Porsche 912E

The 1976 Porsche 912E was a one-year-only vehicle produced to be an alternative to the 911 enthusiast that wanted a cheaper and more simple vehicle. There are many stories of why Porsche did this, and basically, I don’t care why they did it! The minute I saw a 911 body with my most favorite engine from the factory, the type 4- I wanted one!

I have been a Porsche lover all my life, I got my first one at age 12 and from every perspective, I can honestly say that I feel the 912E is the best all around, daily driver Porsche that was ever built! The 912E is the perfect mix of vintage characteristics and modern styling. Even after 35 years, the 912E can cruise at modern speeds, just as any Porsche it was years ahead of its time in 1976. 

Dave LoVato’s 2056 “E” RAT Engine, built in 2001, and driven coast to coast many times!

After a 10 year search I finally found a perfect vehicle, VIN 912600985 was exactly what I was looking for! It was one of 500 limited edition 912s that came from the factory with a sunroof, tinted windows and air conditioning. I actually traded a few bucks and one of my custom 2270cc Type 4 engines for the car in 2002 and the seller and I both got a great deal! 

Jake’s 1976 912e

When I took possession of the car it needed engine work, but was in pristine condition body wise and interior wise. The car had never been restored, was kept indoors and basically was flawless. I could have cared less if it needed an engine, as I refuse to drive a car that I haven’t built an engine for myself.

Shortly after I received the 912 I ripped the engine out and found a cylinder head to be melted from a serious combustion leak that the previous owner had mistaken as an exhaust leak. I ripped the engine apart and performed a bit of mechanical magic. It is my nature to attempt the most with the least so I ended up building my personal engine with all used parts except cam, lifters, gaskets and valves! It always amazes me that even with an inventory of all new parts at my disposal I tend to pick through parts that have failed in other engines and make them work in my own!

This engine turned out exceptionally and was used as a test bed for a new camshaft profile and matched compression ratio for my daily driver series of engines. It was named the 2056”E” and dynoed at just over 120BHP (stock was 76BHP)with flat torque curves. The car is very easy to drive and performs great in traffic or on the highway at 85 MPH for hours on end.

The 912, being such an awesome driver is hard to stay out of, and soon I found my bus, and beetle parked for weeks while miles racked up on the 912! The car never required a single bit of unscheduled maintenance or a single repair during those 59,000 miles! Over the years the engine continued to gather miles, finally reaching 8 years of service and 160,000 miles with zero repairs needing to be made over that time.This is a true testament to the Type 4 engine, its reliability and the 912 in general. Follow the link below to the “High Mileage” post-mortem inspection of the 912E engine in my car. As of this web update the 912E is back together again after a mkechanical resto and the old, tired engine has been resurrected and is purring like a kitten again and beautiful than ever!

Jake’s 160,000 Mile Wonder 

So, in general this car is my favorite possession! It performs great, all the time. It never breaks. It has gotten 38MPG on many occasions, even at 80 MPH! I have used the car for track/ drivers’ ed events and logged 210 track miles at Roebling Road Raceway and never needed the decklid opened. Even with the limited, mild HP engine myself and my instructor stayed right on the tails of many higher HP cars all weekend. Heck the drive to Roebling road is 5 hours each way and I averaged 85MPH going to and returning from the track! I have driven this car to speeds up to 125 MPH, and purposely abused the engine. In one instance I even went 23,500 miles without an oil change! (I religiously run synthetics) I figure that putting my engines through neglect is a good way of testing our capabilities! The engine was built “old school” and was only well balanced, and was NOT blueprinted. I just slapped it together and fired it up!

Jake Raby

These specs are for the “original” Raby Special engine that saw service from 2002-2010 and 160,000 miles. The “generation 2 engine” is in service now in 2012

  • Engine- 2056cc “E” Type IV
  • HP- 123@ 6000 rpm
  • Tq- 135@ 3850 rpm
  • Compression Ratio- 9.1:1
  • Camshaft- RAT Custom, split duration and lift
  • Lifters- Johnson
  • Heads- 2.0 914, 44×36 valves, no port work
  • Induction- SDS EFI
  • Ignition- Direct fire, SDS EFI
  • Cooling system- Stock Type 4, modified
  • Exhaust- RAT Stainless steel
  • Transaxle- Stock 923 5 speed
  • Tires- 185/60/14

Special mods- None, 100% stock other than full instrumentation for the engine.
* Customer core engines are a requirement for all 912E applications, as the core parts for these engines simply do not exist! *

Jake Raby

 Read more here to see what a 160,000 mile Raby engine looks like after 8 years of pure abuse and neglect.