Loading... Please wait...

In Defense of the 914

Posted

It eschewed the traditional bug-eye headlights and fastback, “sleek-Beetle” design of its predecessors in favor of a decidedly-roadster profile. The pop-up headlights would become the foundation for more refined designs in the 924 and 928. The body lines invoke the British convertibles of the era, and were clearly the proto-1970s evolution of the Karmann Ghia, which almost looked more Porsche than the Porsche itself. (While I beg to differ) Some enthusiast don't see the 914 as the most elegant machine that Stuttgart has ever produced. But it serves an incredibly important function in VW-Porsche history that gives it incredible value and cannot be forgotten.

Starting with the performance. The top-end 914/6’s flat-six put out a measly 109hp with a 0-60mph of 8.7 seconds. Though it beats the 79hp four-cylinder’s performance by more than fives seconds, it was still relatively low for a company that prides itself on its racing pedigree.

Despite all of the criticisms, the 914 was perhaps the most important vehicle that Porsche ever built. An owner with whom I spoke at a recent car meet summed up the cars influence in one short statement:

“It was the Porsche that got me into Porsches, so [the 914] will always be my favorite.”



Porsche had previously attempted a value-priced coupe with the 912, but it was never able to fully overcome the stigma of being a poor man’s 911. Volkswagen’s Karmann Ghia - inspired and engineered with Porsche - was one of the most successful European sports coupes of the 1960s. But for the potential entry-level Porsche buyer, the VW badge simply did not carry the same spirit and je ne as quoi as the real thing.

The 914 changed all of that. It was a unique design in the Porsche lineup that stood apart from the more-expensive models, and it had a serious modern appeal for the Triumph and MG crowds. It was fairly easy to repair and modify, eliminating one of the biggest barriers to entry for potential owners. And there was no mistaking it for a 911. As a gentleman at the most recent Richmond Cars and Coffee put it, “Your never had that awkward moment of disappointment like you did when someone mistook [a 912] for a 911. They never said, ‘Oh,’ and then wrote it off.”

Ultimately, the 914 became Porsche’s best seller during its production run, shipping more than 118,000 cars and outselling the 911 by a huge margin. It set the precedent for the modern Boxster and Cayman models, and it proved that you didn’t always have to pay a higher price to have the most fun.

-Trey Fennell


1971 Porsche 914 Sisal #47 Brown Palomino


1 x GT, EXTRA ICE

This past week was a truly exciting time in my automotive pursuits. I had my first true experience with a virtual reality racing simulator - which I’ll tell you all about in an upcoming post – and I got to spend my Saturday putting my hands on a number of dream machines. In the process of trying to decide exactly [...]

Read More »


Oh no! It’s THE BLOOOOG!!!!

The 1953 Plymouth Fury from Christine, Janet Leigh’s 1957 Ford Custom 300 in Psycho, the 1970 Chevy Nova from Quentin Tarantino’s Deathproof, Charlie Sheen’s prototype Dodge Turbo Interceptor from The Wraith, the 1955 Chevrolet One-Fifty in Sometimes They Come Back are all iconic examples of murderous motors from Hollywood cinema. And that list doesn’t even include the countless examples of killer big-rigs [...]

Read More »


When Ponies Fly

Last week, I wrote about my buddy David and our Jeep adventures. In that post, I mentioned our propensity for getting airborne while behind the wheel. Since Elon Musk has yet to invent a true flying car, I’d like to talk a little bit more about cars that fly. Ken Block is one of my heroes. If you’re into cars and [...]

Read More »


LIttle Cherokee v. Slumberland

After my post a couple of weeks ago about the popularity of SUVs in the suburbs, I started thinking quite a bit about my dream sport-ute. Apparently, that stuck fast in my head, because last night, I had a literal dream about a Jeep. This wasn’t just any Jeep, but a completely blacked-out 2010 SRT8 WK Grand Cherokee, perhaps the most [...]

Read More »


Das Auto-binge

With a name like Paul Hollywood, you’re destined for stardom. The consummate British baker-become-race-driver is known for his tan and boot-cut jeans almost as much as his breads. If Gordon Ramsay is the Simon Cowell of cooking, then Hollywood is their analogue in the baking world. So, when I set out to watch his newest series, Paul Hollywood’s Big Continental [...]

Read More »


A Case of the Blues

This is dedicated to the dad with the awesome Dark Blue TRD Tundra at my son's preschool who is helping me keep the dream alive.Three weeks ago, my son started preschool. I have long lamented my youthful expectations of adventure and glory, as so many of us often do, but the first day of preschool [...]

Read More »


Social Bimmers

Our neighborhood has turned into a wealth of automotive inspiration. As I've mentioned (and probably will continue to), there are several doors that I've been tempted to knock on because of the mean machines parked in the driveways. One particular BMW E30 that lives on the street in front of one of the first few houses at the entrance to [...]

Read More »


Riding the Bull; 8 secs in a Saleen S7

Growing up, I spent quite a few Saturday afternoons watching PBR – Professional Bull Riding, not Pabst Blue Ribbon – on television with my grandfather. Pa-pa, as we called him, grew up in a family of sharecroppers in the Deep South before shipping out with the Navy at the end of the second World War, then riding undercover with the [...]

Read More »


License to Thrill

My son is only three and a half and is therefore at least 12 years away from driving a motor vehicle. Given the current rate of technological advancement, we could see self-driving cars, or at least cars that only require a bare minimum of human interaction, by the time he reaches adulthood. For now though, I am steeling myself for [...]

Read More »



Sign up to our newsletter

Recent Updates

Made in America