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Corvette C3 vs Porsche 928

 
Old 05-12-2019, 03:13 AM
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Ad0911
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Default Corvette C3 vs Porsche 928

I know this will not be a popular statement here but as an alround car enthousiast and real Porsche fan I thought I might trow in this observation. I just watched the episode of the Corvette C3 on Wheeler Dealers. The car in the show was a 1968 (convertible). I was impressed by the design, performance and brakes (4 pot) and various other stuff like healights, the nice way the windscreen wipers are tucked in. This car is 10 years older than the oldest Porsche 928. Even so, the Americans regarded the 928 as a car ahead of its time. Why is that? From what I've seen, the Corvette C3 of 1968 was more ahaed of its time. What is your opinion?

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Old 05-12-2019, 05:12 AM
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For starters, the automotive world has a short attention span looking into the future and rarely to the past. The C3 Vette was based on the Mako Shark II concept car which was very ahead of it's time. But by the time 1978 rolled around it was 10 year old and getting rather long in the tooth.
A base 78 Corvette has 185bhp and weighted 3,500lbs.

There really isn't any point in comparing a '68 Vette to a 928, completely different era. The '68 Corvette was also a POS, which is why production was cut short and the fixes were include with the '69 model.

The '68 Vette being revolutionary in 1968 doesn't take away from what the 928 was to the automotive world in 1978.

However, I've always theorized the late 60's had a lot to do with Porsche's decision to design the 928. The Corvette got bigger and longer, Ferrari Daytona was released, Jaguar E-Type was considered one of the best cars on the road etc.. Porsche saw the high end car market moving away from nimble lightweight sports cars in favor of larger Grand Turismo automobiles. The 911 did not fit into this future so Porsche had to design a revolutionary GT and bingo, the 928 was born.
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Old 05-12-2019, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Ad0911 View Post
Even so, the Americans regarded the 928 as a car ahead of its time. Why is that? From what I've seen, the Corvette C3 of 1968 was more ahaed of its time. What is your opinion?
My general impression (without being really knowledgeable) of the Corvette is that the early models (C1) were in fact rather ahead of the time with things like fuel injection even being offered. My impression about the C3 was that it had become a car with more-or-less standard US running gear but covered in fiber glass.

I am by the way a fan of American cars up until about the early 70's. Some day I do want to pick up an older US car. Not sure how old but something from the 60's or 50's. Maybe even just a classic truck. Not sure yet. And I do not want to appear a snob on this subject. It's just my impression about the early Corvettes.

Will be interesting to hear the answers on this.
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Old 05-12-2019, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Ad0911 View Post
From what I've seen, the Corvette C3 of 1968 was more ahaed of its time. What is your opinion?
Just drive one of those Corvettes and then tell us which you think was ahead of its time. Sometimes the car and driving experience is more than the sum of its parts.
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Old 05-12-2019, 11:49 AM
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First off, the very early 'Vettes were crap. The 53 had a straight 6 and a 2 speed Powerglide. It's performance was...
Lacking.
It was brought out in response to the GIs returning from Europe who were bringing back real sports cars. Those were also very underpowered, but they had actual transmissions, were much lighter and handled far better (still crap by today's standards).

Later ones were improved, but still not 'great.' As Hacker noted, while the 68 was 'revolutionary' in many ways, it had a lot of faults.

OTOH, the 928 was the 'whole package'. Performance (for it's time), handling, comfort, 'advanced technology' (again, for it's time), all of that.

And I will disagree with Hacker to some degree about the 'intentions' behind the 928.

Porsche did not want to replace the 911. They felt that they had to. In the early 70s, when the 928 was first conceived, cars with air cooled engines in the back were 'endangered.' Ralph Nader had killed the Corvair due to safety concerns, and it would be virtually impossible for rear engined cars to meet proposed safety regs (those never came to be). Also, the new EPA regs were going to make air cooled motors very hard to make compliant. It was a very real possibility that the 911 was not going to be able to be sold in the US.
So Porsche had to come up with something that they could sell in their largest market.

As Hacker noted, the 'long hood hatchback GT' was becoming the 'in thing', so rather than design a new 'sports car', Porsche followed fashion and went with the 928.
The safety regs ever happened (and Porsche tamed some of the handling issues), and the engineers found ways to make the air cooled motor in the 911 meet the regs, although the early 'smog' flat 6 motors were seriously down on power.
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Old 05-12-2019, 12:14 PM
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Drove in a mint C3 lately, an original owner car with chrome bumpers. The guy actually bought it in 1972. Gorgeous car on the outside. Horrible on the inside, just cheap even though it was mint.

No performance whatsoever. Made lots of nice noises, was in no way, shape or form comparable to even the lowliest 928 in performance.
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Old 05-12-2019, 12:19 PM
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I owned a very nice low mileage '75 for 12 years. It was nice to look at, comfortable seating, handled great (especially with the optional gymkhana suspension) and braking was phenomenal. Standard T-Tops were also fun in the summer.

Performance wise, it couldn't get out of its own way with only 165 hp...my motorcycle puts out 10 MORE hp. Removing all emissions equipment and installing a true dual exhaust with headers helped, but not much. Of course models from '68 to '72 were much better.

Quality was horrible and imo the car was all form over function. Little to no engineering, everything seemed like an afterthought, sort of like a kit car built in a barn. Wiring was spaghetti run everywhere with no loom protection or even friction tape. The high speed heater fan relay placed inches above the exhaust manifold is an example of the stupidity. Everything was a nightmare to work on...for something as simple as replacing the radiator, you had to remove the hood, support the frame on level blocks and then unbolt and remove the front frame core support as one assembly. Half the engine compartment was buried under overhanging fenders (worse than a 928). Headlights and hidden wiper doors are operated with vacuum and not reliable as the car ages.

The fit and finish of the body was pathetic, basically a 10 footer off the showroom floor. There's a reason you couldn't buy one in black from '70 to '76.
Plenty of cheap poor fitting plastic in the interior. T-Tops loved to leak, especially while driving as the wind pressure forced the water in. The A/C system in top condition was next to useless. Many guys rip it out and replace it with a Vintage Air system.

Plenty of rust issues. Frames are prone to rust, but no more than any other car. The hidden "bird cage" is what needs to be checked by someone who really knows the cars. The windshield frame is part of it and is often Swiss cheese. The rot can continue down into the lower kick panel area creating a death trap of a car that may look new on the outside. You won't find a '74 or '75 with original urethane bumper covers, they would literally crumble and fall apart while driving.

Honestly, my Chevy Vega was built 100 times better and my little '78 Monza town coupe with the factory 5.0 V8 would have blown away any '73 on up C3...but that was Chevy's little secret.

The C5 Corvette is more on par with a '78 928. That's also when GM decided to put the trans in the rear.

Oh and then there's the whole purity thing. Visit the C3 section of the Corvette Forums to see some of those freaks in action. To many, your C3 is worthless if it doesn't have the original #s matching engine. Some of those guys will die a little inside if you mention you'll be repainting the car in a different color than what it came off the assembly line with. Any little change is a sacrilege against the mighty Corvette gods. Worst part is they made one of those guys a moderator who's an instructor and has written books on the subject...yet he gets angry and deletes your posts when you point out he doesn't know how to change his own brake pads.
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Old 05-12-2019, 12:20 PM
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Old 05-12-2019, 12:54 PM
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Well, it just confuses everything, narrows the market and re-sale if you ever sell. What does it dyno? That might convince someone of its merits. If you blow the P engine, it is a reasonable replacement, if you can't get or pay for a real P engine.

Do what you want with your property.
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Old 05-12-2019, 01:09 PM
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Having driven dozens of Corvettes over the years and owning more than a few, it's laughable to compare a "C3" to a 928. Even the early ones. The Corvette was crude, albeit powerful, but lacking refinement until the fourth generation Corvette came along - and even then, it took several years to further refine the world class "C4".

A 1989 six-speed Corvette is quite a capable machine, and this era of Corvette was dominant in the sports car arena. Look no further than the 1988-1989 Corvette Challenge series as to how the cars were relegated to their own series after dominating the SCCA races in years prior. The Corvette continued to evolve, becoming a more "comfortable" cruiser, as seats flattened and interiors were updated. But again, take an 89 with Sport Seats and a ZF6, and you have a wonderful car. But not a 1968.
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Old 05-12-2019, 01:26 PM
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But... It's still really COOL.
1 off custom interior, great pedigree, Dyno # great,
Could go on for days
But the best part is it's really really fun to drive.

PS, I have multiple "Properly sorted 928's"
But... This one has it's place and it's Fun
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Old 05-12-2019, 02:49 PM
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I fully understand my observation was controversial at least. I have no driving experience in C3's or any Corvette so I only have the pictures presented on Wheeler Dealer to compare. And I must say, at Chevrolet they did know how to make an appealing car. And as usual at Wheeler Dealer, the car always is fantastic after Edd China does his magic. But I'll stick to my 928 no matter what.
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Old 05-12-2019, 03:12 PM
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I have had several Corvettes over the years. My favorite of all was an '89. Black on Black bored balanced blueprinted all performance mods to the max. Super car in it's own right and would dust any stock 928gts.
I currently own an '88 928s4 and by far I would rather own the 928, it's not even a fair comparison.
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Old 05-13-2019, 02:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Ad0911 View Post
I know this will not be a popular statement here but as an alround car enthousiast and real Porsche fan I thought I might trow in this observation. I just watched the episode of the Corvette C3 on Wheeler Dealers. The car in the show was a 1968 (convertible). I was impressed by the design, performance and brakes (4 pot) and various other stuff like healights, the nice way the windscreen wipers are tucked in. This car is 10 years older than the oldest Porsche 928. Even so, the Americans regarded the 928 as a car ahead of its time. Why is that? From what I've seen, the Corvette C3 of 1968 was more ahaed of its time. What is your opinion?
The 1978 928 is what the 1968 C3 Corvette should have evolved into and not the C4.

I've had the following C3's: '70 350 300HP 4spd, '73 LS4 454 275HP, and an '81 190 whopping HP. After 1970 they dropped compression ratios and performance suffered. The older C3's had vinyl dashes and consoles, but the console inserts and dash and bezels where metal. The fiber optics light monitoring system was pretty cool, not sure when Cadillac later included that same feature in their cars. 68's were known to have electrical fires, but 69 and 70's are really fun cars. If you want to cruise the main drag, you can't go wrong in one. It's just a sexy car when you're sitting in one and you have those wheel humps out in front of you. Just for reference, a 78 C3 with the optional L82 was putting out 220HP, and I think they were back to hitting 0-60 in 6 seconds, but you'd probably be turning 3000 rpm's at 65 mph.

But if you need to get from point A to point B and you'll be behind the wheel for a couple hours, there's nothing like the 928.
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Old 05-13-2019, 09:16 AM
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Perhaps the best way to compare cars fairly is to consider their design goals and how well they met them. But another way is to ask yourself which you'd rather take out for a drive today if you had both. You might find it difficult to explain why, since it's not something you think about - you just know.

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A fascinating thing about Corvettes is that even today, they are powered by pushrod 2-valve engines (last I knew). In that sense, they are the shark, the primitive animal that followed a narrow evolutionary path to reach a high state.
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