NOT THE 911 RE­PLACE­MENT

Unique Cars - - PORSCHE 928 GTS -

THE 928 WAS CON­CEIVED just as 911 sales were be­gin­ning to tank in Porsche’s key mar­ket – the USA. There were also real fears in Stuttgart that the 911 would be leg­is­lated out of ex­is­tence, so chair­man Ernst Fuhrmann spear­headed a team with the aim to pro­duce a lux­ury coupé, rather than a sports car.

Af­ter ex­per­i­ment­ing with rear- and mid-en­gined lay­outs, a front-en­gined V8 was cho­sen, though a 4.6-litre V10 was con­sid­ered. The V8 was orig­i­nally to be a 5.0-litre V8, but a 4.5-litre unit was fi­nally cho­sen for launch. Wolf­gang Möbius and Ana­tole Lap­ine were re­spon­si­ble for the body, and de­lib­er­ately avoided in-vogue styling trends – Porsche wanted a time­less look. The in­te­grated bumpers were key to the ef­fect, though they did cause headaches as get­ting the paint to match be­tween the polyurethane and the steel body was tricky. De­spite be­ing launched in 1977, the fun­da­men­tal de­sign was ac­tu­ally in place as early as 1973. The 928 won the 1978 Euro­pean Car of the Year, and was re­ceived warmly by the mo­tor­ing press. Pub­lic re­ac­tion was more muted. Tra­di­tion­al­ists didn’t like the new shape, driv­e­train or price. Fuhrmann was ousted from his post in 1980. His re­place­ment was Peter Schutz. Upon see­ing de­vel­op­ment charts which showed the 911’s death in 1981, he ex­tended the 911’s line to in­fin­ity. The 928 would be sold along­side a re-en­gi­neered 911.

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