Serial Number One: 1968 Porsche 912 Targa

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

Porshces sporting the soft-window Targa setup are generally a desirable specimen, given their relative obscurity. This 912 for sale in Connecticut is in restorable condition and sports the rare folding window. However, it’s made a touch more rare thanks to its serial number that indicates it was the first soft-window Targa produced in 1968. Find it here on eBay with bidding to nearly $17K with the reserve unmet. 

Don’t get me wrong – we’re definitely grasping at straws anymore when it comes to trying to set project-grade 911s and 912s apart from the others. That said, being the first of its model produced in a given year is more interesting than sporting a Fuchs wheel made out of bronze-coated aluminum that only .0002 % of cars were optioned with, or whatever other nonsense sellers come up with. To add to the appeal, this 912 is eminently restorable.

That said, the interior will need extensive reconditioning and the exterior no longer resembles its original Polo Red exterior. Still, rust doesn’t appear terminal and the car does appear mostly complete. It does sport some modifications, including an aftermarket muffler and what appears to be a lowered suspension. No word on whether the engine or transmission is original, or if the motor turns by hand.

The undercarriage looks mostly solid, but there’s plenty of surface rust that may indicate further rust is present elsewhere. The 912 originated in the Netherlands, so it has an interesting history – if it can be traced. The market for air-cooled 911s is softening a bit after the crazy run-up in prices, but this rare soft-window Targa deserves restoration provided the reserve price isn’t reflective of last year’s market.

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Comments

  1. michael streuly

    Number 1 piece of rusted out crap.

    25+
    • audifan

      ……. says somebody who has no idea how rare soft window 911/912 Targas are. Thank goodness Porsches are not for everyone.

      34+
      • scooter8

        like totally!

        2+
      • RocketScientistByDayMechanicByNight

        No, I’m pretty sure that it IS, in fact, a rusted out piece of crap. It can be transformed into a car that’s desirable again, but the amount of work that car’s going to require? There’ll basically be nothing of the original left.

        The frame and suspension are rusted. The body looks RELATIVELY straight, but you’re still talking about a major overhaul. The interior isn’t repairable. You’re talking about completely replacing it. Assuming you’re doing it yourself, you’re talking about close to $10k for just the interior.

        A proper paint job, AFTER body repair is going to run another $10k.

        You’re going to need a full engine and transmission rebuild. That engine is a PAIN to rebuild. To have the engine professionally done “good enough” you’re looking at about $8k. To do it right? High teens. Probably $18k. You do it with mild mods to make it a more modern engine, and you’re breaking $20k for it. And yes, with 73,000 miles on it, that’ll need a rebuild.

        The transmission’s going to be several grand, too, unless it’s a 911 transmission that’s been swapped (which isn’t uncommon). If you’re looking to keep it numbers matching (assuming it is in the first place)? Jeez, figure another few thousand on top of it. Just the tools you need to set the ring and pinion run like $5k. So you’re looking at a specialty shop to do it more than likely, which is expensive AND time consuming.

        Now you’re not even to suspension and you’re in this thing $50k PLUS the original $20k plus?

        At least the wheels are only… $400 apiece, I guess?

        And again, suspension’s not going to be cheap here.

        And we haven’t talked about the differential.

        None of the accessories. None of the rubber.

        This is a $100k project for a car that’s not going to be worth $100k basically ever. This would, 100%, have to be a “labor of love” by someone with deep pockets.

        14+
  2. Dolphin Dolphin Staff

    I don’t care for air cooled Porsches enough to own one, but a lot of people do, so what does the “Number 1” status that the seller pushes in his Ebay listing count for with this car?

    IMHO not very much, altho I expect that at least 2 Porsche fans will disagree with me, and at least 2 such fans have already disagreed since the bidding is already up to $16,550 for this car.

    Porsche brought out the Targa in December 1966 as a 1967 model, so this 1968 car isn’t even a first year car. It’s also a 912, which takes a back seat to the 911.

    Porsche fans being Porsche fans, I’m guessing that the bidding will continue. Whether it will meet the seller’s likely very high reserve is another question.

    8+
    • Wolfgang Gullich

      The 912 is much more uncommon than the 911 and product was produced for 4 years. People used to balk at it as it had a warmed over Beetle engine, but many agree now that its handling is far more balanced as it doesn’t have the weight hanging further from the rear axle.

      That being said, this car will likely reach the mid-20s to 30s in bidding I’m willing to bet.

      4+
  3. lawrence

    Soooo…..they painted the bottom of the floor pan ? That should make it sell…well.

    6+
  4. Martin

    I don’t care if it’s a golf cart…..if u have a 001…..u have something. I’m thinking u can throw whatever u want into that car and always have someone that wants it.

    4+
  5. motoring mo

    Heard Seinfeld had a PPI done on this one..

    0
  6. Pa Tina

    One good shove and you might have a “rare folding Porsche” . The window is the last thing one would need to worry about.

    4+
  7. John K

    so this is the first soft-window 912 Targa made in ’68, not the fist sort-window 912 Targa. is that correct?

    2+
    • audifan

      you are correct, it’s a “fist sort-window” 😊

      8+
  8. OA5599

    If you’re going to restore a 912 SWT,
    this provenance justifies the expense.

    4+
  9. Rex Kahrs

    Some crazy Fuch-er will pay too much for this thing.

    5+
    • audifan

      Obviously it won’t be you, so why do you worry about it and use some dumb, uneducated, foul language low life name calling?

      20+
      • Dean

        C’mon fan, it’s a Fuch-ing joke..lighten up.
        Always wondered if its FOOKs or FUH-YOOKS.
        I’m sure it isn’t FUTCH-EZ

        3+
  10. newfieldscarnut

    One is the loneliest number you will ever do …

    6+
  11. SinkTip

    I don’t understand the extreme emotion some people have over the Porsche cars or their prices, either for or against. Yes it will be expensive to restore, but so would a 68 charger in this condition, or a Jag, or anything of this era. IMO the Porsche is a nicer car with far more history behind it – but that’s my opinion and to me that’s what makes cars as a hobby so much fun. If someone wants to take a Superbird and put a fwd turbo honda 4cyl in it then fill yer boots. Does it makes sense to me? No. Do I have the funds myself? No, but if some wealthy collector must have a soft window targa, then this is one way of having one. Not my place to criticize either way. It just another old car found in a barn that someone “might” resurrect.

    0
    • RocketScientistByDayMechanicByNight

      My problem is that a dealership is trying desperately to rip someone off. This thing went for $30,000. For something that is a gigantic project. There’s not a picture THERE that doesn’t include rust.

      They’re trying to prey on people who are hoping that it’ll be worth something restored. Sure, a fool and their money, but at the same time, they’re TRYING to screw someone.

      Gives me a bad taste in my mouth.

      And you have a ’68 Charger rusted out this bad, it’s also dead. It’s not about which car it is, it’s about how destroyed it is. If I crush a Miura and then sell it as a Miura that could be restored, I’m a charlatan.

      2+
      • Ross W. Lovell

        RSBDMBN,

        The way you know wou are being conned is the buyer is forcing you to take their money.

        While I don’t condone it, there are no laws against people being stupid.

        Might be because they make the laws.

        1+
  12. John

    I wish the work that WILL go into this rusted Porsche could be applied to the Abarth zagato Double bubble from a few days back. There are lotsa P-cars, but only a handful of the little Zagato.

    3+
  13. 3_Time_Loser

    Perhaps some of us early 911/912 enthusiasts pay too much attention to details. The first thing that jumped out at me was the incorrect seats. This car was supposed to have been built in late July of 1997 but those buttons on the top of the seat backs arrived in January 1968.

    They claim to have the Kardex but there’s no “matching numbers” claim.

    There’s a photo of the transaxle number–1280033 (902/02 series). It’s suitably low and might have been on the 1st 1968 912 Targa.

    There’s no photo of the engine number even though that’s easy.

    There are photos of the tags from the door jamb and the trunk slam panel which REPEAT the chassis number. The door jamb tag does have original looking rivets and it also gives the paint code 6802 (Polo Red). There is red paint around that tag but most of the other visible paint (door and inside front lid) is yellow.

    The trunk slam panel is held in with pop rivets and the “Heizeinrichtung Typ” field is blank (even though it’s mandated by the TÜV). The stampings of the first four digits don’t match the last four digits. That’s probably a replacement tag…

    Finally, the area of the OFFICIAL chassis number/VIN (by the right rear corner of the fuel tank) looks funny–maybe it was digitally blurred… There should be another chassis number/VIN stamped in the center of the dash behind the knee pad (it’s there on earlier cars–’68s aren’t my expertise). If the seller were really proud of the VIN they could feature that.

    I have to think that not very much of this car (if any) was originally part of the first 1968 Soft-Window 912 Targa.

    3+
  14. Deborah King

    “RocketScientist” says $8000 to $18000 to rebuild the engine. I’d better not tell my husband, who rebuilt his 356SC’s engine (essentially the same as a 912’s). He got Harry Pellow’s videos, I gave him a set of pistons and cylinders for his birthday, and away he went. He’s an engineer, but not a mechanic. That was about 15 years ago, and the engine is still strong.

    Definitely doable without robbing the bank. The rest of this car is going to take some work, though.

    6+
    • Ross W. Lovell

      Greetings All,

      I could be wrong Ms. King but a 356SC aka Super Carrera and the 912/VW engine have VERY LITTLE that’s similar other than being air cooled.

      I had a 356A, years back. When the engine became tired, the parts to rebuild were around $5K and that did not include labor and machine work. That doesn’t sound out of line to me.

      SC’s were far rarer and parts considerably harder to come by being made in very small numbers. Enjoy the car!

      Ready for the Porsche guys to flame me, asbestos suit is now put on!

      2+
      • Deborah King

        You ARE wrong. SC stands for Super C, not Super Carrera. Big difference. While I don’t like to compare 356s or 912s with VWs, the engine does have similarities.

        3+
    • 3_Time_Loser

      I did a 356A Super engine for roughly $5k in parts and machine shop services.

      1+
    • RocketScientistByDayMechanicByNight

      Like I said, professionally rebuilt.

      1+
  15. Deborah King

    The point I’m trying to make is that you have to decide if you’re going to write a check or get your hands dirty. You’ll have a hard time coming out ahead if you have someone else do all of the work. We had a very skilled craftsman do the body and paint, starting with a matching numbers car we’d already had for many years. Spouse did all of the rest–interior, mechanical, glass, etc. I helped him install the windshield, and for the symbolism, put one piston into a cylinder. (I also helped source all the parts.) All of the rest he did, 16 years ago. It’s still a beautiful car, now 50 years in his possession.

    This car’s gonna take something like that–a craftsman for the body, and a dedicated owner for the rest. Otherwise you’ll spend a ton of money. #1 is pretty cool, though.

    3+
  16. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings,

    I didn’t make the 912/VW claim, you did.

    I still hold true to my statement, I agree with the poster that mentioned the cost of the rebuild.

    I have a 300SL engine in my shop that has $8500 of new metal parts bought over 20 years ago.

    My point, original German parts are expensive, they also tend to be made to a much higher standard than what gets sold for stock Corvette parts from GM.

    3+
    • Deborah King

      Well if you’re going to bring the 300SL into it…

      Look–VW designed the original engine. Porsche did things to it in the 356, and when the 912/911 came around, they used the flat four engine from the 356SC in the 912, and a new flat six in the 911. This is not the same as the Carrera, and it’s not the same as a 300SL. It’s a pretty simple engine, where you can actually find things without an owner’s manual! I look at the engine in our 356, and the one in my classic Mini, and I relive the good old days when someone could actually work on their own car, as we do.

      As for parts, they’re readily available, undoubtedly a whole lot easier to come by than your 300SL parts. Once you buy the pistons and cylinders, the rest is fairly cheap.

      1+
      • RocketScientistByDayMechanicByNight

        I took my prices by calling shops and finding others who’d restored their 912s previously.

        1+
  17. Ross W. Lovell

    Not to be pedantic……but I probably will😉

    World of difference between VW spec’d parts and Porsche ones, and some were made by the same manufacturers.

    Heck, Bosch has several tiers of electrical components that are identical on the outside but wildly different when disassembled.

    You win, have a nice night, my experience is obviously different than yours.

    0
    • Deborah King

      Not a contest. And we didn’t use VW parts, although some people do.

      1+
  18. Pete

    A Numba 1, Porche isn’t quite my cup of tea just personal taste. However like with most things collectable be they cars or guns a #0001 does stand on it’s own no matter the condition. Most folks would get excited about finding their favorite car with a #1 S/N say a Mustang or Camaro, Chevelle or GTO would probably bring some big bucks even if it were cement mixer grade. Because once you got it right again. You could just show it off and win about every show with that catagory and keep telling people it wasn’t for sale until someone offered you ridiculous money for it. Yeah you know it as well as i do.

    0
    • audifan

      I bet there are a lot of #1 porches attached to houses, but you won’t find that many #1 Porsches.

      7+
  19. Jonnycrash

    Again, these are all great points. If you’re a purist with deep pockets, this is the ticket. These are most often bought by a large, privately owned Porsche dealer or body shop that has more money than we will ever know. They will “painstakingly restore it, with no expense spared” for pennies on the dollar and it will be used as a business write off. Just another reason a comfortable, middle class person will never be able to have nice things like this, again. Grrrrrr-roar.

    1+
    • Joe Howell

      By a nice 944 Turbo or S2 while you still can.

      2+
  20. 3_Time_Loser

    A “Number One” Soft Window Targa would be nice, but I fear this is a Frankenporsche pieced together from several cars. If so, its potential value would be a lot less than an all-numbers-matching Soft Window 912 Targa with a random chassis number.

    2+
  21. Joe Howell

    $29,600 winning bid.

    0
  22. Deborah King

    No, reserve not met, according to the listing and bid history.

    Pie in the sky seller!

    0
  23. Alan Brase

    I just stumbled onto this and realize the market has spoken. But since I own a mid 1967 912 soft window targa since 1979, I guess I think I know a little about them. This auction has certainly brought out the haters and the blowhards.A few of their mistakes:
    1. Porsche made MORE 912’s than 911’s in the 1965-69 period.
    2. The 912 used exactly the same transmission as the 911. Standard ratios were A,F,M,S, X. Both cars. About 3 different ratios available for each gear pair. Also 2 or 3 ring and pinion ratios avaliable.
    3. Yes, there is a $5000 R +P setter. But WHY would you need one? One can change most any part but the R&P or the case without changing the pinion depth. I wouldn’t even replace all the bearings. Just the brass rings and worn bearings. 901 gearboxes are strong and a joy to work on.
    4. Engines: Wow, where to begin.The 3 type 616/35 1600 engine used in a 912 was EVOLVED from a 36 (25) hp Volkswagen, but by about 1955 shared only 1 or 2 parts with the VW, the distributor drive gear. is one such part. The late 40hp motor from 1959 had all dimensions bigger and grew to be 1600, and with water jackets 2.1 liter. If you were building a street driven hot 912, It might make more sense to use a built up VW 1600. But the 912 engine is pretty nice at 95 hp (or whatever it is rated). I read Harry Pellow’s books and talked to him and bought parts from him. Nobody was better at learning, documenting and teaching how to rebuild these motors. Sure bearings valves, cranks and pistons/ cyls cost more than VW, but not all that much.
    5. RUST? I guess I don’t see much rust. Sure the front suspension COVER has surface rust, but that part is not structural. PAINT the floor pan? Of course you would. It looks like original to me, but the pics are not great.
    I say a Porsche 912 is a car to own and drive til your last days. Affordable, low tech, cute, and fun. A Targa is even better if you have the climate for it. They made a bit less than 1000 of these. Rare?

    0
  24. lawyer George

    It would seemingly be less expensive to buy one that has already been restored. It doesn’t seem that long ago–less than a century– that my wife’s sister’s hubby bought a nice running 912 Targa for $9000 but ruined it with some kit to make the fenders more fat.

    0

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