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    Hidden 928 looks for new home

    LOST & FOUND #1984-Porsche-928-S2 / #Porsche-928-S2 / #Porsche-928 / #Porsche / #1984

    Lancashire-based dealer Chris McPheat has a knack of finding unusual cars. His latest is a 1984 Porsche 928 S2 with a manual ’box that has covered just 31,000 miles. In ’1986 the Porsche was not re-taxed and it has remained unused since, a recent MoT test being the first it had ever been through.

    McPheat has been unable to find out why the car was taken off the road, but a fault with the ignition ECU discovered when it was started may have been the cause.

    The 928 is otherwise virtually perfect, though the paintwork has suffered in storage. McPheat has been through the car mechanically, but is not going to tackle the paint, leaving it for a new owner to do. “The driving experience is as if you are handling a two-year-old car,” he said. “The interior is immaculate, everything works and it all feels new. I took it for a 100-mile run into West Yorkshire and it is a blast to drive.” For details, email mcpheatauto@gmail.com

    “The driving experience is as if you are handling a two-year-old car, it all feels new”

    It seems this car was abandoned in 1986. The Porsche’s paint might need some TLC, but it’s mechanically sound with a good cabin The rare manual has done a mere 31k miles.
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    / CAR: #1989-Porsche-928-S4 £22,000 / #For-Sale / #Porsche-928-S4 / #Porsche-928 / #Porsche-928S4-Automatic / #Porsche / #1989 / #Porsche-928-S4

    Smooth and sinister in jet black, this later evolution of Porsche’s front-engined GT has a lot going for it, says Nigel Boothman

    The 928 never fulfilled Porsche’s plan for replacing the air-cooled, rear-engined 911, but it carved its own niche as a flagship grand tourer that gave Mercedes, Jaguar and even Ferrari lots to think about. This one is a second generation, launched in 1986 with a five-litre, 32-valve #Porsche-V8 and smoother styling.

    It’s a deep and glossy black, benefitting from a recent professional machine polish that has removed any distinction we could find between original paint and the one or two panels apparently resprayed. The finisher strips above each door sit slightly proud – not uncommon on 928s – but otherwise there are only small scratches and a star-crack on the lower rear nearside quarter, with a tiny paint wrinkle near the offside rear light unit. The rear spoiler is unmarked, as are the 17in Cup 2 alloys from a 928 GTS, a modern but popular upgrade. They’re wrapped in 255/40 R17 Michelin Pilot Sports with almost all tread remaining. There’s a collapsible Vredestein spacesaver under the boot carpet; probably now better regarded as a period novelty than a genuine get-you-home option. The engine bay is rather a let-down after the immaculate exterior but repainting the flakey inlet manifold would improve things a great deal, as would a bit of general detailing and touching up of surface rust on brackets and catches. Oils and coolant levels are all where they should be.

    The black leather seats are piped in red and though in generally good order the driver’s right-hand side bolsters would benefit from a bit of recolouring and feeding. Carpets are smart and the myriad electric assistances all work, including a new Porsche Classic sat-nav/digital radio unit in the stereo slot, which blends well with the look of the dash and cost as much as a tatty 928 did until recently. When we drove the car there was a faulty brake light and the driver’s door card caught on the sill when the door was opened, but we are assured both issues will be remedied.

    The Porsche’s big V8 started promptly and ran perfectly from cold with no howling noises from slipping belts or power steering pumps. On the road it rides more firmly than earlier 928 models but feels unflappable and utterly planted, without any thumps or rattles from the suspension. It gathers pace relentlessly rather than savagely – despite its size, the engine saves a lot of its drama for peak revs and the weighty, insulated feel of the 928 blunts the sensation of speed. The brakes do their job perfectly with no grabbing or deviation even when worked hard.

    This is a very good example that’s clearly been well cared-for. There is a file of history including the original books that supports the 116k miles and the original toolkit is in the boot. There is still room for improvement here and there but even as it is, it should continue to satisfy as a capable weekend GT. And the auto box suits it.

    CHOOSE YOUR 928

    The 928 is launched in 1977 with an aluminium-block V8 engine of 4.5 litres with one overhead cam per bank and 237bhp. It uses a transaxle between a kind of passive rear-wheel steering arrangement for impressive stability.

    The 928S of 1980 has front and rear spoilers and a larger engine, now 4.7-litres and 297bhp. From 1984 the model is called the 928 S2 for the UK market, bringing a small power hike to 310bhp and a four-speed automatic to replace the previous three-speed.

    The 928 S4 debuts for the 1987 model year with four valves per cylinder, more capacity (five litres) but only 10bhp extra for 90kg of weight gain. Styling is smoothed out.

    1989 brings the manual-only 928 GT, a more sporting variant offering 330bhp, Cup Design alloys and the option of Boge gas dampers. 1992-1995 sees the run-out 928 GTS with 5.4 litres and 345bhp along with wider rear wings, but very few RHD cars make it to the UK.

    1989 Porsche 928 S4

    Price £22,000
    Contact Investor Classics, Edinburgh (0131 510 7131, investorclassics.com)

    Engine 4957cc #V8 qohc
    Power 320bhp @ 6000rpm
    Torque 317lb ft @ 3000rpm
    Performance
    Top speed: 161mph;
    0-60mph: 6.2sec
    Fuel consumption 17mpg
    Length 4520mm
    Width 1836mm

    928 GTS but look great. The engine would benefit from tidying. Aside from some bolster wear, all is fine in here.

    Quote £484.68 comprehensive, 5000 miles per year, garaged call: 0333 323 1181
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    James Elliott
    EDITOR’S WELCOME

    Daytona under the spotlight / #Ferrari-365GTB / #Ferrari-365 / #Ferrari / #Ferrari-365GTB-Daytona / #Ferrari-365-Daytona / #Ferrari-Daytona /

    What a joy it is to be kicking off my time at Octane with a wonderful Viola #Ferrari-365GTB/4-Daytona on the cover. If any car in any colour better epitomised its era, or captured the swagger of what so many consider to be the last truly iconic front-engined GT, it is hard to think of it.

    Confession time: for years I was one of those philistines that happily uttered the words ‘truck’ and ‘Daytona’ in the same sentence. This was not motivated by some kind of inverted snobbery or jealousy, it was simply that it seemed an entirely reasonable description for the examples that I had driven (briefly) up to then, and the car-stifling circumstances in which I had done so.

    But then, inevitably, I got behind the wheel of a good one, and did so somewhere the Ferrari had the space to canter, to gallop even. Suddenly the purpose of this remarkable car (and how amazingly effective it is at achieving it) hit me between the eyes. Until the #Porsche-928 came along, there was simply no better device for crossing a continent at speed and in comfort – but without such levels of civility as to dull the senses – with the bonus of a crackling V12 to hum along to as you flicked the ash from your Sobranie Cocktail out of the window. Even after the long-serving V8 Porsche came along, there was still nothing that could do it with the Ferrari’s soul.

    You don’t have to take my word for it, either. For our special focus, we have quizzed a group of Daytona disciples ranging from its brilliant designer to long-term owners, all of whom share rare insight into the Daytona’s magic, that ethereal genius that makes it such a legend. And such a tough act to follow.

    Having stepped into the shoes of David Lillywhite here at #Octane – not to mention Glen Waddington, who kept the seat warm rather better than I would have liked! – I know precisely how the Ferrari’s would-be successors felt.
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    CAR #Porsche-928-S4 / #Porsche-928S4 / #Porsche / #Porsche-928S4-Automatic / #1990-Porsche-928-S4 / #Porsche-928 / #Porsche

    Year #1990
    Mileage 112 480
    Asking price £14,250
    Vendor The Motor Shed, Bicester Heritage; Oxon; tel: 01869 249999; www.vintageandclassiccars.co.uk

    WHEN IT WAS NEW
    Price £48,900 (’1988)
    Max power 316bhp
    Max torque 317lb ft
    0-60mph 6.3 secs
    Top speed 165mph
    Mpg 21

    This S4 received a quick respray on its Caramel Beige to appear in the BBC series Shetland, but there’s a decent car under the blowover. The evenly applied paint is an attractive colour, but there’s a little overspray on some rubbers and the door shuts were done by hand – stickers and all. Its body imperfections are limited to a tiny bit of bubbling at the upper rear corner of the nearside front wing, a smaller one under the offside rear side glass, a slight ding above the left rear arch and a couple of bruises on the roof.

    The alloys are lightly kerbed or bubbling 996 Turbo Twists, with Hankook and Nokian tyres of indeterminate ages, but the discs look fairly recent and it’s been well maintained. There are six stamps in the service book from Glenvarigill in Glasgow, followed by 10 more from independents, the latest in June 2010, less than 5000 miles ago. Since then it’s had a cambelt, recon radiator and new water pump – there are three stamps for brake fluid and coolant changes, the last at 111,652 miles in September 2015, and it then had a cambelt at 112,030, following the first swap at 67,173. It also recently had the transmission fluid and filter changed, a stainless tank cradle fitted and new #ABS sensors at the rear.

    It’s mostly wearing well inside, with cracking to the leather and heavier wear on the driver’s bolster piping. Door trims, dash and headlining are all good, and there’s an almost full toolkit. The tidy #V8 has no leaks and intact air trunking. Its fluids are obviously not very old, and to the right levels.

    Fire it up and there’s a deep-chested crackle, but the exhaust doesn’t look that aftermarket. It feels rock solid, in typical 928 fashion; weighty steering from a firm footprint and a mighty, relentless shove once it gets into its stride. Gearchanges are smooth and so are the brakes, with oil pressure 4bar at any revs and 2bar at warm tickover. Temperature is steady just under 90ºC. So, all the important bits work including the pop-up lights and all the instruments (a 928 bugbear), but the left window and electric sunroof don’t operate (yet both mirrors do) and neither does the aircon.

    To be sold with a new MoT and the sense that, even as 928s continue to rise in value, sensible offers under the asking price might be entertained.

    SUMMARY
    EXTERIOR
    ● Solid; straight-ish; cheap respray
    INTERIOR
    ● Typical for a 928 of this age
    MECHANICALS
    ● Feels strong; full service history
    VALUE ★★★★★★★✩✩✩

    For Properly looked after, with plenty of bills and drives well
    Against Those hand-painted door shuts; hide needs a little TLC

    SHOULD I BUY IT?
    If you’re not too bothered about cosmetics (it’s not bad from five paces), this is much better than you first think. Worth a serious look
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    Convertible Prototypes / #Porsche-911-Carrera-3.2-Speedster-Studie / #Porsche-984 / #Porsche-911-Speedster-Studie / #Porsche-911-Carrera / #Porsche-911-Carrera-3.2-Speedster / #Porsche-911-Speedster / #Porsche-928-Cabriolet / #Porsche-928 / #Porsche-Prototypes /

    The Unfulfilled

    We reunite three forgotten 1980s Porsche prototypes. Their story shows that the development from concept car to production can be a rocky road… Story: Matt Zuchowski. Photography: Konrad Skura.

    Porsche Prototypes

    The role of convertibles in Porsche’s history is regularly underestimated, often overshadowed by the mighty 911 coupé and some tin-top racing heroes of the past. For these three special roofless models, that role is further diminished for despite their decisive functions, they didn’t go down in history at all. The little known sad truth is that for every car which makes it to market there are countless others left by the wayside, at best ending up merely as sources of inspiration for certain future design solutions. There are even those that were virtually finished projects, ready to be put on the production line, yet for some reason they never left the guarded gates of their developer’s sanctum. In the case of Porsche, that’s its Development Centre in Weissach.

    Contrary to most other carmakers that choose to destroy their pre-production prototypes, or to at least keep them away from prying eyes, Porsche keeps virtually all of its stillborn forays. And what’s more, it recently decided to wheel some of its top secret projects out to the general public, presenting them at events and shows the world over, even lending them to selected media. And that’s how an inconspicuous white truck delivered three of these invaluable pieces of Porsche’s history one night to a place where we could carefully examine them, pondering on what might have been…

    PORSCHE 911 CARRERA 3.2 SPEEDSTER STUDIE

    Apart from all having similar paintwork and lacking roofs, the three cars presented here share another common feature: their stories are all linked, starting here with this pearl-white 911 Carrera 3.2 Speedster, which was presented as a concept car at the autumnal 1987 Frankfurt motor show. It revived the idea of a Porsche Speedster, whilst taking it to the next level.

    Prior to this, the last 356 Speedsters had rolled out of the Karosseriewerk Reuter garage decades earlier and the name associated with the special drop-tops had all but disappeared from the Porsche world. Fortunately, though, this special body style remained in the minds of both the brand’s enthusiasts and its management.

    It took a new #Porsche CEO, American, #Peter-Schutz , to put his faith in the #Porsche-911 and reengage its development with a convertible version included. What he had in mind was a raw, back-to-basics Speedster. It was a recipe that sounded familiar to Porschephiles. Alas, the company chose to go for a more versatile, luxuriously appointed convertible, not far from the default Targa.

    In 1986, another Speedster was penned according to the instructions of Peter Schutz, who dreamt up a Turbo-look wide-body car with a small 356-inspired airfoil barely giving any wind protection to passengers. In a matter of months Porsche chief engineer, #Helmuth-Bott , proposed a more advanced design based on the old narrow-body 911 SC, also with a rather symbolic windshield, but in this case combined with proportionally smaller side windows, which transitioned smoothly to the rigid removable tonneau cover behind the cabin. The Schutz and Bott cars gave rise to the 911 Carrera 3.2 Speedster Studie, officially revealed during the Frankfurt show of 1987. The toned-down pearlescent paint and classic 911 motifs co-created an unlikely futuristic concept car that creatively reinterpreted the Speedster genre.

    The light cabin cover can be lifted on hinges, but to get behind the wheel, I manage to slip in without raising the lid through a pet door created by opening the lower half of the door. The cabin isn’t much different from what the driver of a 1980s 911 was used to. Porsche did, however, show some creativity in choosing the colours to make the interior look at least unique, as everything was covered in white – from the steering wheel down to the floor mats.

    The Speedster Studie won’t be remembered as a car with the most carefully finished interior but then again, concept cars are not designed for that purpose. Their mission is to manifest an idea, and in this respect the Speedster Studie couldn’t have performed better. The positive reception it received at the show supported by favourable market trends led to the production of a limited series of 911 Speedsters in 1989.

    PORSCHE 928 CABRIOLET

    The USA was a crucial client for Porsche virtually from the very beginning of the carmaker’s history, and few people knew how to exploit the great potential of the American market as well as Berlin-born but Chicago-raised Peter Schutz.

    An open variant of the 928 seemed a natural extension of Porsche’s model line-up in the 1980s, which fitted perfectly with the Rodeo Drive and Beverly Hills set of the time. Porsche had already had a bash at creating a 928 with a removable roof back in 1977, four years before Schutz’s arrival, verifying the idea of the Targa body. The idea, however, was soon dropped, but the need for such a car remained, so the service of cutting away the roof from the 928 (or at least its middle section) was offered through the years by various independent companies.

    The Peter Schutz era at Porsche was marked by the much-anticipated comeback of the 911 but the company didn’t forget about its front-engined 928. It was thought to be a suitable basis for the new models extending the brand’s portfolio – amongst them a cabriolet, a four-door coupélimousine, and the mysterious 989. The Porsche Design Centre was asked to create several versions of the 928 convertible design, which were to be realised by the industry giant American Sunroof Corporation, whose new subsidiary was opened in nearby Weinsberg, specifically to fulfil Porsche’s needs.

    The prototype 928 Cabriolet was finished in 1987 after ten months of work. It was based on the most recent 928 S4 incarnation and armed with a new five-litre 32-valve V8 engine. Even if it looked like a simple development of the series production model, it turned out to be an advanced project with its modifications going deep into the structure of the car. As the 928 wasn’t originally designed with a convertible version in mind, so the prototype needed various retrofitted reinforcements into its halved chassis. Specifically for this Cabriolet, the team designed a stronger floorpan, a firewall and, most importantly, A-pillars.

    The car looks like a finished project, ready to be delivered to showrooms. Indeed that’s largely true of this prototype. Richly equipped with a four-seat interior, a potent powertrain and a projected price of about DM150000, the 928 Cabriolet really could’ve made it big in the US, if only it had a chance to prove itself. Just as it was finished, though, the US economy suffered a major financial crisis that left the dollar to DM exchange rate hugely unfavourable for Germans.

    The price of the deutsche mark rose, taking with it the potential price of the 928 Cabriolet, and so Porsche sales in America fell proportionally. All this while Peter Schutz had to make way for the next CEO, Heinz Branitzki. The new boss sought to limit the firm’s expenses by terminating many of its current activities. The cabrio and four-door 928 project were among the casualties; both were eventually cancelled early in 1991.

    PORSCHE 984

    The most inconspicuous car of our trio proves to be the most interesting and perhaps the most advanced. It took Porsche 27 years to admit that it had created this little roadster, revealing the news only in 2014. The 984 project started its life in 1984 as an external order from SEAT. At the time of entering German ownership, the Spanish brand needed a car to build its new image and international recognition upon and that led to another cooperation with Porsche. The Germans had already developed a four-cylinder engine for the Malaga, Ronda and Ibiza models but this time Porsche was asked to create a thoroughly modern, extremely compact roadster. The project, called ‘PS’, envisioned a car that was no more than 3675mm in length, 1100mm in height, and no heavier than 880kg. Also, it was expected to boast a see-through hard-top and some highly regarded Porsche mechanicals.

    When the project reached a stage requiring concrete action, SEAT realised it could not accept the budget requested by Porsche for evolving the prototype into a production-ready car. Porsche didn’t want to leave the promising 984 at that stage, though, and decided to carry on its work on the car. Nicknaming it ‘Junior’, Porsche slightly altered its priorities: the new car’s price would be limited to DM40000; it would offer low fuel consumption; a new solid roof would provide more headroom; the engine would move from its central position to the rear-engine accommodation more familiar to the brand, while a bigger share of parts could be sourced from the other Porsche cars.

    But the main goal remained the same: to create a modern small roadster slotting beneath the 944 that would help rejuvenate the brand’s entry-level client base. The company didn’t even need to do much to make the car look like the credible part of its family; with those round front lights it already looked like one. Contrary to the 928 or 968, here these lamps didn’t need to be raised: they hid the innovative ellipsoidal reflector spotlights, a recently introduced advanced solution that Porsche also used on the special 942 model, an extended 928 that was a gift from the company’s workers to Ferry Porsche on his 75th birthday. The 984 was meant to be an advanced car: in the early stages the development of an AWD system was taken into consideration for it, with the potential of a motorsport career in the future.

    Most of the car’s other parts came as ready solutions borrowed from other models from the brand: the brakes came from the older 911 SC, the steering from the future 964, the electronics from the current 928, while the gearbox was based on the unit that was installed in the 1976 912 E (an interim model that was offered in the USA between 912 and 914). An important innovation proved to be the independent multi-link suspension on the rear axle, developed by Georg Wahl, that was passed onto the 989 limousine and eventually ended up in production in the 993 of the early 1990s. Initially the 984 prototype was planned to be given a completely new two-litre boxer engine with four valves per cylinder, a double overhead camshaft, and a turbocharger.

    It was a power unit that potentially could be used in the aircraft industry in the future, too. But such an ambitious plan never materialised; instead the 984 was given a four-cylinder ‘Typ 4’ boxer from the 914 model, grown to 2400cc. That was enough to reach its proposed power output which was in the region of 120–150hp, which allowed this small and aerodynamic car to achieve aboveaverage performance figures: a 0-62mph time of less than eight seconds and a maximum speed of 143mph were good.

    Although Zuffenhausen’s engineers did take some shortcuts here and there, they undoubtedly put a lot of energy into developing the 984. This is most evident from behind the steering wheel. The first thing that comes to one’s mind inside the 984 is the well-known 944. The dashboard is differentiated only by a few details, like an intriguing cylinder temperature gauge – most probably included only for research and development purposes. The whole interior is upholstered using fine materials with astonishing care. The creatively folding roof, hidden in the boot in one section, can still be opened and closed. Seizing the steering wheel one can only imagine how great this little roadster might be to drive. Judging by the traces of intense use left on the underbody, Porsche test drivers appreciated its dynamic capabilities a lot. Sadly, though, we were never able to find that out for ourselves as, like with the 928 Cabriolet, the 984 was killed by the falling dollar. With each month that passed by the projected price of the car on the US market rose, right up to a point where the whole project was deemed unprofitable. After four years of budgetdraining development work the whole 984 venture was closed down in March 1988. From a short series of prototypes only this one example survives to this day. Others were destroyed in various ways, dismantled or crashed in tests. The only 984 left might have shared this fate, too, judging by its white and black research sticker on the rear lid.

    The 984 project did not, however, remain useless. It can be presumed that Porsche’s engineers took a good look at it when they were working on a roadster of similar proportions just five years later. It came to be known as the Boxster. The stories of these three cars joined together here prove that what we see offered from carmakers is just the tip of the development iceberg. The life of a prototype is tough and often completely pointless. Cars like these remain silent heroes of their brands, ending up mostly forgotten or underrated.

    The life of a prototype is tough and often completely pointless.

    Judging by the traces of intense use, Porsche test drivers appreciated its dynamic capabilities.

    The 928 Cabriolet was ready for production, destined for the US market, but a financial crisis halted the project…

    The 928 Cabriolet really could’ve made it big in the US, if only it had a chance to prove itself.

    The Speedster’s cabin cover can be lifted on hinges. Its all-white colour scheme was designed to gain attention at Frankfurt.
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    How racing makes technology go faster. #Porsche-928 S4 #1988 advert brochure / #Porsche

    On August 7, #1986 , at the salt flats of #Bonneville , a test driver named Al Holbert set two new #FIA international speed records.

    171.110 mph for the flying mile. And 171.926 mph for the flying kilometer.

    Afterward, he remarked that the run was very smooth and comfortable. And that his only regret was that he had not played the stereo as there was virtually no noise from the engine.

    The air he was driving was a stock Porsche 928S4. The most technologically advanced Porsche you can get.

    'The 928S4 has a near 50/50 weight distribution, which, combined with its patented Weissach Rear Axle, gives not only a feeling of unwavering stability, but the kind of precise, responsive handling that makes driving a celebration, instead of mere transportation.

    Its electronically monitored Anti-Lock Braking System brings it to a quick, sure, arrow-straight stop, regardless of road conditions.

    Its front mounted, liquid-cooled fuel injected V8 engine produces 316 horsepower which is capable of accelerating the #Porsche-928S4 from zero to sixty in 5.7 seconds.

    This is due, in large part, to a four valve head design that was the direct product of Porsche racing technology, adapted from the 956/962C endurance Le Mans. Six times. In a row.

    At Porsche, our engineers have always believed that driving cars fast is the best way to learn about building fast cars. It is a belief whose effectiveness is best illustrated by another remark Mr. Holbert made as he stepped from the record-breaking 928S4 he drove on the flats. You do gather up some road pretty quick?
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    The #1977 #Porsche-928 first series road test

    Andrew Frankel takes what is believed to the earliest running right-hand drive 928 in the country for a spin to see if it is finally the 928’s time to shine. The 928 has been waiting for its moment to truly shine. Andrew Frankel takes what is believed to the earliest running right-hand drive example in the country for a spin to see if that day might finally be upon us. Story: Andrew Frankel Photography: Gus Gregory

    Because my day job is to drive every new car that goes on sale, I sit on a thing called the European Car of the Year jury. And each year the 50-something-strong jury drawn from every country on the Continent votes to name our Car of the Year. And if I tell you that winners from the last 20 years include the Volkswagen Passat (the current holder), Nissan Leaf, Ford S-Max, Renault Clio, Fiat Panda, Peugeot 307 and Toyota Yaris, you’ll have an idea of the kinds of car our collective wisdom chooses: important cars, accessible cars, even on occasion, interesting cars. But red-blooded driving machines? Sadly not. Apart from just one. In #1978 , the jury apparently went mad and gave the award to the Porsche 928. It is the one and only time in the award’s 51-year history it has been won by a sports car. So shocked by their own actions were my predecessors that in #1979 they went completely the other way and gave it to the Chrysler Horizon.

    What kind of creation was this device that caused such calm, considered, worthy jurors to lose their heads and hand their award over to a 2+2 sports car capable of close to 150mph courtesy of the 4.5-litre V8 engine in its nose? I’ll tell you: it was the first car to be designed, engineered and executed entirely by Porsche.

    Some statement huh? But it holds water. The 356 was more closely related to the VW Beetle than Ferdinand and Ferry #Porsche would have cared to mention, and the 911 was at least in part derived from it. As for the 914 and 924, both relied to a greater or lesser extent also on VW componentry, engineering and technology. The 928 did not. The 928 is what happened when Porsche took a completely clean sheet of paper and gave itself six years to turn into cutting edge coupé.

    Of course the plan was that in time it would replace the 911, because which car company would produce two everyday two-and-a-bit seat coupés with similar performance and power, albeit arrived at from diametrically opposed directions? But the fact it never happened and that the 911 remains with us while the 928 has been gone these last 20 years and more in no way made the car a failure. The truth is not even Porsche realised that the 911 would be the car that broke all the rules, the one for which demand would not dwindle despite the advent of a brand-new, fresh-faced, in-house rival. Indeed I would say it speaks volumes for the inherent strengths of the 928 that it survived and sold for 17 years alongside the greatest sports car the world has or will ever know.

    Looking back to a time in the early 1970s when talks at Porsche about replacing the 911 got serious, it seems strange that what motivated Porsche then is what is motivating its primary engineering thrust today. Then, as now, it was not a desire to produce ever more power, but a perceived need to drive down fuel consumption and emissions, exactly the same concerns that killed the American muscle car stone dead at precisely the same time.

    The 911 was old, it was unaerodynamic and its relatively highly stressed engine was air-cooled, which as any powertrain engineer will tell you is no way to look to a low emissions future. If you want further proof, ask yourself how many air-cooled cars remain in production today. Porsche also wanted a car that would be perceived to be far more sophisticated than a 911 because, you guessed it, then it could charge much more money for it. When this car went on sale in the UK in 1979, Porsche’s listings priced it at £21,827, while the 911SC that was no slower at all came in at just £16,109.

    No longer tied to Beetle architecture, Porsche put the horse before the cart and balanced its weight by leaving the gearbox between the rear wheels. There were many reasons for this: a front-mounted engine passes noise tests more easily because mechanical and exhaust sounds are separated. They pass crash tests more easily and lack the often thoroughly involving handling characteristics of rear-engine design for which the 911 had earned a notorious reputation. The engine itself would have a large capacity because, interestingly enough, back in the days before computer controlled engine management could monitor combustion at a molecular level several millions of times per second, a large but low stressed engine was actually cleaner than a smaller, higher revving unit. A 4.5-litre capacity was chosen and, given its size, eight cylinders worked both in engineering terms and also for marketing purposes in North America; then as now the most important export territory in the world. In original single-camshaft-perbank, two-valves-per-cylinder guise, it produced 240hp at a lazy 5250rpm.

    The body into which it was installed was designed in-house by one #Wolfgang-Mobius and to this day looks impossibly modern given the styling was signed off for production more than 40 years ago. When the finished car first appeared in 1977 it must have looked like a space ship. Tom Cribb’s car is believed to the earliest running right-hand drive 928 in the country, an extraordinary time capsule in completely original condition from its Guards red paintwork to its defiantly 1970s Pasha check interior. The last time I drove a car matching this specification I was 15 years old and had asked my wealthy godfather if he’d run me up the road in his new toy. Instead he drove straight to a local reservoir, unlocked the gate and allowed me to charge up and down its service road until I’d scared both him and myself silly. Until I found a way to talk to girls, it was the stand-out moment of my adolescence. To say I was looking forward to renewing my acquaintance was putting it mildly.

    The driving position is close to perfect, proof if ever it were needed that all the seat and wheel adjustment in the world is a poor substitute for sound ergonomics. In fact, the wheel does adjust for rake and, when it does, the entire instrument binnacle goes with it ensuring you can always see all the dials through the fat, three-spoke wheel regardless of where you put it.

    Why has this not been universally adopted by all car manufacturers ever since? Cost I expect. The clocks are clear and far easier to read than Porsche’s cluttered modern dials, while the switchgear comes courtesy of big, chunky rotary knobs arranged around the outside the nacelle: they are easy to find, even easier to operate and pleasingly functional in their action. Twist the key and good old constant flow Bosch K-Jetronic mechanical fuel injection ensures the V8 fires at once and settles down to a surprisingly smooth idle. Despite sharing a 90-degree crankshaft, it sounds entirely different to the pushrod-operated American V8s of the era: more tenor than baritone, more mellifluous than monstrous, it oozes class and culture, fitting entirely Porsche’s aspirations for the car to which it is attached.

    Like most 928s sold in the UK, this one has an automatic gearbox, sourced as it turns out from Mercedes-Benz. It’s not what Cribb would have chosen (nor me for that matter), but manual first generation 928s are even rarer than early 928s themselves. Indeed, as I write there are just four gen one 928s for sale on the entire Drive-My website, and not one of them with three pedals in its footwell. But the shifter engages drive seamlessly enough and if you just ease off the brake, Porsche’s first front-engined GT glides smoothly away.


    When they were new, 928s were criticised for their ride quality (or lack thereof) so it says something either about its more modern tyres or how the overall standards have deteriorated in these days of ultra-slim sidewalls that to me it seems to ride really well. We’re in quiet Surrey countryside (who knew?) and it’s soaking up coarse and serrated surfaces like an old pro. Adding to this sense of well being and relaxation is the big old motor, so mellow in its note, so mild in its manners. Even in these very early moments it’s clear this car could never replace the 911 and vice versa, for despite the configurations of their cockpits, these are entirely different creatures, the older car as urgent and alert as the new one is laid back and sophisticated.

    For a while, the 928 and I are entirely happy to just cruise. You would never do this in a 911 for it would be a complete waste of what it does well, but this is a busman’s holiday for the 928 and it couldn’t feel more at home. You don’t grip the wheel with clenched fists, you guide it with your fingertips, keeping the revs low, allowing the gorgeous flow of torque from the V8 to take the strain.

    You’d be happy to drive like this for hours and days or if you were its owner, weeks, months and years. I’m sure many who bought these cars never dreamt of driving like you might a more traditional Porsche, let alone attempt actually to do so.

    But we are Porsche fans and this is a Porsche magazine: I could hardly let you turn over without giving the throttle at least a bit of a prod. Not much happens. Not at first at least. Soon you learn this is not any recalcitrance on the part of the engine, but the natural slothful reactions of a gearbox designed to propel limousines. So you grab the shifter and pull it back into second or even first (there are just three speeds in there), plant your right foot and try again.

    Now you have the 928’s attention. It feels like you’ve been driving in a cocoon all day, from which a sharp red nose now bursts free. The acceleration is strong and purposeful, not quite the rampaging beast I remember from my teenage experience, but still sufficient to gain your attention and do justice to the shield of Stuttgart on its nose. There is enough torque at both low and medium revs not to want to go sniffing near the redline and when you do nudge the shifter into second, play is only momentarily interrupted before the surge returns. In isolation, this in modern terms is probably no better than the performance of a junior hot hatch, but in that environment, with that aristocratic all-alloy V8 rumbling, it offers an experience beyond comparison to anything so mundane. Likewise the chassis. I’d not expect the 928 to stick to road like gum to your shoe because I can remember even late 1990s 928s being unable to keep up with then modern rivals like the Toyota Supra through quick curves. But that heavy, chunky, perfectly geared steering system is far better than most we see today and once settled in a corner, the 928 offers the stability and traction you want while retaining that agility to adjust your line should it become necessary.

    The 928 is neither as important nor as exciting as the car it was designed to replace. An equivalent 911SC may have been far cheaper then, but it is far more valuable now and, to my way of thinking, rightly so. To drive one is to be privy to part of the life story of the world’s greatest sports car.

    But I think the time will also come when the 928 takes up its rightful position in the Porsche pantheon of stars, because it had then and retains today elements that are truly special. Those looks, that superb V8, the most proper of all configurations (front engine, rear-drive, independent suspension all-round and a transaxle gearbox) and of course the fact that it was the first Porsche designed from a genuinely clean sheet of paper. In 1978 it was good enough to win the Car of the Year award against all possible odds. In 2015 it is a car with ticks in all the right boxes but which the market seems to have overlooked for now. In other words, a classic in the making.

    The unstrained V8 engine in the nose provides both torque and a melodious soundtrack making for a serene drive.

    The 928 offers stability and traction while retaining that agility to adjust your line should it become necessary.

    THANKS TO

    Tom Cribb for the loan of his car which is for sale. Interested parties can contact Tom on 07886 275360
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    With prices continually rising, getting on the #911 ownership ladder has never been trickier. We consider an underrated air-cooled classic: the 911SC, plus the #911T and #964 – all should make for appreciating classic investments in #2015 … 911SCs. Long the poor relation of the Carrera 3.2, the 911SC is now being appreciated for what it really is – a great 911. Values are rising accordingly so now could be the time to buy one – while you still can… 964 v 911T. Got a little more cash to splash on a 911? Two decades apart, the E-Series and 964 proffer alternative prospects for around £35k-50k…

    Living In the shadow

    Long the poor relation of the Carrera 3.2, the 911SC is now being appreciated for what it really is: a great 911. Values are rising accordingly so now could be the time to buy one, while you still can… Story: Philip Raby. Photography: Anthony Fraser.

    Did you know that Mozart had an older sister who, at the age of 12, was considered to be one of the best pianists in Europe? And then her pesky kid brother got in on the act and overshadowed her, to the extent that Maria Anna has been all but forgotten while little Wolfgang Amadeus went on to become a legend. It’s not uncommon, being eclipsed by a young brother or sister – psychologists call it younger sibling syndrome and it can lead to all sorts of conflicts, as you may well know if you have children of your own.

    It’s happened with the Porsche 911, too. For instance, the #996 today lives in the shadow of the arguably better-looking 997, while the 964 was long usurped by the curvaceous and supposedly more reliable #993 . And then there’s the 911SC which always struggled to play catchup with its golden child replacement, the Carrera 3.2. The 3.2 has long been portrayed as the perfect air-cooled 911, for first-time buyers and enthusiasts alike, while the poor old 911SC has been seen as second-best, the car you’d buy if you couldn’t afford a Carrera 3.2. I’ve always thought this was rather unfair, so now is the time to set the record straight once and for all.

    The 911SC arrived in #1978 and was significant as it streamlined the previous somewhat confusing range of 911s – which comprised the base 2.7-litre 911, the sportier (but also 2.7-litre) #Porsche-911S and the top of the range Carrera 3.0 – into one single model. If you wanted to buy a normally aspirated 911 in the late 1970s or early 1980s, your choice was made for you: an SC, take it or leave it. To create this one new model, Porsche took the bare bones of the previously range-topping Carrera 3.0, rejigged the 2994cc engine with reduced power (180hp) and a cheaper aluminium rather than magnesium crankcase, while the impact-bumper bodyshell and interior remained largely unchanged.

    The moniker, meanwhile, was never explained by Porsche. Some have said that SC stands for ‘Super Carrera’, ‘Sports Carrera’ or even ‘Special Carrera’, while others have argued that it signified the S version of the C-programme of 911 development. I once even heard someone suggest that it meant ‘Single Carburettor’! Personally, I like Super Carrera but am happy to accept the name SC for whatever it may stand for. Incidentally, the SC was a landmark Porsche in that it was the last 911 for many years to actually carry a ‘911’ badge – later cars all had a ‘Carrera’ label slapped on their rumps. It wasn’t, then, the most auspicious start to a new 911. There was nothing at all wrong with the SC – far from it – it just, well, didn’t offer anything particularly new. The engine was a peach, though, even in its original 180hp guise, as it produced more power and torque at lower revs than the rather peaky Carrera 3.0’s unit, while remaining remarkably free-revving and eager. Power on non-US cars was increased to 188hp in 1980, thanks to revised timing and a higher compression ratio. Then, the following year, the output was raised to 204hp by hiking the compression ratio further, which demanded 98 octane petrol. US-market cars, incidentally, were stuck with 180hp throughout the SC’s life – and Yank owners were incessantly reminded of this unfortunate fact thanks to a speedometer that read to just 85mph!

    For the rest of us, though, the 911SC, especially in 204hp guise, remains a lot of fun to drive. Its low-end torque makes the car a relaxed and easy cruiser when you want it to be but drop it down a gear or two and the engine really comes alive as it eagerly revs to the redline. Indeed, drive an SC back to back with a later Carrera 3.2 and it’s the older car’s engine that shines, while the 3.2 feels just a little bit reluctant (a trait not helped by higher gearing) and its extra power (the 3.2 produced 231hp) can be hard to notice next to the enthusiastic SC engine. Porsche quoted a 0-60mph time of 5.7 seconds together with a top speed of 148mph for the SC and, even today, that seems quite achievable.

    It’s not just the engine that stands out, either. The SC retains that wonderful lightness of feel which is such a classic 911 trademark. Sure, the non-assisted steering is heavy at parking speeds (by the late Seventies the tyres were much fatter than when the 911 was conceived in #1963 ) but once on the move you can pilot the SC with your fingertips. The rack is quick and the feedback through the wheel is remarkable. It’s a car that encourages finesse as it dances delicately through the corners. Yet it’s also surprisingly forgiving, thanks in part to the relatively supple torsion bar suspension, so long as you don’t try anything silly, in which case that rear-engined bias can bite back. Get it right, and an SC can be so much more rewarding to pilot than a modern 911 with its extra refinement and driver aids which get in the way of the experience. It may sound pretentious (and it probably is) but drive an SC hard and you really do feel at one with the car, as its compact dimensions shrink around you.

    Yet despite its directness, the SC is also surprisingly refined and it makes a superb touring car. Those high-profile tyres are forgiving and don’t transmit the road noise which is a bane of modern sports cars, while the seats are supremely comfortable and the whole interior remains solid and rattle-free. It’s a car you can cruise in all day and get out of feeling refreshed – and there aren’t many Seventies sports cars you can say that about.

    It’s a tough old unit, the SC engine, too. Sure, you hear stories of broken head studs (although that’s not exclusive to the SC) but, on the whole, there’s no reason for a well-maintained example not to cover 200,000 miles without any major work needed. The slightly more stressed 3.2 powerplant, on the other hand, while also strong, is more likely to require at least a partial rebuild by around 140,000 miles (which, to be fair, is in itself good going).

    The SC is mechanically reliable in other ways, too. When new, the model gained a bit of a bad reputation for transmission problems because it was originally fitted with a rubber-centred clutch. This was meant to reduce gear chatter at low speeds but, in reality, it had a habit of breaking up so Porsche dropped it in 1981 while most earlier cars were quickly updated by conventional – and trouble-free – clutch assemblies. The five-speed 915 gearbox was carried over from previous 911s and was criticised in some quarters for its agricultural feel, plus many suffered from poor synchromeshes. However, start with a good 915, treat it gently (especially while the transmission oil is still cold) and, once you’ve mastered the changes, the ’box is a real joy to use and part of the appeal of an older 911.

    The big killer with SCs, as with all 911s from the Sixties and Seventies, is rust. The SC had a fully galvanised bodyshell when new but don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security. Galvanising will slow down the rust process but won’t stop it, while there’s a fair chance that most SCs out there will have had at least some bodywork damage at some point in their lives, which can break the galvanised coating and give corrosion a foothold. Indeed, it’s rare to find an unrestored 911SC that doesn’t suffer from at least some rust. And once you find some rot, there’s a fair chance that there will be more lurking under the surface, ready to hit you with expensive bills when it’s uncovered. The 911 has a complex bodyshell and proper repairs aren’t cheap – you have been warned!

    Get a good one, though, and an SC is an appreciating asset. We’ve seen prices rocket in recent years. Just six years ago, I wrote that £13,000 was top money for a 911SC and, for that money, you’d expect to get a lowish mileage example with an impeccable history, with less good but still acceptable cars costing under £10,000, which made the SC the perfect ‘first 911’ for those with a tight budget. How things have changed! Today you wouldn’t even buy a rough example for £13,000, with most starting at around £23,000 upwards. Increasingly, though, good cars are selling for in excess of £30,000 with a few exceptional ones going for over £40,000. In fact, SC prices are now generally slightly higher than those for the previously more sought-after Carrera 3.2. Despite these increases, I still believe that the SC is undervalued and we shall see further price rises. Although over 60,000 were built during its production run, which isn’t much less than the Carrera 3.2 that followed, the SC is today the rarer car. That’s because, during the many years it was unloved, many were neglected and ended up being scrapped, crashed or modified in some way. Which means that good, original 911SCs are now few and far between. That rarity, combined with people’s realisation as to what a great #Porsche-911 an SC is, and the fact that earlier (and later) aircooled 911s are still going up in price, means that they’re in great demand, in the UK and overseas.

    However, I think it’s wrong to buy a 911 as an investment. It’s far better to buy a Porsche that you can use and enjoy and, if it happens to go up in value during your ownership, then that’s a happy bonus. And an #Porsche-911SC is certainly a 911 that you can both use and enjoy, while remaining affordable to buy and to run, refreshingly rare, and more than likely to appreciate in value. What more could you ask for from a car?

    And if all that isn’t enough to convince you of the SC’s worth, here’s something else to chew on. It could just well have been the car that saved the 911 from extinction. You see, back in the 1970s, Porsche’s then boss, Ernst Fuhrmann, thought that the 911’s days were numbered – it was just too old fashioned and not advanced enough to lead the company into the 1980s, so he commissioned the 928 – a larger, more sophisticated front-engined car – which would eventually take over from the 911. The #Porsche-928 made good inroads but the SC was always the better seller (in #1983 it sold in double the numbers of the 928), a fact that wasn’t lost on new chairman Peter Schutz, who also realised that the 911 was the only model #Porsche was actually making any money on, so he made the sensible decision to keep it in production. For which we should be forever thankful.

    So there you have it. The 911SC has at last been dragged out from the shadow of its little brother, the equally talented in its own way #Porsche-911-Carrera-3.2 . Now it’s time to let it flourish and thrive as the great Porsche that it should always have been.

    OPEN AND SHUT CASES

    The SC was the first ever 911 to be offered in three body styles. First there was the evergreen Coupé, which today remains the most sought-after choice, for its classic looks and rigidity. Then, as with previous 911s, there’s the Targa with its distinctive roll-hoop and clever lift-out roof panel which folds up and stores in the boot. Finally, you have the Cabriolet, which was a first for the #911 and wasn’t introduced until #1982 ; in fact, just 4096 SC Cabriolets were built before the model was replaced by the Carrera 3.2.

    Despite its directness, the SC is also surprisingly refined and it makes a superb touring car.

    A GOOD SPORT

    A popular option for the SC was the Sport package which comprised a whaletail rear spoiler, rubber front lip spoiler, driving lamps, 16-inch Fuchs alloy wheels (up from the standard 15-inch) with #Pirelli-P7 tyres, firmer #Bilstein (instead of Boge) dampers, Sports seats and an improved stereo. Ironically, though, tastes have changed and few people now want the big rear spoiler, preferring the pure lines of a standard engine cover. If the whaletail is removed, though, you should really also take off the deeper front lip spoiler to ensure balanced high-speed aerodynamics, although not many owners bother.

    The SC retains that wonderful lightness of feel which is such a classic 911 trademark.
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    IF LOOKS COULD KILL – ROAD TEST BRABUS TUNED C126 MERCEDES-BENZ

    ... the stunning supercharged #1985 #Brabus #Mercedes-Benz 500 #SEC #C126 ( #W126 based Coupe) really would do the 160 mph claimed for it. The reality was somewhat different, as David Vivian found…

    Wearing a tea towel on your head undoubtedly has its advantages. It almost certainly means you're an Arab. (If it doesn't, you should see a doctor.) As an Arab, life has probably dealt you an absurdly good hand. It's not that some of your countrymen aren't poor, just that most of them use #Sinclair C5s as business cards.

    Saudi oil. Black gold. Wealth beyond most people's dreams is an everyday reality. Only the very blackest sheep's eyes are sent to the palace kitchen. You employ a man whose sole purpose in life is to remove fluff from your belly button. Even your sunglasses are air conditioned. Sure, the desert's hot and no one makes stylish sandals, but you can't complain. Not seriously, anyway. No. scrub that. There is I one thing.

    Cars. Obscenely expensive f ones. Your friends buy them wholesale. When you roll into Riyadh on Fridays for a spot of late-night bartering, you can't move for Mercedes-Benz. The car parks are riddled with Rollers, p The odds of being crushed by a Cadillac are three-to-one on. You have 15 #Mercedes , too. Seven of them are upholstered in gold lame with matching Kevlar sun visors, the rest have mink carpets, gullwing ashtrays and integral face saunas. It's the sand. It gets in the pores.

    They say you can sell an oil-rich Arab anything under the desert sun so long as it's expensive enough. That's plain nonsense. A fortune doesn't make you less discerning; it makes you more discriminating. In an environment where the world's most prestigious and expensive cars are as affordable as a packet of cigarettes and, as legend has it, are discarded when the ashtrays get full, the S pursuit of exclusivity is a serious business. And where do Arabs go leather briefcases bulging, in search of that elusive style? Europe, home of 24-carat customising, where a no-holds-barred conversion can cost more than the car on which it is based.

    Of course, it isn't just Arabs who want to be different from their fellow millionaires. But there's little question that oil-money is the lifeblood of the companies that produce some of the more extravagant catalogues. The irony of all this is that the very concept of customising is anathema to the philosophy behind the Arabs' - beloved Mercedes. As we all know, Stuttgart's famous three-pointed star stands for studied subtlety and almost clinical understatement.

    Take the company's coupe flagship, the £34.965 500 SEC. It's elegant, it's fast, it's tastefully trimmed. But, above all it's modest. There are no spoilers, no flared body panels, no low-profile tyres and no fancy wheels. The factory wouldn't have it any other way. Yet it is this car the pzazz parlours really like to go to town on. At their worst — and would cite coach-builders Styling Garage of Pmnegerg, Germany as the most outrageously perverse perpetrators of clammy kitsch — the Arab specials are nightmarish and deeply disturbing. Tarmac-scraping nose spoilers, delta-wing tail spoilers and grotesquely bulging flanks are par for the course. Interior possibilities are limited only by the space available.

    A genuine improvement on the original clearly requires a lightness of touch far beyond most of the operators in the business. So when we first saw the #Brabus-500SEC . we rejoiced. When we heard that its 5-litre V8 was supercharged we picked up the phone. And when we were told that it would do 155 mph and 0-60 mph in 6.6 sec. we knew it was a car we had to drive. As Merc conversions go this one was subtle and promised to be quick.

    Fortunately, the people doing ‘ the telling were just down the road in Cobham and the pick-up was swiftly made. Central Garage is probably better known in association with ex- #Audi rally boss Walter Treser, whose tuning and body conversions for off-the-peg Audis have been featured in Motor on several occasions.

    But the Surrey-based VAG dealer has recently extended its conversion brief to include the Mercedes model range and, to this end. it has revived an old sleeping partner, #Thomson-&-Taylor ( #Brooklands ) Ltd. to import the German-made Brabus Auto-sport range of tuning and body parts and to handle the Treser agency.

    The Brabus #Mercedes-Benz-500SEC which Central has just completed makes no claim to be the ultimate #Mercedes-SEC (does such a beast exist?) but it does require an investment of £8576 on top s of the £34,965 Mercedes asks for the standard car. To save you doing the sum, that makes a grand total of £43,541 — cheap by Saudi standards, but by no means a snip if what you really want is a svelte German 2+2 with 150 mph performance. #Porsche , for instance, has just such a machine in the #Porsche-928 S2, and that will set you back just £35,524.

    A hefty £4600 of the conversion cost is spent under the bonnet, where an American-made #Paxton supercharger, boosting at a pressure of 4.3 psi (0.3 bar), is claimed to lift maximum power by 38.5 per cent from 231 to 320 bhp and peak torque by 31 per cent from 299 to 391 lb ft. The blower is calculated to add the sort of muscle Porsche and #Jaguar drivers had better respect. After all, a 0-100 mph time of 15.8 sec — a claim that beats the standard car's effort by a whopping 5.4 sec — is rapid enough to put an #Jaguar-XJ-S HE (16.8 sec) firmly in its place.

    So much for the power. Crest-fallen supercar drivers If would be sure to notice how low and sleek the Brabus looked as it swept by. Lowered suspension's part of the deal, and the shorter, stiffer springs are matched to revised-rate dampers. At the business end of the suspension system, superb 7J x 16 Rial lattice-type alloy wheels wear huge 225/50 VR 16 #Pirelli P7 tyres: £362 a corner for more grip and classy looks. The body kit which eats up the remainder of the conversion cost is remarkable for its low-key good taste and is engineered to a v very high standard. The front spoiler is deep enough to scrape the ground on sudden S inclines but looks so good — especially when ordered with the optional integral driving lights — that plain practicality suddenly seems a churlish demand. Equally deep side skirts continue the ground-hugging theme, running back to a valance-type underskirt at the rear. So far, so predictable.

    What really sets the Brabus off, however, is a boot lid which has been reskinned to incorporate a delicately fashioned lip at the back. It gives a slight kick to the tail profile which has a surprisingly positive effect on the way the whole car looks. The overall effect of the changes is stunning because it enhances the 500 SEC's good features without seeking to transform them. Nor is there any major surgery inside, just a chunky leather Brabus steering wheel and a polished wood gearknob for the auto transmission selector lever.

    Perhaps it was a little rash of Central to pass the Brabus on to us for test so soon after having completed it. Without dwelling unduly on the painful details, the car proved disastrously unreliable and thwarted all our attempts to record a meaningful set of performance figures for it. The first time we tried, the fuel pressure was set too low and the Brabus proved very little quicker than the standard car. On the second occasion, everything was looking good until two spark plugs burnt out and the radiator burst. That problem overcome with a replacement radiator and new plugs, the Brabus went even slower than before, improving on the standard car's 141.6 mph top speed by less than 2 mph. Between test sessions, the car displayed an alarming propensity for throwing off its engine belts, in one instance shedding four at the same time. When the Brabus was running well it felt impressive, with masses of low down torque, very solid mid-range, acceleration and outstandingly wieldy handling for such a big car though the stiffer suspension and low-profile - tyres had taken the ride firmly out of the luxury class.

    We'd like to be able to tell you that it matched the performance claims made for it, but it never gave us the chance. A pity, because the Brabus certainly looks the part and mechanical supercharging has been rather forgotten in the rush to bolt turbos on to anything that moves. Maybe when Central has sorted out the teething problems, we'll give it another shot.

    No missing the the Paxton supercharger: boost in at 4 psi it lifts power to 320 bhp.
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    Big test drive American magazine in #1992 the two arch-rivals - living their last years on the conveyor #Porsche-928GTS vs 12 years and younger in the back of #BMW-850i #E31 , both cars are now considered classics of class Gran Turismo, powerful and comfortable coupe with automatic transmission , German quality and advanced technology for those years. #Porsche #928 #BMW #BMW-E31 #Porsche-928 - V12 vs. V8
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