1979 Porsche 928 5-Speed - $24,900
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If you’ve always wanted a performance car but felt that supercars looked a little too extroverted, this 928 is for you.

In the mid-1970s, Porsche was worried that the air-cooled, rear-engined 911 would have a finite shelf life. There were bigger, more powerful cars on the horizon, emissions standard were tightening, and they were worried that a slightly quirky sports car with the engine in the back wouldn’t have a future with enthusiasts. Today we know just how mistaken they were about the 911’s staying power, but in 1971, they started a clean-sheet design, Porsche’s first car fully designed in-house, a vehicle which became the 928. Debuting for the 1977 model year, it obviously didn’t replace the air-cooled 911 but rather offered Porsche buyers a bigger, more comfortable car with all of Porsche’s legendary quality, performance, and style already built in. It’s safe to call the 928 a modest success and like the 911, it had quite a bit of staying power—production lasted 18 years! There were several evolutions, but it never lost its handsome good looks or grand touring disposition, a car designed to cover great distances in a short period of time, all in superb comfort. And in that regard, the 928 has few peers.

This handsome Opal Metallic Porsche 928 is a lifetime California car, which shows most clearly in its unmolested factory bodywork and ultra-clean undercarriage. With 928s tending to rust in the most demonic ways possible, starting with a good, solid car is always a major advantage. This is also a 5-speed model, which remains the one that appeals to most enthusiasts despite “Car & Driver” magazine’s constant insistence that the automatic transmission cars were superior to drive. This car has been repainted at some point, perhaps 10-15 years ago, but we don’t have a lot of history. There’s plenty of evidence that someone spent good money on it in the past, and it remains in very good overall condition today. Porsche’s superior build quality is evident throughout and the fact that this car has never been hit or wrecked shows in the even gaps and excellent fit of the doors and hatch. Opal Metallic is a medium gold with a handsome iridescent sheen and on the handsome 928 hatchback shape, it works rather well. It isn’t dated like many colors of the period, and thanks to tinted windows and those late-model Porsche wheels, it looks aggressive without being cartoonish. If you’ve always wanted a performance car but felt that supercars looked a little too extroverted, this 928 is for you. You will note that it is fitted with the chin spoiler and wing from a later 928, which obviously look right, as well as the rub strips that are just a smart practical idea.

The interior has been reupholstered in black and butterscotch leather and vinyl for a racy look. It’s not quite what it would have worn when it was new, but it’s a nice update on the original theme that works quite well and suits this car’s personality just fine. Workmanship was good all around, with seats that still feel great and hold you in place for spirited driving, as well as matching door panels with custom speakers built right in. New black carpets with matching piping are a nice touch, but we believe the headliner (including the too-cool rear seat sun visors) is original. The Porsche 3-spoke steering wheel feels suitably meaty in your hands and the stubby shifter for the 5-speed manual gearbox is topped by a handsome wooden knob. Everything works, including the A/C, power windows, power seats, and pop-up headlights, and the gauges remain big and easy to read, albeit not quite as dramatic as the 911. Controls for the headlights, wipers, defroster, and rear wiper are all at your fingertips on the dash pod and there’s a rather significant stereo system with a Sony AM/FM/iPod stereo head unit in the dash and an amplifier hidden in the trunk. They even went the extra mile to upholster the rear seats, cargo bay, and even the custom mini console between the rear seats—as if any real-sized human would ever sit back there. A pair of speakers dominates the cargo bay, but it’s neatly finished with an access panel for the battery and amplifier located underneath.

In 1979, the 928 sported a 4.5 liter OHC V8, which was about as far as you could get from an air-cooled flat six. Nevertheless, it’s pure Porsche, an engineer’s car, with peerless performance and remarkable reliability. The eight long runners on the intake manifold make a 928’s powerplant easy to recognize, and it’s fed by twin snorkels up front that ensure plenty of cool air. We understand that this engine was rebuilt two owners ago and punched out to 4.7 liters. The list of new components is extensive: cams, machined heads, seals, distributor, water pump, timing chain, belts, and the A/C system has been rebuilt. We have photos of the engine being rebuilt, and today it runs superbly with no problems generating enough thrust to cause you legal trouble in 49 out of 50 states. Thanks to fuel injection, it starts easily, idles well, and there’s a flexible powerband that only a V8 can deliver. It’s happy enough to trundle around town barely off idle, but if you lean on it, there’s a huge whack of torque that makes this car feel like it’s at the end of a giant recoiling rubber band. Seriously, it feels like it could accelerate forever. There are plenty of new parts under the hood, including the big aluminum radiator, fans, ignition system, and more, and given the generally good reliability record these cars enjoy, you can probably enjoy this one for many years to come. And please take a look at the inner fenders—there’s just no question about this car’s west coast ancestry.

The rear-mounted 5-speed manual gearbox makes this car a lot of fun to drive. Yes, it’s technically a grand tourer, but in a car like this, rowing your own gears makes a difference. The dog-leg transmission takes some familiarity at first, but once you’ve mastered it the shifts are easy and it’s delightful to match revs and create a seamless wave of torque as you move through the gears. There’s a recent clutch so take-up is light and there’s no chatter, and the ratios are ideal—5th gear is direct and there’s no overdrive needed thanks to the towering 2.75 gears in the differential. Obviously it’s a fantastic high-speed cruiser. Looking around underneath, you’ll see completely solid original floors with exactly zero rust issues, a set of beautifully designed long-tube headers, and an all-new stainless exhaust system that sounds epic but never gets annoying. This car also features a fresh alternator, some new front-end components, new brake and fuel lines, an oversized rear sway bar, fresh fluids, and all the other little things that make people worry about buying a used Porsche. This is not a perfect car, but someone spent a lot more than the asking price to make it into a good one. Late-model 18-inch Porsche wheels are a great look, with these being powdercoated satin black and outfitted with 225/40/18 front and 285/35/18 rear performance radials.

The price has already told you that this isn’t a perfect car, but the 928 is having its moment in the sun. Values are on the way up, and this is a fantastic way to own one of the great performance cars of the late 20th century. Someone has invested heavily in its mechanical fitness and it remains a handsome design that stands out on the road and at shows—you just don’t see many 928s, do you? And we guarantee the driving manners will win you over. Why not drive one of Porsche’s best, especially when it costs less than a 3-year-old Honda? Call today!

Harwood Motors recommends and welcomes personal or professional inspections of any car in our inventory prior to purchase.

Vehicle: 1979 Porsche 928 5-Speed
Price: $24,900
Stock Number: 116125
Mileage: 19,297
VIN: 9289202200
Engine: 4.5 liter V8
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Gear Ratio: 2.75
Wheelbase: 98.5 inches
Wheels: 18-inch Porsche Cup wheels
Tires: Front: 225/40/18, Rear: 285/35/18 performance radials
Exterior Color: Opal Metallic
Interior Color: Black and Tan leather
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