Home » Seventies V8s In Two Flavors: 1976 Chrysler Newport vs 1978 Porsche 928

Seventies V8s In Two Flavors: 1976 Chrysler Newport vs 1978 Porsche 928

Sbsd 2 13 2024
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Good morning! Today we have another pair of cars with the most gossamer-thin connections between them: Both of today’s choices have V8 engines, and hail from the 1970s. Apart from that, they have very little in common. But why let that stop us from comparing them?

Yesterday’s front-wheel-drive European coupes were more evenly matched than I expected. In the end, the Italian drop-top won the day, though I expected it to win by more. Like me, a lot of you really would like to know exactly why it isn’t drivable. But I think, when it comes to Italian cars, the fact that it isn’t rusty is more important. Mechanical parts just bolt on; rust repair will drive you insane long before it drains your bank account dry.

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Personally, I’d have a really hard time choosing. I’ve always wanted an Italian car, but a Lancia Beta would not be my first choice, or second. (Maybe fourth or fifth.) And the Quantum hatchback isn’t the same as my beloved Scirocco, or the Dasher that my family used to have, but it looks kind of similar if you squint. In the end, Ziggy would probably say there’s about a fifty-four percent likelihood that I’d take the Quantum leap.

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Now then: Today is one of those days I expect to be a complete blowout, but we’ll see what happens. Without further ado, I present to you two very different ways of putting eight pistons in two banks ninety degrees apart.

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1976 Chrysler Newport – $2,450

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Engine/drivetrain: 400 cubic inch overhead valve V8, three-speed automatic, RWD

Location: Eugene, OR

Odometer reading: 74,000 miles

Operational status: Runs and drives, but needs electrical/steering column work

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I did a double-take when I saw this car. One of the most uncomfortable car rides of my life happened in the supremely soft and welcoming interior of a Newport (or maybe New Yorker?) almost exactly like this. I went to Thanksgiving dinner with a girlfriend in college, and her dad and I did not get along. I can’t even remember what I said or did, but he was not happy about his daughter dating the likes of me. But he wasn’t about to come across as petty or unwelcoming, so we went to dinner anyway, all piling into his white two-door Chrysler, driving through a Minnesota snowstorm at precisely 55 miles per hour in complete silence. Good times.

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But she ended up breaking my heart anyway, so to hell with what her dad thought. Let’s check out this car. What we have here is the last of the really big Chryslers, before they were downsized in 1979. It is smaller than the model that preceded it, in much the same way that a jackhammer is quieter than a Mötley Crüe concert. It’s still a massive, heavy car. To power such a beast, you need displacement, four hundred cubic inches of it, to be exact. Whatever faults Chrysler may have had in the ’70s, the big-block B engine was not one of them. Nor was the A-727 Torqueflite transmission behind it. This one is in fine operating condition, and breathes through a custom true dual exhaust.

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Behind the wheel, things aren’t so rosy. The seat upholstery is toast, and the wiring under the dash “has been butchered,” according to the seller. The windshield wipers are inoperative, and the ignition switch is wired to a good old toggle-switch-and-push-button arrangement. The column-mounted gearshift is also damaged; the seller says the detents are gone and it’s hard to figure out what gear it’s in.  Whether these issues are connected to the car’s salvage title they don’t say, but it does sound a bit like a recovered theft.

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But it’s big, it’s badass, it’s cheap, it’s rust-free, and you can drive it home, if you can find Drive. They don’t make ’em like this anymore, which is probably a good thing, but I am glad there are still a few around.

1978 Porsche 928 – $4,500

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Engine/drivetrain: 4.5 liter overhead cam V8, five-speed manual, RWD

Location: Silver City, NM

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Odometer reading: listed as 12345, so probably unknown

Operational status: Runs and drives great

I love finding cars in places they don’t “belong.” In the comments of a recent “Autopian Asks” post, I mentioned seeing a newish Ram pickup street-parked in Paris, just a few blocks from the Louvre. It’s a vehicle that’s as common as dandelions here, but seeing it in that setting made it remarkable. Likewise, a bright red Porsche 928 wouldn’t even raise an eyebrow in the circular driveway outside Caesar’s Palace (or wouldn’t have in the ’80s), but it’s not the sort of car you expect to see someone driving around in the desert. (But then neither is a DeTomaso Mangusta, I suppose.) And yet here it is, outside of the tiny town of Silver City, New Mexico.

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And if the seller is to be believed, it runs beautifully. It has had recent work on the fuel system, and wears new tires. The seller claims to have driven it back and forth to California “many times.” By all accounts, the 928 is a wonderful highway car, and the idea of blasting across large swaths of the Southwest in one does hold some appeal for sure. Even better, this one has a proper five-speed manual gearbox instead of the automatic so many American ones were stuck with.

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The desert sun has had its way with the clearcoat, and I’m willing to bet that the dash top is a mass of cracks under that carpet cover, but it still has that 928 presence. These weren’t desirable Porsches for a long time, but pretty much anything with a Porsche badge on it is worth something these days. This car seems like a really good deal, considering the market.

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It also includes quite a few extra 928 parts, including an engine and a transaxle, fenders, doors, and another set of those “phone-dial” wheels. As expensive as this typical “Porsche Tax” tends to be on parts, any extras thrown in with a car are a welcome sight.

So that’s what we’ve got for today: American king-sized personal luxury versus state-of-the-art-in-its-day German grand touring. Two different ways of making use of the melodious pulse and relentless torque of a V8 engine. Which one do you prefer?

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(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)

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ScottyB
ScottyB
1 month ago

How the hell did that Newport get ordered with red seats and a black roof, bleh.

My grandparents had a ’78 Newport 4-door hardtop, same creamy white, vinyl interior and red top. I irrationally loved that car. But damn did those power brakes mean business, mash the pedal too hard and an instant fishtail sandwich was served.

Theotherotter
Theotherotter
2 months ago

Normally a $4500 928 would scare the heck out of me, but that one is enticing enough to bite on.

67 Oldsmobile
67 Oldsmobile
2 months ago

That Porsche looks like a screaming deal. The Chrysler is nice enough as well,but I would rather spend my money on repainting the Porsche than rewiring the Chrysler.

Alan Christensen
Alan Christensen
2 months ago

I spent a year and a half helping out a sick friend living in a tiny village near Silver City. There’s an interesting blend of people there, from ranchers and miners to artists, to college students, to people whose ancestors have been there from when New Mexico was still old Mexico, or even before the Spanish came. So while most folks in the area drive utilitarian vehicles, there are a good share of unexpected rides parked at Walmart or along Bullard Street. So a 928 probably wouldn’t raise any eyebrows in Silver, just some scoffing from drivers of dirt covered Super Duty flatbeds. The nearest Porsche dealership is in El Paso, so it takes some dedication and wrenching skills to keep that 928 running. The spare parts indicate the owner is that kind of guy.

Angular Banjoes
Angular Banjoes
2 months ago

I love Porsches, but I could never get onboard with the 928. I still think they’re ugly as sin, but it’s still my pick.

I also have a thing for random cool cars in weird-ass places, and Silver City New Mexico is definitely a weird-ass place.

Patrick Szczypinski
Patrick Szczypinski
2 months ago

I’m for the 928 of course, but you’d better believe that “runs and drives fine” it doesn’t for $4500: guarantee you’re dropping a few grand you get this thing to a place a new owner would find decent enough to cruise.

Also, the automatic in this car isn’t a penalty but is in many ways more desirable than a manual – it works great and this is a GT highway cruiser, not a flingable sports car.

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
2 months ago

Gimme the Newport just to be different- this one was so difficult to choose but lately I’ve been really wanting a land yacht; like a New Yorker or Lincoln Mark V, so this Newport will work

Rapgomi
Rapgomi
2 months ago

I love love love my big 70s Chryslers! I learned to drive in a 1978 New Yorker Brougham and owned a 75 Imperial Coupe for several years. But that rough interior and home scrambled wiring is a real problem in a car that is all about lazy boy sofa comfort.

And the 928 is easily worth $4500 just in parts (both in it and with it). If it runs at all, much less well enough to road trip, it is too much of a bargain to pass up.

A win to the 928!

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