The aura of the 911 is so thoroughly encompassing it overshadows nearly every other Porsche model conceived and constructed, but especially this seems to be true of the 1970s. During that time Porsche launched groundbreaking models like the 924 and 928; generally, both very unappreciated compared to the air-cooled siblings. But the 914 seems nearly forgotten despite its similar engine behind the driver and atmospheric cooling setup. Why? Well, itâ€™s not the prettiest Porsche design, itâ€™s true â€“ but presented properly it is still quite neat.
The most collectable are the original 914-6s, but of course the low cost of ownership for some time meant there are a lot of motor-swapped 914s cruising around. Some are better than others and not all are desirable â€“ Iâ€™d take an original and clean 914 over a poorly swapped car. But some really grab attention, as this Signal Orange 2.2-swapped car did to me:
As I looked across the lawn at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum’s German Car Day between a Porsche Cayman GT4 and the Porsche 914s that lined the row behind it, I couldn’t help but feel that the diminutive design doesn’t get enough credit from enthusiasts. Indeed the aura of the 911 is so thoroughly encompassing it overshadows nearly every other Porsche model conceived and constructed, but especially this seems to be true of the 1970s. During that time Porsche launched groundbreaking models like the 924 and 928; generally, both very unappreciated compared to the air-cooled siblings. But the 914 seems nearly forgotten despite its similar engine behind the driver and atmospheric cooling setup. Why? Well, it’s not the prettiest Porsche design, it’s true – but presented properly it is still quite neat. The neatest of the bunch are probably the original, fat-flared 914-6 GT models. Ready to blow your mind? Fresh off their somewhat surprising and unlikely victory at Le Mans yesterday, I thought it would be nice to take a look at a 914-6 GT replica, because 46 years ago Porsche themselves entered such a car at the 24 hour endurance race. Now, 1970 is probably a lot more memorable for Porsche because it was the famous red Salzburg 917K Attwood/Hermann that took overall victory. You might remember the 1970 race for being the basis of the Steve McQueen movie that was appropriately named, too. But what was perhaps the most amazing thing about that race was who finished 5th overall. Following the 917K and the 917LH along with two Ferrari 512Ss was that Porsche 914-6 GT, some three laps ahead of a 911S. How’s that for something to put on your resume?
I don’t write up Porsches that much on the site, though not for a lack of admiration. I just don’t have the history of knowledge that I do with Audi/VW and BMW. Yet one of my weirder first car stories was when I tried to buy a $900 Porsche 914 off a message board in 1998 (craigslist didn’t even have that name at that point), when I was in 8th grade. My mom heard me on the phone and after I hung up was asking me what the hell was going on. It was innocent enough, a pipe dream that I could earn enough money to get a funky little German gokart and work on it myself.
The gokart idea still appeals to me, and daydreams of Elises, Superformance 818s, and 914s still dance around in my head every once in a while. This example is much more than the plaything I’m looking for; it’s the 914 for Porschephiles. No Subaru or LS upgrade here making it a silly toy, but a 3.6-liter flat-6 straight out of a 964. It started as a low-mileage, one-owner 914 that was pretty much rebuilt from the ground up to contain the improved power, resulting in a car that looks like a showroom-perfect beacon of the VW/Porsche gokart project but goes like a scalded cat that got surprised by a cucumber. They included a nice, brief, drone-shot video that gives a great sense of the sound and drama that this orange machine can produce. The build was essentially cost-is-no-object, and the price is accordingly many times more than a standard 914.
Serving for many years as the entry-level Porsche, the 914 remains a somewhat under-appreciated machine. It never possessed the iconic stature of the 911 and, unlike its entry-level predecessor the 912, it stood somewhat outside the fold within the Porsche catalog. Somewhat at odds with its entry-level nature, Porsche produced the 914-6, which replaced the standard 4-cylinder of the 914 with an air-cooled 2.0 liter flat-six and aligned the 914 more closely with the 911. For racing, Porsche then took the 914-6 to its logical conclusion to produce the 914-6 GT. The 914 itself was always a car lithe in body and light in character. There seemed almost no wasted space and everything was kept only as complex as was necessary. The 914-6 GT added muscle to that package through both a more powerful engine and also a filling out of that minimalist body. The GT still possessed that feeling of lightness endemic to all 914s, but those widened filled out fenders now made clear its very serious pretensions. The car we see here makes an attempt at reproducing the look and spirit of the GT. Here we have a Tangerine over Black 1970 Porsche 914-6, located in California, which utilizes a 911 sourced 3.2 liter flat-six along with the requisite structural and suspension upgrades to help deliver its additional power effectively. As with any car that has seen an engine swap and long list of other modifications the devil is in the details. In many builds the execution can be lacking. The work here, however, appears to have been done quite well and the overall package is absolutely intriguing.
For our last installment of Motorsports Monday, we featured a Porsche 914-6 GT that was track ready. That car sold for $30,100. If you arenâ€™t much one for track days but are looking for the brawn the flat-6 engine provides over the flat-4, youâ€™ll want to check out this 914-6 for sale in California with a GT spec 2.5 liter engine. It may not be done up in full on race livery, but if you have the nerve, imagine what a weapon this thing would be at the next autocross event near you.