toad9977 Reader
July 31, 2015 9:00 a.m.

So I know this is probably a sound plan to ensure I have no funds in any of my bank accounts, but I have had the itch for an air cooled 911 for a few years and with the ridiculous price jump in the last few years I have come to the realization that I will probably never own one.

This brings on the crazy (yet seemingly borderline realistic) idea of converting a 912 into a 911. I have only done minimal research on this, but it appears that 912's can be had for a reasonable price, even though they are climbing as well. A 2.7L or 3.0L would be sweet, and yes I know these can run around $10k, and engine mount conversion is necessary. I haven't dabbled in suspension yet, but these seem like they are still pretty capable cars. What else really needs to be done?

This would be a 912 outlaw, I don't need a pristine body, but something with no rust is a must, and actually an old paint patina look could be kinda cool to roll with. I would definitely run a duck tail hood. I probably wont track it (maybe but that's not going to be it's purpose), just a fun reliable weekend canyon carver.

Is this as dumb as I think it should be? I know I would be hated in the Porsche world, but who really cares? I just see this as being the most practical way of owing a classic air cooled "911".

WilD HalfDork
July 31, 2015 9:14 a.m.

I have to ask (well someone will anyway) why you feel you need the two extra cylinders. I guess I can understand if you are out to build a really racy hotrod, but a 912 seems like a sweet little machine to me, at least the early ones do. I would love to have one but the prices are climbing. Are you really just talking about the 912E? That was a one year only (1976 I think) VW powered afterthought. I doubt anyone will cry any tears over one of those getting modified. I think it would be a shame to convert a late 60s 912 though...

Woody MegaDork
July 31, 2015 9:33 a.m.

912s aren't cheap anymore.

OldGray320i HalfDork
July 31, 2015 9:34 a.m.
WilD wrote: I have to ask (well someone will anyway) why you feel you need the two extra cylinders. I guess I can understand if you are out to build a really racy hotrod, but a 912 seems like a sweet little machine to me, at least the early ones do. I would love to have one but the prices are climbing. Are you really just talking about the 912E? That was a one year only (1976 I think) VW powered afterthought. I doubt anyone will cry any tears over one of those getting modified. I think it would be a shame to convert a late 60s 912 though...

I think I'm in this camp. Years ago in the old neighborhood there was someone who toodled around in an early 912 - so cool. I think because it was a early 912.

Per Schroeder PowerDork
July 31, 2015 9:38 a.m.

Good 912s with no rust are definitely not cheap any more…really good ones are approaching and surpassing 100k. Unless the car has already been converted to a 912-6, I would recommend starting with a 911 if you want 911 power.

That said, 911s can still be found inexpensively. I'm refurbishing a 3.2 Carrera that I found within my budget.

scottdownsouth
July 31, 2015 9:43 a.m.

912e aren't cheap anymore, nor rust free 911 and even 914 shells. Most Porsche guys will hate you unless its 100% from the factory so who cares what you do to your car. I was thinking subbie conversion but now I'm thinking LS, same work, more fun !

toad9977 Reader
July 31, 2015 9:54 a.m.

Yea I guess I should have clarified by saying "cheaper" than 911's. I don't mind a restoration project, but I don't want a complete rust bucket either. I've done a little searching and have found decent examples of 912s with minimal rust that still need some work for under $10k. Yes I have seen the nice ones that are anywhere from $50-$100k, definitely not the car I am looking for.

To answer the engine question, I have always like the sound of a 6, but I get that for performance and sound that is a decent price to pay.

Per: I guess that was the answer next question I was going to ask that I didn't put in my original post. Is starting with a 911 still going to be cheaper in the long run even though it's more expensive starting point?

Is $10-$15k (price I would kin of like to stay around) even a realistic price range to try and find a 911 that's a work in progress?

BoxheadTim UltimaDork
July 31, 2015 9:56 a.m.

Longhood 912s can be made to go pretty quick and are better balanced that long 911s as they don't have the extra weight out back. That said, a four banger engine rebuild is going to cost about as much as a six pot engine rebuild as they're more complex.

912es are pretty rare - it's a one year only model, and they only made about ~2500 of them - and I don't think the additional work required to convert one of them to a six cylinder is worth the hassle. The earlier cars convert more easily because you don't have to deal with the fuel injection. If I'd end up with one I'd keep it original for the curiosity value...

If I were you, I'd find a good condition early impact bumper with the narrow body and do something about that 2.7 out back - either fix up the US-imposed issues or drop a 3L in it, preferably on ITBs.

BoxheadTim UltimaDork
July 31, 2015 10:06 a.m.

In reply to toad9977:

If you absolutely must have a longhood, you're probably better off starting with a 912 unless you want to drop 30k+ on a longhood 911 that comes in boxes. However these cars rust something fierce and IMHO you're better off starting with a later, preferably galvanised car.

Keith Seume of Classic Porsche Magazine has been building an outlaw 912 with a six for a couple of years now and just by following his build I'm pretty certain that wasn't a cheap build even though he started it when 912s were still cheap.

You can get a running and driving early IB for mid-to-high teens that needs some work and may be even able to find an SC for that money.

However I think that's false economy. 911s of all ages can be utter moneypits if you end up with one that needs more work than expected (and they all do). If you're trying to build one because you can't afford buying one, you'll be in for a world of financial hurt and will end up with a car that's going to cost you more than buying a decent one to begin with.

To put it into perspective - I'm on my second 911, both were considered very good cars when I bought them and I dropped over $10k into each in the first year anyway. On the C3.2 it was bodywork, on the 996 it was mechanical.

That $10k engine you're thinking about dropping in there? That may be decent for quite a few years, but it might also need at least a top end rebuild next week.

AaronBalto
AaronBalto Reader
July 31, 2015 10:18 a.m.

You aren't going to win this war. I did all of this math myself last summer. And then I bought a Ferrari 308. You might want to consider other options that are equally awesome and less bubbly.

Woody MegaDork
July 31, 2015 10:25 a.m.
scottdownsouth wrote: Most Porsche guys will hate you unless its 100% from the factory

This is the kind of nonsense that people who don't own Porsches say.

Lof8 Reader
July 31, 2015 10:54 a.m.
Woody wrote:
scottdownsouth wrote: Most Porsche guys will hate you unless its 100% from the factory

This is the kind of nonsense that people who don't own Porsches say.

ALL of the Porsche guys I know love modifying and tracking their cars. Of course, I did meet them all at the track.

t25torx HalfDork
July 31, 2015 11:36 a.m.

I really want to see what kind of 912 you can get for under 10k. The ones I'm seeing are rusted out husks or are mangled with crash damage beyond repair and are for parts only.

Edit: Here's one already done for you. http://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=1816970

July 31, 2015 11:40 a.m.
Woody wrote:
scottdownsouth wrote: Most Porsche guys will hate you unless its 100% from the factory

This is the kind of nonsense that people who don't own Porsches say.

Absolutely!

As a point of reference: I bought a 2.2 911 engine a few months back. It was $3600, carbs to flywheel. It will need a freshening to the tune of several grand before it can be reliably used.

The best, cheapest way to get a 911 is to buy one. A second, more costly and time consuming way would be to convert a 912.

scottdownsouth
July 31, 2015 11:46 a.m.

scottdownsouth wrote: Most Porsche guys will hate you unless its 100% from the factory

Woody wrote: This is the kind of nonsense that people who don't own Porsches say.

I may have overindulged a little but as a 912e owner I do get that "oh it's not a real 911 " when they see its VW powered.

alfadriver UltimaDork
July 31, 2015 11:48 a.m.

How daring are you for a project? This has a $16k buy it now price- http://www.ebay.com/itm/Porsche-911-911-S-Coupe-/161779510656?forcerrptr=true&hash=item25aacf6d80&item=161779510656

There are a number of 911's listed for low money- no idea if they will sell or not. But I bet you can find a air cooled car that will fit your budget that's already a 911.

BoxheadTim UltimaDork
July 31, 2015 12:23 p.m.

alfadriver actually links to what may be a good buy. A lot of "messed about" 911s (like that S with the turbo body that doesn't seem to be that finished) tend to be a lot cheaper than nice clean ones, and if you're hot rodding it anyway...

mad_machine MegaDork
July 31, 2015 12:47 p.m.
BoxheadTim wrote: Longhood 912s can be made to go pretty quick and are better balanced that long 911s as they don't have the extra weight out back. That said, a four banger engine rebuild is going to cost about as much as a six pot engine rebuild as they're more complex.

I don't think the standard 356 engine is all that complex. Maybe you are thinking of the 4cam Carrera engine? That thing is a beast and takes hours and hours to time the valves. The standard 1600 engine is not all that different from the beetle engine.

toad9977 Reader
July 31, 2015 1:15 p.m.

Well although you guys shattered my hopes and dreams immediately, you rebuilt some of them. I guess I will continue the search, but probably just for 911's that need some work. Really my only limits are metal work, as I have never really dabbled in that, so rot free cars are what I'm looking for.

Outside of Pelican Parts and Rennlist, what are some other good Porsche references?

And I know his designs are sometimes of controversy, but this Magnus Walker 911 was really what has got me looking around for them again, and is a similar design that I would be looking to do (again hopes and dreams).

I appreciate all the input.

Type Q Dork
July 31, 2015 1:20 p.m.

The air cooled 911's I see that are less expensive in my area are often 70's vintage with body kits left over from another era. I have found my myself wondering what the costs would be to remove an 80s-tastic "flatnose" conversation or a 90's vintage 993 lookalike and put stock parts back on.

oldtin UberDork
July 31, 2015 1:39 p.m.

A couple of weeks ago a pretty solid driver 911sc targa with a sketchy title and running megasquirt sold for 16,xxx off the BaT auction site. Put me in the camp of if you want a 911, get one instead of trying to create one. I think there's a little time left to still find decent deals. The 80s were also a time when 911 production hit a peak. There were a good number built (like 30,000 compared to 3500 Ferrari 308s in a given year).

Esoteric Nixon SuperDork
July 31, 2015 2:08 p.m.

This info many not be of any use for you, but I know of a place in Stow Ohio that has a bunch of classic 911/912s sitting in the elements. I don't know if they're for sale, or even if they'd be worth it, but who knows, they may be willing to part with them.

BoxheadTim UltimaDork
July 31, 2015 3:29 p.m.
Type Q wrote: The air cooled 911's I see that are less expensive in my area are often 70's vintage with body kits left over from another era. I have found my myself wondering what the costs would be to remove an 80s-tastic "flatnose" conversation or a 90's vintage 993 lookalike and put stock parts back on.

It's probably a bit too expensive to try and return them to stock unless the bodykit is falling off all by itself. Keep in mind that while you still can get stock fenders from Porsche, none of that stuff is cheap.

However, they'll make a good basis for a R Gruppe-type hot rod like the Magnus Walker one hotlinked above. Pull the flat nose, hope there isn't rot underneath and put fibreglass longhood conversion parts on it. Longhood conversion with turbo rear arches looks pretty good to me, for example.

Type Q Dork
July 31, 2015 5:32 p.m.
BoxheadTim wrote:
Type Q wrote: The air cooled 911's I see that are less expensive in my area are often 70's vintage with body kits left over from another era. I have found my myself wondering what the costs would be to remove an 80s-tastic "flatnose" conversation or a 90's vintage 993 lookalike and put stock parts back on.

It's probably a bit too expensive to try and return them to stock unless the bodykit is falling off all by itself. Keep in mind that while you still can get stock fenders from Porsche, none of that stuff is cheap.

However, they'll make a good basis for a R Gruppe-type hot rod like the Magnus Walker one hotlinked above. Pull the flat nose, hope there isn't rot underneath and put fibreglass longhood conversion parts on it. Longhood conversion with turbo rear arches looks pretty good to me, for example.

I didn't know there were Fiberglass long hood conversions. That sounds pretty cool.

I would be looking hard for rust and collision damage on anything with body kit.

AaronBalto
AaronBalto Reader
July 31, 2015 5:34 p.m.
oldtin wrote: A couple of weeks ago a pretty solid driver 911sc targa with a sketchy title and running megasquirt sold for 16,xxx off the BaT auction site. Put me in the camp of if you want a 911, get one instead of trying to create one. I think there's a little time left to still find decent deals. The 80s were also a time when 911 production hit a peak. There were a good number built (like 30,000 compared to 3500 Ferrari 308s in a given year).

There were only about 13,000 308s built during the entire production run. Never even close to 3500 in a year.

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