$6k 1989 Porsche 928

The 928 is the unloved child in Porsche history. It was conceived under great turmoil in the 70s. Volkswagen/Porsche assumed European governments were on the way to banning rear engines entirely. They also felt they had perfected the air-cooled 4- and 6-cylinder engine. Volkswagen unveiled the front-engine, front-wheel drive Golf and Scirocco as their solutions. Porsche turned to development of a new front-engine, rear-wheel drive flagship car.

The resulting 928 which debuted at Geneva in 1977 was so impressive that it later won European Car of the Year. The body was a combination of galvanized steel and aluminum. It was styled brilliantly, looking every bit Porsche but more grown up, and roomier, too. I particularly love the rear, which looks like an upscale AMC Gremlin, and I mean that in the best way possible. It's still bold and futuristic looking today.

Underneath the hood was originally a 4.5-liter water-cooled V8 good for about 219 horsepower in US versions. A transaxle helped balanced weight to 50/50 front/rear, ensuring the 928 handled just as well, if not better, as a 911. In 1987, a refreshed front nose and rear taillights made the car slightly longer but smoother looking. A new, larger 32-valve V8 was also added, boosting horses to 288. The earlier engines are said to provide adequate performance but easier to maintain, while the later engine are known to be difficult and expensive. Both are gas guzzlers. That said, the 928's real strength is as a Grand Tourer, eating up long stretches of highway like nothing. I've heard the build quality and ride is Mercedes-Benz-like, too (the four-speed automatics were from MB) which can't be said of the rougher 911 from the same era.

The seller is scant on details but says it has 130k miles and is 'super clean and super fast'. The high mileage is a good indicator, meaning it should be through with most of its major tests. You can't go wrong with the black/black color combo, and the seats look mercifully spared of the usual rips and tears. The exterior also looks good from what the photos show. But the most important question on an any old Porsche is maintenance. Records are really a must. The next pressing thing is accident history. Along with Corvettes these things are often driven irresponsibly and wrecked. Accident damage is a big turn off for me unless the car is heavily discounted. Cars are usually never the same after they are wrecked. The last big thing is rust, although the 928's steel body has held up surprisingly well, the doors and hood are aluminum and sometimes have rust around them.

If it all checks out, you have my sincere envy.

Available here on craigslist for $6k or 'just make me an offer'.

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