If you want to know if a car is cool, never ask a “purist”. Ask a child. Their mind is yet to be corrupt by concepts like shape, engine location, and tradition. I recall as a kid being wowed by anything with a Porsche badge because I knew there was something special about that car. Whilst the 911 is the only Porsche model to endure over the years, that 80s child version of me was bang on the money because anything Porsche built in the 70s and 80s was super cool and it doesn’t get any cooler than this Ruby Red 928S. This beauty is proudly owned by Tasmanian 928 nut, Adam Foxton and I couldn’t be happier to feature it as the first non-911 in 911 Kuhlture.
I first laid eyes on this stunner in a dodgy motel parking lot on the East Coast of Tasmania. Sounds a bit suss but I was in the middle of a one week tour with a bunch of other Porsche owners and Adam, being a local, took some time off work to hang out with us for part of the trip. Unfortunately Adam’s trip lasted all of about 3kms before the 928 shat all of its oil over the road and the rest of the cars behind him. Whilst it seemed rather dramatic at the time, it would turn out to be a $2 oil hose clamp that had to be replaced. Luckily Adam had shut it down before any damage was done but it was a very disappointing end for all of us that were excited to see the 928 in the wild.
A lot has happened since then and I talked to Adam about his ownership experience so far with the land shark.
So Adam, there’s been a few different variants of the 928. Tell us a little bit about this one.
This one is a 1983 928 S which has the 4.7 litre V8 pushing out 300 hp with a transaxle 3 speed auto. The paint is Ruby Red and it’s got the Wine Red interior. It has only got 150,000kms on it and is pretty much all standard except for the Momo steering wheel and Nakamichi Stereo which I hardly listen too.
Have you had the car for long?
I bought it in February 2016, so just over 4 ½ years.
What got you into Porsche and into 928s in particular?
I have been a car fan for as long as I can remember, along with motorbikes. I got my first bike at 7! I bought my first car at 15 and promptly restored it over many years. I had a string of local Fords but have always been drawn to Porsche and European cars. Porsche’s unending pursuit to make the cars better and their ability to make a car the best it can be. I remember in the early 80s seeing a Tamiya model kit of a Porsche 928 in gold, it looked stunning and that was the start of my 928 journey. It did take me many, many years to get my own 928 and I never did buy that Tamiya model…..!
What sort of driver do you think the 928 caters to?
I would think it would attract those who love the Porsche brand but don’t desire a 911, a strange concept for most – Ha Ha! It certainly did for me! Porsche threw a lot of money into the development of the 928. Once you learn a bit about its history and the design process it went through, you see that the 928 was designed and made to be the best that Porsche was capable of making at the time. It is a car that can do everything from lazy cruising to full on mountain passes and even a blast on the racetrack…
Shortly after we met a few years ago, you took on the task of completing an engine rebuild on the car. What triggered the rebuild?
When I bought the car I knew it needed some work and I got it for a very good price. I did a full intake refresh, new injectors, new Warm Up Regulator (WUR) plus a few more things and had it running perfectly until one day I was pulling into a petrol station for fuel when all of a sudden it cut out. I tried to restart it but it rattled a lot and stopped, it was locked solid. I knew it was not good. After a few months of sitting in the corner I got to work and figured out that a valve spring had broken and a valve had also broken which had dropped into the cylinder. I now have a unique piece of art in a very bent valve! Once I had the engine out and in pieces there were quite a few things to fix which took me over 2 ½ years to complete.
How did you get the skills to do the rebuild?
From a very early age I was riding motorbikes, motocross and enduros, always doing my own maintenance and repairs. This continued when I got my first car and then also when I bought my first race car, a Formula Vee. Then I went onto motorbike road racing, again doing my own maintenance and rebuilds as needed along the way. Knowing what it would cost to pay someone to rebuild my 928 engine was also a big factor in doing the work myself as well as knowing exactly what was being done to it. I have always done my own maintenance and repairs on all of my cars, with the odd trip to a mechanic when I became stumped or just needed a rest from it!
Was it daunting attempting something you hadn’t done before and essentially learning on a Porsche?
Not really daunting as it was frustrating. Figuring out how to do things, and what exactly to do was the hard bit as there is much less knowledge and experience out there than say a 911. Once I had a clear path of what I had to do and wanted to do, it was clear. The waiting on engine machining was my biggest issue as there’s a lack of engine machinists available. It took over 12 months to get the machining done which was tough to handle.
Are 928s hard to work on?
I have had Benzs for a while now and work on them as well and the 928 is no harder than them to work on. Sometimes things can be tricky and intricate like any car, but overall they are very well designed and a bit of patience is needed. Porsche do things in a particular way, and as long as you learn and follow this, all will be fine.
928s have a reputation for being a bit of a money pit. Is this a fair assumption?
I would say that’s far from accurate. When I see how much people spend on say a 911 or other marques to rebuild, it does make me laugh. I have heard of 928s that have done two, three, or four hundred thousand kilometres with no perceivable engine wear. It all comes down to regular maintenance, like any car. Any car can and will cost you money. One that has been neglected or missed maintenance will cost you money. A lot has to do with who does the work for you. Pay someone to work on your classic car and yes the bills will start to mount, do it yourself and the bills are much smaller. Yeah I do rant a bit about 928s and misconceptions about them.
What sort of things should people look out for if they’re considering buying a 928?
If you are looking for one to get in and drive, then be prepared to pay a bit for a well maintained and sorted one. Proof of regular maintenance and being driven is key, 928s don’t like to sit around. Do your homework and read lots, there is a lot of information out there about them when you look for it. Ask an owner and get a good inspection done. The cars are bullet proof if maintained properly, you just need to find one, or make one.
There’s been some really cool artist renditions of what a modern day 928 might look like. Do you think Porsche would ever go down that path of releasing a new 928?
Porsche may try and release a new “928” but I believe that would be a mistake, it would never capture what the 928 was, and it’s highly unlikely it would be a transaxle configuration. More likely it would just be a bloated heavy luxury GT car. It would basically be a 2 door Panamera, and while that is not a bad thing, it is no 928. The 928 is a great car leave it as it is.
You’ve always come across as a one eyed 928 guy. Do you have any aspirations for another Porsche?
I do of course, whether these come to reality is another thing. A Carrera GT would be nice…Ha Ha, but seriously a modern day 911 would be nice, a 997 in the right colour combo, but not sure I could transition to the rear engine concept. The 928 has perfect 50/50 weight distribution, one of the things I love about it. I’m not sure I could or would want to adapt, time will tell. I have a liking for many car marques, one day another will grace my garage.