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Ode To The Five Speed Manual

In writing to a prospective 928 Owner about his desire for a 5 speed 928 I recommended that he might want to check out the 4-Speed Auto as well. I also asked other owners to contribute to the debate.

Glenn Evans came to the fore and this was his response. - Leonard Zech, Website Supervisor.

I gather from Len's e-mail that you would like a manual 928. I looked at 928s for over six months when I bought mine six years ago; the first question I asked was whether it was a manual! Mine is a 1980 model, and a lot more cars of that age have manual transmissions. Manuals are very rare in 928s of the S4 vintage and later.

Up until 1985, 928s were fitted with a Porsche transmission with a dual plate clutch. In 1985, a unit with Borg-Warner synchronizers was fitted, which improved the shift and the unit's durability. The dual plate clutch can be expensive to fix, but so is everything on a 928. All the critics seem to prefer the 4 speed auto in the 928; Wheels magazine recently rated the 928 manual as having one of the ten worst gearchanges of all time. What a load of crap!!

Although the change can be notchy and the synchro on first gear of all those I drove was dodgy at best and often non-existent (including mine), I would never have an automatic. The inability to select first on the move is only rarely an irritation; it takes an extremely steep hill to stop a 928 starting in second gear. And the gearchange at higher revs is superb! If you hold out for a post '85 manual, you should not encounter these problems, anyway.

Don't weaken!! If you like driving fast in other than a straight line, you should hold out for a manual (even if you have to get a different model Porsche!). You will always be frustrated by an auto when you are driving fast on winding roads or in Supersprints. Remember, you are smarter than a transmission. As far as I'm concerned, you may as well buy a Holden as an auto Porsche!

The Holden comment is a reflection of my distaste for automatics; it's not meant to be a criticism of anyone else's choice. I just wouldn't buy one as my own car. If someone prefers manuals, he/she may regret buying an auto when trying to drive it fast.

Glenn Evans, 928 1980 'S' Look, 5 Speed.

928 Australia 2012