Cooking Up The Right Recipe For Project 912SiX

Last month I gave you guys the breakdown on how Project 912SiX came to light, and this time around I want to elaborate on the build process.

Before diving into the details, I’d like to excuse the majority of images throughout this story, as they were shot on an iPhone. I’ll explain why a bit later, but for now, we move into the update.

If you’ve read any of my features before, you may recollect a few of my notes that talk about having a theme for your build. That’s something I still stand behind, because frankly, every build should have some sort of aspiration or ethos it’s working towards. Some may argue against that, claiming that it’s okay to just slap a bunch of parts together and call it quits. Though that could possibly work, over the years I’ve learned that builds with a primary target to achieve are often the ones that end up standing out. It helps create a sort of flow and understanding of the car, while also giving you direction in how to modify accordingly, hopefully ending up with a well-rounded car with a proper sense of occasion regardless what that may be. Which leads me to my end goal – making the driving characteristics of my 912 as similar to a ’73 RS as possible.

Why Though?
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From the moment I sat in my friend G’s ’73 RS, my heart was won over. It was quite literally the pinnacle of air-cooled long-hood 911s, and for very good reason. It’s light, rigid, raw, and visceral with an indescribable amount of driver feedback. Everything could be felt in the driver’s seat, all whilst retaining its signature 911 charm. It’s truly a factory race car for the road, and also the exact opposite of where the 912 sat in its original state. There’s no way I could’ve settled for the four-banger variant of a Porsche – I needed that exact RS recipe.

The Nitty-Gritty
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With that goal in mind, I dropped the car off to my buddy Erik at Sports Purpose Garage in Livermore, California, in hopes of achieving a modest fraction of that same driving experience. Before you guys hound me on not doing the build myself, I’ll note that I had many reasons for not taking it on, the two primary factors being that I don’t have a garage to work out of (and a homeowners association that flags me the moment I get any of my cars up on jacks), and mostly because of time, or lack thereof. If I did it myself, the learning curve would be vast as I’d never taken on this caliber of a project myself (besides an engine swap on my old S30 Datsun Z with the help of a few friends over a weekend). And being that I didn’t have a fun car to drive, I was eager to get back behind the wheel of my own car, so I made sure that I budgeted accordingly to simply have the pros handle it for me in a timely manner. Sometimes, it’s just easier to go that route, and for me, this was the best option. This is also the reason why the images are mostly cellphone pics, as my builder Erik rests his expertise in building cars, not taking photos.

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Anyway, when I purchased the 912 it wasn’t running and we didn’t know why. But it didn’t really matter either, as the plans were to gut everything underneath, essentially using only the unibody of the car. I had it towed straight to Erik’s garage the same night I purchased it, where the Euro Carrera donor was also awaiting its new and soon-to-be home.

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The next morning, I finally saw my 912 in the sunlight. Erik greeted me with a huge smile on his face, and proceeded to explain how great the car was in terms of its condition. The body was pretty straight despite its worn-down black repaint, and there wasn’t a spec of rust to be found given it being a Bay Area car all of its life. If I recall correctly, Erik’s words were, “Dude, you did great!”, instantly relieving me of all worries on whether I had just wasted a bunch of cash on a pile of garbage. I got lucky on the gamble honestly.

Mechanicals
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Over the course of the next three months, the 912 underwent its soul-reviving transplant. The first steps were to strip both cars down as much as possible. Since all the additional and excess parts would be listed for sale, I had Erik remove pretty much every bit of the 911, and nearly as much on the 912, minus the essentials needed like the seats, headlights, taillights, and other miscellaneous pieces that would be replaced later on.

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We would be stripping the 912 as much as possible for weight reduction, so the majority of the suspension components on the 911 would suffice, given that the 912 would be 800lbs (363kgs) lighter than the 911. Plus, the majority of these pieces were aluminum versus the original steel material used from factory, so most would consider it an upgrade either way.

With that understanding, we retained the adjustable BILSTEIN struts, aluminum control arms and trailing arms, and the Euro-spec torsion bars. Upon removal though, we figured it would be best to at least upgrade the bushings and spring plates on the car, so we decided to go with the obvious choice from Elephant Racing, as they have quite the proven track record for delivering excellent performance-grade pieces.

The brakes from the Euro Carrera would also be considered an upgrade from the factory 912 fare, being that they have larger calipers and rotors, so those were retained as well. I really lucked it on these modifications as G had serviced most of the parts on his car prior to me purchasing it from him.

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Moving on to the engine, the Euro 3.2-liter flat-six, rebuilt 915 transmission and wiring harness were all removed from the Euro Carrera and set aside until the new motor mounts arrived for the 912. Once they did, Erik welded them in along with the new oil tank and filler, and finished up the job with a fresh coat of paint prior to the engine install.

At this point, I realized that I had yet to purchase an exhaust setup for the car, so I started looking around to see what I could come up with. Despite searching for a few days, I came up short; the struggle was that I wanted to retain the heater in my car, and for those who don’t know, Porsches use the headers as heaters. A dumbed-down explanation of this is that the heat that is generated from the header gets passed through a filtration system, and is then forced into the cabin. Most aftermarket headers lose this aspect, and if I wanted to go with the OEM upgrade (known as SSIs), I’d have to fork out quite a bit of cash to get the right set that still worked. As fate would have it yet again, Erik told me that one of our mutual friends was selling a set of M&K aftermarket headers, and they actually designed this set to retain the heat-exchanging element. After a few back and forth negotiations, we made a deal on the set, along with a Dansk 2-in-and-2-out exhaust to match, resulting in a serious gain in horsepower and torque over the factory exhaust. And of course, a much throatier sound overall.

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With everything mechanically sorted about two months in, Project 912SiX finally started to look like a car again. The motor, drivetrain, and electrical components were all in, and the car could actually move under its own power. The last thing left was to get everything dialed in and functioning correctly.

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When dialing in the suspension bits on the car, I told Erik it needed to have an aggressive yet functional stance. The Euro Carrera’s 16×6-inch and 16×7-inch Fuchs would surely do the trick in terms of wheel fitment, but the struggle would be making them fit. After all, the 912 is narrow-body still, and it came with 5.5-inch steelies all around from the factory. So the extra width was a bit of a challenge. Needless to say, Erik managed to roll and pull the rear fenders just enough to get the 205s tucked nicely under the rear tub. That, and an aggressive alignment with corner balancing brought form to meet function.

Sorted
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Finally, at the end of month three, the car was finally considered done (mechanically). I brought it back home and drove the hell out of it for the following few weeks, trying to sort out all of the kinks after the swap. To my surprise, there really wasn’t too many things that were out of sync. A few small adjustments were made to the alignment and ride height after wearing off my rear paint from a few spirited drives, but other than that, everything else was pretty well sorted.

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The big question in mind was how close or comparable was the driving experience to the end goal of the ’73 RS? I’m happy to report that it’s quite close. Sure, I don’t have the smell and sound of carbs, but the power-to-weight ratio is pretty much spot on. The overall end weight of the car came in at 2,064lbs (936kgs), and with the upgraded exhaust and tune in the 912, we are estimating about 210-220 wheel horsepower, which brings me on par with where the RS stands. Pair this with the upgraded drivetrain and suspension components all around and you end up with a hard bargain to rival the million-dollar end goal.

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All that’s left now is making it pretty. More on that in the next update…

Naveed Yousufzai
Instagram: eatwithnaveed

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1

Maybe it's just me, but she already looks great! Are you wanting to wide body or just a new coat of paint?

Author2
Naveed Yousufzai

Thanks, no widebody for this car. Just want to get some details dialed in for the right look.

3

Agreed, you know how some cars just look 'right'? Not in your face, but obviously not boring, pretty rare these days. Really only wants a little tidying up, enjoy it man, hope it does you proud.

4

Kind of doubting your HP number if that's just a tired 3.2 w an exhaust. Did you do 964 cams or anything? Cool car regardless, looks awesome!

5

That sounds accurate. The North American 86 3.2L in my '77 with 993 HEs no cat and custom exhaust put down 217 on TurboHoses R&D's dyno. The ROW engine has higher compression and a moderate HP advantage over NA. None of G's cars have tired engines to my knowledge and I chased the red car on a couple of drives. It was quick.

Author6
Naveed Yousufzai

We will see, i'll hopefully have it on the dyno before the next update!

7

I tend to agree Normally a 3.2 from my side of the pond has a minimum of 160Kw with catalytic convertor. so that should equate to 215Hp. But thats at the crank. Count in drivetrain losses of about 30 Hp to get wheel horsepower figures. manifolds of the standard cars wheren't that bad really, but you should really delete the heater system in a heartbeat: Co poisoning is a likely possibility. Over here a heater is required and checked anually, so you just install a electrical heater. Way better then the factory system anyway, since we have real winters over here.

Non the less: It is a cool car, and although I'm probably one of the only people who whould have kept it a 4 cylinder, I'm not at all frowning at what your doing!

8

That's why you run a high quality set of stainless heat exchangers. I would only run SSI's and do on my 911.

9

airplanes use a (muff) heater thats the exact same style. They are required to run a little placard in the cabin that has a monoxide detector button on it. atleast run one of those and you should be good to go.

10

So are the bodies identical to the rs? Kinda like the AE86 vs AE85?

Author11
Naveed Yousufzai

No, the RS has wider quarter panels in the rear, along with all the RS detailed bits like the bumpers, mirror, etc.

12

I'm speechless hahaha nice project update and as I've said when you first introduce project912six I still envy you every step of it. Cool Car great Theme.

13

How can we not mention the Noble M12?! :O

Author14

I'll get you guys a Noble story soon. For now, this may hold you over: http://www.speedhunters.com/2019/03/the-hidden-motorsport-shop-of-the-bay-area/

15

Thank you ! Lots of crappy Porsches in that garage and nobody even mentions the real gem in there. Modern car enthusiasts at their finest...

16

New coat of paint and a small ducktail spoiler is all this needs to be perfect!

17

Just say no ducktails on a narrow body car.

What it needs is a set of Fuchs from a 951. You get 7's and 8's that can fit under narrow flares.

Author18

definitely no ducktail on a narrow car lol. but i do have some other cool plans in store =)

19

I see the sport seats and campagnolos on the pallet shelf in the background. And I also noticed the rear flares are cut off the Carrera. I can only assume they are all going on this car.

If so, remember that a Carrera and a Carrera RS have different rear flare profiles.

20

Awesome read! Well considered conversion with all the right bits in all the right places. Look forward to seeing how this progresses!

Author21

Much appreciated, I tried to focus where it mattered most!

22

Porsche build threads are always the best to follow. A great combination of elbow grease and heritage make for great reading.

23

What a gorgeous thing. So understated with the narrow body and retro interior. Really looking forward to the next installment!

24

ROSSIAN Q1 IN THE FIRST PIC! SUPER RARE!!

25
Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Your knowledge of the car contradicts your display name.

That is a Noble M12, not Rossion.

Author26
Naveed Yousufzai

they are the same thing lol

27

LOL.

28

Naveed, very well written article my man! Now you know I am a Porschefile for life! I bleed Porsche. Had a kid on my school bus a few years ago and his dad is a VP at Ferrari. Whatever! Ferraris are NOT German. Check out this place called Top Gear in New Jersey. They restore Porsches and have cars for sale including a 959. They host a car show twice a year and believe me this show will rival ANY show on the planet! Last year 7 McLaren Sennas were at the show. Great article man! Porsche for life!

29

First thing on my list would be remove the US bumper stop things, apart from that she is pretty fine !

30

Looking forward to see more!

31

AWESOME!!!!!!

But.... How did the horrendous US spec bumpers make it through the upgrade?

Author32
Naveed Yousufzai

lol, next update should surprise you.

33

Nice finish so far. I'd say the car is nearly perfect right now. Against all others I think the US spec bumpers are ok... but if I'd see your car in a parking lot with those headlights, I'd smack them with my elbow and leave you $$$ for some proper ones.

They make your Porsche look like the doofus brother of them 911s.

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