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    PORSCHE 914 IAN ALLEN / #1972-Porsche-914-1.7 / #1972 / #Porsche-914-1.7 / #Porsche-914 / #Porsche-914-4 / #1972-Porsche-914-2.4 / #Porsche-914/4-2.4 / #Porsche / #Porsche-914/4 / #VW-Porsche / #VW-Porsche-914/4

    ‘I ’ve always wanted one of these since I saw one in the south of France,’ says Ian Allen, owner of PPC’s favourite rust-proofing company, Rustbuster. ‘The owner was blatting up and down showing off his car and his dolly bird. I thought one day you will be mine – well I got the car bit right.

    ‘The car was originally a 1972-Porsche-914-1.7 injection made for the US market, so sold and marketed as a Porsche – they were sold as VWs in the UK. A chap had imported it from Texas only to find out on arrival that the floor was rotten. Ever the optimist I bought it thinking it would be a simple job to fi x, only to find out the boot floor and the floor under the seats were rusted out. Plus, the dreaded ‘hell hole,’ which is a total bugger of an area to get access to under the battery tray, which sits right in the middle of the car.

    ‘There are a lot of aftermarket body panels made in the USA where the car sold best, so I was able to locate new floor panels and a battery tray – the rest I had to fabricate. Many hours of welding later the car was ready for a repaint in its original Phoenix Red. The vinyl roof was retrimmed by me, which was a first, and I had the interior reupholstered. The door cards are original and the carpets are an exact copy from a Belgian company.

    ‘The engine received a big bore kit, upping it to 2.4-litres, and I changed the cam, but not for anything too lairy as I’m looking for driveable torque, not revs. Twin choke 40 down draught Webers, electronic ignition, a Facet pump and fuel regulator completed the engine mods.

    ‘All of the gear linkage joints were replaced on a remote linkage that goes from the gear stick all the way to the back of the gearbox via a dog leg almost six foot long – you need the linkage to be up to scratch. The gear linkage service kit is still available. Exhaust is an equal length four into one sports, which gives it a nice bark.

    ‘The next job is to take it for an MoT then get it registered for the UK. Then dive the nuts off it, track days, Santa Pod and car rally’s – no show pony this car, although it does look the mutt’s nuts.

    ‘The restoration is not for the faint hearted but with the price of these rising they’re definitely worth looking at. Having the VW based engine it is still a very practical performance car.’

    914 was sold as a Porsche in the US, a VW in the UK. Mid-engined 914 has removable targa roof panel. 914 became Porsche’s best selling car during its production run. 1.7-litre ¬ at four now stretched to 2.4-litres.
    Ian Allen’s Porsche 914. He’s probably rust-proofed it.
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    CANADA CALLING / #Porsche-914/6 / #Porsche-914/6-GT / #Porsche-914 / #Porsche /

    This is the first time that I have written a letter to your site, or any site for that matter. I am a certified Porsche petrolhead and have been reading Classic Porsche for about three years now. It is hands down the best site on older Porsches that I have ever seen. Not only that, you are not stuck on just 911s – you bring your readers stories on various Porsche models, including the unique and rare. I look forward to every issue.

    I entered Porsche ownership about seven years ago when I purchased a low-mileage 1997 Guards Red 993 C2 with an Aero kit and Big Red brakes. I am the second owner and I obtained the car through Weissach Motors in Vancouver, BC. The car is a pleasure to drive and I especially enjoy long, 1000km, trips with it. It allows you to let it stretch its legs and hear the flat-six wail. Overtaking on the highway was never so easy!

    I continued to fuel my passion for the Porsche marque in 2013 when I began a quest for a car that I fell in love with when I was in high school: the Porsche 914-6. Not only was I in pursuit of the six-cylinder version but I was keen to have it rebuilt as close as possible to GT specifications.

    I was able to locate a numbers-matching Signal Orange 914-6 that was originally from California. The car then went through a complete transformation at Jakobs Porsche of North Vancouver, BC. Rogee Jakob and his team did a fantastic job of creating my dream car. Rogee was a true perfectionist and was adamant that if the original 914-6 GT did not have something, then neither would my car. The project was completed in the summer of 2015 and I have been enjoying it ever since.

    The car is a hoot to drive and it gets looks wherever it goes; filling up can take some time as you usually have interested people coming up to you to ask what the hell is that. The car is definitely a keeper.

    I have two daughters and they are both interested in the Porsche fleet so I do not think the cars are going to leave the family.

    Thanks and keep up the great work on the site. Who knows, maybe one day I will read about my 914-6 GT recreation in it!

    British Columbia, Canada, resident Mitch Moroziukʼs 914-6GT re-creation is about as accurate as you can get. Weʼd certainly love to have it in our garage, thatʼs for sure!
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    / #VW-Karmann-Ghia / #Volkswagen-Karmann-Ghia / #Volkswagen / #Karmann-Ghia / #Karmann / #Ghia
    / #Volkswagen-Karmann-Ghia-Typ-14 / #Volkswagen-Typ-14 / #VW-Karmann-Ghia-Typ-14 / #VW

    VW Karmann Ghia You’d be hard pushed to find another Karmann Ghia as spotless as this one. In fact, we had to go all the way down under to check out what has to be the cleanest on the planet.



    Pat Eung’s Karmann is an exercise in emphasising the timeless prettiness of the Ghia form. But look closer and you’ll see a few modern tricks…

    Even the engine bay is absolutely spotless.

    Like photosynthesis or the patterns of the tides, modifying Volkswagens is one of those universal constants. It’s just something that happens. For as long as there have been aircooled VWs in the world, there have been people champing at the bit to customise them, from the inception of the Type 1 (which you may variously know as the Beetle, Käfer, Coccinelle, Fusca... you name it) through the enduring cult of the Type 2 (aka Kombi, Transporter, Microbus, Camper) and every other model on the spectrum. There’s nothing that hasn’t been done to them – dragsters, lowriders, race cars, surf wagons, every conceivable style exists within the VW scene.

    Nowadays of course the watercooled VeeDub scene is equally massive, and it’s leading the charge in the modern repurposing of the word ‘stance’. If you want to see what’s hot in the world of high-end wheels and low-down suspension, you look to the VW crowd.

    Naturally there are always cars that offer a bridge between the two eras of the VW modding carnival, fusing old and new, aircooled and watercooled, smashing styles together like tiny particles at CERN. There’s a VW K70 doing the rounds that’s been bodydropped over a Passat W8 chassis, a Mk1 Golf rocking aircooled Beetle running gear. All sorts. But perhaps one of the most cohesive and aesthetically joyful offerings is the car you see before you here, Pat Eung’s 1967 Karmann Ghia. It simultaneously shimmers with the memories of SoCal circa 1975, and lassos a knapsackful of cues from the modern stop-drop-and-roll Golf kaleidoscope. And while the Beetle and Microbus are such iconic silhouettes that pretty much everybody in the world would probably be able to recognise them, the Karmann Ghia is something rather more offbeat.

    “The reason I chose it is that the first time I saw one, I assumed it was a Porsche,” Pat admits. Although, to be fair, there’s more than a little shared DNA between Porsche and VW, so such a guess isn’t too much of a stretch.

    The Karmann Ghia was one of those good ideas that we can all be thankful was pushed into existence. Fusing the bombproof aircooled underpinnings of the VW Beetle with an achingly gorgeous body styled by Ghia’s Luigi Segre, the hand-built coupé was a runaway success. It quickly became the USA’s biggest automotive import of its time, and the global production figure topped 445,000 in its 19-year run.


    Okay, they weren’t quick. But they were easily tuneable, although the model was always meant to be more of a boulevard cruiser than a sports car. And that’s a brief that, as standard, it fulfils perfectly. These things operate on a sliding scale though, don’t they?

    “I bought the KG because I saw my watercooled VW, a Passat CC, rapidly devaluing, while the insurance was going up,” says Pat. “It seemed a bit crazy, so I bit the bullet and bought something desirable that I could ultimately hand down to my son one day. It was restored by a retired engineer in the States who worked on it out of passion, and modified it to his liking. When I first had it imported over to Australia, I was only really planning on lowering it… How wrong I was!”

    Indeed, there have been a fair few changes made to the car under Pat’s tenure, many of which are hiding under the skin beneath that flawless Polar Silver paint. But let’s look at the suspension first, shall we, given that it was priority number one in the grand plan?

    Rather than go down the old-school route of drop spindles and what-have-you, Pat’s opted to employ the ever-so modern method of air-ride. Okay airride’s actually been around since World War Two. But you can’t deny it’s the darling of the stance scene these days. So it’s that the car borrows heavily from its younger VW brethren, by running Monroe air shocks at the front and a Limebug air-ride kit with Air Lift bags at the rear – to get the thing sitting snake’s-belly low on the showground, while also letting Pat keep his sump intact should he happen across a speed bump.

    Speaking of sumps, let’s take a peek under that engine decklid. Remember how we were talking about the Ghia being a boulevard cruiser? Not so much here. “It’s running a Porsche 914 2.0-litre motor,” says Pat. “The internals are largely stock, but there’s a mild cam in there and it’s fuelled by twin Weber 40IDAs.” The performance figures may not look massive on paper, but as a percentage gain it’s really quite phenomenal.

    A stock KG would offer somewhere south of 50bhp, while this 914 unit provides a dyno-certified 73bhp. Feisty, huh? In order to ensure that these newfound avenues of performance potential were easily mineable, the stock 1600 transmission was rebuilt with Freeway Flyer gears and a short-shift, while a rebuilt Airkewld steering box found its way up front. In combination with the top-flight air-ride setup and a beefed-up braking system (DBA front discs, and an Empi conversion to discs at the rear too), the refined chassis and Porsche flat-four now work in perfect harmony to keep this shimmering butterfly of a car streamlining along as it should.

    With the go and the show taken care of – along with the stop, the sway, and plenty of wahey – the final piece of the puzzle was the interior. Pat’s had the stock seats retrimmed in a tasteful two-tone fusion of black vinyl and brown tweed, topping things off with a classy old-school Porsche-sourced Mota-Lita steering wheel. Timeless stuff, although again it’s interesting to note that Porsche accessories and tweed trim are heavy-hitters on the watercooled scene… further evidence of Pat’s over-arching artistic vision. And while the exterior is an exercise in textbook Karmann Ghia class, from the Euro bumpers to the custom front airdam, it’s the wheels that really are the cherry on the fusion-cooking cake: Schmidt TH Lines, as you’d expect to see on a slammed Polo or somesuch, but cunningly narrowed to fi t into the aircooled logic sphere.

    What Pat’s achieved with this project is to harness the spirit of his more modern VWs and infuse it into a retro Dub platform; old school, new rules – and by keeping it all relatively restrained, the more outrageous features really shine through. As a family legacy, we imagine his son can’t wait to grow up and grab the keys.


    What was the hardest part of the build? “The air-ride! Despite being a bolt-on kit, there were a lot of modi¬fications and tinkering to make it work. The wheels cost a fortune as they had to be rebuilt to ¬ t in with the suspension!”

    What part of the build was the most enjoyable? “Again, the wheels and air-ride. As much as it was a headache, it was well worth it seeing people’s reactions to the end result. I took a gamble on the wheel choice, but it paid off.” Is there anything you’d do differently if you were to do it all over again?

    “I would have taken it straight to Mike at CBB Tuning from the start. It would have saved me a lot of the hassle I had with other mechanics!”

    Any modern extras are perfectly hidden away. We’re loving the custom tweed too!


    Pat’s wheels neatly reflect this Karmann Ghia’s fusion of old and new, taking a design that’s popular and desirable in the watercooled scene and rebuilding it to aircooled specs. He began with a set of 8x17-inch Schmidt TH Lines, and artfully readjusted them to fit the bagged Ghia chassis. The rears have been barrelled down just a smidge to a slightly less arch-troubling 7-inch width, but the fronts are the real showstoppers: they measure an almost dragsterlike 4.5x17-inches, tucking perfectly into the front wings and giving a real nu-wave/retro vibe. The widths are classic, the diameter distinctly modern.

    They certainly don’t come any cleaner than this.

    TECH SPEC: Karmann Ghia

    TUNING #1974 #Porsche-914 2.0-litre flat-four, fully rebuilt, stock internals, mild cam, twin #Weber 40IDFs, Pertronics electronic points, electric fuel pump, #Vintage-Speed Type IV extractor system and Type 1 exhaust, stock gearbox rebuilt with Freeway Flyer gears, Vintage Speed short-shift.

    CHASSIS 4.5x17in (front) and 7x17in (rear) #Schmidt-TH-Line Lines, 165/40 (front) and 195/40 (rear) Nankangs, DBA front discs, #EMPI rear disc conversion, early short axle, #Monroe air shocks, #Limebug rear air suspension kit, #AirLift bags, #Airkewld steering box.

    EXTERIOR Polar Silver paint, perfected by Elite Body Repairs, Euro bumpers, custom aluminium airdam and grille.

    INTERIOR #Moto-Lita Porsche steering wheel, seats retrimmed in custom black vinyl and brown tweed by Sewfine, #VDO gauges, Pioneer headunit with custom speakers in rear.

    THANKS All the guys from Liverpool Harry’s for all their help and support – especially Rick and Ali. My wife Ley for putting up with my expensive habits and turning a blind eye most of the time! ‏ — with Ben Hosking
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    “Racing is the ultimate test” Dr. #Ferry-Porsche . / #Porsche / #1971 / #Magazine-Advert

    In a race there are two things can count on. The unexpected and the unpredictable. So car must respond with an almost animal quickness and sureness.

    Speed alone is not enough. Every part of the car must possess the utmost in reliability. For Porsche, racing is the ultimate test that.

    We use the classic courses and tracks of the world as our research laboratories. They are the proving and improving grounds for established ideas. And the head-waters of inspiration for new ones.

    It is not incidental that we have been the world’s champions for the last 3 years in a row.

    The more we race, the more features we prove. And only when something has passed the test of the track does it ever show up on a car for the street.

    Everything we’ve learned goes into the Mid-Engine #Porsche-914 and the #Porsche-911 .

    At Porsche we do not race to make a name; we race to build a car.

    For dealer information call (free) 800-553-9550. In Iowa (collect) 319-242-1867.
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    Before the #Boxster , #Porsche made its first mid-engine road car almost 30 years earlier. But is the underrated #914 a good alternative to its modern successor – or a #VW in drag?


    Can a classic be too successful for its own good and put the company that made it in jeopardy? Take the #911 as a classic case. Over the decades Porsche has produced equally worthy sports cars and GTs – some to replace the #Porsche-911 – but it all usually ends in failure simply because ‘it’s not a 911’ or ‘it’s not a real Porsche’ in the eyes of enthusiasts. The #Porsche-914 and the Boxster were not intended as replacements for this classic icon but instead viable, cheaper alternatives – and they still are. Okay with almost 30 years between them, nobody will deny that the Boxster is the better car – but would a 914 suit you better?


    Strictly two seats, engine mounted ahead of the rear axle in the best possible place for optimum handling and balance, plus a reasonable amount of luggage space in the nose and the tail. Could be either the 914 of 1970 or the current #Porsche-Boxster , but there’s one big difference – production 914 never carried the Stuttgart badge between its headlights! It’s been a cause for contention ever since. Was it a #Volkswagen , or was it a Porsche? In the USA it was the Porsche 914, marketed by the newly formed Porsche-Audi division. In Europe it was a #VW-Porsche-914/4 sold through another created joint venture, #VW-Porsche Sales.

    That Porsche badge appeared nowhere on any production car anywhere. On cars sold in the USA the lettering ‘PORSCHE’ was fixed on the engine grille immediately behind the rear window, and the hubcaps of steel wheel cars were blank; in Europe the grille was unadorned, but both the hub caps and the steering wheel boss carried the VW motif. In England there was an extra complication: the four-cylinder car was marketed as the #Porsche-914S .

    Because it never initially relied upon proper Porsche power, the 914 was always stigmatised and it was a lesson the company failed to learn when it launched the sports car’s replacement, the #Porsche-924 . Porker power did arrive, albeit late in the day and its 911-like prices resulted in few sales. That said, the improved 2-litre VW variant but breathed on by Porsche of the early 1970s isn’t a bad all rounder and carried the hallowed SC badge, which was unique to the UK market.

    The 1.7-litre version was boosted to 1800cc with fuel injection in #1974 . Most UK cars will be US imports, mainly from California, where the bulk of the originals were sold.

    When launched, the Boxster (the name is derived from the word “boxer”, referring to the car’s horizontally-opposed engine configuration) made the likes of a #TVR and Lotus redundant overnight. Here was a (relatively) affordable sports car that was part 911 (996) and some say had the feel and character of an old 911 combined with typical Porsche use-ability and reliability. Still in production after almost 20 years, successive updates have seen larger more powerful engines and better trim; it’s really a case of how much you have to spend. The second generation surfaced in #2005 (type #987 ) and the engine power was upped to match the newly launched Cayman. After another power hike in #2009 the third generation Boxster was introduced in #2012 .

    Majoring on the original Boxster #Porsche-986 for this twin test, a choice of 2.5, 2.7 and 3.2-litre engines were offered yielding 201bhp-250bhp with a choice of manual or Porsche’s famed #Tiptronic semi automatic transmissions. Sitting behind the wheel of any Boxster you could be forgiven in thinking that you’re in a #996 (911) as the interior is virtually identical!


    So, how do these mid-engine sportsters four decades apart drive? I well remember the 914S press test car of #1970 . Despite the meagre 80bhp (72bhp on the US version strangled by emission regulations) of the VW engine, but perhaps because of the primarily 911 running gear, it was a ‘nice’ car, mainly because that engine location meant the level of grip, despite skinny tyres, exceeded the power potential. You could not imagine getting into trouble in a 914 – unlike the mid-engine Twin-Cam #Lotus #Europa of the same period where power far exceeded grip!

    At the time I remarked, “the handling is superior to any car I have ever driven but, for the price, the performance is disappointing”. Back then the 914S cost a whopping £2260, compared with just £1015 for that #Lotus-Europa and £2502 for a #Jaguar 4.2 #E-type !

    Further memories of the 914 revolve around a rather rubbery gear-change (most likely because of the length of the linkage) the hefty pressure on the brake and clutch pedals (non-servo brakes, cable clutch) and the need to keep swapping cogs to maintain good speed. Back then I remarked that, with the limited power available, a four-speed gearbox would have been as good as a five. Oh yes, the heating system was the somewhat vague, and often smelly, blown air type that was also used on the 911 of that period.

    Finally, the 914 was only available in the UK in left hand-drive – although bodybuilder Crayford offered an expensive conversion and few were made – and, because of the almost bench seat layout, the handbrake was squashed between seat and door. But there was, briefly, a #Porsche-914/6 . Some 65,000 four-cylinder cars were manufactured against 3300 sixes, and few of these made it to the UK. With the 110bhp (911T) engine, the 914/6 was a darned-sight faster than the 914/4. Even better was the 210bhp #Porsche-911-Carrera-2.7RS engine, Gantspeed, version I drove not too long ago. Which brings us to the Boxster.

    Here we have a minimum of 204bhp (2.5-litre) to play with, and handling that surpasses almost anything else – apart from the later Porsche Cayman, which is – basically – a coupé version of the Boxster. Unlike the #Porsche-914/4 (or the 914/6) the Boxster is as quick and easy to drive on the road today at ‘real world’ prices. Like any modern Porsche, everything works just as it should.

    Unsurprisingly – because of the 40-odd years between them – the Boxster does just about everything better than a 914. It’s more comfortable, quieter, and extremely well equipped, even more so if the model you find has a handful of the many options Porsche offers. It’s also a true convertible (not a clumsy Targa top) which has the added luxury of electric hood operation.

    It should be easier to buy a Boxster than a 914 because there are so many more around. But care is needed, particularly because the cheapest may have been neglected and there’s always that recurring cracked block problem of the earlier Porsche water-cooled engines. Don’t fool yourself; running costs will be high if you want to keep the car in top order.

    Snags like this apart, the Boxster is now a sports car bargain and you’ll love every minute. My advice is don’t necessarily go for a bigger engine or S models, the 2.5 and 2.7-litre cars offer oodles of performance, and smaller diameter wheels with (relatively) high profile tyres give a better all-round ride than 19in rims on ultra-low profiles. Also don’t dismiss Tiptronic because it’s automatic – Porsche was well ahead of the game with the latest transmissions, and this one is very slick with steering wheel buttons.

    After Bjorn Waldegard’s wins on the Monte Carlo in both #1969 and 1970 in the 911S, the idea of a hat trick on the world’s most famous rally must have been appealing, and Porsche’s #Weissach competitions department was convinced the mid-engine 914/6 was the one for the job.

    Alas, the car was not easy to handle on snow and ice of the #1971 Monte. The best the big Swede, and his equally large co-driver Hans Thorszelius, could manage was third, behind a pair of (rear engine) Alpines. A few years ago Bjorn told me why he considered the rear-engined 911 a superior rally car: “The engineers at Porsche thought this was the ultimate car because it had near 50-50 per cent weight balance, front and rear.

    “I believed them, until I drove it. They were wrong; it was impossible to drive, so nervous. With the 911 you knew when the back end was going in a nice slide and you could control it. The 914 was very unpredictable,” he said.


    According to Kevin Clark, registrar of the 914 at the Porsche Club GB (01608 652911; 914@ porscheclubgb. com), there’s around 175-200 cars in the UK, but not all are on the road. He admits it’s true that up until a few years ago, the general standard was at best average but this is quickly changing and there are now an increasing number of well kept examples.

    Spares are in the main not a problem and he cites reproduction panels from Canadian company, Restoration Designs, as being very good indeed.

    Prices for decent 914s start from £10,000 for a 1.7 version and between £12-16K for a 2.0, with the 1.8 somewhere in between, which is about half what a rare 914/6 would make if you can find one. It’s generally accepted that the 2-litre (SC) is the best all rounder, but as Kevin rightly points out due to their sheer rarity, it’s best to buy on condition rather than spec, be it a 1.7 or 1.8. On the other hand a truly top 914-6 can sell of well over £25,000 with ease, so 914 values are on the rise as a whole.

    In contrast there’s no shortage of Boxsters around and they can be picked up very cheaply too, from £3000 or less. However, that may well prove to be a false economy as certain repairs – especially to the Tiptronic transmission – can almost exceed the value of some models.

    It’s far better to buy the best you can and set a budget of around £6500-£9000 at least (depending upon model) for a good car. Support from specialists is very good which is just as well as the Boxster is hardly a DIY proposition even to diehard enthusiasts. It’s not simply because it’s a complex modern design but also the fact that the mid-mounted engine is well and truly tucked away out of sight.

    The 914 is still popular in the US so tuning options are plentiful – including fitting small V8s or Scooby Do ( #Subaru ) engines! The front suspension is early 911 while Porsche brakes can also be fitted. Same again for the VW brakes, which can be substituted for 911 anchors. Even if you like your 914 stock, fitting the later Porsche transaxle from a 930 improves the gearbox no end. There’s no shortage of tuning and custom bits for the Boxster.

    “The real appeal of the Boxster to classic fans is the fact they feel a bit like an old school 911!”


    You tell us! The 914, despite its faults when new, was a bold, brave attempt to make a 911 alternative that some say is the more purist in terms of design plus boasts better handing. What scuppered the car when contemporary was its price that was too near the 911 to entice buyers. Today they make an interesting and cheaper substitute although, according to experts we spoke to, most are in a shabby state. The Boxster was the nail in the coffin for many traditional specialist makes, such as TVR, because it offered affordable Porsche ownership that two decades on is even more appealing as a used car/modern classic buy. Given the fact that they drive pretty much like older 911s used to feel what more can you ask for?

    Boxster looks best hood down. A hard top is available but pricey.
    911-like cabin is part of the Boxster’s charm.
    Access is bad but performance isn’t – even ‘slow’ 2.5 model!
    As modern classics go, the Boxster is one of the best and fi ne value.

    Square looks have aged well and the 914 looks pretty good to us.
    If anything, the cabin was better designed than a 911. Most LHD.
    VW 412 power meant the 914 was sluggish for a serious sportster.


    Experts on 914s are thin on the ground yet in Essex two were just miles from each other! PR Services (www.prs356. com) ‘dumped’ the car because there was no money in looking after them. Mike and Paul Smith reckon the biggest problem are owners who won’t shell out for preventative maintenance and as a result end up with bills of £2500 just to prep the car for the MoT plus a service, adding that about 80 per cent of cars out there are pretty ropey. Sad because Paul is a big fan of the 914. Dave Dennett of DSD Motorwerks (07002 911356) broadly agrees and says it’s the cost of shipping etc which really bumps up prices to 911 levels and apart from the 914/6 (of which DSD is making a racing replica for a Belgium enthusiast), their values don’t encourage owners to spend serious money. But given the choice, Dave says he’d always take a 914 over a similar value Boxster because of its exceptional handling that surpassed a 911.
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    Gorgeous Green Four-Cylinder Coupe Restored in Galway

    Back in #1964 #Porsche was a company struggling to say goodbye to the faithful 356 and hello to the faster, larger and more expensive Porsche-911 model. Long-standing customers and loyal #Porsche-356 drivers were not impressed at the increased purchase price forced upon them if they were to stay with the marque and, as such, Porsche was scared it would lose its market share. So, with consultation from both customers and dealers, Porsche developed the #912 ‘Versuchwagen’, or “Research Car”, using a four-cylinder 356 engine in the winter of 1964. By early April #1965 Porsche unveiled the new 1,582cc 912 to the public, while orders for 356 models were not taken after the spring of 1965 and production of that car officially ended in September 1965. In some respects the 912, in its easing of the transition between the 356 and 911, was the company’s saviour.

    While some may have viewed the less powerful 912 as a poor man’s 911, the 912 was rapidly developing its own fan base thanks to its undiminished aerodynamics, style, ergonomics, and more importantly, the same high level of build quality of a 911. With better weight distribution than the 911 thanks to the smaller and lighter engine the 912 was acknowledged as a better-handling Porsche and, in the same way the underdog that was the #Mini-Cooper was applauded for taking on and winning rallies, the 912 was also applauded for giving a complete driving experience at a fraction of the price paid by 911 drivers. Many journalists of the time noted that, when carrying out motoring comparison reports on both the 912 and the 911, the 912 was judged to be more fun to drive with its precise steering and better weight distribution. When the price factor was brought into the equation it was very difficult to choose one over the other.

    In the USA the #Porsche-912 outsold the #Porsche-911 almost two to one in #1966 . However, as time went on the numbers dropped in favour of its more powerful #911 brother, and by #1968 the figures showed the 912 production figures to be in or around 6,300 units, while the 911 had risen to around 8,000 units. This ultimately led to the demise of this iconic car in 1969, as the factory geared up for the new #VW-Porsche #914 . Another factor in the 912’s discontinuation was the impending United States engine emission control regulations, which would have cost Porsche too much to comply with in terms of modifications. In all, Porsche had produced over 32,500 912s during its five-year manufacturing run, which included a special edition to celebrate the 100,000th Porsche car - a #Porsche-912-Targa that was presented to and used by the police of Baden-Worttemberg. And, despite being axed in 1969, the model was resurrected unexpectedly when a limited run of about 2,0 fuel-injected two-litre #Porsche-912E models were built for the US market in #1976 to fill a gap at the bottom of Porsche’s range after the end of 914 production, in preparation for the new front-engined #Porsche-924 . Not bad for a car that was only designed to be a transition model from the 356 to the 911.

    All of the this might just give you an idea as to how rare these cars have become over the years, and their less- complicated engine and expense has seen them become collectables in their own right today, and not just “the 911’s poor brother.” John Dooley is the man with the keys to the stunning 912 you see here, which left the factory in #1969 bound for the US of A. John has always had a penchant for the air-cooled powerplant but, despite growing up, as so many of us did, being transported around in the back of a Beetle, he does not own one, preferring its more affluent big brother. You can’t blame him really, seeing as there were nine of them squashed into his father’s #VW-Beetle ! “I’ve always liked the simplicity of the air-cooled VWs and their engines which just keep on going, and the 914 and 912 models are no different really, apart from being more expensive to restore.”

    In convoluted fashion, the story of John’s ownership of this green 912 begins with his purchase of a classic #VW from the US nearly ten years ago. “I have a #1963 #Karmann-Ghia that I bought over the internet in #1997 / #1998, which was a big thing then I suppose as it was all new back then” he begins. “The previous owner had stripped the car down but never went ahead with the restoration, so I shipped it from San Diego and restored it with just a small amount of welding needed. I still have that car today”. After that John went looking for a Porsche 914 and, as it happened, the guy in the US that imported the Karmann Ghia for him also had a 914 in his yard, so he bought that and had it shipped over too. John restored that Porsche, in the process converting it to RHD (all 914s were left- hookers from the factory) and fitted a new 1.7-litre engine too.

    By 2004/’05 John was on the lookout for a Porsche 912, and despite many hours looking on the internet he could not find a good one. The same guy that shipped the #Ghia and the #Porsche-914 agreed to look at a 912 for John - for sale in California, it had supposedly come from Arizona, although John didn’t believe that as it had more rust than you would expect from a dry-state car. “I arranged to have it shipped to the UK, and at the same time I decided I would convert it to RHD so I bought a RHD bulkhead” John explains. “When the 912 arrived in the UK I went over with a trailer to collect it and the bulkhead, but the bulkhead was too big for the trailer so I agreed to arrange to have the bulkhead collected at a later date. That never happened as that gentleman said he dumped it in error, but I think he probably sold it on me”. The car then sat for a while, because as John said, it was “the scary period of 2006/’07 when things were slowing down”, so the project certainly wasn’t off to the most auspicious of starts, Indeed, it could even have fallen by the wayside, but as you can see, John stuck fast and waited for his opportunity.

    By late 2011 John felt the time was right to start the restoration of the 912, so the stripdown began. What was apparent straight away was that the “rust-free” car was not so rust-free, but in comparison to other cars of its era it was practically museum quality. There were rust spots in the floor, four to be exact, but localised repairs were all that were needed. The same was the case when it came to dealing with the rust spots on a wing and a door bottom, so thankfully no expensive new panels needed to be sourced. There is certainly something to be said for Porsche build quality of the time. Even though the car was driving when it arrived in Ireland the wiring was very tatty, so when John stripped the ‘shell Brian Dooley refurbished the electrical system. John tells us that he was a saviour as he did a fantastic job.

    John’s son, Dermot was a panel beater at the time, and he was a real driving force behind getting the bodywork done. It was finished to a fantastic standard, before being sent to Mazonbrook Motors in Loughrea to be painted. The original colour was the very dark Irish Green, but John preferred a brighter original Porsche colour called Golden Green, so a bespoke version of this shade was mixed up and laid down with flawless results.

    In the meantime the brightwork had been sent to Derby Plating in the UK, and when the fresh trim was installed on the newly-painted ‘shell the 912’s appearance really came to life. The bumpers were a nightmare though according to John, as they are very difficult to install and have quite a number of components in each section, all of which required new (and quite expensive) rubbers and grommets. With new tyres fitted to the original Porsche Fuchs wheels, the glass installed with all new rubbers and the US-spec headlights refitted with modern H4 bulbs and set up for RHD, the exterior was finished. Attention then switched to the interior, and a new headliner, new dashboard panel, carpets and one seat cover were ordered from a company in Belgium before being fitted to the almost completed Porsche. All that was then left to install was the engine, which John did once he had sorted out the completely-rebuilt twin Solex carburettors.

    We first came across John’s 912 at the ‘Ireland Heads West for Emma’ Vintage Show in Ballybrit Racecourse in Galway last June, when its bright green colour and gleaming chrome caught the eye of our editor from right across the car park. Not only does it look fantastic, but John is very happy how it drives too; a 1,582cc flat-four might not sound like much engine for a Porsche, but it’s by no means an old VW unit, putting out a solid 90bhp or so. “It’s slow to get started from cold, but after that it fires up straight away” he smiles. “You could use it every day, and if I had to sell everything else I would happily use it all the time. People ask if it’s as fast as a 911, and it’s not, but it’s no slouch and handles very well. There’s nothing wrong with the way it goes, and I’m very happy with it”. You can’t say fairer than that.

    Car #1969 Porsche 912 - Spec
    Years Produced: - 1965 to 1969
    Body Type: - Monocoque 2+2 coupe
    Engine: - Rear-mounted 1,582cc air-cooled flat-four with twin Solex carburettors
    Transmission: - Five-speed manual, RWD
    Front Suspension: - Independent torsion bar with McPherson strut-type dampers
    Rear Suspension: - Independent torsion bar with trailing wishbones
    Maximum Power: 90bhp at 5,800rpm
    0-60mph: - 11.6 seconds
    Maximum Speed: - 119mph
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