Love it or hate it, the Porsche 928 is defined by its styling. It still looks futuristic even now, 40 years after its release; were it not for meddlesome EU regulations, it could almost be released now.
In fact the shape was penned before 1977 – despite the early head-scratching regarding the car’s layout, the car’s shape was pretty much finalised by 1973, but development of the 924 dominated all of Stuttgart’s resources; the four-cylinder 924 was what a newly fuel-conscious Porsche needed as a matter of urgency, after all.
But the 928 needed to be bold and radical. From the start, Porsche wanted its über-coupé to last at least 10 years, if not longer – after all it was this, not the 911, that was supposed to be Porsche’s saviour. So while the overall shape looks like a wedge, its designer Wolfgang Möbius, under the watch of Tony Lapine, purposefully avoided following fashions of the time, eschewing sharp lines for curves. Curves, it was thought, would also help to boost its appeal to Porsche owners used to 356s and 911s.
The 928 was among the first cars to have integrated bumpers, which is why it still looks so fresh. The polyurethane-covered aluminium bars were designed to bounce back into shape in low speed impacts. Better still, elastic paint compounds allowed it to shrug off parking knocks; regulations may have called for a 5mph impact resistance, the 928 could survive impacts up to 15mph unscathed.
In the end the decision to avoid the sharp lines so favoured in the 1970s proved to be wise. Aside from light redesigns, alloy wheel changes and, with the end-of-run GTS, fatter arches, the 928 was largely the same in 1995 when it went off sale as it did when it was first sketched out in the early 1970s – a testament to the skills of its design team.