For Sale: The First V8 Swapped Porsche In The World

Rod Simpson Hybrids First V8 Porsche - 1966 Porsche 912 with a 400 ci Chevy V8

What you are looking at is a piece of engine swap history as the very first Porsche powered by a V8 engine. In less than a week it will be sold and find its way into one lucky owner’s garage.

Rod Simpson Hybrids First V8 Porsche - 1966 Porsche 912 with a 400 ci Chevy V8

The story of behind this car is a really interesting. It all starts with a brand new 1966 Porsche 912 being purchased and then stolen the next year. They recovered the car without its engine and some other components and was sold to famed endurance racer Dennis Aase. Dennis installed another 911 motor and upgraded the brakes and transaxle for SCCA racing. After placing 2nd overall in B-Production that season he decided he wanted another vehicle and put this car up for sale.

Rod Simpson Hybrids First V8 Porsche - 1966 Porsche 912 with a 400 ci Chevy V8

Dennis wanted to keep the 911 motor and sold the roller to Rod Simpson. Rod didn’t have the money to purchase a 911 or 912 motor so Rod spent a year designing and fabricating his own parts that would allow a Chevy V8 work in the little Porsche. Rod took his Porschev out racing in 1968 and in doing so made plenty weep for joy and others in sorrow. The combo received so much interest Rob was able to turn it into a profitable business called Rod Simpson Hybrids that sold swap kits for others wanting a V8 powered Porsche.

Rod Simpson Hybrids First V8 Porsche - 1966 Porsche 912 with a 400 ci Chevy V8

While the original swap included a Z28 302 ci block increased to 305 ci, the current setup uses a Dart 400 block. The engine uses AFR heads (11.4:1 compression), Keith Black flat top hypereutectic pistons, Chevy HiPo rods, and a SCAT crankshaft. Rod installed a cam from Engle Racing Cams with a custom profile made to lower the compression so the engine could run pump gas. Feeding the engine is a Holley 850 cfm double pumper carb. All this together helps the engine makes around 600 horsepower.

Rod Simpson Hybrids First V8 Porsche - 1966 Porsche 912 with a 400 ci Chevy V8

That level of power and torque in a vehicle weighing 1980 lbs will result in some great numbers. When the 912 was still running the 305 ci V8 (500 hp) it reached 207 mph on the 1.1 mile straightway at Riverside Raceway. On the same day the 912 was able to get within 0.3 seconds to a Porsche Carrera RSR being tested by the factory Porsche team. Hot Rod Magazine in 1977 made a 10.5 second quarter-mile pass at 128 mph and years later a 10.33 pass at 133 mph both using the 305 ci V8.

For archiving purposes I have copied all relevant information from the seller’s listing below.

Background:

This Porsche 912 was manufactured in 1966 where it was bought new a local-well-to-do. The car however was stolen when near new in 1967 and stripped of its engine and a few other parts. The car was purchased, less the engine, by famed endurance racer Dennis Aase. Dennis was a very competitive driver in the 24 Hour of LeMans, IMSA, 24 Hour of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring, Can-Am and many other series, as well as being a Toyota factory race car driver. (Bruce Canepa, purveyor of all things important in racing and cars now looks after and actively races Aase’s #98 Celica IMSA GTO car.) After Dennis bought the car, he replaced the engine with a 911 motor, added 911S brakes and tranaxle components and took it racing with SCCA. He placed 2nd overall in B-Production that year. After the good season, Dennis was ready for a new ride. Enter Rod Simpson. Rod, a smart, savy car nut and racer, knew of the car and its race history and bought the car from Dennis. Dennis decided he would like to keep his 911 motor though and sold it as a roller. Being a young guy though who didn’t quite have the funds to put (at the time) a brand new 911 or 912 motor back in the car, Rod decided that it made much more sense if he engineered a way to put a Chevy V8 in the back. Rod spent the rest of the year designing, fabbing, testing and applying his one off parts to Chevy V8 motor. After less than a year in 1968, the first “Porschev” was tearing up the streets and track. What Rod unintentionally started though was a Porsche hot rodding revolution. While the Porsche purists weeped softly at night, Rod was out running circles around them and starting a massive following. So much of a following, that Rod found he had a business in creating kits for others to follow in his footsteps.

Rod Simpson Hybrids, or Porschev to some, started making swap kits for others to DIY swap their own 911/912 bodied cars to Chevy V8s. Most all of the V8 swaps ever done on these cars were done with Rod Simpson parts or through designs based on his original engineering. And a few years later, Rod introduced the 914 V8! After over 45 years of making V8 swap kits, Rod is still in business helping the Porsche hot rodders of the world go a little faster.

And THIS is his original car! Nearly 50 years of ownership, and all of that time spent honing and engineering the car to be as wild, reliable and fun as it could be.

This car has been featured in piles of magazines internationally (check out the pics below!) and through the decades remained a car that both journalists, car enthusiasts and even your average Joe on the street swoon over! Its loud in noise and in presence and puts a smile as big on the bystanders face as your own!

Let’s quickly address the title as well. Since the car was stolen in 1967 and bought back it was given a CA salvage title. The car has never been in an accident prior to its theft, nor in an accident on track or street after. Had it been known that his simple project would have turned into a chapter in the Porsche hot rodding annals, perhaps a clean titled car would have been picked, but hindsight is a tricky thing. Also of note, the mileage on the odometer is in fact accurate as well. 6,000 miles since brand new! Now, obviously near every single part aside from the tub has been changed, but it should serve more as a guide to the treasure this car is both to Rod and the Porsche/Hot Rod world. About 300 miles of those 6,000 were track miles in the hands of Rod, to which is was always trailered. A few hundred were on the car when purchased from Dennis and the rest were accrued locally in short drives.

This car was first sold in California and has spent its entire life in this sunny, dry state! And it was kept in dry storage, started often and serviced with dedication and care even when the miles were not being accrued.

It keeps getting better! Let’s continue!

The Condition and Service:

Let’s start on the engine and drivetrain:

-ENGINE
This is the section to be in! While we mentioned that the car had originally had a Z28 302 block, slightly increased to a 305 installed, over time the need to speed prevailed and the block was replaced with a Dart 400. Filling the voids in the block are flat top Keith Black hypereutectic pistons and Chevy HiPo shot peened rods and a Scat crank. (American manufactured, not the overseas years). Paired with the 400 block is a set of 65cc AFR heads to make for 11.4:1 compression. But let’s talk cam: The cam profile was cut very specifically by Engle Racing Cams to effectively lower the compression ratio to something more pump gas friendly, but also to allow for a car that while fast on the track will be just as easy to drive to the local car show or around town. The cam is a 519/280 intake and 534/295 exhaust grind. However, with intake opening and exhaust closing at opposite 14 degrees, intake closing at 54 degrees and exhaust opening at 63 degrees, the gross cam lift and duration are 346/248 and 356/257. That makes for an incredibly streetable cam that still helps this beat makes LOADS of power.

Capping off the bottom of the block is a Chevy HiPo oil pan with windage tray and Chevy oil pump. Feeding the cylinders is a Holley 850cfm double paired to an Edelbrock intake. Igniting the mix is Chevy HEI distributor with a Mallory ignition module. The headers are Headman 2 1/8″ and collect into a Supertrap silencers.

This engine runs like a TOP. Starts right up with a twist of the key, warms up easily and settles into a nice idle at 800rpm. Since the new 400 block there has been about 300 miles put on the car. ZERO air/fuel issues, ZERO detonation, ZERO hesitations or flat spots. The prior 305 block was producing low 500hp. The current 400 block is making just about 600hp. (Only current engine included). Oh and the car weighs about 1980lbs.

So…how fast is it? At the famed Riverside Raceway she was radar confirmed on the 1.1 mile straightaway at 207mph…when she was first finished and ONLY the 305/500hp setup!!! She is a MONSTER! The factory Porsche team were out testing prior to race at the same Raceway some time later with their fancy-shamancy RSR. With Rod’s talented wife behind the wheel, the car was only 0.3 seconds off the pace of the RSR factory car. That is one of the biggest pieces to ownership in this car is the stories!

This car was written up in piles and piles of magazines. Per Hot Rod Magazines article in October 1977 the car clocked a 10.5 @128mph in the hands of their driver (with the 305 block!), and a 10.33@133mph with slightly more powerful setup a few years later (not even the current 600hp setup!) It also did a 1:30 at Riverside 2.54 mile short course.

-COOLING
The Corvette radiator is mounted in the front and ducted through the nose and vented through the trunk. The gas tank is a stock 912 tank with the spare tire section smoothed out to allow for the radiator fitment (about 12 gallon capacity). The water lines are all SS braided lines which are run through the heater ducting channels to protect them further. They are 3/4″ feed to the radiator and 1″ return. This beast NEVER runs hot even with a heavy right foot it will sit at 180 degrees.

-TRANSAXLE
The stock 912 transaxle has been rebuilt to handle the power of the built Chevy V8 by Performance Transmission in Nevada. No grinds and no syncro issues. Paired with a 4:10 ring and pinion and a short shift, this setup feels FANTASTIC. None of the slop of a 901/915. Precise and confident throws. The transaxle is mated to 930 axles with 911 hubs. The clutch a 6 puck unsprung that is quite easy to modulate.

-SUSPENSION
Bilstein shocks dampen wonderfully and are matched to 930 rear torsion bars and 911 front bars. No bangs, no rough ride, no clunks! The car is super tight in corners, and comfortable on the straights! Rubber bushings are in great shape, no degradation or rubber coming apart. 911S tie rod ends are tight with no play. This car GRIPSSSSS.

-BRAKES
Excellent brakes with a confident pedal, great pressure with a firm positive stop. 911S front and rear brake pads, calipers and rotors are all in wonderful shape with loads of life. These brakes paired with this huge rubber will literally make your eyes hurt when stopping. They are extremely strong!

-STEERING
Steering is very tight, no dead spots or play. And for as wide of a tires and track that is has, it very responsive and has great turn in.

Let’s continue to the exterior:

-PAINT and BODY
I love how much character this paint has. It is not perfect and nor is the fiberglass, but its filled with stories of road and track. Let’s remember, this is all purposes a comfortable race car, so paint is just extra weight! The custom R&M red acrylic lacquer paint shines nicely and looks the part of the race car it is. There are some touch ups, some cracks, scrapes, flaws and so on, but none take away from the race car this beast is. Even at the snootiest of Los Angeles car gatherings, the car will be met with smiles and thumbs up. The patina in particular adds to the overall history to the car. And given the 45+ years this car has been in this near same form, it looks great.

The front nose, front fenders, rear fenders, trunk and engine lid are all Mitcom Porsche 934 fiberglass. There are some chips, cracks and flaws in the nose, but nothing major enough to need to be addressed in order to enjoy, drive or race. There is a larger crack on the passenger side rear quarter flare from a cone on the track and some small cracks elsewhere. Again, nothing major, but worth noting. NO ACCIDENTS. There is not a drop of rust I can find on the car, though there are two small patch panels on the front floors just in front of each seat. To my understanding these were installed in experimental efforts on the car, not to patch rust, which makes good sense since the rest of the car is totally rust free. Aside from the two years before Rod’s ownership in 1968 (I can’t speak to them), the car has never seen rain. If there was a place to buy ANY Porsche, it is dry, warm SoCal. No rain and no road salt! Remember, the car only has 6,000 miles!

-TIRES/WHEELS
The massive Dunlop’s have loads of tread life left on the tires! 75%+ even on a bad day! No leaks, flat spots or odd tread issues. The tires are 285 front and 345 rear and are mounted on super light, forged, 3 piece Speedine wheels sized 12×15 and a massive 14×15. The car will also come with an extra set of four more Dunlops in the same sizing mounted on the same wheels and one more additional set of unassembled wheels! Three sets of wheels and two sets of tires!

-GLASS
Not to let a pebble defeat this car, the windshield is great shape, with no chips or sandblasting. The door glass has been removed as well as the rear glass. The rear glass has been replaced with a locking sunshade style visor. This was done to help keep airflow through the car in the hot CA heat when at the track. It makes a world of difference even around town on a warm day. Quarter glass is replaced with Lexan. Front glass has safety tabs.

-WING
The wing is aluminum and has some angle of attack adjustment to better suit each track. The whaletail is non adjustable but equally as important to keeping this car planted firmly.

Onto the cabin:

-SEATS
Stock seats have been replaced by two very comfortable Recaros, both still on sliders. The drivers seat has a fixed head rest, while the passenger side is a single backrest/headrest. Rear seats have been removed. Each have 4 point harnesses.

-DASHBOARD
Nice shape metal dashboard with original gauges, aside from water temp. There are some aftermarket switches installed and are overall neat and tidy.

-DOOR PANELS
Door panels have been removed, inner doors cut and window assemblies removed. Some close cell foam pads are in place to dull sound. Door release is via quick release cord.

-HEADLINER
Headliner has bee replaced with the same closed cell foam.

-AC/HEAT
No heat or AC.

-STEERING WHEEL
Great shape Momo wheel!

-FIRE SUPPRESSION
The car has an onboard 7.5lb fire suppression system in addition to a 5lb extinguisher mounted on the dash.

-ROLL CAGE
The cage was installed some many years ago but is of very good shape. The welds were nice when done, landings were braced well and the metal has always been painted over and the bars show no degradation/rust/oxidation. I would have no problem tracking the car as is and feel very safe.

How is is possible to sum up this driving experience? Even when approaching this 912, you can feel how special it really is. It’s not just any 912. It has roots in storied Porsche hot rodding. It is wild in looks and WAY more wild in speed. A turn of the key and the engine roars to life, let it warm up a hair and its settles down into an idle quieter than expected, though still aggressive. It idles at ~800rpm happily. The clutch is easy to modulate and only medium weight. The car is remarkably easy to drive around town. It doesn’t buck and beg you to rev it out. Let your foot ease off the clutch and feed in a little gas and you are off. Not a car that needs to rev to death to move it. Perhaps, you need to gently cruise out of town first, rowing 1st, 2nd and 3rd weaving slowly through the streets. The steering is very direct and gives good feel and the engine is surprisingly tame thanks to smart engineering and easy to drive. The highway onramp approaches, a blip of the gas and a downshift to 2nd, you reshuffle yourself in the drivers seat a bit knowing what is about to occur…and here it comes! The throttle response is immediate and begins to gobble up road. And I mean GOBBLE UP road. The car fights for traction, but stays straight as you keep your foot in it. The back end gives its slow little wags as it grips tenaciously hunting for all the stickiest asphalt. The engine seems to have unlimited power and as it spins up in revs comes more and more alive. The power comes on even stronger as it nears its redline and you are shocked you are even reaching for another gear because you are already very illegal in speed. You grab 3rd and for that brief moment in between gears the mania of the right pedal ceases. But as you select 3rd and roll back into the throttle, the monster is back trying to get out of cage! It is hard to put into words what a 9 second street car is like, but let’s just say staying buried in 3rd or higher requires some good genetics south of the belt line. Dare you grab 4th gear with your foot still buried? Maybe later, as you settle back down into a calm highway pace – the beast under the hood is calm again and your Jekyll and Hyde Porsche just made your day…again.

Vicarious driving aside, this 912 is an absolute experience to drive. It is tight, reasonably comfortable, VERY quick, surprisingly nimble and much easier to putz around town in than most any other heavily modified car I have driven. This car is equally at home at the track as it is the street. You could easily buy this car and turn exceedingly fast lap times without breaking a sweat. Imagine your friend’s surprise when you run circles around their new Porsche Turbo or their new GTR. THIS is the Porsche to have. Anyone can have a Carrera, a 930 or even a V8 911. This however is a piece of Porsche hot rodding history. And more over it has been owned in this form by the originator of the V8 swap for nearly 50 years. There are few cars from the that can feel this exciting – this 912 is it! I hope you can tell by my long ad that this car is an amazing, well sorted, interesting and incredibly fast Porsche. There are other Porsche hot rods out there and if you can find one with a better ownership, service and history I urge you to buy it. This is a car that was enjoyed and has wonderful historic patina with none-the-less very low miles. This really is a very special car to drive and with the extraordinary care mechanically and it is a worry free hot rod, ready to be enjoyed on road or track!

Source: eBay via tip from Don

12 Comments

  1. Dan Wood

    Love your website! I think I remember seeing this car in a book in high school, in the dusty ‘automotive section’ which still had books on ‘finding a car in a barn’ well into the late 90’s. It was both depressing (to know that the black and white pictures of 32s being pulled out of garages were days gone by) and awe-inspiring (just maybe this will happen to me!!). Living in MN didn’t help, the tinworm eats everything!
    But there was a book about engine swaps, probably from the late 70’s, that had an article about swapping Chevy motor into a Porsche. The article even showed the engine cover, designed to look like luggage on the floor. Good memories. Keep up the good work. Saludos from Paraguay.

  2. Clyde Killingbeck

    My business partner and I tuned this car in Carlsbad, Ca sometime in 1982 I believe. It was across the street from our shop (Al’s Motor Tune) at Johnson’s Body Shop getting some touch up paint work done. We opted to do some of the work at the at the body shop while the engine was still cool and finished it up at the tune up shop. What a treat. Amazing craftsmanship and attention to detail.

  3. John Elliott

    I have done 2 Chevys in a 911 and 2 in a 914, and have to say it is a mystery to me why this idea did not take off. There are some tricks to doing it right that have made some of these conversions a failure, but when you get them to work reliably these cars not only have tons of HP but tons of torque. Porsches are great cars except that the engines are complicated and expensive. The Chevy is cheap and super easy to work on and the performance is astounding, as you can read about in this post.

  4. Richard

    I was an SCCA racer in the 70’s-early 80’s and was on the track many times with Rod at Riverside and Ontario Motor Speedway…this car was amazing…I drove a GT4 racer and he would pass me twice as fast as I could go, what a roar…I met his Dad and Rod had built him a gorgeous green 914 that looked perfectly stock, even had an airconditioner…amazing

      • Richard

        we were both at OMS on the ‘long’ road course for the last SCCA event before they closed down the track in ’81 or ’82 and everyone there was doing their best for such a special occasion…Rod spent a lot of time fish-tailing around those 26 turns…it was magnificent….whoever ends up with this car will be getting a super special machine…

  5. John

    I have done this conversion 3 times and bought a 4th that needed to be fixed to work properly (there are a few key things to know). For $1K you can buy an old truck SBC and outrun anything. If you put a racing SBC in the fastest Ferrari will feel like a slow sedan in comparison. These cars are light! It is a mystery that this did not take off: unbelievable performance in a great looking car for no cost.

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