story and images by rob verdicchio
I remember sneaking my father’s 1972 Toyota Corolla out at night when he was asleep and drive it around the neighbourhood. By the time I was14, I anxiously awaited the day that I would get my license…it didn’t come soon enough.
The sense of accomplishment was one that I’ll never forget. Then came time to pass her on to someone else who could give her much better care than I, my brother, a lawyer who had the money to do her justice…at least she was still in the family.
A slew of cars then followed. There was the Powder Blue Volkswagen bug which I drove the absolute life out of ultimately running that baby into the ground. Then, a yellow Honda Civic came along that I decided to fix up and sell. Tired with driving practical and reliable cars, I did a 180 and picked up an MG Midget—fun little car, but what a pain in the ass!
"That’s when everything went to hell in a hand-basket…the embers of passion were beginning to flicker."
Over the course of the next few years I sampled everything from a land barge Pontiac, then a Ford Explorer followed by a Dodge Caravan for my new family. Then, as if by magic something changed…I decided to give the German higher end cars a go.
I could tell that she had been taken care of but perhaps recently, care started to fall off a bit as she showed some signs of neglect. I made an offer after a quick test drive and by the time a regained my composure, I was well on my way into unknown territory…the dreaded 928 lust.
Of the many forums I came across, the name of a fellow 928 owner/mechanic/inventor/guru who lived close to me became my teacher/mentor/mechanic. All that really needed to be done was a tune-up, some fuel lines, a little bit of body work because luckily for me, she was in overall great shape. Since she was always garage kept, time was very kind to her…not even the slightest dash crack could be found.
"I much preferred the more nimble and lissome manual gearboxed ’80..."
This 928 didn’t fare as well as my first. She had been totally neglected and left for dead like so many unwanted heaps all over the country. I felt so sorry for her, I had no choice but to make an offer and, BAM! I had my 2nd 928, and not just any 928, this one was the sought after S4.
One of the best things about owning a 928, is having a second one...let me explain. While I was switching back and forth from my ‘80 5-speed to the automatic S4, I quickly realised that as sought after as the S4 might have been, I found it to be much too heavy and bulky for my tastes. I much preferred the more nimble and lissome manual gearboxed ’80 which was not only lighter, but quicker, more agile…the glove fit perfectly. Having two at your disposal allows your palette to be more honed, sophisticated…you can talk to any 928 enthusiast with seasoned confidence in terms of discussing their idiosyncrasies.
I could drive her whenever the time was right. But alas, there was nothing else to do but drive her and the market for 928's had unfortunately not followed the increase in price that her 911 sisters were enjoying, so the writing for me was on the wall.
I knew that looming in the horizon was an eventual timing belt and water-pump service along with the inevitable top-end refresh that was going to be needed, and with the price of these items costing nearly what the car was worth, I knew that I would never get that money back…at least not in the near future.
"A decision was to be made, one that was hard for me to make."
The 911, that was it. The market was on fire and as I searched for my new addition, I came to the realization that it would be a sound place to park some money for a while. The few that were listed for sale were snatched up straight away...some were crazy-pricey and some needed more work than I was willing to take on.
I had a serious bite, things were ready to go. Luckily, while in negotiations to sell my baby, I found another beauty, a 1980 911 Targa. This was also an ex-California car that was very well taken care of, and garage kept by a fellow who was a bit of a fanatic…awesome. This sounded like my first 928’s history.
So here we are…she’s gone but not forgotten. This 1980 Porsche 928 5-speed luxury grand touring beast I once had, was the darling of the more sophisticated Porsche owner who opted for luxury and refined power. What I was getting into now was the polar opposite. Noisy, spartan, a bit raw, the earlier 911 was an all-out sports, the quintessential race car from birth. Wow what a difference. You feel the road, instant feedback; in a word, the true driving experience that screams blood and guts baby! My new relationship has begun, and I’m looking forward to the long, winding road ahead.