Porsche celebrated the 40th birthday of the 928 Gran Turismo at the AvD OldTimer Grand Prix at Nurburgring over last weekend. The OldTimer race meeting is one of Germany’s top classic car events, a fitting place to mark the 928, fast becoming a true classic in its own right.
Porsche Classic showed a fully restored first-generation 928 in its original, standard condition, as well as concepts for a four-door and cabriolet 928s.
The 928 was introduced in Spring 1977 and became the first sports car to win the title of ‘Car of the Year’ one year later. It had round, electrically operated pop-up headlights integrated in the wings, and a rounded fastback dominated by the large window of the rear lid.
The 928 was an unusual 2+2 coupe in a state-of-the-art lightweight design, with both doors, the front wings and the bonnet made of aluminium. The bodyshell is manufactured from hot-dip galvanised sheet steel. Power came from a water-cooled V8 engine with a 90¯ cylinder arrangement.
At launch, the engine size was 4.5 litres but later increased to 5.4 litres. Power was transmitted by the rear wheels using a transaxle, that’s a transmission which integrates the gearbox, differential and driveshafts into one component. A transaxle is useful for both neat packaging and for weight distribution. With a big engine up front, by grouping the transmission at the rear axle, Porsche balanced the car. The 928 also had double wishbone suspension.
Also shown at Porsche’s exhibit at the OldTimers event was a 928 modified for classic motorsport by four British Porsche Classic Partners. They are using it to compete in this year’s HSCC 70s Road Sports Championship.
The final version of the Porsche 928 was the GTS, launched in 1992 and discontinued in 1995. It had flared rear wings, a red light panel at the rear, a rear wing painted in exterior colour, exterior mirrors in the Cup design plus 17in Cup rims as standard, and that giant 5.4-litre V8 tweaked to deliver 350hp.
It was a beaut of a car and I was lucky enough to drive it at the press launch, held at the eastern end of the French Pyrenees above Perpignan. The power was immense, the car itself felt immense and on those tight mountain roads it should have been a handful… but it wasn’t. The GTS steamrollered everything, cocooning the driver in swathes of soft leather while gobbling up miles. A perfect GT.