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The History and Evolution of the Porsche 928

Porsche 928

When the Porsche 928 was first released, its design was something completely different from what most would have described as a car. It was so futuristic for its 1978 time that even science fiction movies had not yet created something comparable. Its design included aluminum and polyurethane, which were just starting to be used in car manufacturing. This allowed for its long, sleek, sophisticated lines. It also earned the 1978 European Car of the Year Award which was high praise and reflective of its popularity.

At the time the Porsche 928 was first released, Porsche was just 28 years old. The company was young, and the new car marked a decidedly different direction away from the earlier 911 model. The 928 had a V8 engine set under a long sculpted hood with the cab of the car further backward. The smooth styling was a look of high performance, and the interior was the look of luxury. For many supercar enthusiasts, the fact that it was pricier than the 911 didn’t matter because it exuded significant prestige.

One of its most famous engineering features which distinguished it from other cars was its Porsche engineered Weissach Axle. It was a never before accomplished technology which gave the rear wheels active movement of the toe-in which provided an extremely high level of lateral grip as the car was cornering. Though much controversy erupted over the futuristic styling, just as much occurred over the engine choice. It was a basic V8 engine, and 85% of the 928s scheduled for USA sales were given a three speed automatic gearbox manufactured by Mercedes, which ultimately made the 928 sluggish and power hungry. But, once driven, people fell in love with it.

From 1978 to 1994, the Porsche 928 was issued in several different models:

Porsche 928 1973

United States Time Line

  • Porsche 928 Coupe: Issued from 1978 to 1983
  • Porsche 928 Competition Pack Coupe: Issued from 1981 to 1983
  • Porsche 928 S Coupe: Issued from 1983 to 1987
  • Porsche 928 S4 Coupe: Issued from 1987 to 1993
  • Porsche 928 GTS Coupe: Issued from 1993 to 1994

European Time Line

  • Porsche 928 Coupe: Issued from 1978 to 1980
  • Porsche 928 S Coupe: Issued from 1980 to 1982
  • Porsche 928 S2 Coupe: Issued from 1982 to 1987
  • Porsche 928 S4 Coupe: Issued from 1987 to 1993
  • Porsche 928 GT Club Sport Coupe: Issued in 1980
  • Porsche 928 GTS Coupe: Issued from 1993 to 1994

Porsche 928 1994

Each of the models sought to achieve a revamp of the initial version in order to either improve performance or to improve its interior and exterior design. In some cases, buyers were able to specify certain features. One case in point was the 928 S2 Coupe, which featured luxurious interior equipment additions such as power leather seats, electric windows and mirrors, air conditioning, cassette stereo in both AM and FM, cruise control and metallic paint. Another improved model was the European 929 S4 which featured a more powerful engine, better ergonomic seat design with Linen leather upholstery, and a much better transmission.

The last 928 update was released in 1992 in Europe and 1992 in the United States. The 928 had been a forceful presence in the supercar industry for 16 years. The last model was the most comfortable, featured the most powerful engine, and the most luxurious interior of all.

Though an average Porsche 928 sells for about $78,000 and up, the 1979 Porsche 928 driven by Tom Cruise in Risky Business sold for about $490,000 a few years ago. It was sold by Volo Auto Museum at auction in Calabasas Hills, California, and was the 5- speed manual transmission car that taught Cruise how to drive a stick shift.

Porsche 928 S

With a top speed of 146 mph, the Porsche 928 S model was literally the fastest car sold in 1983 throughout the United States. In the film Risky Business, Cruise’s line, “Porsche. There is no substitute.” created an entire generation of Porsche lovers. The film was not only the film which many consider the one that launched Cruise’s career, but Porsche enthusiasts call the car he drove the world’s most famous Porsche 928. To say the film and the car were hot is an understatement. Almost everyone who saw the film wanted the car, or wanted to be Cruise, or both.

The Porsche Museum recently created an exhibit “The Transaxle Era. From the 924 to the 928.” This special 40th anniversary exhibit honors the unique place the transaxle powertrain configuration played in the 928 model and all others built with the front-mounted engine and rear axle transmission. The transaxle design brought significant success to the company, not only monetarily but in terms of prestige. The new design was built and sold to almost 400,000 customers around the world.

The concept car 928 S4 cabriolet was never produced, but this prototype car is being shown next to five additional 928 versions. Though the transaxle era lasted more than 15 years, its active production of new models eventually came to an end. However, the company recognizes this time period as being the one that changed the company’s path forever. Its innovative designs put Porsche in the forefront of supercar technology in a way that has not been duplicated. For this reason, the company has been participating in exhibits, showing the car models which created history.


There has been much speculation about future 928 concept cars either currently in design or scheduled for design. But, Porsche has yet to advertise along these lines on its main website. The company has opened a development center with three new buildings. These house the electronics integration center, a concept car construction facility and an aero-acoustic wind tunnel. Located in Baden-Wurttemberg, the Weissach center is said to represent German engineering expertise. The center is focused on technology that is cutting edge. The development center represents the largest monetary investment that Porsche has made to date. It is nearby the test track that the company has used since 1962.

One French designer, Anthony Colard, recently produced a new concept car design for a modern 928 Porsche. He used his design during a job interview with Porsche. He’s not an employee of Porsche. In fact, he was told that his designs were not clean or simple. So, he countered by taking two weeks to create the concept car which he said would bring the 928 model back into the current Porsche line. The designer believes that his car is the best of a blend of Porsche old and new. The concept car images and information was posted online in a 2014 article by Leith Porsche, for fans of the 928 to consider and enjoy.

It is the hope of many Porsche fans, that the company will indeed develop a new 928 concept car for the future. Until then, current and future Porsche owners may join groups such as the Porsche Club of America to access news and events related to the 928 and other classic Porsche cars.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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