Porsche 914
Overview
 

The Porsche 914 or VW-Porsche 914 is a mid-engined
Mid-engine design
A mid-engine layout describes the placement of an automobile engine between the rear and front axles. Another term for this is mid-ship.-Benefits:The mid-engine layout is typically chosen for its relatively favorable weight distribution...

, targa-topped
Targa top
Targa top, targa for short, is a semi-convertible car body style with a removable roof section and a full width roll bar behind the seats. The term was first used on the 1966 Porsche 911 Targa, and it remains a registered trademark of Porsche AG....

 two-seat roadster designed, manufactured and marketed collaboratively by Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen is a German automobile manufacturer and is the original and biggest-selling marque of the Volkswagen Group, which now also owns the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, SEAT, and Škoda marques and the truck manufacturer Scania.Volkswagen means "people's car" in German, where it is...

 and Porsche
Porsche
Porsche Automobil Holding SE, usually shortened to Porsche SE a Societas Europaea or European Public Company, is a German based holding company with investments in the automotive industry....

 from 1969 to 1976.
By the late 1960s, both Volkswagen and Porsche were in need of new models; Porsche was looking for a replacement for their entry-level 912
Porsche 912
The Porsche 912 is a sports car that was manufactured by Porsche of Germany between 1965 and 1969 as their entry-level model. The 912 is a nimble-handling compact performance four-seat vehicle, delivering 90 SAE horsepower at 5800 rpm. It is capable of up to fuel economy. This combination is...

, and Volkswagen wanted a new range-topping sports coupe
Coupé
A coupé or coupe is a closed car body style , the precise definition of which varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, and over time...

 to replace the Karmann Ghia
Volkswagen Karmann Ghia
The Volkswagen Karmann Ghia is a 2+2 coupe and convertible marketed from 1955 to 1974 by Volkswagen – combining the chassis and mechanicals of the Type 1 , styling by Luigi Segre of the Italian carrozzeria Ghia, and hand-built bodywork by German coach-builder Karmann.The Karmann Ghia was...

. At the time, the majority of Volkswagen's developmental work was handled by Porsche, part of a setup that dated back to Porsche's founding; Volkswagen needed to contract out one last project to Porsche to fulfill the contract, and decided to make this that project.
Encyclopedia

The Porsche 914 or VW-Porsche 914 is a mid-engined
Mid-engine design
A mid-engine layout describes the placement of an automobile engine between the rear and front axles. Another term for this is mid-ship.-Benefits:The mid-engine layout is typically chosen for its relatively favorable weight distribution...

, targa-topped
Targa top
Targa top, targa for short, is a semi-convertible car body style with a removable roof section and a full width roll bar behind the seats. The term was first used on the 1966 Porsche 911 Targa, and it remains a registered trademark of Porsche AG....

 two-seat roadster designed, manufactured and marketed collaboratively by Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen is a German automobile manufacturer and is the original and biggest-selling marque of the Volkswagen Group, which now also owns the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, SEAT, and Škoda marques and the truck manufacturer Scania.Volkswagen means "people's car" in German, where it is...

 and Porsche
Porsche
Porsche Automobil Holding SE, usually shortened to Porsche SE a Societas Europaea or European Public Company, is a German based holding company with investments in the automotive industry....

 from 1969 to 1976.

Development

By the late 1960s, both Volkswagen and Porsche were in need of new models; Porsche was looking for a replacement for their entry-level 912
Porsche 912
The Porsche 912 is a sports car that was manufactured by Porsche of Germany between 1965 and 1969 as their entry-level model. The 912 is a nimble-handling compact performance four-seat vehicle, delivering 90 SAE horsepower at 5800 rpm. It is capable of up to fuel economy. This combination is...

, and Volkswagen wanted a new range-topping sports coupe
Coupé
A coupé or coupe is a closed car body style , the precise definition of which varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, and over time...

 to replace the Karmann Ghia
Volkswagen Karmann Ghia
The Volkswagen Karmann Ghia is a 2+2 coupe and convertible marketed from 1955 to 1974 by Volkswagen – combining the chassis and mechanicals of the Type 1 , styling by Luigi Segre of the Italian carrozzeria Ghia, and hand-built bodywork by German coach-builder Karmann.The Karmann Ghia was...

. At the time, the majority of Volkswagen's developmental work was handled by Porsche, part of a setup that dated back to Porsche's founding; Volkswagen needed to contract out one last project to Porsche to fulfill the contract, and decided to make this that project. Ferdinand Piëch
Ferdinand Piëch
Ferdinand Karl Piëch is an Austrian business magnate, engineer and executive who is currently the chairman of the supervisory board of Volkswagen Group....

, who was in charge of research and development at Porsche, was put in charge of the 914 project.
Originally intending to sell the vehicle with a flat four-cylinder
Flat-4
A flat-4 or horizontally opposed-4 is a flat engine with four cylinders arranged horizontally in two banks of two cylinders on each side of a central crankcase...

 engine as a Volkswagen and with a flat six-cylinder
Flat-6
A flat-6 or horizontally opposed-6 is a flat engine with six cylinders arranged horizontally in two banks of three cylinders on each side of a central crankcase...

 engine as a Porsche, Porsche decided during development that having Volkswagen and Porsche models sharing the same body would be risky for business in the American market, and convinced Volkswagen to allow them to sell both versions as Porsches in North America.

On March 1, 1968, the first 914 prototype was presented. However, development became complicated after the death of Volkswagen's chairman, Heinz Nordhoff, on April 12, 1968. His successor, Kurt Lotz
Kurt Lotz
Dr. Kurt Lotz was the second post-war Chief executive officer of the Volkswagen automobile company in Germany. He was nominated in April 1967 to succeed the legendary Heinrich Nordhoff at the end of December 1968. Sadly, promotion arrived early when Nordhoff died in April 1968.Lotz was the son...

, was not connected with the Porsche dynasty and the verbal agreement between Volkswagen and Porsche fell apart.

In Lotz's opinion, Volkswagen had all rights to the model, and no incentive to share it with Porsche if they would not share in tooling expenses. With this decision, the price and marketing concept for the 914 had failed before series production had begun. As a result, the price of the chassis went up considerably, and the 914/6 ended up costing only a bit less than the 911T
Porsche 911
The Porsche 911 is a luxury 2-door sports coupe made by Porsche AG of Stuttgart, Germany. It has a distinctive design, rear-engined and with independent rear suspension, an evolution of the swing axle on the Porsche 356. The engine was also air-cooled until the introduction of the Type 996 in 1998...

, Porsche's next lowest price car. The 914/6 sold quite poorly while the much less expensive 914-4 became Porsche's top seller during its model run, outselling the Porsche 911 by a wide margin with over 118,000 units sold worldwide.

Design evolution

Volkswagen versions originally featured an 80 hp fuel-injected
Fuel injection
Fuel injection is a system for admitting fuel into an internal combustion engine. It has become the primary fuel delivery system used in automotive petrol engines, having almost completely replaced carburetors in the late 1980s....

 1.7 L flat-4
Flat-4
A flat-4 or horizontally opposed-4 is a flat engine with four cylinders arranged horizontally in two banks of two cylinders on each side of a central crankcase...

 engine
Engine
An engine or motor is a machine designed to convert energy into useful mechanical motion. Heat engines, including internal combustion engines and external combustion engines burn a fuel to create heat which is then used to create motion...

 based on the Volkswagen air-cooled engine. Porsche's 914/6 variant featured a carbureted 110 hp 2.0 L flat-6
Flat-6
A flat-6 or horizontally opposed-6 is a flat engine with six cylinders arranged horizontally in two banks of three cylinders on each side of a central crankcase...

 engine from the 1969 911T, placed amidships in front of a version of the 1969 911's "901" gearbox configured for a mid-engine car. Karmann
Karmann
Wilhelm Karmann GmbH, commonly known simply as Karmann, in Osnabrück, Germany was until 2009 the largest independent motor vehicle manufacturing company in Germany...

 manufactured the rolling chassis at their plant, completing Volkswagen production in-house or delivering versions to Porsche for their final assembly.

914/6 models used a similar suspension and brakes to the 911, giving superior handling and braking superiority over the 4-cylinder Volkswagen models along with higher power output. A Volkswagen-Porsche joint venture, Volkswagen of America
Volkswagen of America
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. , is the North American operational headquarters, and subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group of automobile companies of Germany. VWoA is responsible for five marques: Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, and Volkswagen cars. It also controls VW Credit, Inc...

, handled export to the U.S., where both versions were badged and sold as Porsches. The four-cylinder cars were sold as Volkswagen-Porsches at European Volkswagen dealerships.

Slow sales and rising costs prompted Porsche to discontinue the 914/6 variant in 1972 after producing 3,351 of them; its place in the lineup was filled by a variant powered by a new 95 hp 2.0 L, fuel-injected version of Volkswagen's Type 4 engine in 1973. For 1974, the 1.7 L engine was replaced by a 76 hp 1.8 L, and the new Bosch
Robert Bosch GmbH
Robert Bosch GmbH is a multinational engineering and electronics company headquartered in Gerlingen, near Stuttgart, Germany. It is the world's largest supplier of automotive components...

 L-Jetronic
Jetronic
Jetronic is a trade name of an fuel injection technology for automotive petrol engines, developed and marketed by Robert Bosch GmbH from the 1960s onwards. Bosch licensed the concept to many automobile manufacturers. There are several variations of the technology offering technological development...

 fuel injection system was added to American units to help with emissions control. 914 production ended in 1976. The 2.0 L flat-4 engine continued to be used in the 912E
Porsche 912
The Porsche 912 is a sports car that was manufactured by Porsche of Germany between 1965 and 1969 as their entry-level model. The 912 is a nimble-handling compact performance four-seat vehicle, delivering 90 SAE horsepower at 5800 rpm. It is capable of up to fuel economy. This combination is...

, which provided an entry-level model until the 924
Porsche 924
The Porsche 924 is an automobile produced by Porsche AG of Germany from 1976 to 1988. A two-door, 2+2 coupé, the 924 replaced the 914 as the company's entry-level model, and was the model that finally retired the 912. In production terms, the 924 was the first Porsche model powered by a...

 was introduced.

The 914 was Motor Trend
Motor Trend
Motor Trend is an American automobile magazine. It first appeared in September 1949, issued by Petersen Publishing Company in Los Angeles, and bearing the tag line "The Magazine for a Motoring World". Petersen Publishing was sold to British publisher EMAP in 1998, who sold the former Petersen...

's Import Car of the Year for 1970.
A 914/6 piloted by Frenchmen Claude Ballot-Lena
Claude Ballot-Léna
Claude Ballot-Léna was a French race driver born in Paris. He won the 1969 Spa 24 Hours in a Porsche 911 and the 1983 24 Hours of Daytona in a Porsche 935 Turbo owned by Preston Henn. He also entered the 24 Hours of Le Mans many times from 1966 until the 1980s...

 and Guy Chasseuil won the GTS class and finished sixth overall at the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans
1970 24 Hours of Le Mans
The 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 38th Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place on June 13 and 14 1970. It was the eighth round of the World Sportscar Championship...

.

Chart of 914 development

Porsche 914 road vehicle history of 1969 to 1976
Model Power 1960s 1970s
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
914
914/4 59 kW/80 PS
914/6 81 kW/110 PS
914 1.7 59 kW/80 PS
914 1.8 56 kW/76 PS (USA); 63 kW/85 PS (RoW)
914 2.0 70 kW/95 PS (USA); 74 kW/100 PS (RoW)
914 2.0 (only in US) 65 kW/88 PS

Prototypes

Two prototype 914s, dubbed 914/8, were built during 1969. The orange 914/8 was the first constructed, at the instigation of Ferdinand Piëch
Ferdinand Piëch
Ferdinand Karl Piëch is an Austrian business magnate, engineer and executive who is currently the chairman of the supervisory board of Volkswagen Group....

 (then head of the Racing Dept), to prove the concept. Powered by the full-blown, 310 hp (222 kW) 908 [flat-8] racing engine, it was based on a surplus 914 handbuilt development prototype bodyshell (chassis no. 914111), hence the many differences from the standard vehicle (e.g., the quad headlights). The second, silver, road-registered car, powered by a carburetted and detuned 908 race engine making 260 hp (194 kW) was then prepared as a gift to Ferry Porsche on his 60th birthday. Also based on a spare prototype shell (chassis no. 914006), it was much closer to the standard car in detail. By all accounts Ferry didn't like the car very much and it sits in the Porsche Museum. Neither car saw a racetrack except for the purposes of testing. The 914/8 was not considered for production as a regular model. Another factory prototype, a 914/6 (chassis no. 914114) surfaced in the US in 2001. Together with a surviving prototype Sportomatic 914/6 (chassis no. 914120), reputedly in Southern Germany, they form a unique and fascinating piece of Porsche history.

Planned for the 1972 model year, the Porsche 916 program was cancelled after eleven prototypes with aerodynamic front and rear bumpers and either the 2.4 engine from the 911S, or the 2.7 from the Carrera. They were also to have a fixed steel roof, wider wheels, double grilled engine lid, and flared fenders as styled from the 914-6 GT
Porsche 914-6 GT
The Porsche 914-6 GT was a race car built and sold collaboratively by Volkswagen and Porsche.-History:The Porsche 914 was introduced in September 1969 as a collaborative effort between Porsche and Volkswagen to produce a sporty car. The car they came up with was a mid-engined vehicle with seating...

 cars. Ventilated disc brakes were fitted to all four wheels, and also a "mid-engined" version of the then-new 915 transmission, giving a conventional shift pattern with 1 to 4 in an H and fifth out on a limb. One 916 was built to US specs and on delivery to the USA was fitted with air conditioning by the dealer (Brumos).

Chassis numbers

Porsche 914 chassis numbers from 1970 to 1976
Year 914/4 914/6 916
1970 4702900001 – 4702913312 9140430001 – 9140432668
1971 4712900001 – 4712916231 9141430001 – 9141430443 9141430195
1972 4722900001 – 4722921580 9142430001 – 9142430260 9142330011 – 9142330020
1973 4732900001 – 4732927660
1974 4742900001 – 4742921370
1975 4752900001 – 4752911368
1976 4762900001 – 4762904100

Model year changes

Over the six model years, Porsche made a number of changes to the 914. Some of these changes were cosmetic and others were in response to changing crash protection standards. From 1970 to 1974, the 914 was offered with chrome or painted bumpers. In early 1970, rear bumpers were produced with a straight crease on either side of the license plate indent. Between 1970 and 1972, both front and rear bumpers were smooth without bumper guards. In 1973, bumper guards were added to the front of the car. In 1974, guards were also added to the rear bumper. In 1975 and 1976, the chrome or painted bumpers were replaced with heavy, rubber-covered units.

The headlight surrounds were white from the first 914s to mid-production of 73 and subsequently black. Cars produced up to early 1972 had a fixed passenger seat and a removable passenger footrest. Later cars featured a movable passenger seat. Other interior differences included changing vinyl designs, gauge appearance, and air vent configurations in the dash.

State of the 914 fleet today

Estimates of the number of surviving 914s vary widely. Many 914s with serious but repairable damage were salvaged over the years because cost of a new chassis was relatively inexpensive compared to the cost and availability of repair parts. Many cars were cut up over the years with the purpose of saving other cars. The increasing scarcity of clean cars is driving up the value of the model. Probably the best estimate is from the different enthusiast organizations who are constantly gathering data, and one of them currently estimates the remaining numbers to be at approximately 42,000

While the 914 has been out of production for almost 35 years, many repair parts are still available. In large part, this is due to small companies which specialize in 914 parts and many enterprising enthusiasts who make small runs of parts to support the community. While a few parts are considered scarce and expensive (such as US-spec rear turn signal lenses (only available in the reproduction market) and D-Jetronic Manifold Pressure Sensors (only available in rebuilt)), most are available from a variety of mail-order sources while still others are tooled and manufactured. Due to its nimble handling and the relatively low purchase cost of a basic 914, the "poor man's" Porsche of the 1970s has become the poor man's weekend racing car on amateur racing circuits.

Some enthusiasts see the 914 as a blank canvas upon which to create their own automotive dreams. Owners have modified the original four cylinder motors to upwards of 170 hp. Some owners instead choose to swap different engines into the 914's sizeable engine bay. These swaps include Volkswagen turbodiesel
Turbodiesel
Turbodiesel refers to any diesel engine with a turbocharger. Turbocharging is the norm rather than the exception in modern car and truck diesel engines...

s, 911 engines (following in the footsteps of the much sought after 914/6), Corvair
Chevrolet Corvair engine
The Chevrolet Corvair engine was a flat-6 piston engine used exclusively in the 1960s Chevrolet Corvair automobile. It was a highly unusual engine for General Motors: It was air-cooled, used a flat design, with aluminum heads and crankcase, with individual iron cylinder barrels...

 air-cooled sixes, and the small-block Chevy V8
Chevrolet Small-Block engine
The Chevrolet small-block engine is a series of automobile V8 engines built by the Chevrolet Division of General Motors using the same basic small engine block...

. Recently, swaps of Subaru
Subaru
; is the automobile manufacturing division of Japanese transportation conglomerate Fuji Heavy Industries .Subaru is internationally known for their use of the boxer engine layout popularized in cars by the Volkswagen Beetle and Porsche 911, in most of their vehicles above 1500 cc as well as...

 engines have gained popularity among the non-Porsche purists. The 914 has also become the foundation for an electric
Battery electric vehicle
A battery electric vehicle, or BEV, is a type of electric vehicle that uses chemical energy stored in rechargeable battery packs. BEVs use electric motors and motor controllers instead of, or in addition to, internal combustion engines for propulsion.A battery-only electric vehicle or...

 vehicle conversion
Electric vehicle conversion
An electric vehicle conversion is the modification of a conventional internal combustion engine vehicle to electric propulsion, creating an all-electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.-Elements of a conversion:...

 kit.

Body modifications are another popular way to personalize a 914. Some of these are simple, such as bolting on fiberglass bumpers that aid the 914 into morphing into a look of the 916 prototype. Some modifications are more extensive, such as installing steel or fiberglass fender flares resembling the rare 914/6 GT. Some involve completely changing the appearance of the car, often to resemble some other mid-engine car, such as the Porsche 904
Porsche 904
The Porsche 904 is an automobile which was produced by Porsche in Germany in 1964 and 1965. It was officially called Porsche Carrera GTS due to the same naming rights problem that required renaming the Porsche 901 to Porsche 911.- History :...

 or the Ferrari Testarossa
Ferrari Testarossa
The Ferrari Testarossa is a 12-cylinder mid-engine sports car manufactured by Ferrari, which went into production in 1984 as the successor to the Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer...

. And still others produce a style all their own such as the Mitcom Chalon, which marries the slant nose appearance of the Porsche 935
Porsche 935
The Porsche 935 was introduced in 1976, as the factory racing version of the Porsche 911 turbo prepared for FIA-Group 5 rules. It was an evolution of the Porsche Carrera RSR 2.1 turbo prototype which had scored 2nd overall in the 1974 24 Hours of Le Mans....

with flared fenders that maintain the distinctive 914 rear end. A fiberglass kit inspired by the Porsche 904, dubbed the 9014, was designed as a way to save a derelict 914 too expensive to repair by conventional methods. Increased 914 values over the years have made 914s more practical to restore.

Limited editions

In 1974, Porsche produced a number of special edition cars for the US market, equipped with unique color schemes and decals. It is estimated that about 1,000 of these units were produced, about 50% Bumblebee and 50% Creamsicle.

The Creamsicle: With a cream color exterior (paint code U2V9), these cars sported Phoenix red decals, rocker panels, bumpers, and Mahle wheels. This light ivory color scheme concept carried over from the 1973 911 Carrera RS series.

The Bumblebee: Featuring a black exterior (paint code L041), these cars sported Sunflower yellow (paint code L13K) negative Porsche decals, rocker panels, bumpers, Mahle wheels, and a specially designed front spoiler. Black body paint color was always an additional cost special option on standard 914 Porsche cars, but was included as a standard component on the black 914 LE cars. All but one photo of the 914 Porsche Can Am prototype cars are Bumblebee cars. The black-based 914 LE color scheme is unique to the 914 LE cars and has no precedent with the Can Am race cars or the 1973 911 Carrera RS series cars. The majority of 914 Limited Editions seem to be Bumblebees.

Additionally, all Limited Editions were equipped with front and rear anti sway bars, dual horns, foam covered steering wheel, driving lights, anodized rear roll bar chrome, and a center console with an oil temperature gauge, clock, and voltmeter.

Another scheme, the Grasshopper (Light Ivory (L80E) body / Green accent) was never formally offered as a Limited Edition, but derived from the variety of stripe colors the Porsche dealers offered at the time. Factory records verify that the color scheme was never produced
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