by Andrew Brierley
I own two 928s that are amongst the best in the UK. This is the story of how I reached this point – “928 Heaven” with a 1991 guards red 928 GT and a 1994 midnight blue 928 GTS with manual gear box.
My 928s may not have the lowest mileages, but the bodywork is original, they are mechanically maintained to perfection and everything works. At the time of writing the GT has done 97,000 miles and the GTS 101,000 miles, but the service history is impeccable for both. The GT has 31 service stamps in the book and the GTS has 21, plus all the stamps for change of brake fluid, coolant and cam-belt – in total 29 stamps for the GT and 25 stamps for the GTS. I also have invoices in binders for all the work carried out (apart from the first two years for both cars). It is often said the best cars never reach the open market and are sold by word of mouth, which is how I came by both my 928s.
I first took an interest in 928s at the launch in 1977. The car really did look space-age compared to most cars of the era, and light years ahead of its time. I have always liked the front engine rear wheel drive coupe concept, so the scene was set!
I remember reading in the early 80s that Steve Davis the snooker player had bought a 928 as it would accommodate his snooker cues, something that would not fit in a 911. But at that time I was only just out of university, so not in any position to consider a 928 purchase.
Roll on to the 1990s. I was returning from a family holiday in October 1994 in the family estate car, which was designed well to accommodate four of us and two large dogs. We stopped for a break at services on the M5, and as I got out of my car I watched a midnight blue 928 GTS drive into the car park. At the time I thought it was about the best looking car I had ever seen, and I still hold that thought today. I would not say it was beautiful, that word applied to cars is reserved maybe for the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini. The 928 GTS was, and still is, good looking more in the handsome way with that very purposeful stance attributed to the flared rear wheel arches and wide rear track. Despite family and business commitments maybe I was now in a position to consider 928 ownership. In 1995 I joined PCGB with a view to obtaining information regarding a 928 purchase, and David Hemmings was shortly to set up the 928 Register.
The best advice when purchasing a 928 is to look at and test drive as many cars as possible to find the best one. I purchased the first 928 I looked at early in 1996! It was a black 1990 auto S4 with genuine cup 1 wheels, it looked great and fortunately it turned out to be an excellent car - I kept it until 2003. I had decided on the automatic gearbox for two reasons. Firstly, the car would be my daily driver and secondly, the road test reports at the time were not very complimentary about the manual cars. The reports said they were difficult to drive because the clutch was heavy, the pedals were spaced too far apart and the dog-leg gearbox was difficult to use. Just what you don’t need for daily driver, but I was to discover later this was all complete and utter rubbish!
In December 1998 928uk (https://www.928.org.uk) was formed, and I was a founder member. We were a handful of people who had met on Rennlist (formerly Porschelist) and decided to set up a webpage and mailing list that was UK based. 928uk is still going strong today and is a great resource for many 928 owners. From the original five founder members only two of us still subscribe to the mailing list. September 1999 I started to help David Hemmings with PCGB 928 Register and became the Assistant 928 Register Secretary.
Once I had purchased the S4 I started to attend a number of 928 meetings and became interested in the manual models, in particular the GT. Speaking to GT owners their reports were much more favourable than the road tests I had read. I first sat in a GT in 1998, this was the famous red 1990 GT belonging to Rob Burrell. Rob’s car was the best GT in the UK and that was still the case when he finally sold it in 2014 after 24 years of ownership. When I sat in Rob’s car I could not believe how light the clutch pedal was, not at all heavy as reported in the road tests. I then became determined to find a good GT for myself. At a meeting in 1999 I met Graham Spencer who had a very nice 1991 guards red GT with a full leather dash, a very expensive option when new. I told Graham to let me know if he ever decided to sell the car which he did in May 2000 and I became the owner. I found the GT much more involving to drive than the auto S4 which I was still using at that time as my daily driver. Eventually the S4 also became a weekend car, and I now found I would always select the GT instead of the S4 to take out for a drive or to meetings. Consequently I decided to sell the S4 due to lack of use.
The GT is a great car to drive, even in traffic it is fairly easy to drive with a clutch as light as any modern hatchback, and the flexibility and torque of the V8 means you can jump 2 or 3 gears if required. Third gear is a favourite for many GT owners, the car will pull in third from 10mph and redline at 100mph. In the early days of GT ownership I made a number of changes to make the car look a little more modern and to sharpen the handling further. Some of the modifications were a change to teardrop mirrors (which I believe suit the shape of the car much more than the flag mirrors), I changed from 16 to 18 inch wheels and had Bilstein shock absorbers fitted. Recently I had the shocks changed back to the slightly softer Boge Sport due to the appalling condition of the roads and as I am also doing fewer track days. Although I am an enthusiastic polisher of my GT and have won many “owners choice” concours, I also drove many track days in my first years of ownership.
I was a teenager in the late 60s/early 70s and in that era many a manufacturer would add the term “GT” to their more mundane models to make them more sporty. There was even a Vauxhall Viva GT along with the many Ford Capri and Cortina GT models, although to be fair the GT models often did stand out from their “Deluxe” and “Super” counterparts. So for me the term “GT” still has a certain magic, so I am pleased to be the owner of a “928GT”.
I have driven my 928 GT at Castle Coombe, Silverstone, Oulton Park and Jurby (Isle of Man). Oulton Park is my favourite as it is undulating, a true 3-dimensional circuit. With the 50/50 weight distribution, Bilstein shocks and 18 inch wheels the handling on track was phenomenal. I couldn’t resist the temptation to push the car hard and often came back to the pits with molten beads of rubber on the tyres! I felt it my 928 duty to show as many 911 drivers as possible a clean pair of heels. This was made much easier in the wet as they struggled with all that weight over the rear wheels! Nowadays the 911 drivers do have the benefit of electronic gizmos to keep them on the road and consequently it is difficult to keep up with them, especially with their improved power to weight ratio.
At my eldest daughter’s wedding in the summer of 2011, I allowed the bride and groom to borrow my GT for transport from the church to the reception venue. Quite a responsibility for my new son-in law driving my precious 928! In 30 years of ownership he is only the fourth person to drive the car apart from myself.
In 2017 I was at the Yorkshire Porsche Festival at Lotherton Hall and an owner of a 1994 928 GTS with manual gearbox asked me to value his car for a sale. I was NOT looking to buy another a 928, but the GTS manual is the holy grail of 928 onwership for many 928 enthusiasts. Although I could see the car would require a lot of work, I could also see the car was basically a sound original car, and it also had sport seats which I much prefer to the comfort seats. The ride height was low, the car would need new shock absorbers and I would also budget for a new clutch to make the pedal lighter - expensive items on a 928. There were only forty-five 928 GTS manual gearbox models imported into the UK (and only 51 RHD in total worldwide) so I figured I would not get many opportunities to buy such a car, and after an inspection by Chris Sanderson at Loe Bank Motors I decided to buy the GTS. I had not driven the car until after I had purchased it and I drove home to Bolton from York. The ride and drive was appalling, the shock absorbers doing virtually nothing. Fortunately I know how a well sorted 928 should drive and ride - if I hadn’t known that and taken this car for a test drive before purchase, I probably would not have bought it. On returning home I parked the car in the garage and could not bear to drive it until it had been to Loe Bank Motors for Chris to work his magic. This happened a few weeks later - replaced the clutch, shock absorbers, fuel tank cradle, foam air intakes, rear wheel arch liners, full service including cam-belt changed, brake fluid, coolant etc etc! On picking the car up from Loe Bank it was indeed transformed and drove virtually as new and as it should do. Even Chris says it is a powerful car and puts a smile on his face, quite a compliment! The GTS engine characteristics are different to the GT; the GT 5.0 litre V8 engine produces 330bhp with 430Nm of torque and the GTS 5.4 litre V8 350bhp with 500Nm of torque. The GT engine is very flexible and it really takes off above 4000rpm; the increased torque of the GTS is noticeable, and there is a smooth power band all though the rev range until the limiter is hit.
I now feel that I have entered a new era of 928 ownership. When I first bought my GT in 2000 it was the fastest car I had owned. I currently own two wonderful modern BMWs which are both faster than my GT and GTS but only in straight line acceleration, that is how much things have progressed. I am now thinking of my GT as bit of an “old girl”, and less inclined to do track days as they can be too punishing. Also as 928s are now entering the new era of classic status originality is everything, and I am considering reversing the changes I made to modernise the car in the early years of ownership. Fortunately I had the good sense to keep all the original parts when I made any changes, so it is easy to put my GT back to original. The GTS is completely original apart from a modern Bluetooth radio.
When I purchased my first 928 in 1996 I did not envisage that I would be here 24 years later still a 928 owner, and that 928s would have played such a massive part in my life. Over those 24 years owners have come and gone but are there are still many 928 owners who I have known for over 20 years and they have become very good friends indeed. That time has truly represented life - births, marriages and sadly deaths. 928 ownership has been a way of life for me and I do not see that changing in the near future.
Andrew Brierley The Road to 928 Heaven, 928.org.uk