Ever wanted to own a classic Porsche? The 914 is quite affordable even today.
The Porsche Boxster certainly isn't the first mid-engined model the German automaker has built. While they're mainly famous for the butt-engined 911, Porsche still knows a thing or two about building great mid-engined sports cars. Recently, there's been talk of a new sub-Boxster model that could serve as more of an entry-level car to the brand. Let's face it; the Boxster has become a tad larger, more expensive (once you begin clicking on the options), and now has even more in common technically and mechanically with the 911.
The 914, first launched in 1969, was a mid-engined, targa style two-seat roadster that was developed in conjunction with VW. The relationship came to be because both brands needed a new sports car; Porsche was looking to replace the 912 and VW the Karmann Ghia. Ferdinand Piech, nowadays the 'Big Kahuna' of the VW Group, served as project manager. However, after the death of then VW Chairman Heinz Nordhoff, the initial agreement fell apart in terms of who developed what. At this point, Porsche was forced to invest more into the project, eventually forcing the eventual base price of the car to jump.
First going on sale in 1970, the 914 was powered by either a 1.7-liter flat-4 with 80hp or a 2.0-liter flat-6 with 110hp. Although both versions were badged as Porsches in the U.S., in Europe the 1.7 model was sold as a VW-Porsche. What was cool about the 914/6, as opposed to the 914/4, is that it was equipped with the same engine and gearbox as the 911T. It also had a similar suspension and brakes as those found on the 911. However, sales for the upgraded 914/6 weren't so hot and Porsche discontinued it in 1972. It was replaced by a newly developed 2.0-liter flat-4 with 95hp. The standard 1.7-liter was later ditched in favor of 76hp 1.8-liter unit.
When it launched, the 914 was a huge success and even earned Motor Trend's coveted 'Import Car of the Year' award for 1970. It even successfully competed in motorsport events such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans the same year. All told, the 914/4 even outsold the flagship 911 with 118,000 sold globally by the end of its run in 1976. The owner of this 1970 914 is proud to claim that his car is all original, right down to the paint, wheels, interior, and even the original working radio. Basically, this is a bare bones model. As the car's third owner, he continues to keep it in pristine condition while still driving it regularly.
He believes a car is meant to be driven and not locked up in some garage. With the exception of a few dings and a few other cases of wear and tear, this 914 is in remarkably solid condition throughout. Whether Porsche decides to build a new entry-level model or not, it's nice knowing that there are still enough enthusiasts out there who are determined to keep some lesser known Porsche models on the road. Photos courtesy of CorsePerVita.