Jigsaw Challenge: 1966 Porsche 912

1966 Porsche 912 Puzzle

As car enthusiasts, we often prefer the strongest, most powerful examples of our favorite marques. But in order to manufacture factory hot rods and pocket rockets, automotive brands rely on mass-produced and cheaper vehicles to offset the cost of building specialty cars that are often sold with a higher price tag. In the case of the Porsche 912, we have a platform that never achieved the 911’s legendary status, but played an extremely important role in its continued development by offering an affordable entry into Porsche ownership. Barn Finds reader Jim S found this disassembled 912 here on eBay, and we’re anxious to hear your feedback on whether this is a good buy.

1966 Porsche 912

I’ve always been a fan of the 912. It was designed to bridge the gap between the departure of the 356 and the arrival of the more powerful, luxurious 911. If I were a buyer in the ‘60s, I think the 912 would have been my go – simpler, lighter-weight translated into a car that was easy to maintain and achieved 30 MPG on the highway! It’s incredible to think Porsche was hitting fuel economy numbers with an entry-level sports car that would impress CAFE Czars even today. Buyers of the day obviously agreed, as the 912 initially outsold its big-brother the 911. The 912 was sold as a Targa as well, and the soft window version remains one of the more desirable Porsches on the market today.

Porsche 912 Project

When you look at this car, it’s clear the next owner will have a good deal of work cut out for him- or herself. It’s claimed to be nearly rust-free with most serious corrosion already excised from the body. The car lost its floors and rockers due to rust, which means it will require immediate bodywork upon delivery if you want it to be watertight once again. It’s a relief to see the solid bodywork that emerged after the paint was ground down, making it far easier to move forward with repainting this 912 in its original shade of silver metallic. More disappointing is that the engine included in the sale is a non-numbers-matching unit, but the seller indicates it will be refreshed and ready for plug-and-play installation. That appears to be the easiest part of this restoration!

Porsche 912 without floors

If the bidding stays low on this disassembled 912, I could see it being an extremely gratifying project for the next owner. But in a shop with several restored P-cars in the background, it does make one wonder if the seller sees this as too much to take on with too little pay off in the end. If I were a talented fabricator or metalworker, this could be a sensible buy seeing as you could tackle some of the heavier lifting yourself and offset the cost of sourcing a body shop to do the work. But even once that’s done, you still need to address the interior, mechanical refurbishment, electrical systems, fuel delivery, and the list goes on. Any brave souls willing to take this on as a winter restoration? Hope you have a heated garage!

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Comments

  1. Desi

    Some Assembly Required
    Batteries Not Included, but the tail lights work.

  2. NickF

    After seeing what Porsche Classic did with the PCA restoration car I sure hope this car ends up in their hands. It wouldn’t be cheap but I’m sure the results would be worth it to the person who could afford it. That said, maybe the 912 is not worth that caliber of restoration?

  3. Dolphin Member

    Porsche sold more 912s than 911s during the 912’s years, and that and the big status of the 911 these days has kept 912 values down a lot relative to the 911. A big advantage for this car is that it has a running rebuilt 912 engine, but a big disadvantage of that particular engine is that it is from a ’68, not a ’66, so the value of the finished car will be limited by that. A correct ’66 912 engine would be very expensive to source and rebuild.

    The same questions arise as people raised for the TR4 from the other day: If the seller is so enthusiastic about this car why doesn’t he do the car himself instead of the hard sell that he presents for it on ebay? All those P-cars in the background make it look like he could….if he wanted to. I think it’s because the cost of the missing parts and all that work would be way above what the finished car is worth, especially with the non-numbers matching engine.

  4. jean Lecointe

    Good luck chaps,
    Try to imagine the missing parts and the amount of the bill to have them.
    I am in the project of rebuilding an E type Jaguar and although all the parts were supposed to be with the car, I am all the time comfronted to find the proper screw, the proper nut.
    Fortunately all parts are available, but at a cost I did’nt imagine.
    So this type of project is actually fascinating, but think about the time it will take and the money needed.

    • Wayne

      At least the Jaguar will be worth something when it’s done versus a questionable part of the probably $80,000 they will have in the 912 when it’s done. I agree, not cost effective.

      Save the Jag, They are wonderful.

  5. Robert J

    Back in the mid 90’s, I passed on buying a minty fresh Porsche 912 from a dealership for 8,000. Now I see similar 912’s teaching ten times that price. This one, no. No thank you.

  6. bcav

    Did a 912 a few years back. A nice solid example to start with. Took forever to find a buyer. He got a great car at a very realistic price. This one will not make sense at any price. Once again…do it for love of the hobby or get out of the game. If its all about the money you should find another interest. Sorry if that hurts but the truth is sometimes painful.

  7. Mark E

    Nobody’s mentioned the half dozen or so Porches in the background. If the seller is THAT knowledgeable and has THAT much connection to the Porsche community and still is bailing out on this project…

    Well, however you interpret that, the reserve isn’t going to be cheap, I’m sure.

    • RickyM

      Yes Mark I too saw the Porsches behind and wondered too why this one was being sold in this state. Plus there are some other lovely cars in there too…..

  8. stu

    Anyone who thinks this car has ‘little or no rust,’ please call me. Boy, have I got a deal for you on a ’66 912.

    The bids on this car were over $9K last week before the auction ended–with reserve not met.

  9. Dinosaurdoctor

    Sorry boys I am not feeling it. The cost of all those small expensive or nonexistent parts would be expensive even by Porsche standards. Yes it has a great body, and it has an engine although not from the right year, It is not feasible to mess with someone else’s project . I can only imagine the hundreds of parts not included and difficult to impossible to source, I find it interesting the seller has a reserve. i can only imagine what he thinks it’s worth in this everything before 1980 is worth a million dollars society. Regardless of how much you spend you still will only get a nice little car that will get 28 MPG, Goes a tick over a hundred MPH in time and is fun to get parts for. This is not the Holy Grail of Porsches so lets not treat it like it is. Another issue is an early 1966 is no great shakes for a model originally issued in 1965. As another reader mentioned, You see in the background you see many desirable Porsches . Apparently a knowledgeable seller is passing on this PERFECT project. if it seems to good to be true it probably is. Merry Porcheless Christmas.

  10. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    I just told Josh earlier today that we should have bought a 912 while they were still cheap…

    • Wayne

      I think we’re all feeling that. I wish I still had My Carrera Speedster too. One of 45 on the planet. I sold it for $3500.00 In 1970. Really got to that guy. lol

  11. BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

    Exceptional car with great restoration potential. It’s a hulk.

  12. Slim Chance

    “As you can see from the pictures, the car is EXTREMELY SOLID.”

    Which pictures is he describing?

  13. Rancho Bella

    Having a little experience with a torch/wire and grinder, I don’t see a problem with the welding aspects.
    Here is the real problem/s………….the longs and floors are gone. This car needs to be set in a jig in order to get proper “German Engineering” alignment. Once that task is complete it then boils down to plain ol’ restoration.

    As you all have mentioned, non original engine and the value will not match the time and money spent. I am a recent mental convert to the 912 five speed……..problem is, I waited to long. Now I just view.

  14. Woodie Man

    They’re selling it for a reason…………..

  15. Robert Liberty

    Hello Everyone!

    First, Jeff…thank you for the post. Your take on the 66 I have on ebay is an awesome topic and I am truly enjoying all the opinions.

    I would like to add to the dialog if I may…

    As we all know, the Porsche market has appreciated and continues to rise at a ridiculous rate. The appreciation gains on these cars has been awesome and I feel will continue. Think about it, the body style of the 911 is timeless and for the past 50 years has maintained a design that is recognizable by anyone. This car was the dream car for most car enthusiasts who were dreaming of their first exotic sportscar purchase at the age of 13, 14 or 15 in the 1970’s, 80’s, or even for a guy like me who had a poster on his wall of a Carrera when I was 16 in 1993. My point is that this style has such a long history and covers 5 decades of car enthusiasts who not only love/desire the car but now have the disposable income to purchase, maintain, or restore such a great car.

    Let me drill down a little more. I am 37 and I have a 1961 356 which I have had since I was 17 and LOVE dearly. However, at age 37, I am a rare bird in the 356 community. That body style lasted for 17 years or less then two decades from 48 to 65. My point here is though 356 prices have increased over the years the appreciation of these cars has slowed. In time, and I hate to say this, the values of the common 356 may even pull back. See, the fact the car was produced through 65 causes it to be more attractive to the older guys out there who are unfortunately dying off. No different the old lever action rifles. Those too, have depreciated over the years. Why? There are not many people out there who are in their early 40’s or younger today who idolize John Wayne or appreciate old westerns. It’s not their thing which then causes the demand of these items to weaken and the supply to become more attainable. I know…its a tough reality. But this reality will impact the 356 market.

    Thank goodness for the Porsche 911! The 5 decades of styling, the awesome engineering, and the fact that the dream car of the child of yesterday is now a reality since many of those guys and gals now have disposal funds to buy. Wait…let me retract that…maybe not many. That’s right, these cars have see triple digit gains over the years. Which now leads me to the financial theory of the 912 discussed in this forum.

    As we all have seen, now the 911s are becoming so expensive that most people can’t simply go out and purchase one. A common 65, 66, 67 911 in great condition is fetching 6 figures. A rare car can fetch 7 figures. Even the early 70s 911 T cars are fetching $60K to $80K in great driver quality condition. Restoration projects are a deal in the $15K to $25K range. S and E cars…more….

    This is the reason why a 912 is such a great car. The people who missed the 911s years ago and cant justify the expense today can get all the look of the 911 for 2 to 3 to 4 times less money. What a bargain, right! And, since the appreciation is so rapid today due to the surge of the 911 values, the old saying “a high tide rises all boats” holds true. 912s, because of their style, will show great appreciation gains making this car a great investment.

    Side note…I also feel that the 911 craze will help sustain the 356 market or ease any possible depreciation. Plus, guys like Emory will continue to help the 356 market as he continues to make that car exceptionally cool with his Outlaw style. I also feel that the 914 is the next P car, after the 912, to lock your sites on. Think about it…when did you see the last 914 on the street? Exactly….

    So back to my jigsaw puzzle….

    Though I started a business, 911 Sportscars, back in May 2014 I am an enthusiast and minor collector of vintage cars with my primary passion for Porsche. My full time employment, at this time, is in the financial industry though I am trying to transition out of that industry (recently sold 50% of my mortgage company) so I can grow 911 Sportscars and hopefully never work another day in my life doing what I love with my boys.

    I have decided to sell this car NOT because I feel it is a bad investment or too much work. Both are not the case. As a few of you have noted, I have other Porsches in the background. Non of which, at this point, are for sale and honestly I have no plans on selling them. I have recently had 3 of my cars painted at the same time and (BTW…I don’t recommend doing this. Too much to manage.) I really want to focus on getting those cars completed. Once they are finished, I then plan on starting a number matching 1973, Oxford Blue, Italian delivery 911E Targa or a 1975 wide body coupe that I have which will be backdated to a 73 RSR with a few bags of tricks. Both of these builds will be documented on my Facebook page and website and will be the first builds to assist in the promotion of my new company. Though it may look like I am a “baller” I am a normal family guy and simply cant afford to build them all. I think it would be great for someone to take this project, finish it and put another great car on the road. I personal want to take the monies generated by this car and reinvest it into my other cars mentioned above. Plus, I hate for this car to sit, waiting on me, for the next two or three years as I complete the others. In my opinion that would be a shame.

    As for the expense involved with the restoration, it really isn’t that bad if you are doing one car at a time. Plus, 912 goodies are simply less making this car more affordable. Additionally, having exceptional body work and paintwork completed on these cars doesn’t have to cost $15K or $20K. Do your research. Do your research on what is correct for the cars based off the years through the great resources out there like the 912 Registry and other forums so you know the best way to restore the car. The research is part of the fun. Also, research and find the right craftsman out there who can do exceptional work and not sell you on the idea of over paying because you brought them a Porsche.

    As for the missing items associated with this car, its not that bad. Honestly, I have roughly 3000sq/ft of space full of parts. If you happen to be interested in the car, I am sure we can find most of the items you need.

    I agree that it really stinks that the engine is not correct to the car. Especially since the transmission IS correct. Talking with guys like the staff at California Porsche Restoration who are more proficient then me in the Porsche business, a non matching number car affects the value by maybe 10% in the Porsche industry. It wasn’t uncommon for the engines to be simply thrown out if they failed since it was so cheap to replace them. Much different the philosophy of the American Muscle Car market. However, the 68 engine I decided to put with the car is exceptional. It was built by Andy and Ken Daugherty. Ken, though he has passed, was recently featured in an article in last months Porsche 356 Registry magazine. He and his son Andy are great friends and exceptional engine builders. However if you wanted to hunt down an engine from 1966 I have no problem selling the car without the 68 engine for a lesser price. Easy…

    As for the cost to benefit…I feel my opinion above, though I do not claim to be an expert, is a good one to be considered. I am hopeful that the car will bring mid teens on ebay with the engine or around $10K without. It is a VERY EARLY car. If you researched the restoration and managed the project closely, the car can be completed for no more then $20K to $25K. I estimate the final cost to not exceed $40K on one of the first 400 912s ever imported in the US. If it takes you a year or two, you should have a car worth that or possibly an additional 10% or 20%. Plus, it will be an absolute blast to drive. If you hold onto it…it could be the next Ferrari Dino…who knows. Remember…”the high tide rises all boats” and this tide is still rising.

    Thanks again and Happy Holidays!

    Call, email, or stop by anytime and keep up the Porsche enthusiasm!!!!!

    Robert Liberty
    911 Sportscars
    rliberty@911sportscars.com
    502.533.4996

  16. Woodie Man

    Well.can’t argue with the sellers optimistic take. In fact I applaud him for his enthusiasm.

    After reading that, I think I’ll sleep in my “almost orignal” excellent condition California always numbers matching sunroof dealer a/c ’70 911T.

    Or maybe I should put it in a safety deposit box!

    Good luck to the seller

  17. Robert Liberty

    Woodie

    Id love to see the 70! Post or send me a pic. I want a 70 one day…coupe. Great car!

    rliberty@911sportscars.com

  18. Woodie Man

    @ Robert Liberty:

    I hope Jesse and the BF gang don’t mind…here you go!

  19. Robert Liberty

    Woodie..i dont see it…but want to!

  20. Woodie Man

    Thats weird……..do you see an empty box? Or just nothing? I’m sure Jesse didnt block it and its a jpg file.

    see it above?

  21. Robert Liberty

    I do now…awesome…great car.

  22. Woodie Man

    Thanks. Old pix but it looks the same today. Good luck with the sale of your 912 project!

  23. Dolphin Member

    Bid to $14,100 but did not meet the reserve.

  24. Wayne

    $14,100 wouldn’t do the reserve ??? This guy is on drugs, Really bad drugs ! It’s a frickin’ Flintstone mobile missing parts ! And it’s just a 912. The world has gone mad !

  25. Robert Liberty

    Wayne,

    Guys like you really take the fun out of these forums. Your opinion, free to be expressed since we live in America, are negative and maybe perceived as uneducated by others who might know more then you. Plus, it’s simply unnecessary and can prevent others who may be interested in such a car to possibly not buy which affects two people other then you, the one with no skin in the game.

    Anyway, the car did not sell on Ebay. It did not meet reserve. However it did sell. $14000 without the engine. No bullshit and sober.

    High tide rises all boats…better get your 912s while there cheap. 914s too…

    Oh…and Jaguars are great/beautiful cars…but no Porsche.

  26. Robert Liberty

    Btw…if this is Wayne Carini with CCC I retract the uneducated comment. You da man & I love the show! Call me…we can chase cars together…

  27. Jeff Lavery Staff

    Robert, thanks for participating in the commentary on your 912. I’m sure someone got a great project, and please keep us posted on future barn finds and project cars you have for sale. Happy New Year!

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