain offering could deal your wallet a fatal blow without giving you the best that the model has to offer.

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  1. Craig Baloga Craig Baloga

    If I recall, the 928 saved Porsche from the footnotes of history.

    I have always liked these as well, partly for the boldness of Porsche to break with convention and offer a front engine GT crusier…..

    I would take a punt on this one.


    Like 2
    • Harry KritisMember

      I think that the 911 turbo saved Porsche.

      Like 0
  2. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero

    Nice write up Michelle. Like you, the 928 is one of my all time favorite cars. I’ve never driven one, but was a passenger in my Uncles 1981, which he bought in mint condition in 1987. Rich, Chocolate Brown automatic, phone dial wheels, beige leather interior with brown trim. The things I loved about the car as a kid:

    The smell of real leather. To this day when I walk into a leather store and smell real leather it takes me back to that car.

    The entire gauge cluster tilted up and down along with the steering wheel.

    One key did all the locks and ignition. The main key was black and the spare was red. Each key had a button you press which operated a little flash light so you could find the lock cylinder in the dark without scratching the paint.

    Bonus; the frog eye pop up lights are even cooler than you think they could be.

    This poor car is in tough shape but can be brought back, it could possibly end a marriage though.

    Like 7
  3. RayT

    A good, honest write-up about an underrated Porsche. I drove a couple of 928s in the mid-1980s, and then a 928 S4, which (metaphorically) put the previous cars on a trailer. There was nothing not to like about that car. That was a kind of Golden Age for Porsche, IMO, with various 944s, the 928 and of course the 911, each delivering incredible driving pleasure in its own special way.

    This particular 928, however, does nothing for me. I’ve heard horror stories about bringing used-up examples back to life, and I wouldn’t even try. My wrenching skills don’t go that far. And sourcing parts — where does one get a new dash cover? — would surely be something of a headache. Add a slushbox and this is a “stay away!” car for all but the most adventurous.

    Pay more and get a good one. These haven’t appreciated like other Porsches — yet — so I’d say a solid example is worth searching for.

    Like 5
  4. alphasudMember

    I answered a Craigslist ad for a euro 928S for $1200 about 15 years ago. Had a broken timing belt otherwise in decent shape. Fortunately the high compression euro engine was still a non interference design. I put a lot of work into the car and even managed to get it to pass California smog with its sketchy emissions compliance devices. It was a fun car to have owned. Really liked the GT V8 sound and balance. If you are smart you can save some money on maintenance items but interior work will make your wallet bleed. Always best to buy the best example you can afford with this car. Found a euro 5-speed with pasha languishing at a independent Porsche shop last year. He wasn’t ready to let it go but I need to stop by again.

    Like 6
    • Arden Engel

      I’m an old muscle car nut with a love for nice sports cars to boot! When a 928 turned around in my mother in laws driveway about 30 years ago, I didn’t get a close up look at it. As it took off, the crisp sound of the V8, (this one was a manual trans) it sounded like an indy car, absolute music. I’ve been a believer from that day on.

      Like 1
  5. Melton Mooney

    I took my boss’s 928 on a four-hour road trip one time in the early 80s. It over-delivered in every way. The cost and availability of parts is the only reason I don’t own one now.

    Like 2

    Nein nein nein nein nein! Das auto is scheisse! All kidding aside, the 928 was a really fast, comfortable and luxurious car when it was produced, it had the best of everything. But this, honestly, is a parts car. Replacing the dash pad alone would cost as much as buying a decent car to begin with, and the automatic transmission is not desirable to a serious collector. And good luck replacing it when it dies, hopefully you can rebuild it yourself or find a useable one at a recycler.

    928’s are fast, comfortable grand tourers, but not this one.

    Like 3
  7. Stan

    Porches 1st and only V8 🏁😀

    Like 2
    • ace10


      Like 3
    • Gregg

      Panamera as well.

      Like 1
  8. Bruce

    Well I have a 1984 928S sitting next to my Lotus Europa I am restoring and my 1989 Turbo Esprit in the garage. I would like to put in a few corrections. First only about 5% of the cars made had manual transmissions and it is a bit notchy with a dog leg first gear. It takes some time to get used to it but it works well. The fenders, doors, front and rear deck lids are aluminum and the rest of the body is very heavy galvanized steel and unlike the Italian cars of the era these got the good stuff.

    There are a number of specialists like 928 International for parts both new and uses that make them far easier to get back on the road properly then you might expect. I have dealt with them and they know these cars backwards and forwards. There are a number of up grades you can make in the brakes and in power that will make a real difference. in performance. Also look for web site called LAND SHARKS as they have good information and a photo gallery of every color that the 928 was painted in. As for the paint WOW is it complex. They have paints with tints in the clear coat and all kinds of other tricks. Mine is a color called Kiln Red and depending on the sun can be orange to gold in color and is very beautiful. Some of the blues can go purple in the right light. These paints are EXPENSIVE and difficult to put right but color on these cars is critical. Sadly a white one looks much like a giant egg on wheels and a brown one (just a few of the colors) look like something your dog might leave in the yard. Less said the better I think.

    The biggest problem for me is the switches and relays. I wish to God that someone at Porsche would buy a Toyota or Honda and find out how to make a switch that will last. I am on my third set for the seat switches and sunroof. They seem to last about 5 years and quit.

    As for performance I have delivered 4 of them from the San Francisco area to Kansas City where I am based and NOTHING could keep up with us on each of the trips. To be truthful we at times were doing double the posted federal speed limit. But NEVER near another car. We never passed anybody with a speed differential of more than 10 miles per hours. I am not stupid.
    A Corvette tried to keep up with us for about 30 miles and then faded back. We saw him again after a meal and gas stop in Utah. He said he started to over heat. Later I checked radiator sizes and the 928’s is almost double that of a Corvette of the same year.

    My 928 is one of my I WILL NEVER SELL cars. There are faster cars now. Some with far more equipment but it is a real 2+2 as my children could sit in the back for medium length trips, and the front seats were near heavenly. Oh this was one of the first cars with lights at the bottom and backs of the doors and an air-conditioned glove box. That has saved many products from the HERSHEY company over the years.

    Last the rubber spoiler is a critical item. Last I looked it is not available from Porsche new and the stock of used one’s in good condition was low. Something to consider.

    Like 9
  9. Jake

    These are awesome freeway crusiers but that said, anyone ever change out the poorly designed water pump??? That alone is a deal breaker unless you have a load of mechancial ability. This car is in sad shape and at best a parts car or for someone who has their own shop and lots of $$$…best to walk away on this dog

    Like 1
  10. John

    My Dad owned one of the early models. It was wonderful. If anyone would objectively evaluate them, these may have exceeded the MB 300SL for performance, comfort, and sophistication.

    But it is a Porsche and its parts were crafted by folks who had worked for Rolex assisted by gnomes. I had the pleasure of watching a person try to reassemble one of its manual transmissions (which is in a jewel like housing that also incorporates its rear axle). Every part of the drive train is dependant on every other part for the car to function. Simply put, it is not possible to drive one which has a “minor” mechanical malfunction. I suspect that there are large numbers of disassembled copies of this car languishing at the back of many dark garages as a result of otherwise competent mechanics running away in horror. Remove its air cleaner housing and you may as well pull the entire motor out along with its two-inch long drive shaft (which is almost not separable from its transmission, which contains the differential as well as the inboard suspension mounts. the motor/transmission/body structure mounts require the remval of 8437 fasteners all of which will strip or break-off requiring drilling with a .00317mm diamond drill to drill out.

    And you can’t remove any of those things unless you remove most of the rear of the interior which, of course, requires removal of miles and miles of wiring (some are yellow, some are yellow with a green stripe, some are yellow with a broken green stripe, some are yellow with a blue — you get the idea. And they are all joined with connectors designed by the devil himself. None of them operate in the same way.

    Then it gets worse.

    I would love to own one of these, but as the intro said, it has to be the RIGHT one. And there were only two right ones ever manufactured. This is not one of them.

    Like 8
    • $ where mouth is

      !! LOL !!

      good folks out in BarnFinds land and beyond applaud and laugh , . .
      Oh, and now a standing ovation =D

      and brother John
      dropped the mic
      > _ <

      Like 0
  11. douglas hunt

    I luv luv luv these cars…but alas the price of the nice ones has far exceeded my ability to acquire…sigh, and of course a manual it must be, and while i have managed to find and/or repair a lot of the interior pieces for my 22 year old TT, [changing color from blue to black] I would rather not go thru that again, and I can only imagine how costly and/or difficult it would be to fix a dash with that much cracking/issues

    Like 1
    • Bruce

      Douglas there is an interior shop that will put a full leather dash on your existing dash and instrument pod as well. It is expensive but not that bad considering all the work involved and I have seen two of them finished as well as seats and the work is breath taking. Now getting the dash out to send to him is another subject. But the cost is surprisingly good. Mine has a all leather interior that is a combination black and tan. Even the head liner is leather. AMAZING. It also cost a fortune when new.

      If you have a chance check out the keys for one. They are 4 sided and almost impossible to pick and difficult to replace.

      Like 1
      • douglas hunt

        I can imagine the trouble those keys would be…I have a mk4 GTI and a mk1 TT, the sidewinder keys are hard enough to replace, but I figured out how to use a laptop and program to pair the keys to the clusters

        Like 0
  12. Roger Stamps

    A truly nice car spoilt by being a little too wide for our UK tight parking spaces and narrow streets and country lanes. Surely this car represents value and worth effort and money Roger.

    Like 1
  13. PRA4SNW


    Like 1
  14. Jim Smith

    Back in 86 I met a couple of gay guys who were executives at a major insurance company, and each had an 86 Porsche, Steve’s was a 928S with a standard transmission and only 2k miles at the time. The other guy had an 86 944, which I thought to be a really lame excuse for a Porsche. I remember driving the 928 like the irresponsible animal that I was in those days, with Steve screaming from the back seat, but both of them having great fun. That car stuck to the road, around curves and over bumps, like nothing I’d ever driven before. Whenever we went places together, Steve would let me drive the 928, because I “drove it like it was meant to be driven” as he put it. The last time I saw those two, they had moved to the ‘burbs and each owned Ferraris, both red, again, of course. I never got to drive either Ferrari, unfortunately.

    Like 1

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