Full circle: Porsche 912

For most of us, Porsche has been synonymous with characterful, grunty Flat-6 engines that sing a raspy and throaty cacophony of metallic noises, but with the introduction of the new 718 Boxster set to hit the road running with a Turbocharged four-cylinder engine, it seems things have come full circle for the entry level cars from our favourite sports-car manufacturer from Stuttgart.

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The numeric designation 718 on the new Boxster also comes as a nod to the four-cylinder-powered 718 mid-engine sports cars that won numerous races back in the 1950s and 1960s.

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And 1960s is where we come this Porsche 912 comes in. Concerned that a considerable increment in price for their then new Flat-6 powered 911 would alienate fans and cost the company in sales, Porsche executives commissioned the 912, a four-cylinder entry-level model. Like the 911 of that time, which was known internally with the factory designation “901”, the four-cylinder 912 was originally known at Zuffenhausen by a number with a zero in the middle, 902, though that moniker was never used publicly.

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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 project 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.

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In production form, the 912 combined a 911 chassis / bodyshell with a 1.6L, four-cylinder engine, based upon the Type 616/16 engine used in the Type 356SC of 1964-1965.

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Compared to a 911 of the same era, the Porsche 912 demonstrated superior weight distribution, handling, and range.

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Project 912 became an instant hit. Styling, performance, quality construction, reliability and most importantly, 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.

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Our stunning 912 here comes once again courtesy of Nostalgic Garage, it is the owner’s personal car and as such, had undergone an extremely extensive restoration process.

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There were some details on the car which were noticeably left untouched, to give the car just the “right amount of patina”. But the end result is a a car that we think can still very well sit inside a museum.

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Inside, few details were left untouched and even the clocks were all painstakingly removed and sent over to the United States for a full restoration process which took slightly longer than expected.

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For those interested, we last heard that this car has just been sold and will be going to a very special new home.

For the rest of us, here’s some pictures.

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