1976 Porsche 912 E
Last Tuesday, I related how I came to be a Porsche owner when I purchased a used 1969 912. I was working for the Safeway supermarket chain in Amarillo in a variety of functions. Then I was promoted to Safeway’s Oklahoma City Division Office. The Safeway stores in the Texas Panhandle and in eastern New Mexico (Clovis, Portales and Tucumcari) were part of the Oklahoma City Division.
Although I sold my 1969 912 while I was in Oklahoma City, I longed for a Porsche again and when Porsche announced they would build a limited number of 912s for the 1976 model year for the American market, I HAD to have one.
Porsche had celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 1975 by building a 25th Anniversary Edition car, a 911 painted in Diamond Silver Metallic. The anniversary models were fitted with a special tweed fabric interior. At the time, I also had an Audi 100 LS and had it serviced at Eckhardt Porsche-Audi in Oklahoma City. Mr. Eckhardt had ordered an Anniversary model for his own use, a 911 S Targa. This, of course, was before the limited run of 912s for 1976 had been announced. I told Mr. Eckhardt that I would buy his Targa when he decided to retire it. He promised me he would contact me when that time came. I made it a point to remind him of this each time I saw him. Alas, he “forgot” and sold the car to someone else.
When the 912 E was announced, I marched into Eckhardt and put a deposit down and ordered one and had it fitted out as close as possible to the 25th Anniversary models. So, I got a Diamond Silver Metallic coupe with the sunroof, alloy wheels and the same nice tweed interior the Anniversary models had. It was a gorgeous car.
The Porsche 912 E (E for Einspritzung — fuel injection) was based on the 911 S of that year, but fitted with a 4 cylinder Type IV Porsche/VW engine. Porsche produced only 2099 of these cars. Mine was number 1248.
The fittings were slightly simpler in this model “although in terms of materials, trim and finishing the 912 E is of high Porsche quality”, decided Road & Track magazine. Their test driver notched a 9.7 second 0-60 time, calling the “E” the prototypical road car: “comfortable where the (Turbo) Carrera is harsh, rational where the Carrera is excessive.”
My 912 E was great fun to drive – but it was also economical. On trips where I drove it at length on freeways, I often saw 33 miles per gallon. My 912 E came with me to California when Safeway transferred me to the Corporate Office. I reluctantly parted with it after crashing through a guard rail on a freeway overcrossing when trying to avoid a car in front of me that was spinning out on a rain-drenched road. I learned the hard way that Porsches run very well, but they really are NOT made to fly…