928S Series 4, with Sport Equipment, is how we should really be describing each of these machines, but it’s a bit of a mouthfull, so we’ll stick with SE
‘they’re old cars, they’re 30-years old, so it’s probably typical to see that sort of mileage. Yet you look at the upholstery, it’s absolutely fine, because these cars were so expensive when they were new, £54-grand in 1988, much more expensive than a 911 Turbo; it was the most expensive car Porsche sold, and most of them were bought by companies and owned by company directors. Of the ones I’ve seen, they’ve all done a lot of miles in the early years, when it was not uncommon to see 15- or 20,000-miles per year for the first few years, and then obviously as they got sold on and passed into the hands of enthusiasts they’ve come right off. But I’m sure the depreciation was pretty massive in those first two or three years. Who wanted a 928 with a manual gearbox? Horses for courses, really. When I’m setting off from traffic lights I’ll go off in 1st, skip 2nd, and go into 3rd. The engine is really torquey, and in spirited driving its 3rd and 4th gear ratios are lovely, and you can really wind it up in the revs: there’s a big spread in 3rd and 4th gear, so you almost use 1st as a moving off gear, and 3rd and 4th are your fun gears, while 5th is just an overdrive for the motorway. And anyway, it’s nice to have that control, rather than an auto that relies on kick-down. The 928 manual was a pretty rare car really, like ordering a manual Panamera nowadays, it seems kind of perverse.’
Phil brought the street SE (WP0ZZZ92ZJS841914) out of storage after last winter and the first task was changing a wheel bearing and re-plating all the original parts, ceramic-coating the exhaust a grey hue, and replacing all the fuel lines. ‘When you buy new fuel lines from Porsche they come in a brass colour, and in period they were an olive green, so we spent ages spraying different colours of olive green till we got the right colour, and then we resprayed the lines and fitted them. Another reason is that they are a bit prone to failing, with these cars going up in smoke, so I carry a fire extinguisher in the back. There are new bushes and new rear shocks on the back axle, which gave it a new lease of life. The springs are unique to an SE, so we blasted and powder-coated them, and the dampers are Koni Sports, specifically for this model, and it’s actually quite supple on the road. The brakes and brake lines have been restored; we’ve had all the calipers off, taken the pistons out, fitted new seals, re-painted the calipers – which were also unique to this model. I appreciate fine handling cars, and for me this is such a fantastic car, very nice to drive.’ Other race people thought so, too: back in the day, this car belonged to 1974 Scottish Rally Champion, Arthur Jasper, and another SE was owned by Formula 5000 ace Tom Belso.
It has other period related qualities, too. ‘What I also love about this car is the interior, which has got that subtle patina now. The cloth was originally black with the red pin stripe, and obviously over the years the UV has attacked the dye and it’s got a lovely almost brown look to the fabric, which you just can’t replicate, and look at the rear seats, how, because they are out of the direct sun, that’s more like what the originals would have looked like. Along the top of the seats where the UV has attacked them it’s got that wonderful patina that’s impossible to reproduce. So, if you restored the car and replaced the cloth it would destroy the originality of it. We cleaned up the engine as well: we did all the intake