Reader Submissions: Porsche 912E Combines Two Passions

Porsche 912E Combines Two Passions

By Petrolicious Productions
August 29, 2014
28 comments

Owner and photographer: Stephen Fitzgerald

Year, Make, and Model: 1976 Porsche 912E

Location: Denver, Colorado, USA

I became interested in cars when I was very very young. Two of my brothers were also very avid car fans and we each picked a brand as our favorite. My oldest brother was a fan of Ferrari, my second oldest brother was a Lamborghini man. I chose Porsche. We often engaged in heated arguments over which brand and car was better. F40, Countach, 959? I still say that the 959 is king.

As I grew up I very much wanted to own a Porsche, but humble means kept that dream at bay until I discovered the somewhat unloved 912E. Being a 911S with 4 cylinders, I was happy to give up those extra two cylinders in exchange for having my dream car. Now, thousands of miles later, I’m utterly thrilled with the car and love it’s unique nature. It isn’t the fastest Porsche, but it brings a huge smile to my face and the faces of people who see it.

Initially, choosing this car arose out of necessity. Once given the green light by my wife to purchase a Porsche, we agreed on a budget of $10,000. But I soon discovered that ten-thousand didn’t buy much Porsche, which is why I moved to the 912. I learned that ten-thousand also wouldn’t buy a very good 912 either, but then while searching ebay I discovered the mysterious “E” model, only made for a single year. I wasn’t thrilled about the impact bumpers and more modern look compared to the long hoods, but I’m a pragmatist and I realized that this was the Porsche that I could afford unless I wanted to wait another five to ten years. I’m so glad I went with the car because as many know, the things that bug you about a car can often become the things you like the most. I love the look of the car now. I love its underdog Porsche status. I even love the friendly and tunable engine. People often say “Nice 911.” I enjoy correcting them and giving them a small dose of little-known Porsche history.

I found my car through the 912 owners group, for sale in San Fransisco, and they pointed me to it as a good first purchase. They warned me away from cars with fresh resprays and hidden problems and told me to suck up my pride and buy the car with horrible paint and sagging headliner because underneath it was a true gem. I’m still grateful for their guidance. The car had already been “sold” to a gentleman in Germany for more than asking price, but I begged the seller to sell it to me because it was father’s day and it was my dream to own a Porsche. Being a gentleman himself, he granted my request and my first road trip in the car was the triumphant drive home from San Fransisco to my then home in Washington state.

The car is a mostly original 912E. It was in sorry cosmetic shape when I purchased it in 2010, but excellent mechanical condition, and eventually had it completely repainted a few years later. Wanting to do something just slightly different without giving up much originality, I swapped out the original Fuchs wheels for some Gas Burner replicas that I thought played well off of the black paint. Being a pretty avid cyclist, I decided to merge the two hobbies by having Pedro Racks build me a custom rack that could haul around my race steeds in a stylish way. The car is a driver, and is regularly used for road tripping and bike race commuting all over Colorado.

I love driving the car the most up in the Rocky Mountains. The engine doesn’t seem to suffer much at altitude, and the way the car squats low and eats up the corners makes it a blast to drive. The purr of the engine, large greenhouse, and open sunroof open the senses to the beauty of motoring through some of the most majestic mountains the world has to offer. I also love its utter simplicity mechanically-speaking, and appreciate the drivability of its VW-sourced block. I love that my car manages to combine my two hobbies well.

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Simon M
Simon M
5 years ago

Love this story. I’ve had a small number of 911’s of different types, from 68 SWB to 964 Turbo. The last 10 yrs the only one I’ve kept is the 58 A. You have nailed it – slower Porsches can be just as sweet and easily as much (if not more?) fun. I NEED a 912 next…. have fun pal

Jeremy DeConcini
Jeremy DeConcini
5 years ago

I always like the 912E, cool article, great photos. I even like the rack! That car needs only one thing: H4s instead of the Sugar Scoops…

Jeremy DeConcini
Jeremy DeConcini
5 years ago

This is what I did for my old Boxster.

Mark Yarrish
Mark Yarrish
7 years ago

Great article! great car! Love the bike rack! As a fellow front ranger, bring this car to “coffee and cars” Lafayette in the spring!

Shaun Benson
Shaun Benson
8 years ago

Stunning — I’m an avid cyclist myself and this is elegant
Although I wonder if the fella in Germany thinks of the seller as a gentleman!
love the rims

Atomb
Atomb
8 years ago

I see you even have your Porsche puddle in the picture near the bottom. Kidding. I’ve got a 69 912, enjoy the ride.

John
8 years ago

What are the five solid colored graphics going up the back of the front quarter panels right in front of the doors? I don’t think I’ve seen those before but I really like them.

PS – a [i]Wood License Plate Frame [/i] would be a great compliment to your wood rack on the back! I make and sell them on http://www.woodlicenseplateframe.com as a side hobby. 😉

Stephen Fitzgerald
8 years ago
Reply to  John

Sweet frames! Ever make then with rounded corners like a traditional license plate frame instead of mitered like a picture frame?

Colors relate to my cycling team. I don’t race cars, so the car reps the bike racing team and it’s supporters. [url=”https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/8555581/3-29/IMG_3045.jpg”]reference pic[/url]

TJ Martin
TJ Martin
8 years ago

Guest ( Steve Fitzgerald ) – Its not so much that Speedvagens are bad mind you . They are not . Though their performance and racing credentials are somewhat over stated and lacking . Its more the case that we have so much better right here in our own backyard [ Colorado ] as to completely negate any real reason [ beyond my absolute and somewhat insane and irrational fascination with Pegoretti bikes .. not to mention the ECM connection ] for us [ you & I ] to look elsewhere when it comes to purchasing a world class bicycle . Especially if its Ti or Steel you’re wanting .

As far as criticism though I’ll respectfully and completely disagree . When the facts don’t line up with the Dog & Pony show presented [ and they do not with Vanilla/Speedvagen ] and they chose to present themselves to the general public … criticism is what keeps people on their toes and hopefully drives them towards improvement . Which having ridden a Vanilla … Vanilla/Speedvagen are in dire need of .

e,g .. The ‘ Show ‘ may be fascinating … but the ride unfortunately is not when it comes to Vanilla/Speedvagen’s products . And when it comes to a high end bike … it really is ALL about the ride . Not the Dog & Pony show on offer

TJ Martin
TJ Martin
8 years ago

Nein nein nein ! The man lives in Colorado ! And in Colorado vee don’t need no Porlandia Hipster Tripster Speedvagens

If we want a quality bike we’ve got Rene Herse right up in Boulder … making some of the very best steel frames in the World . For Ti .. Moots in Steamboat Springs …. which are THE best Ti frames made ever ! Not to mention a host of other smaller custom builders with a heck of a lot more credibility and experience than Vanilla/Speedvagen will ever have . Remembering Colorado is THE Bicycle racing and riding capitol of the US … Not Oregon !

But in my never so humble opinion . If Mr Fitzgerald wants THE best steelie …. he’ll do what I’ve done and head over Italy way to Pegoretti to purchase the absolute best steel bikes ever made … that are works of art to boot . Tell Pegoretti you’re an ECM Jazz fan/musician … let him loose … and you’ll get a paint job that will blow your mind . Fact is … Petrolicious would do well to feature Pegoretti’s work and shop some time . He is the Master/Sensei of the steel bicycle frame with a personality almost larger than life .

Speedvagen in Colorado indeed ! Eeesh !

Stephen Fitzgerald
8 years ago
Reply to  TJ Martin

I do love Speedvagens, for the record. I had the chance to visit their facility and meet them and it was truly fantastic. Any artist-craftsman working at that level in any medium deserves respect. I don’t think any bike or car or material or medium has to denigrate others to have merit. We are all made better by the diversity in our passions. Here are some pics and words from the time i visited the Vanilla/Speedvagen shop. http://www.rodeo-labs.com/2014/03/31/speedtouring-a-lunchtime-visit-to-the-vanilla-workship/

Mirko
Mirko
8 years ago
Reply to  TJ Martin

I would also like to see some feature of nice bikes on nice cars or would that too much awesomsauce ? A Pegoretti on an Alfa or Maserati…

Simon Deflux
Simon Deflux
8 years ago
Reply to  TJ Martin

I have no deep quarrel with the car/ bike combo presented here, but perhaps your personal view of bicycle choice here Mr Martin is obsquring the appropriate options from Germany to match the vehicle, somthing Stuttgart breed to be ridden at speed like a Vandeyk? – http://www.vandeyk.de
I own one of Sashas bikes and also have broken bread and shared wine and conversation with Dario and his team in his well run shop, there is a reason Dario has build some of the Speedvagens for Sasha, it’s because there is a mutual respect between all passionate and talanted builders from all states or countries much like Petrolicious shine light on many marques regardless of origination.

Aratapuss
Aratapuss
8 years ago

Fabulous photography and car. Looks even better with the bike on it, which is something I never thought I’d say. Great advice given to you before purchasing a car, and you had great taste when fixing it up. BRAVO!

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle
8 years ago

Its a really nice example of a 912..thanks for posting.

Bernard
Bernard
8 years ago

Very nice Porsche !!! Congratulations!
Is the last picture taken in Rocky Mountain National Park?

Stephen Fitzgerald
8 years ago
Reply to  Bernard

Thanks! Guanella Pass. Full writeup / photos here: http://monovich.com/blackpearl/?p=660

Doug Dill
Doug Dill
8 years ago

Beautifully prepared 912E; excellent photography. Are the Gas Burner replicas 5 1/2″ or 6″ wide?

Stephen Fitzgerald
8 years ago
Reply to  Doug Dill

5.5″. What I would LOVE to see someone do is take a non-black Porsche and paint these wheels to match body color. Imagine an orange Porsche with these wheels painted orange. It could be over the top, but it could look so so cool. Someone do it! http://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=1237111

Kevin Lynch
Kevin Lynch
8 years ago

What a fantastic car, clearly better with your attention.
Love the wheels, and all the little touches.
I have a ’67 and ’68 912, both in the shop now in re-build stage, the latter being built largely “As it was” coming out of the factory, and the former more “As it might have been”, with a Polo motor and many unique “R” design attributes I am blending with Porsche’s fabulous original design.
Great pics – thanks for sharing.

Mirko
Mirko
8 years ago

Carbon Fiber bike ? Really ? Put a Speedvagen or a Chris Bishop on the roof and this is perfect

Stephen Fitzgerald
Stephen Fitzgerald
8 years ago
Reply to  Mirko

I look forward to reading a future Petrolicious article about your Porsche with a Speedvagen on top!

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay
8 years ago

It all looks good from here. Nice combo, Stephen.

Mirko
Mirko
8 years ago

Dont get me wrong. I really like the car, the bike and the article. Great job.
I only have a Subaru and a steel cross bike from Taiwan !

Simon Deflux
Simon Deflux
8 years ago

This 912 looks great, I’m googing that rack now to put a Vanilla on top of my SC.

TJ Martin
TJ Martin
8 years ago

PS; I’m loving the classic style bike rack on the back as well . Stick a classic ski rack along with it and you’d have my idea of the perfect 912E in a nutshell . Well … except I might spend a couple extra dollars to pull a few more horses out of the little beast . But then again … subscribing to the Stroker McGurk philosophy of ” Too much horsepower is never enough ” as I do .. well …. thats just me ! 🙂

TJ Martin
TJ Martin
8 years ago

The 912E . By far the most desirable of all the 912’s … and in some ways even more desirable than a 911 of the same era … [ assuming you’re a Porschephile insider that knows the dirty little insiders secret about the 912E … that being it handles much better than its 911 siblings ] …

Truth be known ? I’m envious . I’ve been looking for a good one of these myself for the last three years … thinking now that I may have to settle for a VW Type 2 conversion 912 instead … either that … or spend a bundle stuffing a POLO Porsche flat four into a 912 that’s missing its motor …. hmmmmn ……

Jorge Irizarry
Jorge Irizarry
8 years ago

Velo_Steef!!!!