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Porsche 928

Porsche 928 Published: 14th Aug 2015 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!
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Porsche 928

What The Experts Say...

Few people know as much about the XJS as Chris Knowles and his KWE Jaguars company (http://www.kwecars. com) which specialises in the car along with S3 XJ6s and is now looking at XK8s and DB7s. Chris says enthusiasts will kick themselves in a decade’s time by not buying an XJS when they were affordable – like now – as prices have already moved. Owners are now spending big money on repairs; JWE recently restored a Lister at a cost of £100K. The coupés drive much better than the convertibles, he claims. His pick of the bunch is a 4-litre coupé made from 1991-’93. Jag expert Edd Abbott (Abbott Motorsport) was a main development driver at Browns Lane and remembers the 928 it bought for evaluation. A cracker he remembers, better than a 911 and the car he’d take cross-country or on the track.

Porsche 928
Porsche 928
Porsche 928
Porsche 928
Porsche 928
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The classic car market is a real odd ball as car values have little rhyme or reason. Take this pair of prestige supercars that sell for less than an MGB or Morris Minor!

Jaguar and Porsche were two of the most respected brands you could dream of, yet both have 40 year old classics that sell for pennies. Perhaps it’s a backlash caused by the XJ-S and the 928 being designed to replace two iconic classics – E-type and 911 – but history recalls that in their day during the late 70s and throughout the 1980s, this pair regularly swapped places as being hailed as the World’s greatest GT. Today they are brilliant bargains so long as you buy a good one – but in this automotive re-run of the 1966 final, who is the winner?

WHICH ONE TO BUY?

ENGLAND VS. GERMANY AGAIN

In their day both cars were seen as real advancements for their brands, almost cutting edge, in fact. The Porsche was an all-new design that shared zilch with any other Porsche, whereas the XJ-S was essentially a cut down XJ12, clothed in a controversial new body that 40 years on still divides opinions.

The 928 was always destined to be a coupé (unlike the smaller 944) from the outset and remained so while Jaguar relented after a decade of production and made the XJ-S into first an odd-looking cabrio, before the much more acceptable fully convertible model that most prefer to the fixedheads although the SC has a popular following.

Jaguar also offered a choice of straight six or V12 power plants over the two decades it stayed in production, whereas the 928 was always a V8. The vast majority also used the Mercedes-sourced automatic, and most XJ-Ss are also selfshifters, although there was a five-speed manual option for the non V12 versions.

The XJ-S ranks as the most luxurious of the duo in that special way only a Jaguar can be. The 928 appears almost stark by comparison, not helped by the lurid trim designs early models endured. But at least what you got with the German was always functional, solid and made to last unlike Coventry’s efforts.

You can’t talk about space in these 2+2s with the rear seats just about qualifying as a ‘Plus 2’, but the Porsche scores by boasting a usable hatchback, just like the old E-type.

Porsche’s 928 ran from 1978 to the mid 1990s, with well thought out revisions over the decades. Apart from the usual S models there’s the GT, GTS and the ultra rare Clubsports, the most desired of the lot. Scalded cats themes to the Jaguar XJS include the TWR models (which may rise in value after the death of creator Tom Walkinshaw), the XJR-S and the often overlooked mighty Lister models. All are worth seeking out but their values are difficult to tie down.

WHAT’S THE BEST TO DRIVE?

ALTER EGOS OR IDENTITY CRISIS

In certain ways both the Jaguar and the Porsche are trying to be something they are not. The Brit gives the impression of a sports car and certainly has the power to back it up, irrespective of engines fitted, but it’s too soft and comfy in standard form, especially if it’s an automatic.

In contrast the 928 is really a sports car trying to be a GT and yet fails because it’s too firm and functional to be one. Surprisingly for a GT, the Porsche rides pretty hard plus generally suffers unusually high levels of road noise, both traits hardly helped by the abnormally high tyre pressures Porsche advised… over 40psi! Yet all it takes is one of the rare manual gearbox models to change all that and this was eluded to in a Motor road test 30 years ago, the magazine summing up the German as “a paradox” and said a manual is more in keeping with its hardcore character.

Yet the 928 was also widely and somewhat harshly described as being without any sports car emotion. Gone were the white knuckle rides of the old 911, replaced by a rock steady surefootedness that appealed to fat cats rather than enthusiasts. “Antiseptic” is how one magazine put it.

That’s subjective, naturally, and 928 owners instead talked about the car’s colossal mile eating abilities as well as its foolproof handling, the latter due to a rear-mounted transmission and a special Weissach axle to control rear wheel movement. It’s the complete opposite to the adrenalin-pumping 911 on the move and yet just as fast plus a more relaxing ride.

Relaxing describes the XJ-S brilliantly. As far softer and sloppier alternative, the Jaguar comes over as a slightly sportier XJ saloon, which is no bad thing. It eats miles up as quickly as a 928 and in a lot more comfort and refinement plus there’s always that sense of occasion you get with a Jaguar. The mighty V12 Jag engine is well respected after almost 45 years and lovely – if you can afford the petrol! So it’s as well to remember that the more modern 4.0 ‘six’ is almost as quick and a lot more economical than the V12 with owners citing up to 30mpg on a gentle run.

The Porsche V8 is an unsung hero. It’s just as satisfying as the Jag V12 and more usable. Available in sizes from 4.7-5.4-litres, with outputs spanning 240 to 350bhp, the regular S2s-S4s kick out 300-320bhp with tonnes of torque. But if you hanker for a mellow GT for classic cruising then it has to be the Jaguar.

OWNING AND RUNNING

ENGLAND BUT ONLY ON PENALTIES!

Jaguar’s network of specialists and clubs is well known and keeping a cat purring is extremely easy and fairly cost effective.

The Porsche is only slightly harder to own; the factory can supply many parts and there’s a strong specialist support base. Jaguar also has its own classic parts arm and there’s little to worry about, with the exception of certain pre 1980 V12 fuel injection and ignition parts which are virtually obsolete now.

The main problem with the 928 is that there are far too many dodgy ones around, skipped maintenance and tightfisted owners saw to that a decade ago. The superbly engineered 928 needs a supercar budget to keep sweet which is more than a 911. Thankfully, it’s an extremely durable design albeit only if it’s cared for properly.

Many a 924 and 944 owner took a chance and traded up to find that, to their horror, it’s in another league when it comes to costs let alone performance. A 928’s value can be less than the sum of its parts and, if you have the space, it’s perhaps worth buying a cheap scrapper (there’s loads around!) just for future spares supply and so save yourself a fortune in the process.

Porsches sell for peanuts; a good usable 928S can be bought for as little as £2500 while even a superb for mid 1990’s GTS is only worth £15,000, tops, but we predict this will change in the near future as the car gains the recognition it deserves. The XJ-S is slowly gaining recognition after all those years (although how many times have we wrote this!) and prices for the best can broach over £30,000 for the last Celebration convertibles but generally most remain easy sub 10K buys. What could well hold XJ-S prices down is the growing popularity of the XK8 as buyers ‘jump a generation’ for this superior as well as nicer looking Jaguar.

And The Winner Is...

It depends what you want. If it’s a smooth riding GT then the XJ-S is the car to own. But if it’s a sports car you’re after – and an exceedingly practical and usable one at that – then the 928 is hard to ignore. Both models were rightly hailed as the best GTs of their era and it’s amazing that even the best examples sell so cheaply. A good XJ-S or 928 will be well worth mothballing we reckon.


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