Be the renegade you always dreamed of being.
The Porsche 914 continues to have a loyal following over 40 years since the last one rolled off the production line in then-West Germany. This little mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive two-seater with a targa top continues to be a source of driving enjoyment for thousands. Nearly 120,000 units were built from 1969 until 1976. Porsche intended for the 914 to be its entry-level successor to the 912 and it was offered with a flat-four (which was sold as a VW in the US) or flat-six engines. More on that shortly.
Developed alongside Volkswagen, which was also in search of a Karmann Ghia replacement, the 914’s overall design didn’t appeal to everyone because it just wasn’t as pretty as either the 912 or the VW.
To this day it’s still the subject of design discussion. Some love it, others don’t. There’s not much middle ground. But what isn’t up for debate is that the 914 was and remains a blast to drive. Today, its 718 Boxster descendent has properly picked up the mantle, but it’s become a far more complex machine. All cars have. Whereas the 914 was simple and analog. And like all German cars, it was engineered with perfection in mind. But the 914 had its drawbacks.
For example, storage space was nothing spectacular, making the car little more than a fun runabout. It wasn’t the most comfortable daily driver but it could do the job if required. When it was succeeded by the 924 in 1976, Porsche produced a sports coupe that corrected most of the 914’s shortcomings; it could easily be driven daily.
However, the 924 was criticized by enthusiasts for its bland performance. The 914, by contrast, was the better all-around package. But it was never a real performance car. Until now, that is.
For this Thanksgiving Edition of Weekly Craigslist Hidden Treasure we found this 1973 Porsche 914 up for sale in Los Angeles. ‘No big deal,’ you might be thinking. ‘There are tons out there.’ Yes, correct, but very few have a Chevy 350 stuffed in them.
Exact specs are not listed, but the seller claims it “has a lot of power (and is) scary to drive.” We were intrigued immediately. It’s a Renegade conversion, after all. Originally a 1973 2.0-liter flat-six model with 99 hp and 120 lb-ft of torque, the date of the engine swap is also unlisted.
The small-block Chevy 350 V8 displaces 5.7-liters but again, we don’t know which of the many 350s built from 1967 until 2003 was used here. No matter. There’s no doubt it’s an awful lot more powerful than the original flat-six. Exact mileage is also not listed, but it does have a manual gearbox. Fortunately, the car comes with all documentation and the exterior paint is said to be new. So, what do you say? Was it sacrilegious to stuff a Chevy V8 inside an old Porsche 914? Some car traditions matter. Does this one? Nah. There’s nothing wrong with more power being added for an even more spectacular drive. 100 ponies just wasn’t enough even for a two-seater that weighed no more than 2,200 pounds. The price? Does $19,000 sound too much to you? We thought so. Tis the season for bargaining.