Just for the Fun of It

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It occurs to me that not everyone’s idea of fun is rebuilding an engine, especially a Porsche 928 V8. But that’s what Don is setting out to do. And chances are, I’ll be there every other step of the way. He has more time in the shop than I do since I take care of my kids. But that’ll be different when they go back to school full time this fall. Meanwhile, I split time between my home garage projects and the shop.

What’s great about a 928 engine rebuild, is you get to see what all the fuss was about. As we all know, the story of the 928 is one of the projected demise of the 911. A forced look into the future during the early ’70s and what the Porsche marque would need to maintain sales. A GT that was quieter, liquid cooled and more stable than ass-end hanging engines provided. Plus better emissions controls. These attributes were all a sign of the times. Noise exhaust restrictions coming in Europe, improved cooling and longer exhaust to control fumes, less twitchy to satisfy the Ralph Nader-gaters of the world. It was a blank slate for Porsche so they devoted $200 of the $600 million sales budget from 1974 to the effort.

The 928s, after a famous launch, became infamous for deferred maintenance as they fell out of favor for the cornerstone 911. They have seven foot timing belts that trip up many mechanics, computer modules that can need rebuilding, gremlins after midnight and ghosts before the dawn. But I’ve owned my ’78 Euro spec for 10 years now. Once it was dialed in by Stephen Cramer at APGRacing.com it has been a stout, reliable, runner. It has never failed to start and the V8 power to the pavement is intoxicating. They say these engines will last 250,000 to 300,000 miles before needing a rebuild. So learning how it built to last will be a lesson in German engineering, just for the fun of it.

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