In 1978, Porsche released the Porsche 928, a luxury grand tourer designed as an alternative to the Porsche 911. Combining the performance of a sports car with the comfort of a luxury sedan, Porsche’s new flagship was built with mass appeal in mind, correcting as it did the handling issues of the iconic 911 and representing a new word in refinement and power. But despite the massive marketing push that drove its launch, it never quite managed to find its niche in the way the 911 had. Less than 20 years after its release, its number was up. But now, Porschephiles are finally starting to come around to the model, belatedly recognizing just how much more it is than just a cheap (ish) status symbol. With its stock rising on an almost daily basis, it’s time to find out the facts about the 1978 Porsche 928. Here’s ten of them to get you started.
1. The development
In the mid-70s, Porsche decided its iconic flagship, the 911, was just too complicated to tap into the mass market in the way it wanted. Although it had no plans on retiring the 911 completely, it decided the time was ripe for it to share some floor space with an altogether more compliant car. The then managing director of Porsche, Ernst Fuhrmann, believed the days of the complicated sports car were numbered; the future lay, or so he thought, in grand touring cars. As the declining sales of the 911 seemed to support his opinion, Porsche’s team of designers turned their hand to creating a grand tourer that combined the best of both worlds. The result was the 928.
2. The debut
In 1977, the 928 made its debut at the 1977 Geneva Motor Show. It’s flashy, almost space-age design, supreme comfort, and superb handling immediately impressed, and by the time it went on sale a year later, Porsche’s confidence in its new flagship was running high. The good feelings didn’t last long. Sales were slow to pick up, with many Porsche aficionados dismissing the new model as little more than a yuppie status symbol. The all-new front-engined, water-cooled design didn’t exactly go down well either. Sales did eventually pick up, but for whatever reason, it never quite managed to worm its way into the hearts of Porsche fans in the way of the 911.
3. The spec
One of the most distinguishing features of the 928 was its big, front-mounted and water-cooled V8 engine – the very first of its kind from Porsche. In the US, the engine was rated at 219 hp (163 kW; 222 PS). In other countries, it boasted an even more powerful rating: 240 PS (177 kW; 237 hp). The engine represented a big shift in direction for Porsche, who until that point had powered its motors on rear- or mid-mounted air-cooled flat engines. But all of a sudden, here was a car that could not only boast being Porsche’s first production V8 powered, but the only coupe in its collection to run on a front-mounted V8 engine.
4. The style
The 928 has one man, in particular, to thank for its futuristic style – Wolfgang Möbius. Möbius was the designer responsible for the galvanized steel and aluminum shell, as well as its sizeable luggage, the nude, polyurethane elastic bumpers, and the pop-up headlamps on the front wings.