Reader Ride: Matt’s 1983 928RS Carrera That Porsche Should Have Built

Some of the Reader Ride features submitted to this site have been fantastic hot rod/restomod (whatever you want to call it) examples of classics — the Dinsdale Piranha V12 Porsche, the MGB GT-Twincam, and the ’75 Capri JPS spring to mind…but this next feature is a testimony to dedication and craftsmanship that is mind boggling.  And my mind isn’t easily boggled. 

This 1983 Porsche 928 has been thoroughly customized by Matthew John Mariani into a the Porsche 928 Carrera RS that Porsche should have built.  Lets start off with some custom concept sketches from Matt and then get into the build.

In Matt’s own words:

I bought my first 928 a few years ago having only owned (or wanted) air cooled Porsches.  I found a one owner, 57k mile example from ’83.  As a study for myself, I spent a year transforming it into the 928 Carrera RS “Porsche could have built”.

Year / Make / Model / Trim ?

1983 Porsche 928S

How long have you owned it?

Owned it 3 years

Why did you buy it?

bought it because my 1986 Carrera (IROC Tribute i built) was totaled
and i wanted to try something different. (It’s actually a lot more fun,
fast and handles better than my departed Carrera 3.2 which weighed 2550

What do you use it for (commute, fun, racing…etc)?

I use it for fun with the family and DE days. I use it for work too once in a while

Is it stock or modified? If modified, please list some modifications.

It is modified:

Weighs 2640 pounds with a 1/4 tank of fuel and fully trimmed interior.

It has a one off fibreglass “ducktail” spoiler i designed for the 928 from early Porsche spoiler studies.

It is painted early gulf racing blue which is the lighter duller variation..

It has a sticker which states “DEPRESS CLUTCH FULLY BETWEEN SHIFTS”  on the instrument pod, Like the 911 IROC Carreras had on their dashes so the NASCAR drivers understood how to drive a Porsche..  A trimmed down center consul inspired by the 924 Carrera GTS., Lexan door and hatch glass.

stripped it to bare metal (in my garage) painted it myself using Dupont
single stage urethane enamel  (IMRON) for that period look. 

went to work adding performance the Porsche way through
mechanical/efficiency improvements, lightness and simplification. I
wanted to experiment and see how  light and driver oriented a 928 could
be. I learned a lot.

For example: It has
the stock motor but i have tweaked the intake by porting the OE air flow
meter, added a lightweight SS exhaust, It has only 1 drive belt off the
crank, down from 5 belts in stock form. (When i first opened the hood
and saw all those belts it made me a little sad)It has manual steering. 

No stereo, AC, manual seating, rear seat delete, interior is simplified
like an ’80s 935, sunroof delete, modified bumpers, Lexan, Perlon
carpet, etc., etc. I spent hundreds of hours lightening and enhancing
the motor, suspension using Porsche 928 only and period correct methods.
I wasn’t shooting for Singer plush rather 1970’s Steve McQueen!

makes 270 BHP and being 700 pounds lighter than stock, feels like a
very different beast. It handles so well and brakes like hitting a brick
wall on it’s stock S calipers. I installed later S4 springs to lower
the front and new adjustable Konis.

I used later (1985-86)
tubular exhaust manifolds to lose the cast iron items to shed 30 lbs,
The entire exhaust weighs only a little over 30 lbs., down from about
110 lbs. I even lighten the fuel cap.  There is way too much to list

To answer the rest of your questions:

What was the most memorable day in your car (proposed to wife, 3rd child born in back seat…etc)?

My most memorable day was taking it to a Porsche parade with my 11 year old Son.

What was the most catastrophic failure of parts/components?

No failures yet, it’s a Porsche and extremely reliable. (touch wood)

What makes you want to keep owning this car?

I want to keep owning this car because the performance and raw sound (my custom light exhaust design) makes my knees weak.

Will you ever sell it?

I will never sell it, it will be my Son’s car one day.

I did a lot of research on this. I always wanted a gulf blue Porsche and wanted to try

the early gulf blue. The later gulf blue is more blue and prettier. Most 917s when restored

go for the latter.

I have been restoring old cars as a hobby for about 23 years.  I did my first restoration to a sea blue ’64 Karmann Ghia convertible i traded for my camera while at art school. 

started it right after College,  It tuned out to be a show winner some
how. But this is a very challenging and stressful hobby for me because
there is always a little flaw here and there. Typically i hate the car
i’ve restored for about 6 months after painting.

I built this 928 RS (after my beloved prussian blau 1986 911 Carrera Sunroof coupe was totaled).  But because 911 prices had gone so high,  i decided to try a 928 instead.

this is the car when Matt first purchased it.

am glad, this low mile 928 that had failing clearcoat and needed
paintwork became more exciting to drive than my tribute IROC 911 which
was also very light (2550lb) and fast..but not this fast and didn’t
handle as well.

911 are too expensive to modify
these days for most. Making a Porsche lighter and faster IS the Porsche
hobby to me so the 928 is a great one to start with. It has never left
me stranded in the 3 years iv’e been driving it and i’ve found it to be
every bit as reliable as my 911.

This 928 RS Carrera on paper is more potent than a 1993 RS America, much lighter and more torque (275 lbs).

FYI: The first page of the rennlist thread lists the major ideas i had about building the 1983 928 RS Carrera.

is too much that i’ve done to get the weight down (without cutting the
unit body) to bore you with here. There is a thread on rennlist that
goes into detail.

More specs from Matt’s rennlist post.

To Relocate the Ignition Key to the left side. This is simply a cool Porsche detail but not necessary.

A Simple, lighter interior and lighter upholstery is a must along with the removal of the heavy sound deadening.  Lighter front seats and steering wheel, lighter dash and instrument pod. Unnecessary electrics are to be removed.

The removal of the rear seats. Custom RS door cards, Perlon carpet. Glove box lid deleted, lightweight dash and pod.

A clean rear bumper cover without an exhaust opening. To Delete all unnecessary elements of this Porsche including headlamp washers.

A Lightweight, open and very loud exhaust which exits at each side in front of each rear wheel. (this screams my Porsche motor is up front!)  This will be a much lighter exhaust design. I will use 1985- 1986 928 lightweight stainless steel tubular exhaust manifolds, these will save around 35 pounds over using the cast iron manifolds on my M.Y. 1983. They are also beautifully made.

Then, to a custom made Y-Pipe which goes into a collector, and out the sides as shown.

DT Ed Vince: The best part about this build is the dedication to weight reduction and the use of a kitchen scale to confirm that modifications have given the desired reduction in mass — a fantastic example of the “Gram Strategy” used by an individual.

If you’ve made it this far down the post…good for you, have a video.

Big thanks to Matt for the pics and info, this thing is incredible.  


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or follow this questionnaire .

Year / Make / Model / Trim ?

How long have you owned it?

Why did you buy it?

What do you use it for (commute, fun, racing…etc)?

Is it stock or modified? If modified, please list some modifications.

What was the most memorable day in your car (proposed to wife, 3rd child born in back seat…etc)?

What was the most catastrophic failure of parts/components?

What makes you want to keep owning this car?

Will you ever sell it?