912 & 912E: The Imposters

Built to bridge old and new models, the 912 series combines four-cylinder power with the 911 chassis.

1969 912

Introduced in 1966, the 912 offered the looks of its more-expensive 911 sibling without that model’s flat-six engine. Instead, the 912 utilized a 90-hp flat four derived from that of the 356 SC. But while it’s easy to write off the 912 as a poseurs’ car, the new, lower-cost model was in fact the better-handling machine, thanks to the four-cylinder engine’s significantly lighter weight and resulting improved weight distribution.

Aside from the engine, the 912 and 911 were virtually identical. The two models shared the same body shell, brakes, suspension, and interior. Indeed, the 912’s only differences, and only signs of cost-cutting, were the missing wood dash, two fewer gauges, and painted rather than chrome wheels. A four-speed 901 transmission was standard, although a five-speed version was a popular option with 912 buyers.

For today’s buyer, the 912 presents a compelling picture. The model costs much less than a 911 from the same era, making the 912 a smart buy for those who don’t want or need the flat six’s power or cachet. At the same time, while they remain inexpensive by vintage Porsche standards, 912 values have been rising for the past several years. To our mind, this might be the perfect time to buy a 912, before prices climb higher.

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