1994 Porsche 928 GTS
Courtesy of Bonhams
Unveiled at the Geneva Salon in 1977 and voted Car of the Year for 1978, the 928 was intended as an upmarket replacement for the long-running 911, but Porsche’s rear-engined classic would outlive its younger sibling. The front-engined 928’s stylish hatchback body featured aluminum doors, bonnet and front wings in the interest of weight saving, while ingenious impact-resistant bumpers made of color-matched plastic were incorporated into the nose and tail. The V8 engine — Porsche’s first — displaced 4.5 liters and produced 234 horsepower. A 5-speed transaxle gearbox or 3-speed automatic were the transmission options. In 1979, the 928S with its 4.6-liter engine arrived, and in 1986 the model was further revised and restyled, becoming the 928 S4. Its engine producing 320 horsepower courtesy of twin-cam, 16-valve cylinder heads and enlargement to 4,957 cc, the S4 enjoyed a welcome top-speed boost to 160 mph. In 1989, Porsche moved the game on with the even more powerful 928 GT which, with a top speed of around 170 mph, was the Stuttgart firm’s fastest production car at that time, before launching the model’s ultimate incarnation: the 928 GTS. Introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1991, the latter boasted a 5.4-liter engine producing all of 345 horsepower, and in this form the 928 lasted in production until the model’s deletion in 1995. Porsche has not made anything like it since, and today this appreciating modern classic enjoys an enthusiastic following worldwide. Offered here is what must be one of the best-kept 928 GTSs available anywhere. Completed at the Zuffenhausen-based Porsche factory in September 1994, the new top-of-the-line GTS was equipped for the American market, with a long list of options and extras, and would soon after arrive on U.S. shores. According to the CARFAX report and the owner’s manual, the first owner, Mr. Arch Lee Heady, registered the new 928 GTS in April 1995 in Prospect, KY. The car appears to have been used sparingly by the first owner and had covered less than 3,000 miles when purchased by the second owner in November 2001. By 2002, the car was in Massachusetts, but soon after relocated to Southern California, where it remained with a Manhattan Beach-based enthusiast until 2010. Today, this sporting Porsche remains in highly original and extremely well-preserved condition, covering less than 24,000 miles since new. The Porsche continues to impress in the original factory livery of silver metallic over a gray interior. All compartments are clean, with the factory-applied decals in place, and the car’s original owner’s manual is still with it. The car’s impressive history file contains many receipts dating back to the 1990s, further authenticating the low mileage, and includes the car’s original window sticker. These powerful V8 Porsches offer a massive 500 foot-pounds of torque in a well-balanced sports car and should be recognized as one of the all-time greats from the Stuttgart manufacturer. This extremely well presented, low-mileage 5-speed example deserves serious consideration.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1994 Porsche 928 GTS coupe
Years Produced:1978–95 (all 928s), 1992–95 (GTS cars)
Number Produced:61,056 all 928s; 2,831 GTSs
Original List Price:$82,260 plus $3,000 gas-guzzler tax plus $795 destination charge
SCM Valuation:Median sale price, $32,400; high sale, $132,000 (this car)
Tune Up Cost:$2,000
Chassis Number Location:Tag at the base of windshield, tag inside front hood rain rail, passenger’s side toward firewall
Engine Number Location:On a small flat boss at the front and top right of engine
Club Info:Porsche Club of America
Alternatives:1996 Porsche C2S/C4S, 1991–92 Porsche 928 S4, 1997–2004 Porsche Boxster
Investment Grade:D

This car, Lot 150, sold for $132,000, including buyer’s premium, at Bonhams’ Amelia Island, FL, auction on March 10, 2016.

This is my second profile of a 928 for SCM. The first covered a 1987 928 S4, a sweet spot in earlier 928s, and appeared in the July 2011 issue (p. 58). I endorsed that car as a fine driver for the $22,000 it achieved at auction. This GTS from Amelia is a very different proposition, as the market and the specifications of this 928 both have moved up substantially.

You probably know how Porsche in the early 1970s feared that increasing governmental regulation and anti-rear-engine Naderism would strangle the 911.

The 928 was to be the successor automobile, fought for by the first non-Porsche-family managing director of the firm, Ernst Fuhrmann. Porsche introduced the car in 1977 to widespread, sincere acclaim. It was an engineering tour de force relative to almost everything else on the market. And Porsche continued to develop the car, especially its engine and suspension.

Not the successor to the 911

Two unexpected things happened in the 928’s early history.

First, in the design stage the car grew in size and heft in comparison with the lithe 911. The 928 became more of a grand touring car.

Second, once it was introduced, the established Porsche customer base did not eagerly adopt the car. The 928 never sold more than 5,600 units a year. Chairman Ferry Porsche observed the obvious and fired Fuhrmann.

When Peter Schutz took the reins in the early 1980s, he and engineering chief Helmuth Bott famously rejuvenated the 911. Looking back, that was a successful move, and it cemented the status of the 928 as an orphan.

Meanwhile, the 928 was steadily developed through the S, the S32 — aka S4 — and GT. In 1989, the Supervisory Board voted to suspend all work on the model, save one more round of engine development, which resulted in a 5.4-liter, 345-horsepower, 369 foot-pounds of torque powerplant — and the GTS.

This ultimate 928 is truly a fine automobile

The GTS was a fitting final expression for the 928. The engine upgrade perhaps had the most impact. With double overhead cams, 32 valves, a 10.5:1 compression ratio, 5,391 ccs, or 335 cubic inches, Porsche’s “small-block” V8 pushed the 3,708-pound car from 0 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds and 0 to 100 mph in 13.1 seconds, with a top speed of 170 mph.

The GTS also added two inches of flared width to the rear haunches over nine-inch rear (and 7.5-inch front) by 17-inch Cup wheels. The bigger brakes required only 160 feet for 70 mph to zero. The car was rock solid at any speed.

Every conceivable accessory item was standard. It was luxuriously appointed. It was even a little visceral, with high cabin exhaust noises. Happily for sporting drivers, the 5-speed manual gearbox continued to be available along with a 4-speed automatic.

Bonhams’ example was a very nice car. Although it had at least five owners over its 21 years and 23,686 miles, they reportedly maintained the car well. They also kept together all its accessories and paperwork, including the original window sticker, full owner’s manual kit, and service orders back to 1990s.

Our subject 928 is handsome in Polar Silver Metallic with a Marble interior. The car was built standard with a full-leather interior, 160-watt AM-FM cassette with remote CD changer, higher-output a/c, and an electric sunroof. It was very important to its auction value that it had the 5-speed manual gearbox. It listed new out of Brumos Motors in Jacksonville, FL, for $85,985 (that’s 1995 dollars, folks) including the $3,000 gas-guzzler tax and, naturally, no options.

The GTS is rare and it fills a void for Porsche fans

For the past 10 years, the GTS has commanded a widening value advantage over the earlier 928 cars. Aside from being the very last 928, it was also the best and the most rare.

Toward the end, Porsche was not selling more than 1,000 928s a year, and an ever-decreasing percentage of the sales were in the U.S. market. Worldwide, 2,831 GTSs were sold during 1992–95, of which just 406 came to North America 1993–95.

This 1995 final-year example is one of just 78 sold in the U.S. and Canada, and it is one of an estimated 30 with a 5-speed box. Scarcity does affect value. Witness the 1987–88 911 Club Sport with just 28 imported into the U.S. (340 worldwide). That model is a “not much special” deviation from the standard 911 Carrera 3.2 and now sells for multiples more.

The 928 is also in the sweet spot for enthusiasts who were in their teens and 20s in the 1990s. That demographic has driven the values of iconic 1990s Porsches to a tripling over the past several years. 964 RSs, 964 Turbo S Leichtbaus and Flachbaus, 993 RSs and 993 GT2s are all now hundreds of thousands of dollars more expensive than in 2012. Into the void left behind comes the 928 GTS.

Also, if you’re a fan of Cayennes or Panameras, wouldn’t the V8 predecessor to your car be a nice addition? For just 132 large, you have a collectible, rare and iconic (to some) Porsche. There was nothing astonishing about $132,000 for this fine example of a GTS. It made sense. ♦

(Introductory description courtesy of Bonhams.)

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