Long before Tom Cruise jumped on the sofa declaring his love on Oprah and even before he became a Scientology-loving dude with some strange vibes, he was just another pretty face in Hollywood doing all the movies he could. Enter Risky Business, a coming of age movie that came out in 1983 and featured Tom Cruise with a dorky haircut. Other than the man himself, the movie starred a gold Porsche 928 in a key role and helped it make it the head-turner it is today.
Frankly, it’s difficult to decide who looks better in the movie: Rebecca De Mornay in all her splendor, or the Porsche 928.
Either way, both looked better than Tom Cruise considering his appeal only came into the light once the 1986-made Top Gun came out. But despite him not being a big star, Risky Business did well as a movie and earned nearly ten times at the BO as opposed to what cost to make it.
It made Tom Cruise a teen fantasy, and the Porsche 928 a star car. So, which is the Porsche 928 that looked better than Tom Cruise in Risky Business and where is it now?
That One Dedicated Fan
In the ‘90s, Lewis Johnsen began to look up the World Wide Web for pictures of the Porsche 928 because he had seen the movie when he was 14, and it left a rather lasting impression on the young Johnsen in more ways than one. Not only did it inspire him to strive to get into college (Cruise’s Goodson got into Princeton), he also wanted to own the sharp-nosed Porsche 928. Rather he wanted the one from the movie. Apparently, he was as big an autophile as Tom Cruise himself.
Thankfully, unlike Cruise’s character, he did not go looking for trouble with ladies of the night, even if they looked as hot and collegian as Rebecca De Mornay. Or so we hope…
After getting his college degree and even producing a home-improvement TV show in Denver, Johnsen finally got into corporate marketing. But the car never left his mind.
Finally, after many fruitless searches, he decided to get in touch with the producer of Risky Business, Jon Avnet, who graciously decided to help.
Before we tell you about the car, here's a snippet: in the end, Johnsen made the documentary, The Quest for RB 928, and here is all his research…
The Porsche 928 of Risky Business
Apparently, a total of five (or even six) cars were used for the shoot of Risky Business, and surprisingly, all of them came bearing differences in years, models, transmissions, etc.
The movie car, per se, is a 1981 Platinmetallic 920 that ran on a five-speed manual and had Phone-dial cast alloy wheels as well as gold interiors and a license that read N2Z 264.
The primary driver was indeed a 1981 Platinmetallic 928 but with an automatic transmission. It was originally rented from stockbroker Ted Kohl for $500 a day and when he wanted out, the lease was taken over by his lawyer, James Schlifke, who ultimately lost $1,500 on the deal and then sold the car quietly, to a foreign buyer. He did not even mention that this was a movie car, thinking the car would be devalued. Tom Cruise was not a big name at the time.
The second car was 1979 928 and apparently, Avnet taught Tom how to drive stick in it. The late Jim Riccio, Risky Business’ transportation head, rented it from props or movie-car broker in California and there it was returned.
The third car was used in just one scene as a "fill" car when De Mornay knocks it out of gear and no documentation could be found on it.
The last and the fourth of the Porsche 928 was the one that went for that famous dip in Lake Michigan, and it was rented from a props guy in California before being dumped. It was actually brown and painted to match the gold, as were some of the other cars. It was emptied, inside out, and then dumped. Then it was fished out, dried, reassembled, and shipped back to the props guy.
Finally, two more 928s were used for the post-production and there could have been another one but none of these were movie cars.
So Where Is The Risky Business Porsche 928 Now?
Johnsen managed to track down the second car, the one that was a five-speed manual and he managed to buy it. Later, he scraped off some of the white re-paint, to see the gold beneath and was able to verify that it was, indeed one of the movie cars.
But by now, the car was old and Johnsen was out of funds. He also realized that the car chase had been fruitless and that his teenage dream was just that, a dream. But he kept the car for a while, even taking it to the premiere of his movie, The Quest for RB 928 but later, this very car was put up for auction.
Clearly, selling and collecting movie cars is a risky business. No?
Sources: excellence-mag.com, Forbes