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