Without a doubt, the "Porsche for the future," introduced as Modell 901 at the Frankfurt International Auto Show in September of 1963, was lightyears ahead of the old 356C in terms of sophistication of design. But the 911--as the 901 came to be known--was rather expensive to buy and to maintain, primarily due to its mechanically complex 2-liter overhead cam 6-cylinder engine.
Enter the Porsche 912, powered by the tried-and-true 1600cc pushrod motor borrowed from the 356SC, ready to serve the Porsche enthusiast who preferred a less complex (i.e., easy to work on by the home mechanic) sports car, tipping the scales @ just 2,135 lbs. Plus, the 912 owner faced a markedly reduced tax bill, due to the small-displacement motor and lower initial cost of the car.
About 30,000 912s were built from April 1965 until 1969. Of those, less than 4% were made for export markets expressly requiring the right hand drive configuration. Today, any original right hand drive 912 survivor is a highly sought after collector's item. Experts estimate that fewer than 100 RHD examples remain, worldwide. To find one that has spent almost all of its life in sunny California, far away from salted roads and damp sheds, is almost unheard of; it's the proverbial needle in the haystack!
The beautiful 1968 Porsche 912 presented here, VIN *12820106*, was treated to a loving restoration that culminated in a "People's Choice" at SoCal's 2006 GAHH Concours d'Elegance. It's a truly exeptional car. If you are looking to become the proud owner of a right hand drive Porsche 912, this might be the one!
Sold new in 1968 to an American exchange student in swingin' London, England, this 912 was shipped back to California by its Lady owner in 1969 and happily resided with her in Berkeley for the next 36 years. Still registered to its vintage, 6-digit, blue-and-yellow California license plates, it was never involved in an accident and has not needed a pan replacement, ever. The car's second owner, a very knowledgeable Porsche enthusiast, treated the car to a thorough restoration, spending more money in the process than his purse (read: wife) could handle, ultimately forcing him to liquidate his prized possession.
Let's now inspect this fine Porsche, inside and out, top to bottom, starting with the trunk.
From the correct gray felt carpeting to the matching, date-coded spare FUCHS alloy wheel, factory tyre jack, and Bakelite battery cover, everything is in tip-top condition. Note the esoteric Neolite headlight units with integrated foglights.
The car's sexy body presents itself arrow-straight and totally rust free. Being essentially a "California" 912, the car has never suffered from body or floor pan rust. The front suspension tray was professionally replaced, which is almost always advisable, since acidic emissions from the battery tend to weaken the unprotected original metal from the inside out. The car sports a smooth and super glossy paint finish in its original British Racing Green hue--some call it Irish Green, Porsche color code # 6606. According to the owner, the old paint was taken off to the bare metal and everything was painstakingly prepared for the final coat of fresh GLASURIT paint.
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Above: pictures detailing this expensive, windows-out, doors-bumpers-and-hoods-off respray. Lots and lots of hours were spent: the dazzling result certainly made all the expensive manual labor worthwhile!
Excellent brightwork, perfect lenses, new weatherstripping all around - not a single detail has been overlooked.
Rare 14x5.5 in. FUCHS light alloy wheels are free of blemishes, have been expertly refinished and polished to a high gloss. Radial tyres are new on all four corners.
A rare sight, indeed: right hand drive 912 cockpit. We are struck by its inherent beauty and simplicity. Just like its big brother, the 911, the 912 features a five-gauge cluster. Immaculate dash surround has been upholstered with quality black leather. Note original steering wheel and shift knob.
Just like the car's exterior, its interior has been completely refurbished and is truly show-worthy. Parchment quality hides grace seats as well as door/side/kick panels. There's matching German velour carpeting throughout.
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Some nice details, from left to right:
- Rear vent and seat belts
- New, correctly perforated headliner. Note working dome light
- Original low-back seats, covered with aromatic hides
Leather-clad, individually folding rear seats have not been used since the restoration was completed, look brand new.
Even the back-up lights work perfectly.
While we're back here, let's take a peek at the engine compartment!
Breathtakingly beautiful engine bay houses the fully rebuilt, numbers matching power plant # P*1282082*, with correct type 616/39 case. From the German bearings to the 1750cc "Big Bore" cylinders and pistons, no stone was left unturned. All new heads including new valves, guides, valve job, cam, original SOLEX carburettors rebuilt, w/ Euro air cleaners, new stock exhaust. Pyramid Powder Coating protects the engine tin. Check out the correct anodizing and rare decals: this engine bay has been detailed all the way. Literally thousands of Dollars and many, many hours were spent here.
This is what a restored engine looks like: it's delectably clean, even underneath!
|Bottom end||Ready to install||New clutch and flywheel|
|New exhaust||No leaks||Smooth 901 5-speed transmission|
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Detail photos, taken during restoration.
Original floorpan looks great. There are a few small dings, to be sure, and some of the thin factory undercoating flaked off over the years, but there's no rust anywhere. A light coat of paint protects the bare metal.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007, was another perfect day in Southern California. With blue skies and temperatures in the low 20s, we took off to put the Porsche through its paces.
Driving the 912 brings back memories of the 356SC. Sound and performance are very similar. Of course, the 912 offers vastly improved driver ergonomics and, via its longer wheelbase and lower center of gravity, transmits a feeling of utter safety. Weighing about 250 lbs. less than its brother, the 911, this 110-horse 912 scoots along nicely, thank you very much.
Unlike more pedestrian cars, old Ferraris and Porsches seem to have a soul. Piloting one can be addictive: true sports car enthusiasts love to have one of Enzo's or Ferry's children in their stable.
This one starts, runs, and drives excellently. Its smooth-shifting, optional 5-speed tranny really is a joy to use. The '68 truly comes alive above 3,500 rpm, feeling crisp and responsive, despite being almost four decades old. On the motorway, 4,000rpm equal about 70mph; even on a short high speed run, the Porsche hummed along happily and safely, without breaking a sweat.
Just 1,200 miles have been added to the car's odometer since the restoration was finished. This 912 is fully sorted, needs nothing, and can be readily enjoyed. Being of the rare RHD variety, it is a very special Porsche and would feel right at home on British--or Australian, or Japanese--roads.
Prices for excellent 912s having doubled and tripled on both sides of the pond during the past few years, making this rust free, numbers matching "California" RHD 912 a very rare find, indeed. Here's your chance to purchase this fantastic Porsche for less than the cost of its restoration alone!
This Porsche sold in February 2007 to a connossoir in England.