In 1976 Porsche introduced the Porsche 912E as their affordable entry air-cooled Porsche as the 914 was being discontinued. In today’s air-cooled Porsche market, it may be also be the best entry-level option to air-cooled Porsche ownership.
For affordable air-cooled Porsches, you really need to look at the two models Porsche also had as the entry-level model; the Porsche 914 and the Porsche 912. The Porsche 914 remains the true entry level option with prices in the range of $10,000 -$20,000, but if you want the classic Porsche look of the 911, then the 1976 Porsche 912E is your ticket to the air-cooled Porsche ownership club.
The Porsche 912E was a one-year only model offered in 1976. The 912E (E=Einspritzung) was only offered in the US with just 2,092 manufactured. The 912E used the 911 chassis with the Porsche-designed 2.0 VW engine that was used in the 914.
Since the 912E uses the same chassis as the 911 it handles much like the 911, but with less power and weight, it is more forgiving than a 911 to drive. The Porsche 912E was also the only 912 offered with a galvanized chassis that helped to overcome a common 912 issue; rust.
As Road & Track noted when testing the car: “The 912E will obviously find favor with those who prefer a slightly more practical and tractable Porsche. It’s a car with almost all the sporting virtues of the more expensive 911S, yet its simpler pushrod 4-cylinder engine should make for better fuel economy and less expensive maintenance than the 911’s six”
"The fittings are simpler in this model although in terms of materials, trim and finishing the 912E is of high Porsche quality. "The 912E is comfortable where the Carrera is harsh, rational where the Carrera is excessive.” R&T’s 11.3-second 0-60 mph time and 115-mph top speed looked good against the observed 23.0-mpg economy."
According to the Sports Car Market pricing guide reporting median prices from 2020, the Porsche 912E median price is $34,000 as compared to the original 912 at $50,500. The median price for a comparable year 1974-1977 911S is $40,500. In 1976, the 912E cost 21% less than the 911S when new. The price difference is now 16% based on reported median prices.
Owners of 912’s were asked why they chose to buy a 912 instead of the 911 and the biggest over-riding response was because of the handling of the car. As noted earlier it is more forgiving and easier to drive than a 911, but I suspect price also factored into the decision.
So let’s look at a real market situation for a 912E for sale and see if condition and pricing reflects the reported sale prices.
1976 Porsche 912E For Sale on PCarMarket.com
Currently bid to $14,500 with one day and eight hours left in the auction (Closing on February 5, 2021)
Midnight Blue over Black
California Car until 2020
Refresh of braking system and rebuild of 5-speed transmission in 2020
Engine rebuild in 2018
Fuel injection replace with dual Weber carburetors
This particular model looks very well sorted with a nice color combo, a recent engine rebuild, braking system refresh and transmission rebuild. The galvanized body of the 912E appears to be rust-free. This car presents well and should be a good air-cooled Porsche entry level option for someone to experience the world of air-cooled Porsches in a 911 look Porsche with what should be low ownership costs while offering a lot of fun.
PCAR Market listing for 1976 Porsche 912E: https://www.pcarmarket.com/auction/1976-porsche-912e-2/
Tags: Porsche 912 for sale, Porsche 912E for sale