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Porsche 912 Coupe.jpg
Porsche 912
Porsche
aka Porsche 912 Coupe
Porsche 912 Targa
Porsche 912E
Production 1965 - 1969
Class Sports
Body Style Coupe/Targa
Length 4163 mm
Width 1610 mm
Height 1320 mm
Wheelbase 2211 mm
Weight 970 kg
Transmission 4-speed Manual
Engine 4-cylinder Boxer, air cooled.
Power 90 Bhp
Similar Porsche 356
Designer Butzi Porsche

In 1964, Porsche released its most successful model ever - the Porsche 911. Little did it know, it had created a car that would be synonomous with the sports car world forever.

But with its new model, which featured a new flat-six engine, it moved up a price bracket over its previous model, the 356. This alienated some of the previous customers - although many could pay the extra and join the swelling ranks of 911 owners, there was an equal number that could not - and Porsche faced losing these customers if it did not come up with a more like-for-like 356 replacement.

Thus, in 1965, the 912 was released, combining the eye-catching looks of the 911 and the improved economy and lower price of the now-departed 356. Essentially, this car was a 911 bodyshell with the 356's 4-cylinder boxer engine, tuned to 90 BHP SAE. The interior design was identical to the larger sibling, with the exception of a few specification points, such as leather-trimmed seats and wooden steering wheel. The vehicle could be specified to the levels of a 911, and this was the route some would-be 911 owners went - the 912 was more exploitable and less volatile on the limits, due to a more agreeable weight distribution. As horror stories circulated about the new 911 throwing drivers rearwards through hedgerows, the 912 eclipsed it in the markets - selling considerably more during its first year than the 911.

Maturing

In 1967, the 912 received its first upgrade, with such improvements such as new carpeting, a louder horn, stronger locks, new ashtray handles and a five-dial dash. Most notably, the 1967 912 was shipped with revised engine mounts, improving refinement.

The 1967 model year premiered the Targa model, which had been on the 911 range since 1965. The base Targa featured a 'soft' rear window, which, when lowered, effectively produced a full cabriolet with a roll-over bar.

For 1968, amongst a host of minor improvements, a dual-circuit braking system was added, which confirmed the impression that the 912 was Porsche's safest car. In Germany, the price was lowered, and the car continued its whirlwind success in all markets. The buzz of the model reached police forces, too - and in 1967, 40 police versions had been delivered to forces around the globe.

1969 unveiled the long wheelbase 912, as well as a revision of colour charts and options lists - with equipment boosted to include electric windows and larger brakes. Alloy wheels were offered as an option for the first time on the 912 - the standard pressed steel wheels had carried the model through since its inception. However, even though popularity was at its peak, Porsche decided to axe the model at the end of 1969, deciding that the expanded 911 range had rendered the 912 irrelevant.

The 912E

In 1975, the world had been pitched into an energy crisis, with oil moguls OPEC having raised the price of crude oil by almost 400%. This made a huge impact upon the automotive industry, chiefly due to the rise in fuel prices warding off buyers from thirsty, uneconomical sports cars. This created a situation for Porsche - its model range was soley sports cars, and its biggest market was the USA, where the ripples from the oil price had the largest effect. To overcome the economy barrier, a new model was unveiled - the 912E.

The 912E was based upon existing engineering. The car was essentially a Porsche 911 bodyshell, complete with the impact-absorbing bumpers, with the four-cylinder engine previously used in late-model versions of the Porsche 914/4 (based on the Volkswagen type IV engine). The car was only offered to the USA, where it proved a spectacular sales success. It wasn't fast, especially compared with the contemporary 911, but it was economical and looked identical to the 911. A year into production, the oil price had settled down enough to encourage Porsche to discontinue the model, and change its focus back to high performance cars. It responded by creating the 930 Turbo.

Summary

  • 1965-1968 - Porsche 912 Coupe
  • 1967-1968 - Porsche 912 Targa
  • 1968-1969 - Porsche 912 Coupe LWB
  • 1968-1969 - Porsche 912 Targa LWB
  • 1975-1976 - Porsche 912E


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