Achieving (Northern) Light Speed In An Icelandic Porsche 928
Photography by Birgir & Bjorn Kristinsson
The mythical yet existent Aurora Borealis is one of the world’s most strikingly beautiful and surreal sights to behold, and so seeking them out is a special occasion indeed. Here in Iceland, many people both local and native venture into the frozen north to catch a sight of the saturated ribbons of light hanging from the sky (indeed, thousands of people travel to Iceland every year to try to get a glimpse of this wonderful phenomenon). And while many will pack up sleeping bags, food, and other conveniences in a utilitarian rental car or something of the sort, the V8-propelled Porsche 928 is a far more fun choice of vessel.
On our recent trip, the 928 proved to be the perfect cruiser to go hunting for the natural light show, as you have to get away from the city lights quickly and into the darkness of Iceland’s countryside to find them and enjoy the sights to their fullest, with no added light pollution seeping in from civilization. The clear skies from August until April make it possible to see these gorgeous gaseous dancing colors as they shift in position and shade, revealing almost the entire rainbow’s array of hues. This is one of the best examples of nature’s ability to inspire awe, though it is not always the easiest to capture in a photograph.
The chosen chariot for this Northern Lights hunt was a Porsche 928 S4 with the 5.0. lump putting out 320 horsepower from its very un-Porsche position up front. Thankfully the 4-speed automatic in the back helps balance things out with a perfect 50/50 weight distribution, which makes this car surprisingly able-bodied in the corners in addition to its excellence as a GT car to eat up highway mileage. Back in the day, the S4 set two FIA international speed records on the Bonneville Salt Flats, hence the license plate on this particular S4: “SPEED.”
The owner, Sigfus B. Sverrisson, whom you might know from the video about his Corvette, or “Coldvette,” found this pristine example of an S4 on eBay in the United States, and then had the 928 transported to Iceland. With only 60,000 miles on the clock, this Grand Prix White beauty oozes the luxury and performance pinnacles of its era, and even at nearly 30 years old it is still modern and timeless in so many ways, and while purists may disagree with the choice, the 18-inch Panamera S wheels do help in keeping the look a little bit more contemporary.
Sigfus says he loves the mean shark-like look when the lights are recessed into the nose, but also the happy frog look with the lights up and shining their bright beams. This Porsche has a fun factor not only on the outside though of course, because it’s a hoot behind the wheel too—perfect for the Icelandic country road we chose to hunt for the Northern Lights at full speed.
In reflecting on this car and the excursion up north, I came across an uncredited poem about the 928 online, and feel that it is perfectly fitting here:
Ode to the 928
Dark as night and oh so sleek,
with howling voice of power she speaks.
Silky, slippery, shapely skin.
Timeless beauty, quick as sin!