928 Art Car – A Press Tribute
When you think of the phrase “Art Car”, you would be forgiven if your thoughts immediately jump to BMW and their long history of art cars. Some of the most famous artists in the world have lain brush to the canvas of some of the most famous cars from the Bayeriche Motoren Werke. Most of those on the side of Zuffenhausen would argue that Porsche builds cars beautiful enough from the factory that they are already “art” without ever being touched by a paintbrush.
Paul Grusche wouldn’t necessarily disagree with this sentiment, however, had had a feeling that the under-appreciated 928 deserved a visual refresh worthy of the chassis’ achievements. Often forgotten, the 928 was an amazing car in its day, and even today, it continues to surprise those who are quick to dismiss it. A potent V8 combined with extraordinary comfort, handling prowess exceeding contemporary competition in the GT market, and even rivaling many dubbed “Sports Cars”.
In the mid-1970s, the 928 was conceived as the eventual replacement to the 911. Porsche saw the writing on the wall that aircooled engines located aft of the rear axle were out, and watercooled front engine transaxle cars were where their future needed to be. Upon its introduction in 1977, the 928 was in an interesting predicament. Widely heralded as a phenomenal vehicle, the 928 suffered from a metathesiophobic fear of change from the “old guard Porsche”. Porsche had, to this point, produced the 356, the 911/912, and the 914. The 924 and 928 were comparatively strange, and a great departure from the norm of the company.
Throughout 1977 and 1978, the 928 was tested and subsequently given high praise by magazines such as “Motor”, “Autocar”, “Car and Driver”, “Motor Trend”, and “Road & Track” among others. Both sides of the Atlantic had a full supply of journalists standing in line to fawn over the car, causing one of the worlds largest shortages of positive adjectives. In spite of this praise, the 928 was still regarded by the public-at-large to be nothing more than “not a 911″, and therefore “not a real Porsche”. If the people of 1977 had simply been given the opportunity to have driven the 928, they would have built the 911 a funeral pyre, set it ablaze, and basked in the glory of ergonomic perfection, improved emissions, and higher power ratings.
So, now we know why the 928 deserved an art car incarnation, let’s delve into the execution. Mr. Grusche, or Groosh as he is known, purchased this 1978 example in excellent non-original condition late in December of last year. By mid-August 2012, the car looked as it does in the pictures before you. An interesting take on the concept, Paul printed and hand applied around 320 individual 8.5X11 pages of vinyl decal depicting the pages of several original late 1970s magazine reviews of the 928. Furthermore, an additional three decals were applied to represent major motion pictures that featured 928s (Weird Science, Scarface, and Risky Business). Grusche states that the decals were laid out in a completely random pattern so as not to distract from the beautiful Tony Lapine penned lines of the car.
The car was unveiled at a PCA gathering in conjunction with the Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit, Michigan just a few months ago. Paul’s goal is to have the car available for permanent display in the Porsche museum in Stuttgart. I think it would be nice for a great car like the 928 to receive such recognition, especially from the company that made the car in the first place.
• Car was purchased on December 23, 2011 outside of Lansing, Michigan
• European spec car with 81,815 miles, 5 speed manual, silver metallic over black
• VIN #9288102574, Engine #8182057, Transmission #183109 matching numbers
• First year of production, 1978
• Not original paint or interior, hence the art car
• Original tool kit and original first aid kit intact
• Original steering wheel and stick shift knob
• Original “928″ foot pads on brake and clutch hardly worn
• Spare tire not inflated
• Clock works
• Originally a Nebraska car
• 951 wheels on rear from previous owner
• Ownership history and records back to 1989
• PCA owned, Certificate of Authenticity dated March 20, 2001
• I personally spoke with every owner to collect history about the car
• Engine performs and sounds great
• Gearbox has character, I drive it like a crash box and double clutch, 2nd gear syncros are bad, first and reverse are challenging
• The car is garaged and a fair weather driver only