Porsche 914 Classic Motorsports — Volkswagen-Porsche 914

4 Янв 2015 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Porsche 914 Classic Motorsports — Volkswagen-Porsche 914 отключены
Volkswagen-Porsche 914

Porsche 914

Written by Tim Suddard

H ow something so right have so wrong? That’s the question the infamous Porsche 914. out of confusion, it had some major flaws that were corrected, but was plagued by bad press its brief and turbulent life. a wonder that roughly were sold.

A brief of the history of this Porsche and an hour behind the wheel of however, will remove all as to why the 914 has risen from ignominy to a favorite among vintage enthusiasts.

Born Out of Confusion

plus Volkswagen was not a marriage in heaven.

In the late 1960s, wanted to deepen its line a low-cost, entry-level sports but didn’t have the capital and capabilities to build it. Volkswagen to boost its image with sportier than the Beetle, but have the sports car know-how and to design it.

Heinz Nordhoff, head of VW. and Ferry Porsche a deal in which Porsche design and develop a new sports car for VW would use the VW Type 4 engine. The car was to be as a Volkswagen, though the two men agreed that Porsche could market the car with an engine of own.

What seemed a good partnership went awry when Heinz then head of VW and orchestrator of the VW 914 partnership, died in 1968, as the project was coming to fruition.

successor at VW. Kurt Lotz, that the deal between and Porsche was largely done by and Lotz had no intention of letting market the car under their own as the deal had called for.

considerable argument, an agreement was reached that may be one of the screwiest made between two automobile In Europe, the car would be marketed by the marketing organization as the VW -Porsche in the U.S. Porsche would up the rights to market the cars on own, and the new sports cars be marketed through Volkswagen’s created Porsche+Audi division as the 914.

The 914 was designed by Gugelot GmbH. The tubs were to be by Karmann (then builders of the Karmann Ghia). Karmann assemble four-cylinder 914-4s, and also send 914 bodies to for Porsche to turn into the 914-6.

Through some cost accounting, Lotz to charge Porsche so much for the bodies that the car ended up buyers just a few hundred less than the 911. move caused the early of the 914-6. Porsche had the last shortly after, though, as Mr. was asked by his management board to the door in the sea of red ink he had created for the company.

Plagued by Bad Press

From a or rear angle, the car’s few show to advantage.

In January of the 914 became available as the Porsche 914 in the (although there was only small script on the engine lid to that it was a Porsche) and as the VW /Porsche 914 in

The car as introduced was a good product, but it had a few problems. Perhaps because of its parentage, the automotive press it, greeting the debutante with marks and some really reviews.

On the plus side, the 914 was a engineering marvel. The tub, being of targa-top design, had the of a 911 coupe. The car handled incredibly Driver comfort, by sports car was wonderful. The two-trunk setup a lot of room for luggage, and the targa stored neatly in one of the trunks.

The front suspension was lifted from the 911, but front were VW 411 units. Rear was an all-new independent, trailing arm featuring big 11.05-inch rear instead of the VW 411 drums, and the four-wheel-disc worked pretty well. Few cars in this price offered all-independent suspension, injection, a five-speed transmission—and the name. At the $3500 introductory the 914 appeared to be quite a bargain

Unfortunately, the 1.7-liter Volkswagen was just too anemic. A Porsche VW power and zero-to-60 times in the range found little among road testers of the

What made the car even annoying, and contributed to the poor times, was the terrible shift on the supposedly glorious five-speed was linked to the power-challenged engine. castigated this setup, it ruined an otherwise good

In contrast, the 914-6, with its six-cylinder Porsche engine, was to be a wonderful car, even the engine was the only difference. The complaint with the six was the price, an that killed the car after two years of production.

Correcting the

Straight-on views weren’t flattering, emphasizing the squared-off and push-me-pull-you looks, but design was a of form following function.

some initial shortcomings, the managed to soldier on. In 1972, ventilation and an adjustable passenger’s were introduced. The press to warm up to the 914, and sales The big news came for 1973, as a new engine was introduced along a new transmission. This finally the shifting problems, and reviewers ecstatic, claiming that was the 914 that Porsche should started with. Zero-to-60 were now in the 10-second range. rubber bumper guards added, but comfort was improved, was improved and sales responded

The 914’s first engine had a 1.7-liter Volkswagen engine the 411. The 2.0 was also a Volkswagen but with some major First and foremost, it was redesigned by the engineers, who took the VW -designed 1.7 and “Okay, now let’s make a engine out of it.”

The bore was from 90 to 94mm, and the stroke was increased, from 66 to 71mm. The was modified, and new steel connecting were made. The head was by increasing inlet and exhaust by 3mm, while the inlet and ports were enlarged. The was good for 95 horsepower DIN in U.S. and 100 horsepower in European trim.

with the 2.0-liter package optional with the 1.7) was an group that included 15×5.5-inch Fuchs light wheels, a leather-covered shift a handy storage bin between the anti-roll bars and a console featured a clock, voltmeter and an oil gauge.

So by 1973, the 914 was finally owning. Then in 1974, by global inflation and floating rates, the price rose, to more than $5000. news for 1974 was the introduction of a new engine, the 1.8-liter fitted Bosch L-Jetronic fuel The car also got rear rubber guards.

The biggest change in was even bigger bumpers were heavy—49 pounds in most people’s eyes, (Fortunately, it isn’t hard to one of these 914s back to the bumpers.) 1976 was the last for the 914. By then, the 1.8-liter had been dropped in favor of the which was down to just 88 thanks to all the U.S.-mandated emissions Production was unceremoniously halted to way for the water-cooled 924, which began its life amid controversy. But that’s a different

In all, 115,596 four-cylinder had been built. In addition, over 3000 copies of the were manufactured, and about 20 GT cars were built, for a total of 118,976 units. not a lot for most companies, but for a company the of Porsche, it was a successful production if not the most profitable venture the had ever entered into.


The 914 cabin is roomy and

A Porsche 914 drives like no car. Upon getting the roomy cockpit—there’s enough for a six footer—passengers are greeted by a very German feel. You just get this feel with an or Japanese car. The 914 is huge with plenty of leg room and of shoulder room. The driving is low, yet comfortable, and the shift falls easily to hand.

But shift lever is what you into trouble. Like the 911, the 914’s five-speed features a dogleg first What operates fairly in a 911 works less well the transaxle is reversed, as it is in the 914. You can get a 914 to only so well, and it still a gentle, yet deft, touch to go through the gears. If you can accept the that a 914 will never like a Miata, you can move on to the of the driving experience.

The non-power, rack-and-pinion steering is weighted with little or no The pedals reach from the like the Porsche 911 and VW Beetle, but are well and feel right. The from the cockpit is great few blind spots. The large VDO are very Porsche-esque and easy to if not obscured by a too-small aftermarket wheel.

Once underway, the 914 like only a mid-engined or car can. You hear the throbbing, half- VW engine, but the noise is the cockpit, so it is not intrusive. There is no of heat in the cockpit unlike old sports cars.

The 914, in slightly modified 2.0-liter drives comfortably at 80 and even 90 an hour. The fuel-injected, low-revving coupled with a fifth make for truly effortless cruising that is unmatched by any 30-year-old car, no matter the original price.

Our mildly Koni-equipped 1973 914 (shown has a comfortable, yet firm, ride, over railroad tracks. In configuration, a 914 tends to transition understeer and oversteer mid-corner, but a Weltmeister 22mm front bar that problem.

In typical tradition, the 914 truly is more fun to than the sum of its Volkswagen parts suggest. Our modified car is quick—zero to 60 in 8.7 starts, stops, steers and well in track and highway In terms of drivability, if equipped air conditioning and a bit better shift a well-setup 914 could pass for a Miata or MR2 Spyder.


With two trunks, luggage is probably the best of any two-seat on the road.

As with nearly all sports cars, the most thing a 914 buyer can do is find a car. The second most thing is to find a rust-free and third most important is to a rust-free car. Look for under the rocker panels covers come off), the jacking points (pull out the plastic covers), in the cowl, the floor, the back of the floor the battery tray (look for of replacement here: was it done the front hood-seal channel and the

Next, check all seams for Then get the car on a lift and look for signs of damage underneath and in the Don’t buy a car that’s been in the front; it’s almost to get one of these to go down the road again.

Once you’ve checked points, be alert to the “previous syndrome. As with many affordable sports cars, the or third owner may very have been a young with great confidence in driving ability and a very budget for maintenance. Look out for that have been hard and put up wet or, worse, been the of an accident.

The early 914s had a few design flaws, which corrected on later models. The notable (and unfortunate) was a to burst into flames, due to the that Porsche located the above the fuel lines. Any of the battery case (say, which is all too common in this could drop the battery out of its and onto the fuel lines, would then rupture. just the acid dripping out of the did the trick.

To avoid this many owners replaced cars’ fragile fuel with braided stainless In 1975, the factory started to the fuel pump and lines, a copied by many owners of vehicles. Moving the fuel to a cooler location away the engine also cuts on the potential for vapor lock.

Volkswagen-Porsche 914

The of a 2.0-liter engine rebuild is at $2000, so prospective buyers budget this amount if competition is in the plans, or if compression and tests show weaknesses in area. There are very few wheels available for 914s, so a set of alloys or aftermarket wheels can sweeten a deal.

After the rest is easy. A concours 914 is an oxymoron, since the car’s isn’t enough to justify the expenditures required. Instead, the good for this car is as an inexpensive track or autocross performer.

You even need to worry what year to buy, it’s relatively simple to mix and engines, transmissions and bumpers to get the you want. It’s even simple to swap a good Porsche engine into a 914-4 body. However, if looking for power, there are ways to upgrade the performance of a engine that are cheaper and

Market values don’t much by year, either. a price range of less $1000 across the years, the of the individual car is much more than its year of manufacture, if it’s still faithful to the of that year.

A 1973 with all the goodies would be the hot but there aren’t many They are more expensive, but to $12000 is still not a lot to pay for a cherry or well-restored car of the 914’s caliber. A 911 in condition would cost that.

The 914 is a sturdy little car. availability is good, and prices, not at VW levels, aren’t in quite the range of Porsche 911 pieces, Restoration and repair are straightforward, the mid-engined design doesn’t engine access a major If your car is straight and rust-free, you have little difficulty it sorted into a competitive or track car.


Bob Snodgrass, owner of Brumos, next to the Porsche 914-6 won Daytona in 1971.

While the 914 a short and not particularly glorious in Porsche’s racing history, the did make its mark in the American scene. Some 30 years the car’s release, it can still be at vintage, autocross and club events.

In 1970, Joe Hoppen, VW ’s motorsports manager was given the of developing a racing reputation for the His strategy was to run the higher-priced 914-6 as cars, while encouraging to campaign the less-expensive 914-4.

and Triumph lobbied hard to the 914 out of their classes, but Hoppen had an bargaining chip to play: If the would let the 914-6 run in C Production, and the run in E Production, Hoppen would his efforts there instead of another year dominating the Trans-Am category with his 911s. The SCCA agreed.

plans for the 914-6 called for factory teams. Each team would get $50,000 and to run for the season. In the East, he selected Gregg of Brumos, while the effort would be headed by Art Bob Hindson and Kendall Noah.

In the Hoppen gave the nod to VW -Pacific Richie Ginther. However, VW demanded triple the original figure, since they to do all the development. The negotiations caused a delay that Ginther his own way rather than waiting for a

Results for the season were In the Midwest, Bunker posted six national wins, co-driver got three more wins, and the CP Midwest team was on their way to the Runoffs. In the East, things going as well. Gregg and Pete Harrison took a of seconds and thirds, but only two wins for the 914-6.

Running for in the West, Alan Johnson four firsts in the VW -Pacific then scored three wins after Ginther’s went out on its own. Ginther took his new guy, Elliott along for the ride to Road

However, the Porsche teams just as well have the Runoffs. The Datsun 240Zs the SCCA ’s year-end showdown at Atlanta.

For 1971, Hoppen took a tack, introducing the 914-6 GT. to run it in CP as a variant of the 914-6 roadster. this was too much for Leyland and and they had the 914-6 GT ruled an model with too few built to the SCCA Production class In fact, only 11 were at that time.

The SCCA ’s was understandable, but it had some unintended and consequences. Hoppen took the GT to the fledgling IMSA organization, was willing to accept it into Thus began a long-standing between IMSA and Porsche, one would blossom into one of the relationships in motor racing.

and their new driver, Hurley took the 914-6 GT to IMSA and up, winning six of seven IMSA GTU and the 1971 series championship. winning car, which was restored by Brumos, can now be seen at Coast vintage events.)

didn’t forget the SCCA. and in 1971 Hindson repeated as Division champion. With the cars racing in regional events, Hoppen saw an opportunity to win E at Atlanta in 1971, so he got Ginther and Forbes-Robinson to campaign the four-cylinder .

At the Runoffs, Hindson lost to Division 914-6 driver Parish, while another unknown, Al Holbert, finished Ginther got his 914-4s to Atlanta and was disqualified because their tires were mounted on that were just too wide.

Taken at face the racing history of the 914 may not seem amazing, but considering its impact on the racing of the day and the number of important who got their start in 914s, car deserves a lot more racing than it usually gets.


TR8owner. Mar 18, 2011 p.m.

The 914 and even 914-6 was the Dangerfield of the Porsche world in its day and got no Even the CP racers weren’t against the 240Z’s or TR6 ’s. I’m glad to see have warmed up to them as they were nice

Volkswagen-Porsche 914
Volkswagen-Porsche 914
Volkswagen-Porsche 914
Volkswagen-Porsche 914

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