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

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


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.
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Last updated: 18th May 2016
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Porsche 912 cars for sale

16 Search results
Porsche 912
12675 47125 GBP
  • Porsche 912 1968


    73000 Miles

    • Year: 1968
    For sale
    The Classic Connection
    01425 489575 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • 1966 Porsche 912

    £47,125 £47,125

    Chequered Flag International is pleased to offer this 1966 (built 1965) Porsche 912 SWB 5 speed Coupe in Light Ivory with Black interior. 75,364 miles with one owner who owned it till his death this year at '91. Still registered with its original title. All correct and matching numbers and colors, etc. Engine # 742635. Paint code #6604. Perfect body with no rust or damage ever. Mostly original paint, hood and front fenders have had a repaint at some point. No dings or scratches. Interior is fantastic and as far as I can tell original. Perfect headliner and sun visors, incredible seats, rears looked unused. Door panels and dash are incredible. The instruments look restored but are original, rubber mats were covered and are perfect. Mechanically excellent, no smoke on start up, good power, light clutch, great gearbox with good syncros, etc. Original carbs, distributor, etc. Comes with its original sales documents verifying engine # and ownership, (see below) books, records, original tool kit, jack and spare. Inspections encouraged. All sales AS-IS. Sales tax and license fees due if delivered in California. Visit Chequered Flag International online at chequeredflag.com to see more pic

    • Year: 1966
    For sale
  • 1967 PORSCHE 912 COUPE

    £36,725 £36,725

    --Guards Red, Black Interior, Restored, up-rated 1.6 liter engine, 4-Speed Manual Transmission. This 912 hot rod was restored with the intention to use for vintage rallies. This particular 912 was purchased by its last Porsche collector/owner as a project to build and use as a road tour and vintage rally car. In keeping with the competition theme, the 912 was striped for a bare metal respray and the interior taken down to the bare essentials. All the original seats and parts have been boxed up and saved should its next owner wish to return the 912 to a regular street variation. New Fuchs alloy wheels were put on the Porsche for a superior look and in keeping with the expensive available option in the day. The original wheels also come with the car. The original engine was removed and crated for protection and a new bored out 912 4 cylinder engine sourced from the West coast, tuned and installed for increased performance and reliability. New Elephant adjustable suspension has been fitted to compensate for this new more powerful engine and the 912’s brake system also overhauled to complete the package. This particular 912 provides a great opportunity for any collector looking for a g

    • Year: 1967
    • Mileage: 2016 mi
    For sale
  • 1968 Porsche 912 Coupe


    San Diego, CA 92081 1968 PORSCHE 912 COUPE VIN# 12802427 58478 MILES: 58,500 The Porsche 912 was manufactured by Porsche of Germany between 1965 and 1969 as their entry-level model. The 912 is a nimble-handling compact performance four-seat vehicle, delivering 90 SAE horsepower at 5800 rpm. It is capable of up to 30 miles per US gallon fuel economy. This combination is possible because of a high-efficiency engine, low weight, and low drag. A variant of the Type 911, one of the most famous and successful sports cars of all time, the Type 912 initially outsold the 911, boosting the manufacturer’s total production until success of the 911 was assured. As production of the 356 model concluded in 1965, on April 5, 1965 Porsche officially began production of the 912 coupe. Styling, performance, quality construction, reliability, and price made the 912 a very attractive buy to both new and old customers, and it substantially outsold the 911 during the first few years of production. Porsche produced nearly 30,000 912 coupe units. Sold to the public for street use, the Porsche 912 has also proven successful as a race car, from production years to current vintage events. In 1967 the 912 cont

    • Year: 1968
    For sale
  • 1968 Porsche 912 Soft Window Targa


    (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
  • 1968 Porsche 912 Targa


    (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
  • 1966 Porsche 912 Coupe


    (SOLD) A very original and complete car, that is quite solid. This Porsche has a nice fit to the body and is detailed inside and out. It has recently completed a full restoration by Classic Showcase. Our Porsche has the original dash, original Blaupunkt radio, new paint, new rubber, new interior, and new trim.

    • Year: 1966
    • Mileage: 115 mi
    For sale
  • 1966 Porsche 912 Coupe


    (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
  • 1966 Porsche 912 Coupe


    (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
  • Porsche 912


    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
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