I can’t for the life of me remember what brought me out to a remote corner of the Salt Lake valley in May of 2006. All I know is that I had a little bit of time to kill so I drove around the neighborhood I was in to see whether or not there were any interesting cars waiting to be discovered. I pulled over after a few blocks when I spotted a white Porsche 912 with a “for sale” sign in the window.
The ad read: “1967 Porsche 912 – $4,950. 89k or 189k? miles, 4-speed manual, original leather seats, runs great, great project car, needs a new battery, floor pan needs welding, passenger side window, light body work, and a new paint job.” And, of course, the seller’s name and phone number.
Even a decade ago, paying less than five grand for a running and driving 912 would have been a helluva deal, the kind that you only stumble upon once in a lifetime. The issue was that, ten years ago, my 1988 Alfa Romeo Milano Verde was draining the precious few resources I had as a 17-year old high school student. $5,000 seemed like a fortune, the Milano wasn’t worth anywhere near that, so buying a 912 in need of body work was out of the question entirely.
Besides, at the time the 912 was still considered the 911’s bastard brother, and many self-proclaimed purists scoffed that it wasn’t a real Porsche because it had a Beetle-derived heart. The flat-four didn’t bother me, but I figured that its ugly duckling status meant I could hold off on buying one for a few years and still find a relatively affordable unmolested example.
Hindsight, as they say, is always 20/20. Fast forward a decade later and the 912’s value on the classic car market has sky-rocketed. Rough, incomplete project cars in need of major body work routinely sell for over $10,000, and clean, well-sorted examples command north of $20,000. I figure the one pictured below is a roughly $15,000 car today.