words and shots by Dan Ewing
As we pick up the M90 and head towards Perth for a bit, the numbing fear subsides as does the worry that this car is going to be an uncontrollable handful. I've remembered the best way to use the floor hinged accelerator, sliding my heel into the base of the pedal and accelerating with a point of my right toe. The large brake pedal is an easy reach away, and this being an Auto, my left foot is pinned to the well located footrest for the duration of the afternoon. Even a short time behind the wheel make the size of this car less imposing, sure the bonnet slopes out of sight in front of you, and the rear wings loom large in the side mirrors, but it doesn't look or feel quite as enormous on this motorway as it did in that driveway. It still feels wide every time we have to squeeze our way though another narrow village high street, although it could have been worse, apparently they chopped 3" out of the width early in development when someone noticed that it would be too wide for the European car train wagons.
"I'm expecting the power to wain and the tyres to regain grip, instead, the 'box changes into second and the whizzing noise continues."
Over lunch Andy recounts how he first fell for the Porsche 928 as a child when a school friends dad bought one and he was taken for a spin in it. I think seeing my old 944 Lux at a family get together rekindled Andy's love for the 928, coz by the next spring he'd found this cherished and cosseted low mileage example online. The sound of that sports exhaust in a video clip was the final clincher, so in February 2010 he got the cash out of the bank, made his way down south to complete the deal and collect his new toy. The then owner was almost in tears when Andy arrived. The owner's wife put the kettle on, and worried that the whole deal was about to fall through, Andy put the cash on the kitchen table. This did the trick, and a hasty retreat was made before Geoff could change his mind again.
Dropping down into the drivers seat yet again, I'm more able to take in my surroundings than earlier in the day. Andy was busy last winter, fitting a new tan coloured carpet set, black leather seats, and an after market stereo complete with monster sub speaker in the boot. It all looks a lot better than the original eighties-tastic white leather with white carpets. Many of the details will be familiar to anyone who has been in any 80's Porsche, though the dash and centre console do give away the late 70's origin of the design somewhat. The four round black dials have simple white graphics and are flanked on either side by four large round buttons for minor controls. Two sliders, a knob, and an A/C button complete the ventilation controls in the centre console and a trio of easy to reach stalks control the major controls and cruise control.
I'm really starting to enjoy this car as we weave our way around Loch Earn then turn south onto the A84 past Loch Lubnaig. I start using the auto lever to hold the 'box in third, keeping the revs a little higher and feeding the car from corner to corner with more conviction. It's amazing how agile and controllable this big car is starting to feel as you sweep through the bends, how quick and unruffled it can be in such tricky conditions. I'm also able to take onboard the detail of that engine note as the revs rise and fall. Below 1500rpm you barely hear the engine at all and would be hard pressed to identify what configuration it was. Between 1500 and 2000rpm there is a subtle but beautiful warbling noise that can only be a V8 coming to life. As the revs rise the note hardens until that sports exhaust really starts to join in after 3500rpm and the thing really starts to roar. It's an absolutely fabulous sound that I never tired of, even later on in the evening, at the end of our long trip.
"I must confess that the Porsche 928 has never been a 'Hero Car' of mine..."
I must confess that the Porsche 928 has never been a 'Hero Car' of mine, I haven't coveted one since childhood like Andy has, but it is a legend of a car and has migrated its way up my mental list of 'Must Drive' cars over the year. History can be a little hard on the 928, that was originally conceived as a replacement for the 911, which being rear engined was about to fall foul of new regulations in the valuable American market. Those regulations never arrived, turbo technology and new company management meant the iconic 911 could be developed further than was previously expected, and all the front engined models kind of got snubbed for being too conventional. The truth is that they were and are great sports car that made healthy profits for Porsche who could then afford to make the heavy investments that the 911 needed to survive. This snobbery does mean that these front engined cars are a lot cheaper to buy than their 911 counterparts. Maybe the 928 should make the transition onto my mental 'Must Own' list before too many more people work that out.
editor-at-large for Car Keys of Separation
Thanks to Andy for the loan of his car.
I love these kinds of stories of intimacy between man and machine; more so when the machine is someone else's.
I asked Dan for permission to re-post this tale because I know his experience would resonate with not only owners of this vintage S4, or any other 928 for that matter, but also with potential custodians searching under every rock across these fields of pixels looking for a firsthand experience on what driving this particular model is all about.
too often when we have our hearts set on buying a specific Porsche, most of the information we find is of a rather technical nature, but it's stories like Dan's who so eloquently describes what it was like to drive that seduces and motivates one to go find out what all the fuss is about for themselves. sure, you can leaf through back issues of old road tests, or trawl the forums, but seldom are they written this passionately while sparing us the jaded journalistic rhetoric that ends up describing a ballet as if was a rock concert.
thanks to Dan for the share, and please do stop by his fantastic website with more of his tales behind the wheel at Car Keys of Separation.