The Porsche 912 is a symbol of a significant period in the history of the famed German automaker. Introduced in 1965 as a less costly alternative to the Porsche 911, the 912 was in essence a hybrid of the 911's body with the four-cylinder engine from the outgoing 356. The 912 quickly gained recognition for its balance of performance, fuel efficiency, and lower price point.
The heart of the Porsche 912 was its 1.6-liter air-cooled, flat-four engine derived from the Porsche 356. This powerplant produced 90 horsepower initially, which may not seem like a lot by today's standards, but given the 912's light weight, it was enough to offer spirited performance.
While the 911 became known for its flat-six engine, the 912's flat-four played a significant role in Porsche's history. The engine's lighter weight compared to the six-cylinder helped maintain the vehicle's balance, reducing the rear-heavy bias that was an early characteristic of the 911.
Externally, the 912 shared almost identical looks with the more expensive 911, making it highly appealing to buyers who desired the iconic style but couldn't stretch to the 911's price. Read more
Inside, the 912 was similarly simple and driver-focused. Early models had a green-lettered, five-gauge dashboard, which was replaced with a three-gauge version in later years. The vehicle was well-received for its combination of sporty performance, reasonable comfort, and excellent handling.
During its production years from 1965 to 1969, the 912 outsold the 911, confirming Porsche's decision to offer a more affordable yet still high-quality sports car. The car's combination of the classic 911 design, respectable performance, and more accessible pricing made it a hit with customers. In total, Porsche sold approximately 32,000 units of the 912 before it was replaced by the 914 in the late 1960s.