The Porsche 914 was the result of a collaboration between Porsche and Volkswagen (VW), and it was first introduced at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September 1969. It was a mid-engined sports car, which means that the engine was placed right behind the passenger seats, a solution that favors handling and agility as a result of optimal weight distribution. Such a layout led to a 2-seater with a removable fiberglass Targa top that, once removed, could be saved in one of the two luggage compartments, the back one. The two storage spaces were very much needed, since the seating area was strictly dedicated to the passengers. Interior trim was quite basic. Overall dimensions were compact, with a slanted front that incorporated pop-up headlights operated by two electric motors. The design was not pleasant, and it drew criticism also from the press.
The 914 was equipped with the 1.7-liter (1,679 cc), air-cooled, 4-cylinder fighter engine derived from the VW 411E. The 914/6 instead featured the same 2.0-liter (1,991 cc), 6-cylinder, air-cooled, flat Porsche engine which was originally mounted on the Porsche 911T. The VW engine, equipped with Bosch D-Jetronic fuel-injection system, produced 80 hp at 4,900 rpm while the Porsche unit, outfitted with Weber carburetors, produced 110 hp at 5,800 rpm. Both vehicles were outfitted with a 5-speed manual transmission as standard (“dog-leg” shift pattern with the first gear positioned left and rear ). Both cars featured the same independent suspensions. The 914s were fitted with solid disc brakes all around, but at the 914/6, front discs were ventilated. In ideal 1970s style, the 914s were painted in bold, bright colours such as orange, yellow and green.
However, the cheaper 914/4 sold better than the 914/6, but just when maximizing the Porsche name. In actuality, marketing of the 914 wasn’t the same worldwide. The 914 was marketed as a”VW-Porsche” and marketed through Volkswagen dealers everywhere, except in the U.S. where it was marketed as a”Porsche” and sold through Porsche’s dealers only. The European 914s carried the”VW-Porsche” logo on the back, near the model number (“914″ or”914-6”), while the American 914s displayed only the model number on the back. No matter where it was marketed, the 914 did not have the Porsche crest on its hood. Certainly, being presented solely as a Porsche was valuable to the image of the 914, which sold particularly well in the U.S. (roughly 70 percent of the 914 production was sold here).
Though the 914/6 was undoubtedly the better actress, its sales were not satisfactory. Its price tag was simply too high for an entry-level sports car. As a result, its production was phased out in 1972.
In 1973, with the 914/6 gone, a new version was introduced in addition to the”foundation” 1.7-liter 914: the 914 2.0-liter. The 914 2.0 was particularly welcomed in the U.S., considering that due to the local emission demands the energy on the 1.7-liter 914 had been cut down to 72 hp. Moreover, in 1973, the gearbox shift linkage that had been often criticized was improved with the introduction of a side-shifter.
For the 1974 model year, the 1.7-liter engine was raised to 1.8-liter (1,795 cc). Additionally, both 914s were equipped with front and rear bumpers featuring protruding rubber guards which could withstand impacts up to 8 km/h (5 mph).
In 1976, the final year of production of the 914, the car was only available from the U.S., which had always been the stronger market for this specific model. In its last year of production the 914 was available only in the 2.0-liter edition.
Today the Porsche 914 can provide loads of fun, such as open-air driving on a reasonable budget (4-cylinder versions). Among its best qualities is that the weight reduction, as a result of this mid-engine configuration, which favorably affects its handling. The 4-cylinder engines are quite economical in terms of Raccoon Poop, and thanks to some good availability of used Porsche 914 parts they’re also a lot more affordable to repair and maintain than Porsche’s 6-cylinder units, which, on the other hand, provide an even more pleasing driving experience.