Upgraded Engine! 1967 Porsche 912

I would put this find in the “less is sometimes more” department. This 1967 Porsche 912 is a sharp-looking little car that is minus extraneous detail though, admittedly, minus the 911’s power too. Nevertheless, it’s a fine sports car in typical Germanic fashion. Located in Yucca Valley, California, this Porsche is available, here on craigslist for  $29,000. Thanks to rex m. for this tip!

The seller states straight from the get-go, “If you’re looking for period-correct, numbers matching, authenticity certificates, please look elsewhere“. So this 912 is a non-original driver wearing newer black paint as opposed to its born-with white finish, and it wears that new finish quite well. No doubt about it, black will show all of the imperfections but none are apparent in the provided images. Rust doesn’t seem to be a concern either. The chrome, trim, and glass all show well, as do the “Fuchs” wheels but they’re wearing a chrome finish as opposed to the more commonly found silver and black combination. They look OK, but as a matter of taste, I think I like the two-tone pieces better – so are just so identified with the Porsche brand.

The interior image isn’t very good but the seller claims, “most of the interior is there, amazing original wood VDM steering wheel…” I’m not certain what the “most” part means, it seems complete from what’s revealed. Actually, the steering wheel doesn’t look that hot, not like you’ll get splinters of course, but it’s worn nevertheless. The driver’s seat upholstery appears to be a bit loose or wrinkled but there is no damage or obvious signs of wear.

In the boot is a replacement VW “2138” engine that has been swapped for the original 101 HP, 1600 CC, flat four-cylinder motor. The 2138 is a “stroker” engine and this website, JCS Volks Masters will tell you a bit more about it. The seller claims that “It starts right up, and it’s quick!” The guess is that the engine is attached to a four-speed manual transaxle. The listing states it as a manual gearbox but research indicates that there was a five-speed available too for North American export. Any clarity on that front that can be provided would be appreciated.

Looking at Hemmings listings, there are quite a few 912’s available and the $29K price for this example is pretty consistent though some of the sales comparison vehicles are original in terms of their powertrain. That said, this 912 sounds intriguing with its more powerful engine. The seller, however, sounds like he’s pretty committed to his price as he states, “PLEASE, no trades, no opinions on what it’s worth, no opinions at all actually, no offers to help me sell it, no lowball offers or other unproductive uses of my time.”

Talk about bookends, I have had the privilege of driving a 1968 912 and a 2019 GT3 – big differences and I liked both for what they are, both the old school charm of the 912 and the extreme road manners of the GT3. The consistency that runs through both is their Porche provenance. So, what do you think, a good buy? Does the replacement engine help or hurt the cause?

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Comments

  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Considering what the car is and isn’t the price isn’t too bad for today’s crazy market. I’ve seen both the 4 and 5 speed gearboxes in the ‘late 65s and ’66s. Don’t know if they were options but the 4 speeds were a lot easier to drive fast and with the exception of high speed cruising didn’t seem to affect acceleration. Car sits higher than stock which could be either the wrong shocks or wrong setting on the torsion bars. Either way, they are fun to drive and this one probably more so with the bigger engine.

    Like 5
  2. MrBZ

    I would take the black over the white and the newer 2138 over the 53 year old 1600 any day. And if it ain’t beautiful, fun and air-cooled it ain’t a Porsche in my book.

    Like 1
  3. Scuderia

    Convert to 6 cyl. and call it a day. You’d have a SWB 911driver for half the price.

    Like 3
  4. Phil

    People will say convert to a 911 motor and have a great car. I have an early 911, and I can tell you converting a 912 to a 911 isn’t a walk in the park. the ignition system is very different, and not self contained in the motor, and the engine mount system is quite different. It certainly can be done, but it’s not your $1500 shove a bigger V-8 in your chevy type conversion.

    Like 7
  5. Scott

    Surprised it is a single carb for such a big motor.

  6. Malcolm Boyes

    I drive a 1968 912 ( my wife’s longtime car) with its original 1600 Porsche motor and five speed box. People will scream..but in some ways..the 912 is a better car from that period than the 911. The 912 1600 produces 90/95 HP and a 911 at the time produced 110 hp..but weighed almost 200 pounds more with the extra weight hanging right out the back. Finally 912s are getting the respect they deserve as amazing, quiet, comfortable touring sports cars that are lovely to look at and simple to maintain. We just did a 1,500 mile roadtrip in the 912..cruising at 85 mph and getting 35 mpg! I would look for a 912 motor to put back in this IMHO. I own a 56 A mild Outlaw and love it..but the 912 is much smoother and more comfortable!

    Like 6
    • On and On On and On Member

      Malcolm your comments are well taken. What do you think these are worth in good shape and somewhat original? If you please. I had the opportunity to drive a 67 912 at a service station I worked at in 1970. The owner was a german older fellow who loved that car. No way it even came close to driving a VW bug in my opinion. I never did drive a 911, so I can’t compare that thinking.

      Like 2
  7. Tirefriar

    In terms of value, shoving a VW block into a Porsche does little to retain its value even if it’s a more powerful engine. This is a “common” upgrade found in 914. It’s also an indication that the seller is a bit of a tight wad as going with a Porsche mill willet you back significantly more than a VW engine would, even if it’s a warmed over one. I know some prefer single to dual carbs but here it just another testament to the transplant donor. Thankfully the seller didn’t dress up the engine compartment with “hot pink” engine shroud and bits.

    Im always a fan of more power, but 912 is not about break neck speeds so originality is a much more valued aspect than a rodded VW bus engine. I could even see going in this direction but all things being equal, especially the price I d chose a non running 912 but all original, do something alon the lines of a similar swap but retain the original Porsche engine and rebuild it in my spare time. That would be a much better boost to the overall value retention.

    Like 1
    • Euromoto Member

      Nope. A better shape ‘69 with a hotter VW motor and nice mods recently sold on the PCA website for a similar price, but he included the original, non-running Porsche unit. These are no longer throw-away cars as noted by other commenters. Porsche-world prizes originality and is willing to pay for it. This one falls way short.

  8. Maestro1 Member

    I agree with Malcom. And the wheels on this car aren’t Fuchs, they;re something else. The color combination is fine, and as someone else remarked the price is not unrealistic like it is for most Porsches, which I’ve never understood. But that’s what demand in a market will do. Along with
    shrinking supply. In the 60s 5 Speeds were an option regarding transmissions. I bought a ’66 fixed window targa 912 in san francisco new
    and one of my many sins is that I sold it. I wish i had kept it; it was a lovely car.

  9. Matt

    I’ll keep my engine comments to myself regarding the current power plant, but let’s just say value is related directly to correctness and the only thing less correct than this single carb VW based engine would be a SBC. Or maybe a Subaru.
    To address the “toss a 6 in it” suggestions, Phil is correct in stating it’s not a “toss in” situation, and it’s really expensive. On top of that, you don’t get that much more oomph from the 6 than you do from a 912 engine. The torque numbers are close enough, and weight difference substantial enough, that the ass-in-seat ratings can be really close. $29k is silly money for a car that won’t be worth anything until you put a Porsche engine back in it. I agree that an owner can do what they want, but all that money you save when you buy those cheaper engines comes back around when you have to discount the car massively on resale.

    Like 1
  10. uncle al

    nah….why bother ? for tthat money I’d get a Challenger with a Hemi….it’ll be a 2020 with full warranty, almost 375 HP, and NO headaches…

    Like 2
  11. scuderia

    All depends on what you are going to do with it.. If the plan is to keep it then a built 2.0 or larger will give 150 rwhp or more and that becomes a different car all together. As for the install, sure if you drop it off at a shop it’ll cost big $ but it’s not that difficult for those who work on their own stuff and has been done countless times since the 912 came out.

  12. Matt

    @scuderia The hardware to install a 911 engine will alone cost more than $10k when you’re done. And that’s doing the labor yourself. In my book, that’s a lot, and about twice what you’d have in a 912 engine. If your starting point for the car is $15k, that money might make sense. If it’s $29k, no way.

    @maestro1 Those are definitely Fuchs.

  13. lbpa18

    Good candidate for a hot rod build, but not starting out at the asking price. I suspect it’ll be for sale for some time.

  14. Daniel Gavin

    Maestro1……It’s my understanding that 912 Targas started production in 1967 and “fixed window” models became available in late 1968 models and all of the 1969 models were fixed window, If you had a 66 fixed window it must have been something very special.

  15. Malcolm Boyes

    I value my wife’s very original but color change from Burgundy to Sienna metallic ( engine out and done before she bought it in1981..and redone with glass out and new rubber in the mid 90’s)..at $40,000. It is a five speed and has just had the very first engine rebuild of its life after very many hundred thousand miles! Drivers seat and door panels have been redone “Autos International”..original wood wheel , headliner and rest of interior. A couple of minor bubbles, some paint cracking and one floor patch on the passenger side when water was trapped under the rubber mats (always take them out!) That said I would not part with her car for that because it is a driving gem….but $30 to $40 thousand should buy you a very nice driving 12..Targa maybe more..soft window Targa a lot more..Good luck..buy one, service it, drive it hard and enjoy it for life..you won’t lose money if you have to part with it but you will regret it!!

    Like 1
  16. Scuderia

    Once again, it all depends on what you are going to do with it. If the car is truly rust free (for a long hood) then it’s great place to start for a custom build. You can sell off some of the bits (vw motor etc.) and get to work. Best example of what’s possible is this, my current favorite “911” which started out as a 912. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NB9QZJqUXw
    That said, I don’t disagree that it costs money to build regardless if you go 912 motor or 911.

    Like 1
  17. Paul

    I own a 1968 912 5 speed, bought it as a stalled project. My longest drive has on and off the trailer after rebuild. Had the engine rebuilt with new bearings, cylinders, pistons, overhauled carbs – unfortunately I didn’t leave slack in the clutch adjustment while setting up the engine and carbs, ran the motor enough that it sheared pins on the flywheel and locked up – ouch. Parts are incredibly expensive, I fully understand the attraction of switching to a VW motor but would never do so, I like originality. Looking forward to the driving experience

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