No Reserve Early Production: 1966 Porsche 912

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

Every now and again, I get to scope out a potential project car on Barn Finds that makes me feel oh-so-much-better about what’s currently in my fleet. Sometimes, I get bummed that my 1981 Toyota HiAce project is a tad rusty, but then I see that bidding is already over $6K for this extremely rotten 1966 Porsche 912 here on eBay. While the bubble may be deflating, it’s still nuts what counts as a project-grade 911/912 anymore.

I spent the last few days with some Meguiar’s compound and paint cleaner on my van, and the results have been encouraging. Seeing the single stage bounce back allows me to take a breather on how much bodywork I need to tackle at once. This 912 may look reasonably sound on the outside, but the undercarriage has extensive rot-through. The engine is non-matching and currently suspended in place and not installed nor running.

The seller is Unobtanium Inc., which does an excellent job of showing you exactly what you’re bidding on. They have a knack for finding original cars hiding out in garages and barns everywhere you can think of, and this early production 912 does retain some unique cosmetic features that distinguish it as an early car. The seller listed it at no reserve, so it’s not as if they’re forcing someone to bid this up to $6K with over a day left in the auction.

Yowza! That’s a fair amount of chassis rust and makes me curious as to what path the winning bidder will take. I understand just getting the VIN plate is a game now being played with some of the pricier models, but a run-of-the-mill 912 with a non-matching motor? I can’t see an upside here, but it may be more about the fact that this is now the cheapest way into aircooled ownership. Good luck to the next owner – may he find more good news than bad.

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Comments

  1. Crazyhawk

    oh, poor little 912. What did you do to deserve this? Was it because you weren’t a 911? Don’t let others tell you your not good enough ’cause of a couple of little cylinders. You’re wonderful just the way you are. Well, you were…..

    11
  2. Adam Wright

    Jeff, it’s simple math.
    2018 value of a restored HiAce, about $10,000
    2018 value of restored 1966 912 $50,000

    So comparing the two is really not a comparison. Also, is there a cars and coffee for HiAce’s?

    Everyone laughed at my friend who paid $10,000 for a wreck of a Porsche in the 80s, it was half burned and missing the motor. It’s now restored, and worth about $4,000,000. So second guessing people for buying Porsches rarely withstands the test of time.

    But keep buffing on the HiAce, they are very cool.

    Adam Wright
    Unobtanium-Inc

    4
    • Billy 007

      4 million? What was it, Hitler’s car?

      4
      • Adam Wright

        550-0054 didn’t have a famous owner, but the car after it did. 550-0055

        6
      • Dolphin Dolphin Member

        Yes, IIRC that was James Dean.

        (I wrote that before seeing the plate—-honest.)

      • Billy 007

        I don’t get it, just because it is the one built before the one a bad actor got wiped out in doesn’t make it worth millions. Who says so? Has he ever been offered cash for it? I could say my 83 Dodge is worth 12 trillion dollars but would anyone even offer me 11 trillion? Value is very subjective until someone makes you a solid objective offer and can back it up with a certified check. Porches seem to have a greater then average perceived value that has become somewhat absurd. Despite all of that, it does look to be a pretty little car and well restored, I hope he drives and enjoys it….if that is what makes him happy.

        4
      • Adam Wright
      • Billy 007

        Hmmm, Adam, you might just be right. Good article, read it all. Now, if he really could sell that suck’a for 4 mill, why hasn’t he? If it were me, I would cash the check yesterday and ten year average the gain with the IRS, then retire to my porch with a good book. Of course, this fell’a must be kind’a well off, am I correct? After all, spending the inflation equivalent of 20K in the todays money for a rotted out chassis means that money is not the greatest deciding factor in your life. Risk is minimal when you have much to spare.

        2
  3. Smokey

    (heavy sigh) And, I sold my 1967 Porsche 912, concours winner, #2 condition, for $7500 and thought I was really making out well. 42,000 miles on her, and brand new Michelins on chrome wheels, leather Reccaro seats, custom wood steering wheel and shift knob. But it was 1997. (another sigh)

    8
    • Billy 007

      I have found over the years that looking back with regret never helps you feel any better today…what is done, is done, move on. At the time you were pleased, so why be sad now? You could have held onto it and maybe the reverse could have happened, then you would also be sad. Life is too short to fret over what could have been, just awake every day, check out the sunrise, fry up some bacon, and meet the new day with gusto. On your death bed, will you lament over some old car you made good money on, but not all you might have….or will you smile over all the truly important chronicles of your life?

      8
  4. Mountainwoodie

    With all due respect to Unobtanium and Adam Wright, having had two early 911’s, a ’67 S and a ’70 T, and having just sold the ’70 T a year and a half ago, I know enough to know that its better for me to buy a solid original condition P car. Yes, early 911’s and 912’s will bring more money from the ‘cognescenti’, but getting there, despite Adams tale of the Spyder worth 2 million bucks today, is a cold hard calculation. From what I can see on a screen this baby when dipped and stripped will look more like an Alexander Calder mobile than a P car. But if someone wants to be the last bidder and take their shot….what the hell. Different strokes and all that……

    4
  5. Bultaco

    This car can’t be restored for anything close to $50k. Too much metal work, and the rest of the car is in such poor shape. The phenomenon of people paying $50k for a 912 amuses me. A TR4 or early MGB is much more fun for a fraction of the $. And about $10k will buy a very nice 944 which would be a much more usable Porsche. But hey, you can always find someone to buy virtually anything.

    1
    • Adam Wright

      It can by a guy with a welder and a dream. Many a Porsche has been restored by just such a guy. And you’re right, a decent 944 can be bought for not much, I just sold this one for $6300. A great car, but not much comparison to an air-cooled Porsche from the 60’s.

      • Joe Howell

        How right you are, your 944S2 was vastly superior car to the to those overgrown Beetles.

        2
      • Adam Wright

        Joe,
        I find people who compare a 356 or early 911/912 to a beetle have usually never driven a Porsche. It’s hard to do this, in a beetle.

        3
      • Joe Howell

        Sorry Adam, been there with the tail happy rear engine and didn’t care for it. I prefer liquid cooling, rear mounted fuel tank and engine in the front. I’m not too smart though, in the 80’s and 90’s I wasted all my money on airplanes when I should have been buying rusted up Porsches like the Speedster I passed on for S1500 and other rusting hulks tucked away in hangar corners. Such is life.

        1
  6. Scott Staff

    $500 car 10 years ago…..crazy

  7. Billy 007

    I am happy Adam is making a fine living selling these to the hard core believers. I am happy for people who can afford the present prices if they are truly happy with the cars. I am even happy that if the bottom falls out of the market (as has to soon happen) the fools who bought into the hype just to make a quick buck get toasted financially. There is NOTHING wrong with these prices if you have the money that you earned legally and fairly, and you enjoy the process. Just make sure you are able to lose the money at the drop of a hat and that your children won’t go hungry because of it. My only lament is that many people no longer are able to enjoy a car like this because of exaggerated market forces. I do have one piece of advice, with any bubble that is based on emotion, it is best to get in early and out early. Had a friend that did that selling pot belly pigs. There is quite a talent to seeing what is about to crazily increase in value, buy into it, make your cash, and quickly exit before the market becomes saturated and invariably comes crashing down.

    2
    • Dickie F

      Classics can be a business. Some say an investment. So like any business or investment, sometimes things go south.
      However my classics have all started with a teenage crush, been bought with a little money, because of low value and now many years later, are worth about 10 times more.
      But in the many years I have so enjoyed them, because I bought them in running condition, I drove them mostly daily, maintained them well and never sold them.
      And never lost money on a new car purchase ever.
      I call that a win win win.

      2
      • Billy 007

        Good for you. You got in early, and enjoyed them too. It is the people who come in late, spent far too much, they are the ones who will someday experience weeping and nashing of teeth. It is like my sale of stock l early last fall. I was happy with the profits over ten years of ownership and decided to get out when the going was good. Problem is they kept going up, so that bothered me, but in the end I have to keep reminding myself that I sleep better knowing I bought low and sold high, maybe not as high as I could have several months ago, but being an adult is all about thinking things through and accepting your personal choices. Greed is one of the seven deadly sins for a reason, it makes you think poorly, and often make poor choices.

        5
  8. Maestro1

    Billy 007 well done. i think Porsche prices in general are ridiculous even though I sold my 912 for a good number. Although I loved the car (I was living in LA at the time and had no use for 911) I moved and reduced the collection.

    1
    • Billy 007

      There is nothing wrong with making money on a car, esp if you enjoy the cars you deal in, just have to be careful, I guess just like everything else in life. Porsche prices are part of the present economic situation, but not sure how much longer that can go on. If I had a car that had appreciated greatly and no longer lusted after I think I would strike a deal to enrich myself too, but I would do it soon.

      1
  9. Rex Rice

    Memories, sweet memories. Whizzing down the road in a 356, kids in the back, 30 mpg, purchased used for $1800…We are now on a different planet, never to return to Earth.

    4
  10. ctmphrs

    It could and probably will go on for a long long time.There never will be more old Porsches than there are now.

    1
    • Billy 007

      True, but for less money, you can buy a new reproduction that is the equal or better of an expensive rusty original. That separates the wheat from the chaff, do you buy them to use and love, or for profit and prestige?

      2

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