As reported by Autoweek, the 1979 Porsche 928 that’s prominently featured in the 1983 teen comedy classic Risky Business recently sold for an astronomical $1.98 million dollars at Barrett-Jackson in Houston, Texas. You read that correctly: one-point-nine-eight million.
What a figure. But then, what an excellent piece of film history. Risky Business is one of my favorite ‘80s films and the O.G. for its genre. Well, actually, Fast Times At Ridgemont High precedes it by a year, but as far as cult-classic ‘80s teen films made around the greater Chicagoland area go, it’s the first.
The 928 is also the O.G. when it comes to Porsches prominently featured in this genre in this era, and the one with the most screen time, too. Allow me to let my inner film dork flourish for a few moments while I make my point.
I think it’s safe to say that when people think of popular teen films of the ‘80s, John Hughes films come to mind first. Movies such as The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Weird Science, and Pretty In Pink are classics in any context. The first one Hughes wrote and directed, Sixteen Candles, debuted a year after Risky Business. Both films were mostly filmed in the North Shore of the Chicago suburbs, and both feature non-911 Porsches. The 928 appears in the latter, and a red Porsche 944 in the former.
What’s really cool is the choice to use the 928 was very intentional. According to Autoblog, director/writer Paul Brickman grew up in the area where the film is based and saw the 928 as the ideal car for its role in the film. It’s a car that a well-to-do upper-middle-class dad would own and happily utilize to commute to work in the City of Big Shoulders due south. The 928 is flashy, but not immensely so.
Going one further, the Porsche dealership where the car is actually serviced in the film after rolling into the drink sold the highest number of 928s in the country at the time. This cemented Brickman’s decision even more, and if you’ve seen the film, you’d probably agree that the equation balances out. Joel Goodsen’s dad would totally roll up to a Saturday morning Porsche Club of America meet in a goldish 928.
Hilariously, the aforementioned article also details that Porsche Cars North America refused to lend the film a couple 928s because the plot involved prostitution, even though it was quite possibly the best commercial for a 928, ever. Between the up-close shots of its bizarre pop-ups, the sight of it cruising around at night, getting very slowly chased up Lake Shore Drive by Vito (played by Joe Pantaliano), the little German coupe gets a ton of screen time.
The 928 is really a character in itself, too. It has trouble starting during a decisive moment, its 4.5-liter V8 makes for a nice addition to the film’s soundtrack, and the fact that Joel decided to turn his house into a brothel only came into play in the plot because he needed the money to fully mend the 928. This bumps up the coupe’s prominence immensely, and I can see why it fetched so much money at auction, especially during this current bizarrely high-dollar era of collecting cars.
I wonder if John Hughes saw the 928 and thought, “Wow, we need a non-911 Porsche in Sixteen Candles.” He lived in the Chicagoland area himself, and would totally select the slightly-less expensive 944 as the perfect car for an upper-middle-to-upper class popular high school kid to drive. I wonder if Lee Klinger Porsche sold its fair share of 944s, too.
Paul Brickman didn’t make any teen comedies after Risky Business, but John Hughes certainly did. In fact, he went on to include a 928 S in Weird Science and a 911 SC in Pretty in Pink. Since these came after Brickman’s film, with a masterpiece of a soundtrack I might add, you could say that the 928 is the true original Porsche icon of ‘80s teen films. And probably the only one where a Porsche plays a very prominent role (No Man’s Land doesn’t count), which helps explain this particular 928’s auction-block-busting figure.
But please, don’t go thinking that now all 928s are suddenly tremendously more valuable.