Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 3
Porsche had a difficult job on their hands when the time came to produce a completely new car to take the Stuttgart company into the 1980s. Their established 911 series had been honed to the point of perfection with the Carerra and 930 Turbo and for many people these cars represented the ultimate in supercar motoring. They were almost as fast as their Italian rivals, almost as well behaved in corners (and far better than most) and they had the added bonus of amazing reliability, good town manners and frugal fuel consumption.
The 928, when it appeared in 1977, took the world by storm: gone was the traditional air-cooled
, flat-six engine overhanging at the rear and in its place was a front-mounted, water-cooled V8, as quiet and refined as its stable mate was harsh and workmanlike. The power unit was coupled to a rear-mounted gearbox-final drive unit and bolted to a completely new body which faintly resembled the 924 Audi-based car.
Even though this concept was already shown on the 924, the 928 was actually designed BEFORE the 924, therefore, the 928 is really the first "front engine" Porsche. The car was an extreme standout compared to other cars of the time. As could have been safely predicted, the public and Porsche aficionados alike either loved the new car or rejected it out of hand. Love it or hate it, the car was to run alongside the traditional Porsches for a while before it and its derivatives formed the basis of the company's line-up for the 1980s.
The heart of the car a 90° oversquare V8 engine of 4474cc which featured Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection
and single camshafts for each bank of cylinders. An interesting point was that the pistons ran directly in the aluminium bores. A power output of 240 bhp at 5500 rpm was produced, while maximum torque is 257lb ft, generated at 3600rpm. Technical innovations included an incredibly long timing belt to drive the cams and all accessories, and pistons running directly in the "Alusil" block. The cylinder bores were etched to expose hard, wear resistant silicon particles.
The 928 had nearly perfect weight distribution, thanks to a sophisticated multilink rear suspension
known as the "Weissach" layout. This employed a form of passive rear wheel steering, giving the rear suspension
toe-in on braking or deceleration to combat trailing throttle oversteer, the first rear-steering system ever offered to the public. The adequate, rather than enormous, power produced from the engine emphasised the 'relaxed' high-speed nature of the 928, and this was emphasised by the fact that the car could run on European 2 star fuel and adjustment-free hydraulic tappets
were incorporated in the engine specification. Porsche didn't use aluminium very sparingly on the 928; the doors, hood, and other large castings were composed of it.
For better weight distribution and more cabin space, the five-speed manual, or three-speed automatic transmission
was mounted in unit with the final drive. On both counts it made a tremendous difference. There was (just) room for four people in the luscious cabin, while with sophisticated suspensions and the impressive P7 Pirelli tyres
made the 928 remarkably sure footed in all conditions and at all speeds, right up to the easily attained limit of 141mph. Inside, you were treated to the most modern interior design of any car on the road, with an adjustable instrument pod, electronic comfort and convenience features, and the highest grade materials. It was also one of the quietest cars on the road, and it could still match the 911 in performance.
b + b 928 Targa
Rainer Buchmann of b + b was locked into a classic symbiotic relationship with Porsche. That totally traditional Stuttgart firm built what it considered the final, inviolable product; in this case, a 928. Then Buchmann turned that into something else, a machine which a viable number of people obviously wanted. Porsche must have resented the notion that some minuscule Frankfurt speciality shop took the exclusive part of its name very seriously and could show the factory how to improve its product. On the other hand, every b + b 928 Targa sold was one more car credited to Porsche's account and one less Lamborghini or Ferrari on the roads.
Taking tops off Porsches had already proved highly profitable for Buchmann before the 928. He turned 930 Turbos into Targas, prior to this 928. The key difference, however, was that Porsche built both the Targa and the Turbo anyway; b + b merely consummated a marriage. But the 928 Targa was b + b's own creation from the belt line up, not to mention trim and spoiler changes below the belt. b + b took a perfectly good 928 (later the 928S
) and decapitated it. Rear foot wells, door frames and the nose area were strengthened, and a rollover bar braced forward to the windscreen fitted as well. Buchmann claimed greater torsional rigidity than the original hatchback body and road testers of the day did note that there was almost no shimmy at all on the highway.
In fact, this topless 928 was made to take the 225 kW "S" engine with no further bracing. All the new panels were metal, apart from plastic for the deepened nose spoiler which gave the car a less rounded, more masculine look. And better air penetration. It was five km/h faster than the basic 928 which had a relatively poor air resistance factor, but we were unable to find road tests that measured the b + b spoiler against the S. A flat boot lid in back, flowed subtly into the targa bar, greatly reduced the dumpling look of the Porsche's tail but it didn't really look as good in photos because b + b painted most of their cars a pearlescent white - at a time when black-and-white photography was the norm.
When the doors were open you had to dodge an upright window post which could have been dangerous, although it did help the lines of the car when the door was closed. Frameless doors would have been much better, but Buchmann insisted that the doors needed to maintain a decent seal at speed - and who could argue. Inside the car lived up to all previous b + b jobs, with electrically-adjustable seats, carpets and upholstery of incredibly good quality, and the obligatory super-stereo (eight speakers - a huge number for the time) plus telephone recessed into the t-bar. Radio controls were fitted overhead too, meaning that the passenger could not see them.
A separate lid fitted over the t- and targa-bars, given enough muscular persuasion, and left a lip over the rear window, but it was hardly a convenient item to carry along in case of rain. All this came at a price, however, with the b + b Targa costing some 50-percent above the already stiff 928 price. The decision of the buyer often came down to how important it was to hear the stereo when cruising at 160, and prevent front passengers from being buffeted unduly. Curiously enough, motoring journalists claimed that there was more turbulence along the centre line, from the t-bar, than felt around the outside ears.
Porsche 928 Quick Specifications
Front-mounted V8. 95mm (3.74in) bore x 78.9mm (3.11 in) stroke = 4474 cc (273cu in). Maximum power (DIN) 240 bhp at 5500rpm; maximum torque (DIN) 2571b ft at 3600 rpm; light alloy cylinder block and head. Compression ratio 8.5:1. 5 main bearings. 2 valves
per cylinder operated via hydraulic tappets
by single overhead camshaft per cylinder bank. Bosch K -Jetronic fuel injection.
Single dry plate clutch and manual five-speed gearbox. Ratios 1st 3.601, 2nd 2.466, 3rd 1.819, 4th 1.343, 5th 1.00, rev 3.162. Hypoid bevel final drive, ratio 2,750:1.
From-independent by wishbones and anti-roll bar
, rear-independent with Weissach axle, wishbones and semi-trailing radius arms.
Rack and pinion.
Discs front and rear. Servo assisted. Wheels 7 in x 76 in. Tyres 225/50VR x 16.
2 door, 4 seat, Integral.
Dimensions and weight:
Wheelbase 9B.43in; track-front 60. 63 in, rear- 59.45 in; length 775.2 in; width 72.44in; height 57.57 in; qround clearance 5.4in; weight 31971b; turning circle 34.2 ft; fuel tank capacity 18.9 gal.
Maximum speed 141 mph; acceleration 0-60 mph 7 secs; fuel consumption approximately 22mpg.