NOT THE 911 REPLACEMENT
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.