HIS­TORY

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - PORSCHE 928 – 40 YEARS ON AND STILL BRILLIANT -

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.

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