Welcome back to Fail Friday, where we try to explain the sometimes unexplainable. Today I’m trying to decipher why someone took a seemingly nice Porsche 914 and turned it into this “thing.” It looks like someone grafted on a giant nose to the front end of the car as well as added some side support up from the rear of the car to the Targa bar. Now what was once a fairly short and squared off car is a long, swoopy one. Inside, it doesn’t get much better as they went a little crazy with the diamond stitching as well as added some custom orange door panels. The price? Thankfully it isn’t as crazy as this car.
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 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 – I’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:
We all know I love coming across brightly colored Porsches. I love it even more when it’s a color we almost never see. Such is the case with this Ravenna Green 1973 Porsche 914-4 located in Arizona. Ravenna Green was a one-year-only color for the ’73 914. It exists within the realm of Lime Green as we’ve seen on the 911, though Ravenna is a little brighter and perhaps a bit more yellow. It fits right into the world of jelly bean colors that Porsche offered in the ’70s and it looks great on the 914, a car that I think always deserves a bright color. This particular 914 is fitted with the 2.0 liter flat-4 engine and while they don’t pack a ton of power they’re still capable of scooting along these light-weight mid-engined Porsches.
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.
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 aren’t much one for track days but are looking for the brawn the flat-6 engine provides over the flat-4, you’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.
There seems to be no end to the rise in air-cooled Porsche prices, but one of those cars that has lagged behind the crowd is the 914. This car was a joint venture between Porsche and Volkswagen, meant to be a halo car for Volkswagen to success the Karmann Ghia and to replace the 912 as the base model in the Porsche lineup. Throughout the years, Porsche has seemed to be a bit confused on what to field as an “entry level” car, as they went from a four cylinder 911, to this 914, then to the front-engined, water-cooled 924 and finally, the mid-engine Boxster that debuted in the late 1990s. The 914 would last for eight years, from 1969 through 1976, available in both four and six cylinder form. This 1972 example for sale in Idaho was originally a California car, looking stunning in silver metallic.
In this morning’s post on the Audi TT’s future collectability potential, I mentioned the Porsche 914. Long considered one of the most unappreciated Porsches, over the past few years the underrated and unloved 914 has quickly risen in its own right to be a collectable item. 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 – I’d take an original and clean 914 over a poorly swapped car. But some really grab attention, as this 3.0 engined car did to me:
914s have been on my mind again for the first time in a long while. One of my first attempts at misguided car purchase was well before I even had my license, was a call to a guy on a forum advertising a $950 914 project. “Yeah, I’ll save and fix it up by the time I can drive!” I thought. “What the hell is my seventh-grader doing on the phone discussing buying cars!?” my poor mom asked. Well, the basest of Porsches seemed like a fun way to tinker, and the go-kart from Stuttgart had my mind working over time. Now again, I’ve been longing for a weight-free tossable treat, and some choice 914s in the area have them back in my consciousness. None are as sweet as this though, which had just one owner and covered less than 70k miles in the first 40 years of its life. A beautiful repaint and cared-for interior have it looking like a showroom example. There aren’t many out there like this and it’s going to command a commensurate price, but as vintage 911s rise beyond the reach of many, the 914 is still a quick and fun option available to most.
Rob is on holiday this week, so I’m going to take it upon me to throw a few Porsches out there in his absence. The 914 was the predecessor to the 924, itself another close collaboration between Volkswagen and Porsche. Offered in both four and six cylinder trim, this 1975 1.8 liter for sale in Florida represents the second to last year for this model, one which is often forgotten in the annals of Porsche history. Kermit the Frog said once “it ain’t easy bein’ green.” Perhaps the same is true on being a 914.
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