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?