Mike Davidson is the proud owner of a 1967 Porsche 912. A casual glance will tell you it’s unquestionably a Porsche. The inside tells a different story.
An Early Affinity for Sports Cars
Davidson comes from a long line of car lovers. From 1957 Chevy Bel Airs to Toyota Supra Turbos, his dad only had two criteria for car ownership: fast and loud. Davidson grew up riding dirt bikes, three-wheelers and got his own Manx-style dune buggy in high school. The dune buggy was the project that sparked a love of building in Davidson. It was this autophiliacs first true love.
A One-of-a-Kind Trade
Davidson was gifted a ’57 Bel Air from his father. It needed some work, but he quickly got it up and running. He was initially looking to trade it for a Porsche 914, but ended up swapping it for a 912 instead. Davidson actually didn’t know what it was at the time. After doing some research with this brother, he pulled the trigger on the trade.
Ready, Set, Rebuild
The 912 was running, but that was about it. After breaking down three separate times on an easy jaunt around San Francisco, Davidson and his brother decided on a complete rebuild.
First, they sourced new metal for rockers, strikers, a front pan and miscellaneous dent repair. During the repair process and metal installation, they converted some components to fiberglass and carbon fiber, including the fenders, bumpers, hood and rear ducktail. Luckily, Davidson’s brother was well-seasoned: he built his 1975 911S from the ground up.
Four years later, the two finally had the 912 put back together with a freshened-up 901-series transmission and a weak 356 industrial motor.
A Surprise Under the Hood
The existing motor could only put out about 50hp. That would not do. The choice to convert the motor was easy. Picking which motor to convert to? That’s a different challenge. “Most people would go with a newer 911 motor, or perhaps a VW motor. I’ve even seen V8 or rotary motor swaps. But I grew up around Subarus. I idolized the 555 rally car, and I’ve always wanted an STI. I ended up buying a V7 Subaru WRX STI Spec C motor from Canada,” recalls Davidson.
Davidson and his brother put two more years of work into the car—installing the engine along with a newer 915-series transmission—before it was finally running safely.
A Beautiful Union
If you want to ride in your dream car, you’ve got to build it yourself. Davidson did just that with his 912. It has all the benefits of a Subaru paired with the power of a Porsche for a ride unlike anything else. “It starts every time, doesn’t leak oil and even gets 28 miles per gallon. I can take it to the store to get eggs or hit the track and lay down competitive times.” This 912 build goes to show that the more creative you can get, the more uncommon the results you can achieve.
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