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Discussion Starter #1
Those of you with long memories may recall that earlier this year I had two moments of weakness at the classic auctions and came away with the '69 Alfa Berlina and an '87 Porsche 928S4. The Berlina has been a blast all year and I am understanding the obtuse attraction.

But what of the 928? Turns out it was not such a bargain , after a few days the head gasket failed and it went to a specialist for what turned out to be a fairly major engine rebuild and refurbishment for regular use. Poured a lot of money in but should hopefully get (most of) that back come sale time. Been running it for about a month now as the weather has mitigated against using the Alfa.

Impressions of the Porsche. Most defining characteristic is the engine - it's a 5 litre V8 with a weird firing pattern and makes an incredible muscle car sound (fitted with a sports exhaust). In fact the whole experience is like a very civilised muscle car. Tickover is a meaty 'crobba crobba' and it just gets better from there on up. I have a weakness for sharknosed cars and this is one of the best. I like the S4 styling, for me the best styled Porsche since the 356 speedster. Best of all, (and this is a revelation for a classic alfa owner) there is NO RUST. AT ALL. Galvanised body and alloy doors etc Paintwork is immaculate. Less than 1000 on the road now so they are getting rare.

Grip and balance is stupendous (its on trackday tyres) and its luxurious. It's fast and comfortable and really quite practical. Fitted it with a Bluetooth handsfree radio and Iphone compatible so it's up to speed in terms of modern ICE. At about 21MPG it's actually not much worse than the Berlina. If there's a criticism it's that it is so very competent that the drive is comparatively uninvolving. It's theoretically a 170mph car so you can't drive it really hard on the road as its limits are so high, and if I want a fun driving experience the Berlina (which can be driven more to its limits) is a much better bet. In fairness the 105 Alfa is outstanding in this respect.

I plan to keep it for 18 months or so and the plan is that it will become a mostly daily driver to earn its keep. I wanted to own a big naturally aspirated V8 before they are effectively eliminated by emissions/hybrid/turbo/diesel technology and had visualised a 60's /70's Yank but have ended up with this which is a better bet as a daily drive. I'll post updates here as the exercise succeeds / fails or exceeds/underperforms on expectations.
 

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I'm convinced. Absolutely stunning car. I'd struggle to walk past that and get in something else anyway.
 

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I've not looked recently but a month or two back on the PistonHeads classifieds there was a blue '86 S2 & a half in Essex for £6K. I think the vendor had spent £6K on it.

I'd struggle to squeeze one through the single track lane to my garage.
 

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i've a soft spot for the 928.

Looking at Harry's pics, can you believe the 928 is - ready for this? - 36 years old.

To my eyes, the 928 looks 36 minutes old.

Keep us posted please, Harry :)
 

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Parked next to one at a car show many years back. Fantastic car and to use everyday is very neat :thumbs:
 

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You simply can't beat the old cars. There's a timelessness to them. Not to mention you can get your spanners out and not worry too much about any fancy electronic gizmos. Bravo!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I've not looked recently but a month or two back on the PistonHeads classifieds there was a blue '86 S2 & a half in Essex for £6K. I think the vendor had spent £6K on it.

I'd struggle to squeeze one through the single track lane to my garage.
Incredibly enough, due to the increasing size of modern cars the 'wide' 928 is now just half an inch wider than a Ford Focus and considerably less than a Mondeo. It actually feels quite narrow and wieldy on the road. I may have been unfair in my criticism of boring competence - it's definitely fun on the windy backroads.

It's noticeable how cars that were big in their day (635, XJ6, Camaro, Mustang) actually look quite petite amongst modern traffic. But then the Crash resistance and testing was a lot more basic and you didn't have to be able to bounce a pedestrians head off the bonnet to get an NCAP Pass. Which means we'll probably never see a front engined car with a sexy low bonnet line again.
 

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Incredibly enough, due to the increasing size of modern cars the 'wide' 928 is now just half an inch wider than a Ford Focus and considerably less than a Mondeo. It actually feels quite narrow and wieldy on the road. I may have been unfair in my criticism of boring competence - it's definitely fun on the windy backroads.

It's noticeable how cars that were big in their day (635, XJ6, Camaro, Mustang) actually look quite petite amongst modern traffic. But then the Crash resistance and testing was a lot more basic and you didn't have to be able to bounce a pedestrians head off the bonnet to get an NCAP Pass. Which means we'll probably never see a front engined car with a sexy low bonnet line again.
I've just looked for that S2.5 on PH classifieds and it's no longer there. There's another manual one for £10K with a deposit taken.

I wasn't criticising the width of the car, I was having a moan as at the end of the <7 ft wide lane to my garage around a kink and where the road widens some people have decided to start parking herring bone style nose in against the edge of the road with the rear end of their vehicles sticking out into the road. It's bad enough meeting an oncoming vehicle to then have to reverse with walls on each side and around a kink to then have to manoeuvre around the back of these vehicles with their back ends sticking out. There's no pavement there and it's not that well lit so besides creating a pinch point where vehicles could meet each other there could be pedestrians further out into the road then they need to be due to their parking. I can't understand what they were thinking and I am unimpressed at their wholesale lack of consideration. You look at the gap and the angles and think how would you ever get an ambulance or fire engine in there. It's like the parking of two vehicles has made access more difficult and dangerous for hundreds of people.

Moving would be the best option and the ideal vehicle to getting up my lane and out again may be an early Daihatsu Terios. But they'd still probably park there making the road more difficult than it needs to be on cold, wet winter evenings for pedestrians.


You've a valid point about modern cars getting bigger with each iteration. I've mentioned in a 166 thread that a view from a window makes an 850/V70 look dinky and comparable to a 166. The 850/V70 looks svelte these days due to the way modern cars have got so big.

I saw some photos of an XJS on PH at some car rally and that looked not that huge either. I was looking at the XJS and the other car besides it, thinking that the XJS had been shrunk.

I wonder how safe a 928 would be in a crash? There was an article in CAR Magazine on the ownership experience of a well used 928S back in the day. It mentioned spinning in the wet on a Belgium M-way with the car hitting the central reservation barrier at least once. The car still drove. It wasn't incapacitated, it may have made it home to UK by its own steam.

I think the XJS ended up with flying buttresses and a roof due to concerns about US safety regulations and rollover regs.

I think that's why the TR7 ended up being a wacky looking FHC rather than a convertible. I think for cars to have crashes in, in their day TR7s were quite good. There's a 'show me your car crash photos' thread on PistonHeads and I think there's some images of a TR7 that hit some 70s US muscle car and the TR7 did quite well. I heard some interview with McKenzie Crook on Radio 4 about some TV series a month or so ago and he bought the TR7 used in the programme. They made much of it being a 1977 TR7, but if the researchers had done some work and made of the 1977 angle they could have discussed whether it was a Speke or Canley built one.

I guess I can excuse the TR7 waffle as the 928 was the 1978 ECOTY winner, not long after the TR7 showed its pop up headlamped face to the world.

I like the 928 and I like yours, but being sensible I'd rather have an '86 928S2.5, I am not sure I could use the extra 32V grunt. I can't say I ever looked at the original 928S and thought it needed more power.

The last 928 owner I met had a 944 before. He said he couldn't throw the 928 around like his 944. I'm not sure if it was because it was over tyred compared to the power, but he said he could usually get around most corners at just about any speed in the 944 but that wasn't possible with the 928.
 

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Interesting ipdate Harry. There's a good article on them in the current C&SC.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
That looks like an interesting daily drive :)

Is it manual or automatic? How many gears?
It's a 4 speed auto - 80% of the cars made were. It's got a beefed up Mercedes auto gearbox which is sat above the rear axle, nicely separating the two rear seats. The engine is sufficiently torquey that under normal circumstances it just doesn't bother with first gear, it just rumbles of in second.

You have to be gassing it quite a bit for it to use first gear at which point progress is quite rapid.
 

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Harry, if in principle your gearbox works like my Merc's auto, you can kick down into first from rest, but that's a bit messy - take off in 2nd, kicks into first, then selects 2nd again.

However, you may be able to pre-select first if you know you need to pull off smartly from rest. Move from D into 2 (or whatever your lowest gear is), hold it there for two seconds, pop it back into D and it'll take off in first then move up the box. Not saying you can do this for sure with your 928, but could be worth a try if your 'box is Benz-based :)
 

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i've always liked the 928 ever since i was a kid and had a matchbox toy one, and a matching 911. i've never been a 911 fan - the originals are ugly and they've tried to mimic that ever since. the 928, on the other hand, was always a much cooler, more modern shape. and a V8 trumps a 6 all day long.
 

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There are a couple on autotrader for under 6k - looking at the photos, is that the light switch beside the handbrake?
 

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I'm seriously tempted by the white one with the knackered engine on eBay. I don't believe his diagnosis (valves don't rattle unless they are really knackered), and you'd need to budget 3 grand in engine bits alone, but it would make a nice project....
 

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From my sniffing about online and the mags I think there are three main issues I'd be concerned about. I've not read the advert for this white one, but aren't the 32V susceptible to the little tensioner wearing or elongating on the chain drive for the DOHC? Does it go slack and start wearing and/or fouling on something? It's the same setup as on the 16V 4 pots in the 944/968 isn't it?
 

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Not overly sure on the details, but yes, I seem to see that cam chain issues bedevil this car in the same way that belts do for our Alfas. Bottom ends are apparently bomb proof as long as the oil is changed reasonably regularly.

My going in assumption would be that the engine needs to come out, and you take it from there. Anything less is a bonus. Parts are expensive, but I am working on the basis that as I have rebuilt a 3.2 busso, I can probably do this.

It isn't worth £4K - you can get an average one working for £5K, so one with a busted engine is worth break up value.
 
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