Chassis 351921 is a first-generation 912, in Irish Green with black vinyl interior and dark grey carpets. Number 1,921 in the production run, it rolled off the production line on 27th December 1965 – so it’s a 1966 model year but with the great advantage of having being built in 1965, and thus being eligible for all the best events. It has its Porsche Heritage certificate and is matching numbers.
The 912 was ordered direct from the factory by a young Californian dentist, Richard Cowan, who specified the optional five-speed gearbox and chrome wheels. Richard collected the car from Stuttgart in person in January 1966, enjoying a driving holiday around Europe before shipping it home from Rotterdam. He was to keep it for a subsequent 37 years until January 2003. Richard is still alive and retains fond memories of his 912, kindly sending the current owner the original Californian license plates.
The Porsche also has its original service record book and owner’s manual, and a genuine Porsche tool roll and jack. Many of Richard’s service records came with the car; these run from 1985-2002, and include well-documented engine and gearbox full rebuilds. At some stage the original Solex carbs were switched for Weber 40IDFs.
After Richard, the car’s second owner in the US kept it for 18 months before it was imported to the UK in 2005 via a dealer to an Army officer, Mark Booton. He ran it for two years before selling in 2007 to Jim Lowry of Chelmsford, who kept it sitting in his garage until 2013 when the current owner bought it. The odometer mileage is now 78,000, making the total 178,000 miles over 50 years (or an average of about 3,500 miles a year!).
Key maintenance events include the engine rebuild at 116,000, a new generator and regulator at 162,000, a new silencer and tailpipe in 2006 – and a very comprehensive condition report and subsequent £10,000 mechanical refurbishment by (Andy) Prill Porsche Classics, one of the UK’s pre-eminent early Porsche restorers. Since then the current owner has spent a further £10,000 on body & chassis repairs with CL Panelcraft in Braintree, including a new LHF inner and outer wing and new outer door skins, plus other more minor maintenance items.
The Porsche has been used regularly and performs very well. Its build quality is remarkable – the doors still shut with that wonderful Porsche precision – and the handling of the 912 is legendry. This is helped by a complete suspension rebuild and set-up by Andy Prill.
Unquestionably one of the best and most original 912s in the UK.