Spanner Works: Donnie Tarentaal


A regular feature, outlining the activities of FMM’s workshop personnel who are responsible for repairing, renovating, refurbishing and restoring the museum’s large and varied collection of vehicles. This month, JP du Plessis reports on Donnie Tarentaal reviving a ‘poor man’s Porsche’…


The Porsche 912 was built to fill the gap between the end of 356 and the start of the 911 production runs. And although it was initially seen as ‘the poor man’s Porsche’, the 912 has enjoyed a lot of attention lately, with rising values and growing demand. It is a very well balanced car, combining the brilliant chassis and bodywork from the then newly-developed 911, but using the 4-cylinder Type 616 engine instead of the 911’s 6-cylinder.

The museum’s example is painted red and was built in 1966. After starting the car to take it for a scheduled run, Donnie Tarentaal found a fuel leak in the engine bay. This is never a good thing in any car, but particularly bad in an air-cooled vehicle in the heat of Africa. Donnie then further inspected the 912 in the workshop and found that the leak was, in fact, coming from the carburettors themselves. So he proceeded to remove the carburettors and stripped them in the ultrasonic bath for a cleaning cycle. Donnie also found that the diaphragms were beyond repair and replaced them with new ones. He then ensured that the needle and seat assemblies were working as they should.

With everything cleaned, new parts fitted and new gaskets made, Donnie reassembled the carburettors and fitted the carburettors to the engine. After starting the car, it was clear the leak had been fixed, so it was down to a tune-up, then time to test drive, after which Donnie was sure that all was well again and the 912 was fully-fit for the road.


The Porsche 912 is currently on view in Hall D.