- Post is under moderationJoe Williams Weymouth, UK
Model #Porsche-912 / #1967-Porsche-912-Coupe / #Porsche / #Porsche-912-Coupe
Acquired April 2017
2018 for me is all about participation: say ‘yes’ and do as many things as possible. For cars that means more events, more track days, more road trips, more driving and of course… this column. Porsche for me was a natural progression from my younger days being obsessed with all things classic Volkswagen. Similarly to those VW days, Porsche bites you with the same bug! Any genuine Porsche enthusiast in my opinion knows that it is so much more than just a brand. It’s an ethos, a movement and even a way of life that stays with you.
My 911 story started with a 996 Targa with the Tiptronic ‘box that changed gears… eventually! It was heavy and cumbersome, but still fairly fast and handled how a Porsche should.
After only a year of ownership (and a cheeky deal), a 997.1 C2S Cabrio followed. It felt light years ahead of the 996 and was a pleasure to drive in every way. I’m not normally a fan of any Cabriolet, but that car almost converted me. I next made the mistake of visiting my local OPC only to find myself having a test drive in a 991.1 C2 GTS Coupe. As it turned out, the demo car was available and, well, that was that. I bought it. I loved that car; it was great in every way and genuinely special to drive. I don’t mind admitting I didn’t actually realise how special it was until it went.
Then came the flutter with a GT4, which nobody can argue with as being a great driver’s tool and a special piece of equipment. It was so precise, but for me it just didn’t have that special something that I’ve come to associate with driving a Porsche, and so I moved it on. Then came the 912. Having missed something ‘old’ in my life for so long, I decided it was time to ill that gap. Coming from someone with four-cylinder, air-cooled roots, the 912 seemed like a fun way to get that back. The bit I’ve missed out is that I buy cars as daily drivers, not weekend or sunny day garage queens. The 912 is, therefore, driven very regularly. I can’t explain how great that little car is: I think it’s a keeper. Perhaps everyone should go back a few years and reconnect with what made Porsche so special.
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Porsche 912 Open Group
Porsche 912 Club first gen pre-impact bumpersView Group →
In the early 1960s, Porsche was planning to discontinue the Type 356, which would leave them with the newly-introduced Type 911 as their only product. Concerned that the considerable price increase of a 911 with flat opposed six-cylinder powerplant over the... 356 would cost the company sales and narrow brand appeal, in 1963 Porsche executives decided to introduce a new four-cylinder entry-level model. Like the 911 (original internal factory designation "901"), the four-cylinder 912 was originally known at Zuffenhausen by a number with a zero in the middle, but the "902" designation was never used publicly. ("912" as project number was used after 1968 to indicate the 12 cylinder flat opposed engine developed for Porsche 917 racing car)
In 1963, Porsche assigned Dan Schwartz, later Chief Departmental Manager for Development, Mechanics, a project to oversee design and construction of a new horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine for the 902, utilizing components from the new 901 six-cylinder engine, that would produce higher performance than their 356SC engine, and be less costly and complex than their Carrera 2 engine. Another option explored by Claus von Rücker was to increase displacement of the 356 Type 616 engine to 1.8 liters, add Kugelfischer fuel injection, and modify both valve and cooling systems. Considering performance, cost, and scheduling, Porsche discontinued both of these design projects, and instead developed a third option, to tailor the 1.6 liter Type 616 engine to the 902.
Before 911 production commenced in 1964, the Porsche Vehicle Research Department had set aside chassis numbers 13328, 13329, 13330, 13352, and 13386 through 13397 for research testing of the 902; research vehicle Serial Number 13394 is the oldest 902 known to exist today. In production form, the Type 912 combined a 911 chassis / bodyshell with the 1.6L, four-cylinder, push-rod Type 616/36 engine, based upon the Type 616/16 engine used in the Type 356SC of 1964-1965. With a lower compression ratio and new Solex carburetors, the Type 616/36 engine produced five less horsepower than the 616/16, but delivered about the same maximum torque at 3,500 rpm versus 4200rpm for the 616/16.
Compared to the 911, the resulting production Type 912 vehicle demonstrated superior weight distribution, handling, and range. To bring 912 pricing close to the 356, Porsche also deleted some features standard on the 911. As production of the 356 concluded in 1965, on April 5, 1965 Porsche officially began production of the 912 coupé.
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 coupé units and about 2500 912 Targa body style units (Porsche's patented variation of a cabriolet) during a five-year manufacturing run.
Porsche 912 Targa
Production of the Targa, complete with removable roof and heavy transparent plastic rear windows openable with a zipper (later called 'Version I' by Porsche and the 'soft-window Targa' by enthusiasts), commenced in December 1966 as a 1967 model. In January 1968, Porsche also made available a Targa 'Version II' option ('hard window Targa') with fixed glass rear window, transforming the Targa into a coupé with removable roof.
The 912 was also made in a special version for the German autobahn police (polizei); the 100,000th Porsche car was a 912 Targa for the police of Baden-Württemberg, the home state of Porsche.
In the April 1967 edition, the Porsche factory's Christophorus Magazine noted: "On 21 December 1966, Porsche celebrated a particularly proud anniversary. The 100,000th Porsche, a 912 Targa outfitted for the police, was delivered." Porsche executives decided that after the 1969 model year, continuation of 912 production would not be viable, due to both internal and external factors. First, production facilities used for the 912 were reallocated to a new 914-6, a six-cylinder high performance version of the Porsche 914, Porsche-Volkswagen joint effort vehicle. Second, the 911 platform had returned to Porsche's traditional three performance-level ladder, including a most powerful 911S, a fuel-injected 911E, and a base model 911T, with pricing largely in line with market expectations. Third, more stringent United States engine emission control regulations also had a bearing on the decision; Ferry Porsche stated "It would have taken some trouble to prepare the 912 for the new exhaust rules, and with the arrival of the 914 we would have had three different engines to keep current. That was too many. MoreStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.