Sharks in the Nor West
One day I woke up and decided I wanted
to change vehicles. My daily driver was a heavily modified ’77 F100
4x4. I was getting softer, it wasn’t getting any easier to drive, and we
hadn’t really needed it for a couple of years now. It was the best 4wd I
had ever driven in the bush, but after nine years I thought I would give
it a break from the heat, the noise, the vibration, the insanely heavy
clutch, the impossible to park manual steering, and a newly rebuilt
gearbox that required Schwarznegger to grab second. Oh yes, and shifting
out of low range required rolling backwards and grabbing the lever with
So I drove down to the city (Perth) and
decided I would look for something comfortable – an NC Fairlane Ghia
would be nice. I wanted something comfortable, my wife insisted it be easy
to park, (something zippy she said…) and we both wanted an auto because
all of our then current cars were manuals and we were sick of it. Power
steering I thought, Air con that works…
The joke? The Fairlane’s I could afford,
I didn’t like, and the ones I liked cost too much. So I looked wider. I
came across this 928 thing. I remembered those from car shows at Burswood
in 1986. Weren’t they ridiculously expensive I asked? Oh no said the
salesman. So we worked out I could afford it and I looked.
looks nice. It has a history. It drives better that any other car I
remember driving – and I have driven lots – It is comfortable, I like
the leather and the aircon works. Its automatic; I buy it. Two weeks later
the car is presented to my satisfaction and I drive the 1600kms back to
Karratha with my eldest son (four years old, but he likes travelling).
This car is everything I’d hoped for with
superb handling and effortless high speed cruising. No bump thump even
though the rear tyres are at that 43psi, nothing appears able to throw it
off its line. Phenomenal acceleration from 100km/h; I have to hit the
brakes hard when pulling back in after overtaking a 50 metre road train. I
think I saw 180km/h on the speedo but the roads are not built for that
sort of speed (downhill run with a couple of sweeping curves just out from
Geraldton) and I am concentrating on driving, not my instruments so I
could be wrong.
It is very wrenching to drive this car. It
is a bit like playing a video game – you can’t see the bonnet and you
are way too comfortable to be in a car. I now notice that I am unable to
see over most other traffic, but the visibility from so low is not as bad
as I feared.
Anything vaguely sporty is very rare on
this highway so you can imagine the interest the car generates when we
stop at roadhouses. The adults are sometimes restrained but all the kids
say "wow! Look at that" and have a really good look.
The lights are good enough not to need
spotlights and the fog lights will give a good spread for detecting
wildlife (after I shim the bastards out with a couple of washers). The
creature comforts all work really well. My son asks why we have to travel
so slowly (speedo indicates 140km/h) and I wonder the same thing.
Having gotten home it sinks in that I have
never seen another one on the road. Ever. So I get a little lonely and
start surfing the net. I came across Rennlist first, and 928’s in
Australia second. What strikes me about the Rennlist posts is that these
blokes seem awfully concerned about standing start/low speed acceleration
and I wonder if we are actually looking at the same vehicle.
I bought my 928
because it is comfortable, a real GT in the true sense of the word. It
virtually drives itself, all I need to do is steer and decide how fast.
It’s a rocket on the open road and a lamb in town. I had cars that
accelerate faster low down, but nothing to match the top end, and
certainly nothing that compares to the high levels of handling while
still giving a good ride.
One might question what sort of car
enthusiast likes autos, and talks about comfort and ride, and the answer
is one who has to drive the damn thing for over sixteen hours without a
break. Think about how much work is involved in other cars and the 928
slaughters everything else.
As for the fellow who bemoaned the high
axle ratio recently, I wouldn’t swap mine for anything. Overtaking big
rigs has ceased to be a problem for me, largely because the kickdown to
second at 100km/h puts the engine in the big powerband real nicely.
family wagon is an 80 series Landcruiser (twin cam petrol), which we have
had for some years now (it’s a ’92). Landcruisers are incredibly
popular in Karratha. My street has a dozen houses on it and five other
cruisers apart from mine. Cruisers are known locally as "Pilbara
Porsches". I bought petrol for a couple of reasons, but suffering
with an asthmatic diesel was fairly high on the ‘no’ list.
is not as tough as the F100 but a good deal easier to live with. Having
seen and done the things we wanted to see and do that required traversing
really rough terrain we would simply avoid the diff bashing
Back to the 928: Initial build
quality must have been very high for it to survive these eighteen years in
such good condition. People who don’t know Porsche models, and there
aren’t that many who do around here, imagine it is no more than five or
six years old, judging from its external condition, and its ‘modern’
You may have gathered I was not a Porsche
enthusiast - though I am becoming so inclined! - before I drove this car.
I bought the car for four main reasons:
The handling, ride
and on road performance,
appointments and general condition inside and out,
It was priced
in a bracket I would consider.
that I own it, the price has become irrelevant, and I couldn’t care less
about the styling. I take the interior and build quality for granted and
so the way the car drives has eclipsed all other factors. 3000 kls on and
I’m still impressed.
The problem is, it is getting increasingly
difficult to drive anything else and maintain a positive outlook.
Everything else I drive is too hard, or too soft, or too slow, too
plasticy, too indifferently screwed together or lacks feel.
I’ll give it two years. If I am still
happy with it I am going to buy another one so it doesn’t get lonely
here. I think it IS that good.
928S Euro (3 speed) Auto
(The colour is that funny darkish bluey grey
metallic stuff that has an almost purplish sheen under some lighting