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Porsche 912: Buying guide and review (1965-1969)

Porsche 912: Buying guide and review (1965-1969) Classic and Performance Car
Porsche 912 Porsche 912
With the launch of the the recent 718 Boxster, there has been a lot of talk about four-cylinder Porsches recently. While the decision to downsize to four-cylinders has been met with a mixed response, it has put some focus onto Porsche’s history. Flat-four engines were after all how the company made its name with the 356 models. 
 
As the company moved to six-cylinder 911, Porsche figured out that there was a gap in the market for a cheaper, less-powerful coupe model, known as the 912. The company sold quite a few (actually more than the 911 in the first year), and it was a bit of hit in the USA. 
 
A 912 weighs 250lb less than an early 911, and all that weight is lost behind the rear wheels, improving the handling significantly. In an early comparison test, American racing driver Mark Donohue found the 912’s handling ‘most impressive’; he found the 911S ‘disappointing’. 
 
With disc brakes all round, fully independent torsion bar suspension and razor-sharp steering, a 912 can be very quick indeed across difficult roads. It was considerably cheaper and more economical than a 911, and although the engine produces a mere 90bhp (early 911s have 130bhp) the car was made with the same care and precision as its bigger-engined stablemate. 
 
Despite all this, for many years there was a stigma surrounding the 912 among Porsche enthusiasts. It was generally considered an inferior and cheapened version of the 911, and values remained low as a result. 
 
Today, this undeserved image has largely been forgotten, while prices remain particularly low when compared to similar-aged 911s. The engine was carried over from the 356, and it carried a significant weight advantage over the six-pot, and many regard it as the sweeter handing car. 

Which one to buy?

Most 912s are left-hand drive; right-hand drive examples carry a premium but weren’t necessarily sold new here, as South African imports aren’t unusual. Early 912s are desirable but less refined than later models, which in long-wheelbase form are also better tourers.

The UK-based 912 Register publishes a market update at the end of each year. There’s been a steady increase in values since 2006, but little change over the past few years thanks to few transactions taking place – the steady stream of cars being imported from the US has now more or less come to a halt.

The 912 is one of those cars that you buy according to condition rather than its age or specification. Having said that, the ultra-rare 1970s examples are best avoided, so focus on 1960s cars – which are the ones you’re most likely to see coming up for sale. There are still plenty of tatty cars out there but there are also quite a few that have been on the receiving end of some sympathetic upgrades to make the car more usable as well as more durable. It’s one of these you should be looking for – but unsurprisingly, the best cars are retained by doting owners who aren’t keen to sell them on.

Performance and specs

Engine 1582cc, flat-four
Power 90bhp @ 5800rpm
Torque 90 lb ft @ 3500rpm
Top speed 119mph
0-60mph 11.9sec
Fuel consumption 33mpg
Transmission Four- and five-speed manual

Dimensions and weight

Wheelbase 2211mm
Length 4163mm
Width 1610mm
Height 1320mm
Kerb weight 970kg

Common problems

• The bodywork can rot very badly, so on a freshly painted or undersealed car, ask to see photos of any work in progress. Cosmetic and structural rot are common, so look everywhere, focusing on the base of the pillars, door bottoms, battery tray, sills, wings and suspension mounts.

• Also check the floorpan, wheelarches and around the base of the rear window. Perished seals are also common; they accelerate corrosion and cost plenty to replace.

• Check for rot in the torque tubes in which the torsion bars run; corrosion here isn’t normal, but if it’s there, repairs can prove prohibitively expensive. Most panels are available to effect repairs, but costs can be ludicrously high, so beware.

• Engines are tough, but need 3000-mile oil changes. As long as an engine has these, 100,000 miles is possible between rebuilds, but overhauling a 912 powerplant can easily cost £10,000, with a few sympathetic upgrades. However, rebuilding a 912 engine shouldn’t cost as much as overhauling a 356 unit, even though they’re closely related.

• Gearboxes are strong too, but the nylon bushes under the gearlever wear out, making the shift vague; effective repairs are cheap and easy though.

• The interior trim is very hard to find and while much of it is reasonably durable (if not exposed to the sun for long periods), dash tops can split – and you’ll be doing well to find a replacement.

Model history

1965: The 912 is launched with a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine and a choice of coupé or Targa bodystyles. A four-speed manual gearbox is standard, but a five-speed transmission is optionally available.
1967: A new take on the Targa theme is introduced, with a zip-out soft rear window. In effect, these cars are cabriolets, with a roll bar.
1968: The longer-wheelbase bodyshell of the 911 is now used for the 912, with the rear wheels moved back by 57mm to improve the handling. These later cars are also distinguished by their flared wheelarches. Production lasts only into 1969 however, when the 912 is discontinued.
1976: The 912 is re-launched as the 912E, but production lasts just a year. There are now impact bumpers and a 2.0-litre VW engine. Underpowered and slow, these later cars are best avoided unless upgraded to give them the performance they deserve.

Owners clubs, forums and websites

www.verhoeven.net
www.classic912.freewebspace.com
www.912register.co.uk

Summary and prices

It’s an unusual car, but if you want the dainty looks of an early 911, then very little comes close to a 912 in terms of value. Good examples are now around the £25,000-£35,000 mark, although you can obvioulsy pay a lot more than this for a concours example. You can still just about bag a project car for as little as £10,000. The 1970s versions are generally cheaper, due to the fact that they’re less desirable.
Porsche 912 Porsche 912
Last updated: 18th May 2016
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Porsche 912
29500 79000 GBP
  • Lot 862

    Porsche 912

    £35,000 - £40,000 est. £35,000 - £40,000 est.
    Auction Date: 21 Jul 2018
    RESERVE PRICE
    • Mileage: 79630 mi
    • Engine size: 1550
    Auction Date: 21 Jul 2018
    £35,000 - £40,000 est. £35,000 - £40,000 est.
    Auction Date: 21 Jul 2018
    RESERVE PRICE
    Silverstone Auctions
    +44 (0) 1926 691 141 View contact number
  • Porsche - 912 - 1966

    €34,001 - €44,201.30 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €34,001 - €44,201.30 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
    Online Auction
    €34,001 - €44,201.30 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €34,001 - €44,201.30 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
  • Porsche - 912 - 1966

    €32,901 - €42,771.30 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €32,901 - €42,771.30 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
    Online Auction
    €32,901 - €42,771.30 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €32,901 - €42,771.30 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    RESERVE PRICE
  • Porsche 912

    £41,000 £41,000

    This beautiful Ivory White Porsche 912 SWB (Short Wheel Base) is up for a negotiated sale at £41,000, which is in the middle of our estimate range. Visit www.TradeClassics.com to see full details including over 300 images and videos. EXTERIOR The exterior of the car is in good condition and looks amazing in its original Light Ivory colour that matches the Certificate of Authenticity. The car is very solid and only has a small patch of welding on the front floor that has been expertly finished; all detailed in the images and videos. Wheels & Tyres The car has a beautiful set of steel wheels with chrome hubcaps. They are in excellent condition and look fantastic against the ivory bodywork. The tyres all have good tread and even wear. Bodywork From our visual inspection the bodywork looks to be rot free and as mentioned, David has recently completed a small bit of welding work on the driver’s foot well. As you’d expect with a 50 year old car, there are a few small blemishes, including two on the front part of the bonnet, a scratch on the OSR wing, and slight imperfection on the NS door. A good paint specialist may be able to fix these small issues without respraying the panels. These have been picked out in the images / videos. Our visual inspection of the underside looks rot free and will be confirmed by passing a new MOT before sale. The body panels also look free from any significant rust. There are no signs of issues / filler on any of the usual hot spot areas like the skuttle, window surrounds and B posts. The panel gaps look visibly correct over the car and all doors, bonnet and engine lid open and close with no issues. Paint As you’d expect, the car has been painted at some point during its life. If the few small bodywork points as mentioned above were remedied, then this car would fall into the excellent condition category quite easily. Glass and Trim All glass looks in excellent visible condition with a new windscreen recently fitted. The chrome / brightwork is in really good condition as you can see from the media file. INTERIOR The interior on this 912 is particularly lovely and original. Seats and Carpets The front and rear seats are all in good condition – there is a very small tear on the driver’s seat that can be easily fixed. David has fitted new carpets and seals all around. Dashboard The gauges are in original condition and worked during our test drive. The dashboard looks good too with no splits. The front part of the dashboard has been recovered at some point in black leather. Steering Wheel / Gear Stick The steering wheel looks original and is in lovely condition matching the patina of the rest of the interior. MECHANICS I have been out in the car two times to a total distance of about 5 miles. On both trips the car performed extremely well and started first go from cold with no smoke noticed. Engine and Gearbox Please see the video to see the cold start. The car started first time and once warm runs very smoothly and revs easily with no smoke. Suspension and Brakes As mentioned, the car handled as you’d expect on our short runs without any issue, i.e. the ride was smooth and the brakes pulled the car up straight. There were no suspension knocks or rattles to be heard from the car on our run, even over the roughest of ground. The Drive The car performed perfectly on our drives and was a joy to be out in. The engine, gearbox, clutch and suspension all worked well with no issues noticed. I was taken out in the car twice to a distance of about 5 miles with a maximum speed of about 50 mph. Electrics and Other No issues found during our inspection. A new fuel tank has also been fitted recently.

    • Year: 1968
    For sale
    £41,000 £41,000
  • Porsche 912

    POA POA

    This beautiful original Porsche 912 is of the first series and fitted with 3 dials. The Ruby-red 912 has the original engine and gearbox as the car came from the factory 53 years ago. The instruction Manuel from 1965 is there. The birth certificate states that the car comes from USA Pacific. What is not original: the sport exhaust system, but has a very nice sound. More information on: www.kucarfa.nl Visit only by appointment!

    • Year: 1965
    • Mileage: 90000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.6
    For sale
    POA POA
  • 1969 Porsche 912 Karmann Coupe

    $69,500(£0) $69,500(£0)

    Chequered Flag International is pleased to offer this 1969 Porsche 912 Karmann Coupe in Burgundy Red (6808) with Black interior. 5 speed. Superb rust and accident free example that still retains some original paint. Matching engine (#4095067) see reference site info below. CoA inbound. Extensive work has been done from 2013 to 2017 which included a complete engine rebuild with 1720cc piston/cylinder upgrade kit ($8843) + new steering rack, new exhaust, new carbs, complete braking system overhaul, heater valves, etc. Mechanically top notch and drives better than any I've driven. Paint is very presentable but not perfect - as mentioned some is original and some panels have been painted over the years, the overall effect is pleasing but not quite up to the quality of its body, mechanicals and interior. 5 Superb unrestored 14'' Fuchs. Interior is superb, original Blaupunkt, superb seats, roof liner, carpets and door panels. Dash is excellent with one hidden tiny crack (shown). This 912 is totally dialed in mechanically and has very high body integrity and perfect panel fit. Comes with its tools, jack, spare, receipts for the last four years of work, handbook, etc. Inspections encourage

    For sale
    $69,500(£0) $69,500(£0)
  • 1976 Porsche 912 E

    $29,500(£0) $29,500(£0)

    This 1976 Porsche 912 E is in the rarely seen color of Arrow Blue with Black. This sunroof 912 has spent most of its life in Southern California and has records back to April 1981. Built for only one Model year, 1976. Porsche introduced the 912E (internal factory designation 923) in North America, which shared the "G-Series" bodywork with the 911S. T he 912E was powered by an 86 bhp 2.0L Volkswagen air-cooled engine, refined with a Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection system. The 912E occupied the entry-level position left vacant by the discontinuation of the 914, while the new 924 was being finalized and put into production. During the production run of May 1975 to July 1976, Porsche manufactured nearly 2100 units of the 912E, targeted for the USA market. Around 2000 this car changed hands and went to a collector on the East Coast where the car saw little to no use. The current owner lives in Northern California and aquired the car two years ago. Engine no.4060629 Mechanicals are strong. Motor is sound. No smoke. Good gear box and clutch. This car drives nicely at speed or in town. Painted in its original color of Arrow Blue (color code 305-9-2) The paint is driver quality with a consi

    • Year: 1976
    • Mileage: 160672 mi
    For sale
    $29,500(£0) $29,500(£0)
  • Porsche 912 Targa Soft Window White '67

    €79,000(£0) €79,000(£0)

    >>>>> Oldtimerfarm specializes in consignment sales of vintage and collection cars and we are proud to present you this car. Oldtimerfarm is located in Belgium, 9880 Aalter, Steenweg op Deinze 51C, where this car is in our showroom. We are open from Tuesday to Saturday 10-17h (also without appointment). We are closed on Sundays and Mondays. Mondays on appointment only. Make sure you scroll down to look at the extensive photo report (100 pictures). Of course, a more detailed description can be obtained by telephone. Contact us: Xavier: 0032 472 40 1338 (NL, FR, DE, EN, IT) info@oldtimerfarm.be Olivier: 0032 473 11 7300 (NL, FR, DE, EN) olivier@oldtimerfarm.be Oldtimerfarm from Aalter would also like to sell your classic car or car collection. For more information, please contact Xavier. Exhibitions where you can find us: Pictures of the car:

    • Year: 1967
    For sale
    €79,000(£0) €79,000(£0)
  • 1968 Porsche 912 Targa

    POA POA

    (SOLD) It is almost impossible to find a well-documented, original, black plate 912. It comes with the original factory maintenance records, owner’s manual, and all Porsche paperwork. This 912 is in a beautiful color combination of silver with black interior, and sports Fuchs Alloy wheels. It features a Blaupunkt AM/FM radio with Hirschman antenna, matching spare tire and wheel, and a correct tool roll and jack. This unmolested original 912 has been maintained and serviced on a regular basis, with tremendous patina.

    • Year: 1968
    • Mileage: 99998 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
  • 1968 Porsche 912 Soft Window Targa

    POA POA

    (SOLD) This Porsche 912 has been restored to a Show/driver level by Classic Showcase Inc. In the process of the restoration The vehicle has been stripped to bare metal repainted color sanded and buffed. Our professional upholsterer updated the interior with new seats, new panels, new carpet and a restored targa top. A Full mechanical service and vehicle detail was performed by Classic showcase. It has a new interior and new rubber. It has also been upgraded to dual Weber carburetors for better driveability. This is an original California car.

    • Year: 1968
    For sale
    POA POA
  • 1966 Porsche 912 Coupe

    POA POA

    (SOLD) Classic Showcase is currently performing a Show/Driver level restoration on this early Porsche 912 coupe as it had all the desirable early features of a 912 which made it a great candidate for restoration. This coupe has had two previous owners and had been in storage for many years prior to our acquiring it. The engine has been freshly rebuilt to factory specifications, and all other systems are in the process of being rebuilt to the same high level. The transmission and the hydraulic system have been completely rebuilt, restored or replaced, all brake and fuel lines were replaced, and the gas tank was epoxy sealed. This 912 has many original mechanical features such as a 5 speed transmission, locking steering column ignition switch (which is very rare on the 912), three-instrument painted dash, factory European gas heater mounted in the smuggler’s box with controls on the dash, 4-screw front horn grille, and an original interior. Now it has updated CV’s, axles, new brakes, with a new suspension and rubber. During this rotisserie restoration, we metal finished the coupe, fit to a high level, primered, painted in base coat and clear coat, painted all the parts off the car, a

    • Year: 1966
    • Mileage: 100 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
  • 1966 Porsche 912 Coupe

    POA POA

    (SOLD) This 1966 Porsche 912 Coupe offers a great combination for the onlooker who is really interested in early SWB 912/911’s. This example is an original Irish Green over black car (confirmed by a Certificate of Authenticity), three-gauge 912 with the correct engine and offered with a five-speed transmission, one of the very few options available; an excellent and highly desirable combination. While early history is not entirely known we do know that it resided in Texas for quite some time up until about 2004 when it was acquired by a California enthusiast who kept it for some time. During this ownership the car received paint and an engine rebuild. It was hardly driven since and today should receive minor sorting and finishing to be considered a superbly restored example that would be show and tour worthy. The benefits of early Porsche ownership in today’s market are huge. There is a fantastic following of enthusiasts. But more importantly are the cars that will continue to define the brand and the market. These early three-gauge 912’s will certainly prove to be valuable pieces of Porsche history and the ultimate combination of 356 power and 911 styling.

    • Year: 1966
    • Mileage: 201 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
  • Porsche 912

    POA POA

    1966 PORSCHE 912 An extraordinary example restored to an astonishingly high standard with simply jaw-dropping attention to detail. This is perhaps the finest example available for sale anywhere in the world today. The full nut bolt restoration, recently completed without consideration for cost, has produced a showstopper which will surely wow the crowds at any Porsche concours event.Handsome in Scwartz with Red Leather and ready to be enjoyed.

    For sale
    POA POA