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AUTO Stories: The Wonderful History of Porsche 912

Porsche 911 has long passed the stage of being a legend and now become a true idol for the fans of Porsche and even for others but if 911 doesn’t need any introduction, Porsche 912 remained in the shadow of his stronger brother. Its story is fascinating and this article comes as a tribute to Porsche 912.

Any of us had a dream to have owned a Porsche. And I’m not talking about a miniature or a toy, but a real model. Even if it is old or new, many of us still dream with the eyes wide open to a Porsche model, but unfortunately it’s pretty inaccessible because of its price. But there was a time when Porsche also thought to the customers having less money and it was an idea that in 1965 proved to be extremely insightful.

The mark’s officials at the time thought it would be a good marketing idea to use the body of the already famous 911 and equip it with a smaller engine. They took a four-cylinder engine from the Porsche 356 and placed it on the body of 911. This is how Porsche 912 was born, the most affordable 911 ever built. The U.S. market price for a 912 in 1966 was of only $4,700!

porsche history - porsche 912

1965 Porsche 912 was powered only by a 90 hp engine

The Wonderful History of Porsche 912

This is the story of Porsche 912, a model built between 1965 and 1969. Initially, the Germans wanted to use the number 902 to name the model, but – as with the 901 name – this name was never used officially due to the lack of approval of the name, this number combination being already used by Peugeot. The production of the new Porsche 912 debuted in 1964, with only a few test copies being made. As mentioned, the new model was launched using a combination of the 911 chassis and the four-cylinder engine used on the 356 model. To reduce the price, Porsche has eliminated some of the features that were found on the Porsche 911.

Porsche 912 proved to be an immediate success, its price, quality and reliability attracted many customers, many of them entering for the first time in Porsche’s world. In the first years of production, 912 beated in terms of selling its 911 brother. And the figures were exceptional: the Germans were producing over 30,000 coupe units and 2,500 copies with Targa body in five years while the Porsche 912 was in production.

Introducing the brand new Porsche 914

In 1969, Porsche had to end the production of the 912 model to replace it with the 914 model, a new project developed in collaboration with Volkswagen. The decision to stop the construction of the 912 model was justified by several factors: the production resources were allocated to manufacture the new Porsche 914-6, a powerful six-cylinder version of the new model. Then the emission regulations become more stringent for the North American market and this has weighed in the decision to stop the production of the Porsche 912. Ferry Porsche declared at the time:

The Wonderful History of Porsche 914

Porsche 914 was the result of a collaboration between Porsche and Volkswagen

“It would be difficult to prepare the 912 model for the U.S. market under the new rules as we prepare for 914 and we have to change three other engines.”

Thus, Porsche 912 was leaving the scene making room for a brand new Porsche 914, which remained into production until 1976. In 1976, Porsche had the chance to bring its old variant back to life, but only for the U.S. market. The new model will be sold under the name Porsche 912e and used the body of a Porsche 911S and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder air-cooled engine that was developing 86 hp. But this model will be produced for a very short period of time. Between May 1975 and July 1976, Porsche produced only 2100 units of the 912e model, all for the North American market. This would have been replaced later on by Porsche 924.

Porsche 912E Photos and Specs

1976 Porsche 912e was the last model that used an air-cooled four-cylinder

Other variants of the original Porsche 912 were:

Porsche 912 Targa

Porsche 912 Targa

Porsche 912 History – Targa Variant

A variant of the original Porsche 912 was one with the Targa body. It had a removable roof and the rear side windows were made ​​of  hard plastic. You  could take the roof down  by using a zipper. Only 2,500 copies of this kind of body were produced in series.

Porsche 912 Police Car

Porsche 912 Police Car Specs

Porsche 912 for highway police in the Netherlands

Porsche 912 was also used as a police car and this could happen only in the Netherlands, where the police forces kept order on the highways always using Porsche cars. 912 didn’t missed the Dutch police and the copy numbered 100.000 left the plant in Zuffenhausen and enroled into police force.


  • PORSCHE 912 (1965)

The original Porsche 912 built in 1965 had a four-cylinder boxer engine of only 1.6 liters and the power of 90 hp was developed at 5,800 rpm. Porsche 912 used a four-speed manual gearbox and the top speed was around 115 mph (185 km/hour.)

  • PORSCHE 912e (1976)

The newer version, dedicated only to the U.S. market used a four-cylinder engine of 2.0 liters. Unlike the first 912, which was fed by two carburettors, the 1976 version used a Porsche 912e injection system. Its output was 90 hp at 4900 rpm and the manual gearbox had five steps.

Porsche 912 has been one of the most appreciated models by the Porsche fans with limited resources. If in 1966 a new Porsche 912 costed in U.S. $ 4,700, a second-hand well maintained model costs on the market today between 11,000 and 30,000 euros. Funny thing is that these prices are still more affordable than the ones for a current 911 or a 911 collection model.

Porsche 912 history photos

Porsche 912’s History Lesson

I’m sure you’ll enjoy two more articles:

AUTO Stories: McLaren – 50 Years of History

AUTO Stories: 100 years of Aston Martin History – between bankruptcy and One-77

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