The Porsche 912 is a model that only enjoyed a brief segment of time in the history of the brand, but it made an impact that is remembered today. The first production model of the 912 rolled off the lines in 1965 from its Stuttgart plant in Germany with the final example produced in 1969.
The first 912
The 912 as a variant model of the famous 911, an entry-level automobile available in Targa and Coupe body styles. Among its most attractive features, besides its sporty compact size were its handling. Among the most nimble of its time, it was powered by a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder Flat-4 engine which was among the last of the 356 motors fitted within the Porsche bodies. The fuel efficiency of 30-36 mpg made it a sport that was affordable to drive with a price tag of $4,700 it was a bigger seller than its predecessor the 911.
Production run plus one
In the four years that the 912 produced, over 32,000 were built and offered for sale. The 912 was replaced in 1970 with a new 914-4 cylinder that would become its new entry-level vehicle. In 1976 it made a one season reappearance in the 912E edition which was built especially for the United States market. It received a 914 derived 2.0-liter engine and was briefly produced from May of 1975 through July of 1976, which ended the attempted revival of the model.
The Porsche 912 possessed the build quality of the 911 with the exception of a minus in the power. It wasn’t as fast as the 911, but it was every bit as sporty and as sexy. It was also a more affordable model that offered the same amazing looks and feel without an excess of speed. It seemed that a top torque of 102 would be sufficient for an entry-level.
Differences between the 911s variant, the 912
Porsche gave the valves of the engine a modification. However, the four-cylinder didn’t have the power of the setup of the 6-cylinder dry-sump of the 911’s power plant. The 912 could boast a superior weight distribution with an evener balance and a propensity to move from zero to 60 mph in 11 seconds. The instrumentation of the 912 was also less extensive as was the 911. The interior wood trim wasn’t included and the 912 came out with solid disc brakes on all wheels and wider tires vs the vented rotors of the 911.
1969 Porsche 912
The final edition of the four-year production run of the Porsche 912 produced the same choice of a Targa or Coupe body styling powered by an OHV flat-four with individually attached cylinders and an aluminum crankcase. The engine cranked 102 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 120 lb-ft of torque at 3,500 rpm. The engine was mated with a five-speed manual transmission. An independent front suspension with torsion bars and MacPherson struts with trailing arms and torsion bars in the independent suspension in the rear. Unassisted rack and pinion steering at times presented an issue with oversteering but the overall consensus was a nimble handling quality. Solid 9.60-inch disc brakes were outfitted in the rear with solid 9.25 inch discs in the front with an 89.3-inch wheelbase, an overall length of 163.9 inches, a width of 63.4 inches and a height of 52.0 inches. The total curb weight of the 1969 Porsche 912 was 2,220 pounds and the top speed was 119 mph with an acceleration speed of zero to sixty mph in 11.6 seconds.
The Porsche 912 was an amazing solution for those looking for an affordable entry-level sports car that bore the Porsche logo and DNA. Although not as high powered nor as ornate on the interior as the 911, it had its place and served its position in the hierarchy of the Porsche lineup of finely crafted automobiles. It made a brief reappearance in the 1975-76 year in the E variant which was a pleasant surprise, but like all good things, it served its purpose and its time had come to an end. The legend of the Porsche 912 has not faded into obscurity and avid collectors are certain to keep the memory alive in fully restored and