Porsche 912 for sale?

1969 Porsche 912

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    PORSCHE 912 REVIEW (1965 – 1976)

    Overall Summary

    Dusty Cars Rating

    The Porsche 912 stood somewhere between the 356 and the new 911. It shared several of the 356’s features such as four-cylinder engines, low weight and affordability, while offering the 911’s timeless styling for far less money. Actually, its cost was probably the main reason why the 912 actually came to exist in the first place and also why it was so widely sold during its short life cycle.

    The first Porsche 912 came to existence in 1965 and the last one, not counting the later 912E, was produced until 1969. The later 912E model was produced in 1975 and 1976 and it served as an entry level model until the Porsche 924 appeared. During the first two years of production it actually outsold the 911. The main reason for this might be the fact of that the 911 came for a significant increase in price compared to the 356 and Porsche executives were smart to realize that they would have to find a middle-ground model that would follow the modernizing trend, but also remain within the price range of a higher number of people. The 912 was perfect for this and its sales confirmed that the decision of the executives was good.

    The Porsche 912 came in two body variants – coupe and Targa, the former being far more common with almost 30,000 produced units, while the Targa came with only about 2,500 cars. Furthermore, there were two versions of the Targa – Version I (or soft window Targa) and Version II (or hard window Targa).

    The engine used in the cars made from 1965 to 1969 was a 1.6 l 4-cylinder boxer, while the later 912E had a 2 l 4-cylinder boxer.

    In terms of driving, the main perk of the Porsche 912 was its low weight combined with RR layout which made its handling very precise and the car a joy to drive. Furthermore, low weight and low drag were also the reasons why the car gave the fuel efficiency of 30 MPG.

    The design was largely influenced by that of the initial 911 models. This car offered the modern and, as time has shown, timeless look of the 911, but with a less powerful engine and other exclusive 911 perks, the lack of which made it far more affordable.

    The Porsche 912 was superseded by the Porsche 914 in 1969.

    Driving & Performance

    The 912 had a fairly small 1.6 l engine, but it was also extremely light, weighing just over 2000 pounds. The 90-horsepower engine was good enough to push the car to 119 miles per hour and to help it reach 60 miles an hour in 11.8 seconds. To be honest, speed was not its main advantage. It became a legend due to its incredible weight distribution, RR layout, well-balanced boxer engines with low center of gravity, lightweight construction, renowned Porsche reliability and very precise steering. It was simply incredibly interesting to drive.

    Even though the RR layout can be pretty dangerous for novice drivers, the 912 had only 90 horsepower, so it was easy to control, while it still provided lots of fun.

    The car also featured a four-speed and a five-speed transmission with dog-leg gearing. Basically, in terms of driving, the only downside of the entry level 912 compared to the legendary 911 was the power rating.

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    Equipment & Comfort

    On the inside it was a lot like the 911 again. It was a 2+2, which means that it had two full-sized front seats and two rear seats which could hardly be considered sufficient. The front seats were pretty comfortable for cruising. They didn’t offer a lot of lateral support, but this was understandable since the car was not extremely powerful. Porsche does not deal with false pretense, so they made the seats comfortable rather than sporty.

    The dashboard had five dials, the central position being saved for the rev counter and the speedometer sitting right from it and being just a bit smaller. In the middle of the dashboard there’s a radio and on the far right, in front of the passenger, there’s a 912 moniker.

    Central column is fairly thin and it hosts only the transmission stick and a small handbrake. Even though the car is small, front passengers should have no problems with comfort in any of the normally problematic areas. Despite its size, the interior is cozy rather than claustrophobic.

    All of the controls are close at hand. The furthest is the radio and it is placed just above the transmission stick so it’s very close as well.

    As with all other Porsche cars, the interior is covered with high-quality materials. If it is in good condition, aging should not be a problem. Take care of it and it will last forever.

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    Running Costs

    Having in mind that all Porsche cars are extremely durable and reliable it is no wonder that their parts can be pretty expensive. A shock absorber from Bilstein costs about $150, although you can find cheaper ones from less popular manufacturers.

    However, genuine Porsche parts can be a lot more expensive. For example a genuine crankshaft costs more than $4,500. The good news is that you can buy others that are just as good. For example, you can get a SCAT Forged 4340 Billet Super-Lite Crankshaft for half the money of the genuine Porsche part and it is incredibly reliable.

    A flywheel from Sebro, just to give you another comparison of the price, costs about $450, while the genuine one just barely steps into four-figure territory.

    Whenever we are speaking about maintenance costs of a Porsche car there is always one huge advantage. Each and every one of them is incredibly reliable. If your Porsche 912 is in good condition, it is sure to stay that way for a long time. Moreover, not being heavy or extremely powerful means that it does not put a lot of strain on its parts, so they are sure to last even longer. Lastly, it shares some of the components with the 911 and if a part is good enough to support such a heavy-duty car, it is sure to last a lifetime on the 912.

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    History & Development

    By 1963 it was evident that the six-cylinder 911 was coming. It was supposed to significantly improve performance, introduce a new design philosophy, but at the same time, increase the production costs considerably, and consequently have the same effect on the price of the car. This would affect the sales in a negative way, so the company decided to offer similar styling but for a reduced price in the form of the 912. The 911 appeared one year earlier, in 1964, and it was an instant hit for any reason you could imagine. This is why when the 911 appeared in 1965, its sales skyrocketed. It gave a lot of the 911’s charm, but for considerably less money. The main cost reduction came from the four-cylinder boxer engine, which offered better performance than the 356’s engine, but also cost considerably less than the six-cylinder from the 911. The engine was a 1.6 l push-rod 616/36, which was very similar to the 616/16 used in the 356SC. It had lower compression ratio and power, but maximum torque was reached at 3500 RPM, which was significantly lower than the 4200 RPM of the 356’s engine. This made the car far better for driving than the 356 and also lighter and better handling then the initial Porsche 911 for sale.

    The Targa model was also present with the 912. The first one appeared in late 1966, as a 1967 model and it was called Version I, or soft window Targa, the nickname coming from the fact that it had a transparent plastic rear window which could be opened using a zipper. The later model called Version II, or hard window Targa, appeared in 1968 and it had a fixed rear window made of glass, which is very similar to today’s Targas.

    Even though the 912 was an entry level model, Porsche saw it as a very important part of its lineup. This is evident from the fact that it was actually 100,000th Porsche ever made. The car in question was a police car.

    Even though the 912 was extremely popular, many factors led to its discontinuance. Broading the engine options for the 911, changes in US emissions regulations, as well as starting an all new model – the 914 – and the 912 became too much for the company and it saw end of production in 1969.

    However, the car was extremely popular, so it got two more years of life in 1975 and 1976. The reason for this was the empty space of the entry level model that the 914 left after its end of production and before the all new 924 came. The 912E, as it was called, shared the design with the 911S. The engine was 2 l, four-cylinder boxer which produced 86 horsepower and had an all new fuel injection system by Bosch. Before the 924 came, more than 2000 912Es were made.

    The 912 was not meant to be a racing car, since it was an entry level model, but it proved to be very good for rally championships, winning two European Rally Championships in 1967, as well as the Rally of Poland the same year.

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    Facts & Figures

    BodyCoupe and Targa
    Engines1.6 L B4, 89 HP (1965 - 1969)
    2.0 L B4, 86 HP (1975 - 1976)
    Dimensions and weight
    Weight2,127 lbs
    Porsche 912 years of production
    Porsche 9121965 – 1969
    Porsche 912E1975 – 1976
    Porsche 356 production numbers
    912 Targa2,562
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