914: All Grown Up
Porsche’s second “entry-level” sports car still loves to play, but the 914 now gets the respect it always deserved.
Introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1969, the 2.0-liter 1970 914-6 was intended as a replacement for Porsche’s entry-level 912. Designed by Porsche, the 914 was quite a departure: a mid-engined, targa-topped joint venture with Volkswagen. In Europe, the car was marketed as a VW-Porsche. Here in the U.S., it was sold as a Porsche.
The four-cylinder 914-4 models were completely assembled by Karmann. In contrast, Karmann shipped trimmed 914-6 bodies to Porsche, which completed the six-cylinder cars at its Zuffenhausen factory. All 914s shared their front suspension design with the 911. While the 914’s rear suspension is similar in concept to the 911’s, the implementation is quite different in its use of coil springs instead of torsion bars. As with 911s and 912s, four-wheel disc brakes were standard. The 914’s transaxle was borrowed from the 911, but it utilized a special housing developed for the mid-engined chassis.
A few critical factors changed the agreement between VW and Porsche, causing Porsche’s version, the 914-6, to be much more expensive than had been anticipated; sales suffered tremendously as a result. And although almost 119,000 four- and six-cylinder 914s were built between 1970 and 1976, the model was unable to shake its mixed-marque heritage for some time. While the 914 quickly developed a cult-like following among racers and back-road stormers, it took many years for the model to gain the widespread respect it always deserved. Today, prices for nice 914s seem to be steadily increasing.
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