Last year, I wrote a pretty long post about the Porsche 912. It was a green US-market car, also from 1966, which belonged to a friend of mine in Bangkok. It seems once was not enough: the random CC generator came up with the numbers 1966 and 912 once again – in red, this time. One must play the hand that is dealt.
It’s impossible to overstate how perfect these ‘60s Porsches are to me. Sure, the 356 is great too, but the 901 / 911 / 912 shape is so much more dynamic and refined. It’s the definitive Porsche. Having said that, it’s also impossible for me to wax lyrical about this car again for 2000-odd words like I did last year.
So I’ll just let the pictures do most of the talking, to everyone’s relief.
I could not find anything wrong with this Porsche. I’m far from a specialist, but the Bangkok car had a couple of small niggles, such as badging issues, that seemed absent here.
I’m less sure about the interior, especially all that brown trim on the wheel and dash. The under-dash A/C unit seems period-correct and the radio looks perfect, but again I’m not sure if they are original.
But those are tiny details. If I were to really look for something to criticize, it would be the colour. That “Polo Red,” though it was the second-most popular hue for this model year, is a bit too on the nose.
On the other hand, that early model emblem is super sweet. It’s also on the dash, next to the glovebox. It’s a pity they switched to a more serious and anonymous-looking script in later cars.
There really is not much one can add. This is the absolute pinnacle of Porsche, as far as I’m concerned. The 4-cyl. engine just means it would cost less to buy and run, which is fine by me. If I could get that in green, blue or black, I’d be over the moon. Next time I see an early 912, I might leave a note on the windshield with an offer.
Curbside Classic: 1969 Porsche 912- The Economical 911, by David Skinner
My Dad’s Ex-Curbside Classic: 1969 Porsche 912 Targa – Blame It On Mom, by Tom Klockau
COAL: 1968 Porsche 912 Soft-Window Targa – And The Number That Shall Never Be Spoken, by Michael Inno
Curbside Classic: 1966 Porsche 912 – I Must Make Amends, by T87
The AC and radio are similar to VW accessories for that time. The yellow knobs on the radio are the only possible exception.
I’m curious about the vanity licenses. Most of the cars you’ve pictured have unique and obviously meaningful numbers. Japan has a lot of car collectors, so it would seem hard to get unique numbers on so many cars. Are they divided by prefecture or city?
Prefecture – that’s Kanagawa next to the 53 on that plate.
Only reason I know is that’s where Yokosuka Navy base was, and all the cars had that Kanji. If this had a capital Y to the left of the 1966, it would be a US serviceman-owned car.
Actually, the registration is Shinagawa – which is in central Tokyo. Kind of equivalent to a “75” number on a Paris license tag in France.
Other motor vehicle registration tags in the Tokyo area include
First I never knew Porsche 912 is a four-cylinder car until today. But I think since it looks almost identical to the regular 911 for the untrained eyes, most people will assume it is 911 with different name because Porsche liked to use so many model number on the 911. Nevertheless it is a interesting story, wonder if it handles better being it has a lighter weight in the back.
BTW, Japanese police used few 912 as a highway patrol vehicle in mid-60s, and German police also used it in Autobahn.
I never heard of a 912 before reading your previous article. Not as old, but you can imagine my excitement when one appeared in the employee parking garage when I worked at MGM Grand Las Vegas.
That looks like the rare 1976-only 912 – offered to cover the low-priced space between the demise of the 914 and introduction of the 924. It had the 914/Type 4/late bus 2.0L engine, IIRC.
Such a beautiful shape; I also feel the interior looks so clean and purposeful compared to say, American cars of the same era. I’ve never seen a parking ‘flap’ before!
What is this parking flap of which ye speak?
The device under the car in the lead photo; pull up and over the flap into an open spot. When you are ready to leave, you pay at an automated kiosk that has you enter your space number. Once the transaction is complete, the flap at your spot lowers for a short period of time allowing you to return to your vehicle and leave the spot.
Next time I see an early 912, I might leave a note on the windshield with an offer.
Here’s a current price guide (Hagerty) to help you formulate your offer, based on condition:
#1 (Concours): $75,500
#2 (Excellent): $47,500
#3 (Good): $32,500
#4 (Fair): $19,000
From the looks of this one, it might well be excellent, although the wood on the dash and steering wheel are not original. But that’s easily fixed, or ok to many buyers.
I had a ’68 912, 5 spd. It was the last year of the SWB. Mine was a creamy off white, looked quite nice on the little Porsche. The car was originally sold in Italy and had the metric gages to show for it.
I spent many a hour both waxing and studying the exterior shapes: how they blended and flowed together into a COHESIVE whole! Not a single phony scoop or gaping fish mouth to be seen…:):) BTW the real JHURMUNN BIER (usually St. Pauli Girl or Spaten) I imbibed helped to cool me off and added to the visual enjoyment of the 912’s shape!!! 🙂
While not fast, because of the light wt. and super sticky YOKO rubber combined with the 5 speed; well the little car was truly a joy to drive. Unfortunately rust became a problem. Like all Porsches any repair work gave you a bill that $howed it was not a BIG Corvette!! DFO
When my father went looking for a new car in 1968 it was an odd bunch. There was the Mustang California Special, the Cougar, the Volvo P1800, the Mercedes 220, and a green Porsche 912. I surmise that while he liked the looks of the European cars he wasn’t ready to go to a smaller engine so he bought the V8 Cougar. However, in 1973 he got the Porsche, a silver 911E Targa, and in 1975 a Mercedes 450SL in light yellow.
Odd: this red car is equipped with US headlamps. I don’t just mean the fixtures, which may well have also been used on cars Porsche sent to Japan; I mean the 7-inch round headlamp units inside them—they’re US DOT headlamps producing a beam pattern for driving on the right-hand side of the road. Can’t imagine why—it’s easy to buy left-traffic 7-inch round headlamps in Japan—nor how these got past Japan’s notoriously stringent inspection.