The history of the ill-fated Porsche 916.


Possibly one of the rarest cars in the world the Porsche 916 was a dream that never made it to production reality. In the end only 11 of the 916 model, all prototypes, were ever produced and only one was shipped at the time to the United States.  If you’re keen on seeing a 916 in person all you have to do is take a quick ride over to Automobile Atlanta in Marietta, Georgia and you’ll see one of the 11 prototypes there in all its glory.

The 916 was basically a 911S powered automobile and had a fixed roof unlike that of the 914 which came with the famous ‘targa’ top. The bumper panels were painted to match the color of the car and it had flared out fenders as well but the thing that separated it from any of the other Porsche models of its day was the fact that it was the fastest sports car that Porsche had ever built and, at top speed, could reach 145 mph which was pretty darned impressive back in the mid-1970’s. In fact the 916 had a 2341cc fuel injected engine that was built on a 915 Type trans-axle and could deliver 190 hp at 6500 rpm.

When it was being developed the Porsche 916 was planned to have a retail price of $14,000.00 which would have made it the most expensive Porsche built up until that time.  Yes it sounds like a ridiculously low number today but, when you compare it to the price of the best Porsche 911 of the day at $10,000.00 you quickly see that the 916 was in a price range all by itself.

And that was the problem.  The 916 was intended to be a competitor to the Ferrari 246 Dino but, because of a decline in Porsche sales overall that was taking place at the time it was being developed, the Porsche 916 was dropped and the 11 prototype models were the only ones that ever were actually produced.

It’s a real shame too because the 916 was a better, stronger and faster car than the 914 and, in many people’s opinion, a damn sight better looking as well. It was going to come with stiffer springs, pressurized shocks for competition, 4 wheel vented disc brakes and sway bars at the front and rear. The fact that it weighed slightly less than the 911S also helped to make it the fastest car that Porsche had made up until that point.

Interestingly all 11 of the Porsche 916 models that were produced had differently configured interiors and different colored paint.   Some had the 2.4 liter six cylinder from the 911 S and some had the 2.7 liter 911 Carrera engine.  As we said only one was actually made for and shipped to the United States and it was also the only one that had AC as the buyer was from southern Florida.

But George Hussey, the owner of Automobile Atlanta, has one of the 11 and it is a real doozy of a car and in absolutely pristine condition at his Marietta location.  Known as ‘Dr. 914’ because of his proclivity for the model George also happens to own the world’s largest classic Porsche 914 collection in the world, a fact that is validated by Porsche itself.

If you’re keen on seeing the 916 or you need Porsche parts and service Automobile Atlanta has been serving Porsche owners for over 35 years.  They have parts for the entire range of Porsche models as well, from the classic 356 to the newest Porsche Cayenne parts and they’re open 6 days a week for your convenience.


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