story and photos by kevin thiem
First of all, I’ve come to realize I am VERY lucky that I live near a metropolitan area like Atlanta, Georgia that supports a robust Porsche community. I frequently stumble on great deals that 928 lovers in other parts of the world would drool over.
I acquired my very first 928, a ’79 sunroof delete auto by trading straight up a so-so 1985 Corvette project in July 2011 and promptly realized I had a lot to learn. I’ll share the story of the ’79 another time….
My love of Porsche started with the 944 and I’ve been lucky enough to own & restore many of them. I just brought an ’83 944 back to life & placed an ad seeking to sell or trade when I got an email stating “I have an ’84 928S that runs, but is rough in & out I’ll trade you.” After an inspection and some back and forth about rims/tires, we struck a deal. I decided it was safer to tow the vehicles, so Feb 20, 2012 I became the proud owner of a 1984 Porsche 928S project.
if only it were true..
The previous owner was a car guy (BMW) and told me he got the car locally, got it running and decided it wasn’t the car for him. It came to me with a fresh oil change, new plugs, flushed fuel system and a replaced fuel pump. Other than that, the car was a rough project inside and out, but I didn’t have much money invested in it, so away I went.
"I wish I knew why it sat for 7 years."
My first concern was to ensure the car was safe for the road. It was placed on a lift, inspected and deemed road worthy (of course after the dry-rotted tires were swapped). One of the most interesting facts on this car was an odometer that read 000048 when I got it. Included with an extensive history folder was an owners document entitled “ODOMETER STATEMENT” In this letter dated Dec 28, 1993, he states the 5th digit (10,000) rolled and registered a 7 instead of a 6 and the actual mileage should be 63,217, not 81,217, as displayed.
rough but not impossible to sort.
Based on this statement, it appears the 928S was driven an average of about 10,000 miles per year up to that date. Also included in the documentation is invoice showing the rebuild of the odometer in 2005 when it was set to all zeroes. Something must have happened with either the car or the owner, because there are no documents beyond 2005 and the last plate on the car was that year. I wish I knew why it sat for 7 years.
sanding and prep work begins.
I am not a body guy, but I am capable of basic body work such as sanding and prep work, so I set out by starting small. A few weeks later, I’m at the point I’ve reached my capabilities, so off to a body guy it goes, to repair some small dents in each front fender and smooth the rear bumper guard. As you see in the photos, it appears this car was placed somewhere where heavy items were placed on top of it. The dents were on the top of the fenders, not on the sides as if it was in an impact. Luckily the hood was straight and true with only one small pock mark to address.
driver's side fender repair
all primed up and ready to go.
After about a week with the body guy, I got the car back and used rattle-can primer paint to get it a uniform color. I drove the car several months to make sure it was dependable prior to investing in a paint job. The original color of the car was U1- Platinum Metallic, a color that is somewhat boring to me, so I chose to repaint black. A lesson I learned doing so is to have the door jams painted BEFORE the car is painted. The paint shops like to nickel and dime you on painting door jams and hood areas, so do it yourself if you can, if your car isn’t intended to be a show car, that is.
the interior begins to shape up.
As far as the interior goes, the original interior was standard brown leather and pretty rough. The leather on all seats had cracked and looked horrible. A previous owner had removed the rear speakers and installed 6x9 speakers in their place really butchering the panels in the process. I had a pair of recently re-upholstered early non-power 928 seats done in black that I decided to install. Out came the very heavy power seats for future use.
"Touch the wires one way, the window goes up, reverse them, and they go down."
Of course the dash was very cracked, so I chipped away the old leather and installed a felt dash cover over it. The power window switches didn’t work, but when I applied power to the motor, they worked just fine. I spent the better part of a day trying to get the power window switches working, but in the end just ran a few wires directly to the motors so I’d have functioning windows. Touch the wires one way, the window goes up, reverse them, and they go down. Someday, I’ll spend a little more time and figure out what is preventing the windows from working via the switches.
she looks pretty all over again, what a metamorphosis.
In summary, the 928 is truly a super-car and worthy of restoration. This 928S is one of the very few I’ve acquired with some maintenance history. It’s nice to have, but in the end doesn’t really make a huge difference. This car is and has been my daily driver getting lots of looks everywhere I go, but I have an ’85 with a freshly rebuilt 5.0 32V engine ready to install back in it, that will be one of my future stories to share.