Very different from previous production Porsches, the 914 was an attempt by Zuffenhausen to introduce a lower cost model. Commercially it was only a moderate success, but it’s very distinct minimalist styling, though part of the idiom of the 1960s, was very much an in-house design.
Almost two decades after the first Gmünd coupés, the 914 was the company’s third new production car. The ‘Vierzehner,’ (fourteener), as the Germans referred to it, was conceived as a new entry level model and one which would widen the appeal of Porsche. The Porsche 912 which used the flat four of the discontinued 356 was only ever an interim model, too close from a marketing standpoint in both appearance and pricing to the 911. A new design, especially if it was significantly cheaper, could secure the future of a Porsche too dependent on one model. Zuffenhausen, though, was in no position to tool up for a new model, having just bought out Reutter, but its association with VW did present an opportunity and Wolfsburg itself was in the market for fresh designs: by the mid-sixties, its range looked dated, the Beetle comprehensively out performed by offerings from Ford and Opel in terms of performance, space and economy. The success of BMW’s Neue Klasse also showed the importance of the growing middle class market.
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