1989 PORSCHE 928 S4 5.0 AutoView vehicle description
The Porsche 928 is probably still well known as the car destined to replace the 911…..that didn’t. As early as the late 1960’s the Porsche board was starting to worry that the mighty 911 was past its prime. Sales were dropping and, in the wake of an international oil crisis, the Porsche suits were busy convincing themselves that their future was in Grand Touring luxury cars with more conventional mechanical specifications than the quirky 911.
With this context looming large, the then Porsche Managing Director, Ernst Furhmann, was bringing pressure to bear on Ferdinand Porsche to approve the development of a new model. Ferdinand capitulated and Furhmann was able to initiate a “production feasible” design study in 1971. As is often the way, the design process navigated a number of twists and turns, including rear engine and mid-engine configurations, before a relatively traditional front engine, rear wheel drive layout was agreed. This configuration promised the most passenger space and the least technical and legislative issues.
The ultimately sleek and modern design was overseen by Tony Lapine and incorporated some innovative features for those simpler times including a large opening rear hatch, integrated polyurethane elastic bumpers covered in body coloured plastic and, of course, the signature reverse pop-up headlamps which were very Lamborghini Miura-esque. The interior had also gone all “Space 1999” with deeply padded and curvaceous seats front and rear, the latter folding down for more luggage space, rear sun visors and an instrument binnacle that moved with the adjustable steering wheel.
Porsche went their own way with the engine, too. At launch this was a 16 valve, 4.5 litre V8 M28 unit fitted with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection. The big V8 delivered 245 bhp in European trim and prompted many to mutter “Oil crisis? What oil crisis?” All this innovative and futuristic work was not lost on the automotive world at large, either, with the car picking up the 1978 European Car of the Year accolade. This was an award almost exclusively reserved for mainstream family cars, making this win all the more remarkable.
With the first 928’s hitting the streets in 1977, our 1989 model is the considerably developed and improved S4 version. The S4 appeared in model year 1987 and was, mechanically, a country mile away from the launch models. The already muscular and tuneful V8 had grown to a 5.0 litre capacity. It had also doubled its valve count and these changes helped it develop a very competitive 320 bhp. Other improvements included a bigger torque converter for the four speed, Mercedes Benz derived automatic gearbox and a number of subtle but successful cosmetic developments.
Our example is a fascinating car with a great provenance. It has had a number of enthusiast owners over its 33 year history and, as we will see, the car has been lavished with attention, care and….money at seemingly all periods of its history. The previous owner was a well-known Porsche fanatic, Paul Seagrave. Paul is an experienced Porsche racer who currently sits as chairman of Porsche Club Racing and was previously on the board at Porsche Club GB. Clearly a man who knows his Porsches, Paul acquired our car from a 928 fanatic.
The car’s current ownership journey started at last November’s NEC Classic Car Show. The car was proudly displayed on the Porsche stand when current owner jetted in with the intention of buying a much more expensive car at Silverstone Auction’s NEC sale. On his way there he happened to pass the 928 S4 and decided immediately that he had to own it. Some persuasive conversations followed, and ultimately left the NEC as the car’s proud new owner.
In his ownership the S4 has performed faultlessly and has been a reported joy to own and drive. This use has included a road trip to Spain and back. Other than an annoying puncture on the return leg, this continent crossing GT car did what it was designed for with ease and in significant comfort. Despite some “spirited cruising” it even returned a miles per gallon readings in the mid to late 20’s.
On the Outside
The 928 S4 looks amazing in its crisp Grand Prix White colourway. It is a hue that suits the S4 really well. For the S4, cosmetic changes included many of the bodily adornments wearing body coloured paint lending it a very clean, streamlined and, still, futuristic demeanour. This remains a car that could easily cut the mustard on the set of a Sci-Fi movie set in the near future.
Your author was lucky enough to follow the S4 to our photo-location. The car looked amazing on the road with its rounded rear looking like no other car on the road. A rare and almost moving experience to see such a rare car moving amongst a sea of grey and anonymous, more modern conveyances.
It is our job, of course, to point out to potential buyers any faults and areas of deterioration found or reported. In this case that’s quite hard as the car just presents so well, very much belying its age and original mileage. There is a small touch-in on the offside rear wing panel, around the size of a 20p piece. There is also a little discolouration to the bumper cover just above the single exhaust pipe. This is, likely, down to the heat of the exhaust slightly discolouring part of the panel. The fact that we have photographed both areas and both remain extremely hard to spot should tell you everything you need to know about the car’s condition.
Our S4 sits on genuine 17-inch Porsche Cup alloy wheels in the correct 928 fitment. These have enjoyed a previous refurbishment and, as a result, present in an unmarked and highly impressive condition. The wheels are shod with the correct size and profile of Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres in very good condition.
On the Inside
The interior of our car showcases beautifully the futuristic and delightfully curvy interior that wowed so many with the arrival of the 928 in 1977. The cabin is exquisitely trimmed in very sophisticated Marine Blue leather, lending the car a much more grown up and luxurious ambiance than the earlier Pasha trimmed cars. The condition is amazingly good too and, seemingly, period correct even down to the original Duran Duran cassette in the player (no doubt available by separate negotiation!).
Even the driver’s seat outside bolster, usually the first seat section to suffer, is in fine fettle. A tiny portion of piping has been breached here but that will only be apparent on forensic examination. No other areas of unexpected deterioration were noted or reported.
The car is currently fitted with a chunky Porsche Cup, three spoke steering wheel which looks great, but the car will also come with its original four spoke, factory specification item too. Rear seats, carpets and headlining are all in great shape and exhibit no noted areas of deterioration. The original Blaupunkt Toronto head unit is present and correct and still reportedly working as it should. The other 928 refinements include air conditioning, cruise control, trip computer, electric sunroof and electrically operated and heated front seats.
The 5.0 litre V8 engine is an obvious highlight of a mile-munching, poster car of this nature and our S4 doesn’t disappoint one bit. The under-bonnet presentation is clean and bright and appears to be highly original throughout. During our visit the car started on the button with no smoke evident from the big, single exhaust. During our photo-shoot the car was called upon to idle for some extended periods and at no point did the temperature rise beyond expected norms. The fan also operated as expected, quickly switching off again after a period of quiet operation.
Its recent, issue free round trip to Spain is a testament to both Porsche’s legendary engineering prowess and the car’s exemplary maintenance record as documented by its extensive paperwork archive.
The underside of the car was photographed during our visit and presents very well too. All appears clean, present and correct which, again, must be down to the diligence of the car’s owners and its regular and specialist maintenance attention.
Given this car’s previous ownership record it may come as no surprise that an extensive paperwork archive accompanies our 928 S4. In total it fills two ring binders with quite an extensive, but not complete, sample pictured here for your review.
The paperwork features all types of documents relating to the car. V5’s, previous MoTs, magazine articles and numerous invoices for work undertaken are all present. Some very sizeable invoices are present including one from late 2021 amounting to over £1,800 worth of specialist attention.
The owner notes that the car will be supplied with a current MoT at the point of sale.
What We Think
What stands out about seeing a late 928 in the metal is how well it has aged. These cars were considered very futuristic back in 1977 and, somehow, they still seem to pull it off today. The S4 model is probably the cleanest and crispest of the lot to look at as well as being highly accomplished on the road too.
Our example is a fine one. The white really pops and the combination of Cup alloys and original big tail spoiler in the correct black is, frankly, to our eyes an awesome one. It is hard to imagine a car that can offer as much head turning road presence as this one. Watching it cruise around is a real joy and privilege that is all too rare nowadays. The ownership history, documentation, condition and drivability of this car is all first class making it, surely, a very rare opportunity to own and enjoy a truly watershed car in Porsche’s long and illustrious history.
We estimate this Porsche to fetch between £15,000 - £20,000 in auction.
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- Location: Warwick, United Kingdom
- Seller Type: Private
- Odometer Reading: 115970
- Chassis Number: WP0ZZZ92ZKS842225
- Engine: 4957
- Gearbox: Auto
- Steering position: Right-hand drive
- Colour: Grand Prix White
- Interior: Marine Blue Leather
- Estimated Price: £15,000 - £20,000