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Porsche 914

Porsche 914 Published: 23rd Jan 2018 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Porsche 914
Porsche 914
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Why should I buy one?

Introduced during the Europa’s heyday the odd-looking, mould-breaking VW-Porsche 914 is, while similar in concept and the forerunner to Porsche’s Boxster, also a Marmite classic. There again, Boxsters are a lot more common and perhaps too modern for you?

 

What can I get?

There’s essentially four models but only one is Porsche powered, the 914-6, taken from the 911T. The rest used derivatives of the four-cylinder, air-cooled VW engine found in the 411 of 1.7, 1.8 and 2-litre sizes but all sported five-speed gearboxes.

The bulk went to the United States and was badged Porsche, the lettering ‘PORSCHE’ was fixed on the engine grille immediately behind the rear window, and the hubcaps of steel wheel cars were blank; in Europe the grille was unadorned, but both the hub caps and the steering wheel boss carried the VW motif.

The later the car the better, not least as the power was raised from ropey to respectable; the 1.7-litre version was boosted to 1800cc with fuel injection in 1974, for example, plus there was the 2-litre (UK bound for 1973), but it’s best to buy on condition rather than spec, be it a 1.7 or 1.8. Apart from a handful of conversions by Crayford, all are left-hand drive which may be a deal breaker for some but the deal maker may be the targa-top similar to Fiat’s X1/9 for quick and simple fresh air fun.

 

What are they like to drive?

Not the prettiest of Porsches for sure, but at least the 914 drives much better than it looks and the handling is sublime, far better than 911s of that era and even hardcore Porsche fans admit that. Contributor and ex-editor of Cars & Car Conversions Paul Davies once compared the Europa to the 914 thus: “You could not imagine getting into trouble in a 914 – unlike the Lotus Europa of the same period where power far exceeded grip!

On the other hand 914 power was pathetic with the original (80bhp) only as quick as a Spitfire or Midget and even the Renault-engined S2 Europa beats any VW-engined Porsche at the lights.

Stateside imports have barely 70bhp to play with but it’s here where the car remains popular so tuning options are plentiful – including fitting V8s or Scooby Do (Subaru) ‘flat four’ engines! The front suspension is early 911 while Porsche brakes can also be fitted. Even if you’d like to keep your 914 stock, fitting the later Porsche transaxle, from a 930 improves the gearbox and the horrid gearchange no end.

 

What are they like to live with?

According to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) there’s around 175-200 cars in the UK, but not all are on the road. Spares are, in the main, not a huge problem and reproduction panels from Canadian company, Restoration Designs, are said, by the club, to be very good indeed. The biggest worry is rust so inspect carefully. The main rot spot is around the battery area and, in the worst cases, can spread to the chassis legs; if that’s the case then walk away and fiind another. Sills are a rot haven, too as are the suspension mounts. The air-cooled engine is at least VW dependable. Many ran on Bosch fuel injection, which is reliable enough, however, owners have been known to swap to carbs.

Expect to pay £20,000 for a top VW but perhaps triple that for Porsche power; good cars are a third cheaper and projects for five grand but it’s worth buying the best even if it means budget busting as 914s can cost as much as a 911 to restore (without the financial rewards) and why 80 per cent remain in a ropey state one specialist warned us!

 

We reckon

Is it a VW or a Porsche? That’s always been the burning question, but it’s a fun car with the best bits from both makers.



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