Vintage R&T Feature (1968): A Chevy V8 In A Porsche 912? Not Quite As Crazy As It Sounds

(I vividly remember reading this at the time, as it made a lasting impression)

The Chevy small block V8 has found itself in just about every vehicle imaginable, and there were of course gobs of them that had found their way into hot rods and such by 1968. But this transplant into a Porsche 912 was well outside of that typical scope. The whole notion of a cast-iron water-cooled V8 in the rear of a (formerly) air-cooled Porsche may sound a bit heretical at best, but it actually worked better than expected. The reason for doing it in the first place was pretty pragmatic: the owner bought a 912 at an insurance company auction, minus its stolen engine. New and used Porsche engines were expensive; Chevy V8s not, even a brand new one.

There were a few challenges, but one serious problem: the 350 hp 327 made way too much torque for the Porsche transmission, and the solution was a bit unorthodox. It quite surprised me at the time.

The solution was to destroke the 327, down to a minuscule 2.375″ stroke, resulting in 239 cubic inches. Lest you think doing so would grossly emasculate the V8, keep in mind that an engine’s maximum hp is determined primarily by the breathing of its heads, not its displacement. The reduced stroke lowered maximum torque to around 250 lb.ft, but raised the engine’s top power peak rpm, ironically making it more typically Porsche-like. Its peak power was estimated at about 300 hp

Surprisingly, weight distribution was not affected that much, at 37/63 front/rear, compared to 44/56 for stock (43/57 for a 911). Well, that was undoubtedly enough to affect its handling at the limit more than a wee bit, but maybe the owner hadn’t fully explored that yet. Given the car’s 2485 lb weight and its 300hp, it was undoubtedly a rocket in the straights.

That’s supported by its quarter mile time of 13.8 seconds @106 mph. That’s right there with the best stock hemi Mopars, and the starting technique was “very gentle” to protect the Porsche transmission. Like most engine conversions it had its limitations, but the owner did enjoy blowing off Corvettes.