Porsche 916 was unveiled at the 1971 Paris Auto Salon. The model was planned as the ultimate iteration of the 914 before the 914 had even entered production.
Even though the car had 914 body, it was much more than just a modified version of it. Flared fenders were added covering 7-inch wide Fuchs five spoke wheels, a steel roof instead of a targa top for improved rigidity, body colored fiberglass bumpers.
It looked lower and more sleek than the heavy chromed bumpers of the 914. The front air dam had a large cutout in front for the oil cooler, and two smaller flanking cutouts for fog lights. The rear bumper was molded in a simple fashion with only one small hole for the exhaust, and a molded flat surface for mounting the license tags.
Interior was finished with luxurious leather and velour. The traditional 914 door panels were replaced with lighter components, including a small plastic door pull, and flexible fabric map pockets. The car was fitted from the factory with a Becker AM/FM Cassette stereo, which was quite advanced for 1972. It also had a special antenna molded into the windshield for increased reception, with the added benefit of maintaining smooth body lines.
Real difference compared to the 914 was sitting directly behind the driver. 2.4 liter engine from the 911S with 190 horsepower at 6500 rpm, and 159 pound feet of torque at 5200 rpm. Power was sent to rear wheels via reworked traditional-shift-pattern type 915 transmission.
The 916 was 165 pounds lighter than the 911S, making it the quickest production Porsche at the time. 0-60 mph came in under seven seconds and top speed was 145 mph.
Mid-engined layout, powerful engine and a light weight sounded like a winning formula, but reality was far different.
Porsche’s initial plan to was to produce 20 cars By the mid-October Paris Auto Salon, only a few had been built, and one was shown to judge consumer response. Consumers were very receptive to the 916 as a concept; however, the receptivity turned to anguish when they glimpsed the pricing structure. Potential customers could not justify the nearly $14,000 for a 916, especially when a 911S could be had for less.
After the show a few more units were built and soon the the production was stopped. Only 11 cars were built and only one was officially exported to the United States by Porsche. It is the only 916 to receive US certification, use US spec 911S equipment, and have US-style indicator lights.
Porsche 916 never had an air conditioning option, but Porsche importer Peter Gregg(owner of Brumos Porsche+Audi in Florida) assured Porsche that his team would engineer the air conditioning system for the 916 if Porsche would provide them with a car.
When Gregg arrived at the port to pick up the car, the velour seat inserts had rotted clean through due to the salty air. He later replaced them with layered gradient Porsche logo cloth inserts. When Porsche pulled the plug on 916 production, the car stayed with him at Brumos.
Today the car is owned by Mr. George Hussey, owner of Automobile Atlanta, who bought it back in 1993 from its second owner. Now this very rare mid-engined classic Porsche is on the market for $495,000. Its present condition is just as it was when in arrived in Florida almost 40 years ago. For more details contact Auto Atlanta.