By the early 1970s, Porsche management decided that the 911 model would eventually have to be replaced by a more modern design. The new model would feature a water-cooled V8 front-mounted engine with its transmission and differential combined in a rearmounted transaxle for excellent weight distribution. The chassis featured all independent suspension and four-wheel disc brakes. The near equal weight distribution meant that the 928 would theoretically have far better straight-line stability than the 911 with its engine overhanging the rear axle. In 1986 Porsche and AMG built the prototype pictured here-a custom 928 four-door sedan. One cannot help but conjecture that this variant may have been a prototype for a new 928 that would have created a completely new market niche, further distancing it from the 911. According to current Porsche designer Harm LaGaay, this rare and unusual car was delivered to Heinz Prechter, founder and CEO of ASC (American Sunroof Corporation), whose large automotive aftermarket firm headquartered just south of Detroit enjoyed a close relationship with the factory. The workmanship of this conversion is impeccable, being the equal or better of the legendary fit and finish of a new Porsche. The entire cabin, for instance, is lined in sumptuous burgundy leather to match the exterior paintwork. Having recently enjoyed a tune-up and recharge of the air conditioning system, this intriguing 928 runs like a new car-as it should, since the odometer shows only 5,520 documented original miles. The question is: Is this a sports car, a family sedan, or the world's fastest limousine? Judging by its unique appearance and specifications, it likely qualifies as all of the above. What a marvelous way to elicit a double-take from all those snooty hotel concierges who think they know the world's exotic cars.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1986 Porsche 928 Factory Custom sedan

This unusual factory custom Porsche was offered at no reserve at the RM Monterey auction, August 16, 2002, and sold for $44,000. The sale price, including buyer’s premium, was slightly below the $45,000 low estimate.

In the ’80s there were constant debates inside Porsche about widening its product offering to include bigger sporting cars, and at several points along the way full-scale mock-ups and driveable prototype four-door and four-seat cars were developed. One look at this example (or any of the others) reaffirms one’s faith in Ferry Porsche’s gut reaction to each and every one of them: No thanks.

Let’s take a moment to think about Porsche’s latest four-door machine, the Cayenne. It’s easy for the casual observer to become convinced that Porsche’s focus should be the creation of a new generation of alloybodied, world-beating 550 Spyders or plastic-bodied 904 race cars. The reality is that these cars sold in tiny quantities and made little money directly for Porsche, although the publicity value was significant.

The tremendous fiscal success of the Boxster has provided funds for Porsche to invest in new products, and the giant margins and high volumes afforded by the SUV segment are hard for any automotive executive to resist. Mercedes-Benz and BMW have both taken the plunge into SUVland with great success. In fact, the M-Class now vies with the E-Class as the best-selling Mercedes in the US.

Given their technological prowess and relationship with VW, it seems a small leap for Porsche to enter the SUV market, too. And if they succeed in making an SUV that actually handles, it will probably sell very well.

I have already spoken with several PCA owners with deposits on Cayennes. It is indeed possible that the fiber of the Porsche brand will stretch over to this new SUV.

Of course, the overall economics of the moment has much to do with the ultimate sales volumes to be achieved. Ferry was right not to build the fourdoor 928. But Wendelin Wiedeking may also be right to build the Cayenne. My concern, given that the SUV market seems to have peaked, would be more for his lousy timing than his lousy idea.

But back to the four-door pictured here. As a one-off, the price is the price, and there is no concern about what all the other factory four-door 928s will now be worth. There are none.

Of course, you have to wonder a great deal about how this contraption will drive. I am sure the handling wasn’t helped by a wheelbase approximately one foot longer than stock and an addition of hundreds of pounds in weight. And remember, the original 928 was not a light car to begin with. The factory had to use wildly expensive aluminum doors to pare some of the excess pork from their creation. Plus, any original 928 is more of a freight train than a nimble rally car. So this extra long, extra heavy version is mostly for cruising, which makes it just like most modifieds and hot rods: mainly for show, not too much go.

As a true Porsche factory oddity, this creation will always have some value. But it won’t appreciate at the head of the market. For someone who wants to get lots of attention at the next Porsche Parade, here is just the ticket. For the rest of us, I’m not quite sure what we would do with this one for the other 51 weeks of the year.-Jim Schrager

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