The Twelve Builds of Christmas: Part 5

Number five in our series of major project reviews for 2018 tells the story of a Porsche 912’s journey from vintage road car to future long distance rally car.

12 Builds of Christmas 5: Irish Green Porsche 912 project

Dubai is not often noted as the centre of the air-cooled Porsche universe but a few older Porsches do call it home. Unboxing this classic 912 on Dubai plates was an interesting start to an exciting project.

The owner had worked in Dubai for several years, but was moving back to Europe with a celebratory Porsche project in mind. An air-cooled Porsche for use in shorter rallies and regularity events was the outline specification, but there was also potential for long-distance events in the future (the words ‘Peking to Paris’ were heard). So, while the short term held relatively small scale intentions for the little 912, it was likely to go on to bigger events. It therefore made sense to future-proof and carry out fundamental upgrades while the car was apart, saving repeat disassembly in the future. 

Many Tuthill projects involve a fully stripped, bare metal shell, but, as this car would not be seam welded, there was no need to take it back to bare metal. Our first job was to strip the interior trim and mechanicals, as a long list of parts would be upgraded during reassembly. Stripped of its trim, suspension and drivetrain, the car was fixed to one of our rolling frames and put on a lift for detailed inspection.

The original 912 was sold through the 1965 to 1969 model years. As the first cars predate fully galvanised shells by over a decade, rust may be expected. Despite a few years spent in Dubai, there was a lot of corrosion to repair.

Over 200 hours went into the restoration and reinforcement of the shell for future rally use. We used many new panels including sills, doors and front wings, but the car also had work to the A- and B-posts and some repairs to the outer floor sections. We also fitted torsion tube repair sections. 

With the bodyshell almost complete, it was decided to change the colour to Irish Green. The paint was stripped and the shell was then flatted by hand before a complete repaint in the original colour. The finished shell returned to the competition workshop and we began the task of putting it back together. a lot of new parts were used including wheel bearings, torsion bars and so on. 

Several different types of wiring loom are used in our projects, depending on requirements. For minimum weight with maximum reliability, we use modern looms in our competition cars and this car had one of our so-called “tunnel looms”. These harnesses run through the central tunnel to give the best finish for a carpeted cabin, as opposed to a Safari car, where we run the wiring outside the tunnel for best access.   

Other improvements to the 912 included one of our twin master cylinder pedalboxes, a bigger 62-litre fuel tank, HID headlights, a competition steering wheel and a change of throttle pedal to one of our own.  Riding on restored steel wheels and ready to enjoy its first competition outing, the 912 left us for Italy, where it was registered in its new home. Such a great looking car!