When Keith offered up the U-boat for the 450-mile roundtrip to southern Oregon I had planned for the weekend, I did not hesitate to answer affirmatively. Being “between” cars myself, the opportunity to drive the SCM Porsche 928 rather than my wife’s diesel VW Jetta daily driver instantly transformed the trip into something special.

We still set out on the same slog down Interstate 5, which gave me plenty of time to poke and prod the Porsche’s many buttons and levers, familiarizing myself with its dashboard and controls. As forewarned, the HVAC seems borrowed from a Toyota Corolla and the workings of some of the switchgear are elusive.

As the traffic thinned out south of Portland, I found myself casually speeding in a fashion more akin to late model sports cars. From 55 miles per hour to up over 80, the 928 displayed no difference in attitude, cruising solidly and quietly. I was pleasantly surprised at its highway manners, even its overtaking ability. The V8, however, is completely without character, emitting almost no sound whatsoever, even at full throttle.

With cold air wafting from the ducts in the 928’s doors and the cruise control set as a prophylactic to injurious speeding, we made our way comfortably down to the Highway 38 turnoff past Cottage Grove, OR. I grew accustomed to the squat cockpit, in which even a shorter-than-average person will, of necessity, adjust the seat to position their head near to the mail-slit-sized sunroof.

By this point you could barely say I had driven the car, but the next 50 miles remedied that. The first sweeper I encountered betrayed the 928s leaden steering, and on the tighter turns through the Coast Range its lack of feel became evident. The 928 seems heavy, always – whether steering, braking or accelerating – although it never gives the impression of being a particularly big car.

After visiting North Bend, OR, we drove up Highway 101 to spend the night in Florence, OR. The car attracted quite a bit of attention when parked on the street downtown, where I had to remind one catcaller why it looked familiar. That “Risky Business” attended to, I had time to muse on the 928’s design as we sat outside eating next to the car.

I have never found the looks of the 928 (or the 924 or 944, for that matter) to do much to excite me. When it comes to wedges, I prefer the sharp styling of cars such as the Lotus Esprit or DeLorean to the soft, rounded-off Porsche lines. The 928’s thick window frames seem awkward. I do adore the color of the SCM 928, which seems like it might be the same as the Midnight Blue Metallic of the 2001 Boxster S I owned for several years.

The next morning, we drove up 101 through the Siuslaw National Forest. The coastal road in this area has a stretch of twisties which is reminiscent of California’s Pacific Coast Highway near Big Sur. The 928’s wide tires and flat cornering were much appreciated here.

We stopped for lunch in Newport, OR, where I made sure to park the car far away from any docks. Afterwards we took U.S. Highway 20 (passing the sign stating, “Boston, MA, 3,365 miles,” denoting the longest continuous road in the United States) through Corvallis, OR, back to the freeway for an uneventful drive home to Portland.

After my first weekend with the 928, I am not especially impressed. My frame of reference for Porsches is almost completely modern, as I’ve driven most from the last 20 years, and I owned that Boxster. But I have also driven one of SCM Contributor Jim Schrager’s “perfect” vintage 911s as well as a friend’s 930, on a roadtrip from Chicago to Road America some years ago. Compared to any of these three, the 928 lacks sportiness and character.

I did not find the SCM 928 engaging, but admittedly, I was driving cautiously and carefully as anyone would during their first time out with the “boss’ car.”

Perhaps another getaway is in order?



  1. May I suggest repeating the trip in an ’89-91 GT (5-speed)? You’re absolutely right, compared to a Boxster, or a G-model 911 or 930, a 928S4 automatic is not particularly sporty. But the ability to row your own gears is transformative in a 928, the 5-speed vs. the automatic have very a different character. There’s a reason the 5-speeds are favored in the market. If you’re ever in (the) Orange County I’d be happy to provide a driving counterpoint.

  2. Rear muffler delete is a very common and simple modification for 928’s

  3. Oh dear! Inaudible at full throttle? Well that suggests a hearing test! Uninspiring handling? Maybe a driving test?!!!

    Seriously, I’ve been racing single seaters in the UK for 30 years and own a current Boxster and previously a 993 Turbo. I also own a 1982 928. It’s a totally great SPORTS car easily matching equivalent and much later 911s around a racetrack. Even with an auto box. Although that exercise will cost you dearly in brakes! Manuals are vastly over-rated. The thing has plenty of torque. Don’t believe everything you read. It gets repeated and ends up a meaningless mantra. Make up your own minds

    • The 928, especially the GTS variant, is a superb piece of machinery. I have owned three of them. It’s an incredible car to drive across Europe in. Even though I presently drive newer and more powerful cars, I still have a fully maintained 928gts. There will always be a place for one in my garage.

  4. Jeff, how does this 100% reliable 928 compare with my ex FIAT 2100 “Across America” that you picked up from me in Cleveland OH many many years ago ? To paraphrase Keith’s words “there is nothing to write about a reliable car” !

    • At the risk of further offending 928 fans, the FIAT was a more interesting car, although one I would not choose to drive again.

  5. The 928 was made for the autobahn. A fond memory was my 1 hour friendly duel with a 911 turbo in the northeast side of west Germany. A steady hour of legal 150 MPH fun. The turbine smooth 310 HP V8 with a five speed manual was perfection. I can’t imagine having to drive that thing here on our bumper to bumper, undisciplined interstates in Northern VA.

  6. Idiot likes Delorean shape over a Porsche 928. The pop up lights are worth 10 Deloreans.1

  7. Interesting perspective. However, drive a shark like it’s your mother’s Lexus, and you’ll get an uninspired ride. Drive it like a Porsche, then you’ll “get it”.

  8. I think Keith’s comments are pretty accurate. Let me set the scene – I’ve owned a 2000 Boxster S now with 30,000 miles and 030 suspension for 10 years. Almost 2 years ago I purchased a 1988 928 S4 with 23,000 miles on it from the original owner – unfortunately it sat for almost 10 years so resurrection $$ was finally complete last December. Most recently I purchased a 2013 Porsche Boxster S6 speed with 12,000 miles.

    Each car has a completely different personality. The 2000 Boxster S 030 is a hoot being very analog/linear/exciting. The 2013 Boxster S is lots of fun but more isolated and probably a better car even though substantially larger.

    With the 928 as for I was surprised initially how very heavy all the controls were. It is a juxtaposition of design inside and outside but man does it cruise all day at 85 then on back roads the passing is effortless. My car makes wonderful noises when full throttle is utilized – other than the fuel gauge being loudly accurate as it shows diminishing reserves. Bottom line is the cars is a GT car which requires manhandling to make it dance whereas the Boxster’s each have their different personalities – both good but different.

    That’s my take.

  9. I’m reminded of a discussion I had about 30 years ago with Hans Mezger (designer of essentially every Porsche engine from the ’64 911 through the first generation GT3) and one of his associates during lunch in Weissach. For conversation, I asked Hans and his associate what ‘used’ Porsche I should buy. After some discussion ‘auf Deutsche’, Hans said “If you want to have fun on short drives, buy a 911 SC like mine. If you want to have long, fast, relaxing drives, buy a 928 like Gerhard has. Gerhard responded with “That’s right. I have a ski chalet in Switzerland that is 250 miles away. I drive there in my 928, taking less than 2 hours and I am relaxed and ski the rest of the day. IF Hans tries to follow me in his 911, he is exhausted and must take a rest”. Hans responded with “Yah Wohl, I would be”.

    I’ve driven 928’s from coast to coast, and it is a wonderful drive. Owned six different ones, over 20 years. 2 manuals and 4 automatics. Sold last one 6 years ago, and am just now purchasing the 7th one.


  10. You sound like a millennial complete with man bun, but you look too old.

    “The 928 seems heavy, always – whether steering, braking or accelerating”………….– Heavy, you mean difficult for you to do without a struggle?? It’s only heavy if you’re weak or timid. The 928 insult always used to be it was a dentist’s wife car, they must have been battleaxe’s then right?? The 928 takes confidence to drive. You literally have to floor the gas pedal to activate the kickdown switch on an auto to achieve full acceleration. Doesn’t sound like you did that. If you did that in mine the car would go sideways.

    “betrayed the 928s leaden steering”———— Again with the steering, join a gym. The 928 turns like it is on rails, the steering is accurate, it goes where you want it to go, it doesn’t fidget.

    “the V8, however, is completely without character, emitting almost no sound whatsoever, even at full throttle” ——— something wrong with this particular 928 because with the proper exhaust they can sound better than any other V8 and will shake surroundings. The owner of a mint 63 vette after coming back from cars and coffee and hearing my 928 was shouting how badazz it is and how special the 928 is in comparison to his vette.

    “The car attracted quite a bit of attention when parked on the street downtown,” vs. “I have never found the looks of the 928 (or the 924 or 944, for that matter) to do much to excite me” —————- So Again it’s YOU! Most people appreciate the beauty of a 928, one of the best designs ever! What do those other cars have to do with a 928 review???

    This review says way more about you than the inaccurate image you portray of the best road car Porsche ever made.