words by pablo deferrari
Because they gave you a choice of either a 5-speed manual transmission, or a 3-speed automatic, they assumed that the enthusiast who chose the automatic was either a bit of a wimp, lazy, used to driving big Jags and Mercs, or found the 3rd pedal dangling from under the dash to be completely foreign and unsure what to do with it. Based on this criteria, it wasn't likely that any one of those camps would push their 928 to the absolute limits.
So what does this have to do with tires, you may ask? Everything.
These were tires for the hairy-chested who ate coal and shit diamonds. You drove your machine hard and expected it to stick to the road, as best as the forces of nature permitted, while you hung the tail out around a turn, full bore, with a Chesterfield hanging from your lips.
Had you've been the James Bond-type, as the ad suggests, who couldn't be bothered making a scene with the sounds of tires at the limits of adhesion while screaming toward red line, or shifting for that matter; you were given the 7J x 15 phone dials wrapped with 215/60VR Dunlop SP Sports.
These were standard when ordered with the automatic transmission, or if you were more sporting and bought the auto so your better half could drive it, you could have the 16s as an option.
Now, the SPs didn't offer the cornering prowess of the P7s or weren't as good in the rain, but they were really impressive during simulated panic braking tests rivaling the P7s; and they did it without the moderate rear wheel locking encountered with the Pirellis too.
When you look at the period advertising done for the Sport SPs, they suggest that they were a serious contender both in performance and economy. If Porsche engineers decided that they were a perfect match for the "less sporting" driver of the automatic, who could argue? Hell, i think a good driver could really chalk up some great times around a track with them.
Interestingly, beginning in 1980, the 16s were no longer standard on the 5-speed 928, they got the 15-inchers as standard instead like the automatic, this time wrapped in 215/60-VR15 Pirelli's P6s. Why? Well, that's for another article...