From the outset an entry level Porsche based on the 911 model was planed to be fitted with a four cylinder motor to replace the Porsche 356 when production of the older model ceased in April 1965.
The new model was originally known internally as the 902 but after problems with the 901 model designation with Peugeot the new model was always publicly known as the 912, not to be confused with the Porsche project number 912 which referred to the flat 12 racing motors used to power the Porsche 917 racing cars.
Initial ideas for the 4 cylinder motor to be used in the 912 model included building a four cylinder version of the 6 cylinder 911 motor and an enlarged version of the 4 cylinder motor used in the Porsche 356 but eventually it was decided to lower the compression ratio of the original Porsche 356 motor and fit Solex carburettors of the 1582cc / 96.5 cui motor to produce 90hp.
To keep the costs down some of the standard features of the 911 were deleted from the 912, which outsold the 911 until the 912s production facilities were turned over to the Porsche VW 914-6 for the 1970 model year.
Although not as potent as it’s bigger 130 hp sibling the 912s lighter motor meant the smaller engine car had slightly improved handling which proved useful to Polish Porsche privateer Sobiesław Zasada who won the 1967 European Rally championship in his Porsche 912 which included an outright win in the 1967 Polish Rally.
A Porsche 912 was also entered in the 1967 Spa 24 hours for Hans Finke and Jean Sage, it qualified 33rd but failed to finish after an issue with the oil radiator. In 1968 Swiss duo James Bernard Fortmann and Urs-Peter Dietrich could not get with in 10 seconds of the qualifying time set by Finke and Sage at Spa the previous year but still started the ’68 edition of the Spa 24 hours in 51st and managed to bring their 912 home in 25th place.
Fans of Robert Redford may remember him staring in the 2001 thriller Spy Game, in the film Redford’s character Nathan D. Muir drives a Porsche 912, though it appears to be dubbed with a 911 engine sound except in the alternate ending version on DVD. More on how the 912 came to be chosen for filming on this link.
Regular readers may remember that a couple of years ago I featured a Porsche 912 in need of some TLC, I caught up with the car seen above again at the end of last year.
The transformation from junk yard dog to a 912 Carrera looks cool, officially the car is still listed as having it’s original size 1582cc / 96.5 cui motor.
Thanks for joining me on this Nathan D. Muir edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be featuring a couple of 1966 French Porsche advertisements. Don’t forget to come back now !