I’ve got great respect for people that restore old classics back to factory, or better-than-factory condition. Restorations can easily consume hundreds if not thousands of hours, and not just in physical labour, but research and parts-hunting time, too. And then there’s the actual cost, which can be eye-watering depending on the scope of the project. Being passion-driven, the end results are almost always worth it, though.
While I can appreciate a perfectly restored classic, I’ve always preferred the more radical approach of taking something quite normal and turning it into something really special. The owner of this wild 1969 Porsche 912 obviously has the same mindset.
The Carrera RSR-style front bumper and 993 GT2-style rear wing set the tone for this hardcore build. As you’ll see, the 912 is filled to the brim with race parts – as you’d expect for a car that sees plenty of track time – but it’s also been built road legal here in South Africa.
Perhaps more than the aero additions, the first thing that catches your eye is the iconic Rothmans Porsche livery, as worn by the 956 and 962C Le Mans racers in period. It’s a great look here, but what makes the livery extra special is the fact that it’s been painted. A wrap was simply never going to cut it.
As you’ll already have deduced from the title, this is no sheep in wolf’s clothing, though.
While the 912 came with a four-cylinder engine, there’s nothing ‘numbers matching’ about what lives under the rear deck lid now. Instead of a paltry 1.6L unit, there’s a 3.4L powerhouse built from a 3.0L 930 mill.
Internally, you’ll find 98mm Capricorn cylinders, JE forged pistons, Pauter I-beam rods, GT2 Evo cams, upgraded valve springs and titanium retainers, and ARP studs for the ported heads. Externally, there’s a modified 911 Carrera intake manifold, Bosch Motorsport injectors, a GT3 oil pump, Goodridge fittings, and a custom radiator underneath the car. But the real party piece – or pieces, should I say – are the twin Garrett GT2971R turbos with 46mm wastegates.
They’re fully on show out back, and boy do they look good finished off with a custom titanium exhaust system.
Firing orders come from a MoTeC M84 engine management system, and power output is around 600hp on 1.2bar (17.6psi) boost – a solid number for a 51-year-old car. This power is transferred to the wheels through a 915 gearbox, which has been shortened, cut and welded, and paired with a GT3-type clutch and lightweight flywheel conversion.
Having so much performance available at a squeeze of your right foot would be pointless if the chassis wasn’t up to it, but nothing has been overlooked in the handling department with custom Advanced Suspension Technology (AST) motorsport coilovers at the heart of the upgrade. To get to a stop, there’s Brembo rotors and callipers, and a custom retrofitted ABS braking system. Depending on use, the split rims of unknown origin are either fitted with road or track (slick) rubber.
Inside, the interior has been modernized with custom leather-trimmed Sparco Pro 2000 seats, a SCHROTH harness for the driver, OMP steering wheel on a quick-release hub, and a MoTeC C127 digital dash.
But just in case you forget you’re driving a race car while out on the road, there’s the full roll cage, carbon fiber switch panel, carbon-Kevlar panel trim throughout, and an adjustable Tilton pedal box to remind you of the 912’s motorsport underpinnings.
This really is a great example of having an idea and executing it with success. So much work has gone into this half-century-old Porsche, but I’m sure all the effort and numerous challenges along the way have been worth it. The fact that this is in all honesty a full-on race car that’s brilliantly still road legal is just the cherry on top.