Porsche 914

Premiere: September 11, 1969 IAA Frankfurt Motor Show

Ferdinand Piëch's 914/8 (prototype chassis no. 914111)© Porsche
1969 prototypes MY1970 MY1971 MY1972 MY1973 MY1974 MY1975 MY1976
914/4 1.7 53 kW California 914/4 1.8 56 kW USA
914/4 1.7 59 kW 914/4 1.8 63 kW Euro
914/4 2.0 70 kW USA 914/4 2.0 65 kW USA
914/6 2.0 81 kW 914/4 2.0 74 kW Euro
914/6 2.0 M471 widebody 81 kW
914/6 2.0 M491 racing version 162 kW
914/8 3.0 221 kW
914/8 3.0 Coupé 191 kW
MY1970 MY1971 MY1972 MY1973 MY1974 MY1975 MY1976
5-speed manual
4-speed Sportomatic (914/6)
Adjustable passenger seat
US: front bumperettes US: rear bumperettes New bumper design
New steel wheel design
Kugelfischer fuel injection
Carburettor
D-Jetronic fuel injection
L-Jetronic fuel injection

Porsche needed an entry-level car to replace the 912 and Volkswagen needed a sports car to replace its Karmann Ghia, so the forces were joined to build a sports car that would be an affordable Porsche and a modern Volkswagen. Given the type 914 designation, the targa-topped roadster was designed over the autumn of 1966. The design group was led by Heinrich Klie and Ferdinand Alexander Porsche. Ferdinand Piëch, as the head of development at Porsche, was also the 914 project leader. On March 1, 1968, the first 914/4 prototype was driven. The car had the flat-4 engine mounted in front of the rear axle. The mid-engine layout meant the 914 could achieve higher cornering G-forces than the 911.

As a project leader, Ferdinand Piëch had his technicians fit one of the prototypes with the 3-litre flat-8 fuel injected 16 spark plug engine from the Porsche 908 racing car.

The Piëch's Blood Orange 914/8 3.0 prototype (chassis no. 914111) had wider headlamp housings which showed the quad lamps when popped out. Compared to the production cars, in the nose there was an oval opening for oil cooler and the front wheel arches were modified for the wider tyres not to touch the body under heavy cornering.© James Herne / Stuttcars.com

Agreed in January 1969, the marketing company VW-Porsche Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH was founded in April. Both parties had a 50% share. From now on, the sales operations for the 911, 914-4 and 914-6 were carried out by the marketing company. Key positions were held on an equal authority basis by Otto-Erich Filius of Porsche (formerly Vice-President Porsche of America) and Klaus Schneider of VW. Naturally, the establishment of the joint venture started the rumours of the merger of VW and Porsche. Porsche even had to emit a special press release to convince that Porsche and Volkswagen are independent companies.

VW-Porsche Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH in Ludwigsburg© Porsche

Introduced on September 11, 1969 in Frankfurt, the 914 could be seen both on the VW-Porsche exhibition stand and on the Karmann stand. As agreed, the 914 will be sold in Europe as a VW-Porsche and in the USA as a Porsche. The 914/4 was equipped with the 1.7L 4-cylinder Volkswagen 411E engine with Bosch electronic fuel injection and the car was fully produced at the Karmann plant in Osnabrück. The 914/6 had its body made at Karmann and then shipped to Stuttgart for the marriage with the 1969 model year 911 T 6-cylinder 2-litre carburetor engine (911s already got 2.2-litre engines for model year 1970). Despite the Porsche body and the Porsche engine, the European 914/6 was called the VW-Porsche according to the agreement. The wheels, hubs and brakes for the 914/4 came from the VW 411 family car and for the 914/6 from the 911. The production of the 914/4 started in 1969 (as model year 1970) and the production of the 914/6 in 1970.

The front and rear sections of the body are formed as easily deformable crumple zones. The passenger compartment is a deformation-rigid safety cell. The safety steering column provides the driver with better protection. Saving the cost, the passenger seat was not adjustable (until the end of model year 1971). On some markets the optional central seat cushion and seat belt for a child were available, making it a 3-seater. The hand brake lever was placed to the left of the driver. Despite the Porsche's entry-level model wasn't a 4-seater anymore and despite its performance figures not better than of the outgoing 912, in cooperation with Volkswagen the car is priced so well that it becomes Porsche's best seller.

Porsche was really concerned about its image now when the 914 was made in cooperation with Volkswagen and stressed on journalists in the August 25, 1969, press release that the car should not be called as "Volksporsche" ("People's Porsche"), nor 'VOPO' (called as the "fatal synonym" in this press release). The press release marks the 914 1.7 to cost 12.000 DM and the 911 2.2 S 30.000 DM, so a 2.5 times difference between the entry-level and the top-of-the-line Porsche.

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Production at the Karmann factory in Osnabrück© Karmann
Karmann factory in Osnabrück, in front row US-model 914/4s (note the side lamp on front fender)© Karmann
© Karmann

Technical specifications of 1970 European models (status 9/1969)

  914/4 914/6
Engine1.7 L mid-mounted flat-42.0 L mid-mounted flat-6
Power 59 kW 81 kW
Fuel feeding system Bosch D-jetronic electronic fuel injection Weber carburetors with idle lever in the cockpit
Engine lubrication system pressure-circulation (wet sump) dry sump
Brakes 4 disc brakes 4 disc brakes, front ones internally vented
Wheels 4-bolt, 4.5x15 steel wheels as standard with tubeless 155 tyres (cast alloy and forged wheels optional) 5-bolt, 5.5x15 steel wheels as standard with 165 tyres (cast alloy and forged wheels optional)
Windscreen tempered glass (laminated optional) laminated safety glass
Bumper finish painted (chrome optional) chrome
Rollover bar finish in body colour (optionally covered with black vinyl) covered with black vinyl
Chrome trim strips optional standard
Steering wheel ornament Wolfsburg crest Porsche crest
Tachometer scale 7000 rpm 8000 rpm
Speedometer scale 200 km/h 250 km/h
Oil temperature gauge optional with centre console integrated with fuel gauge
Ignition lock location on the right (on steering column) on the left (on dashboard)
Windshield wiper system 2-stage
Windshield washer pneumatically operated by push button in the wiper switch on dashboard
3-stage
Windshield washer electrically operated with lever on the steering column
Two-tone horn optional standard
Empty weight 900 kg (1984 lb) 940 kg (2072 lb)
Acceleration 0-40 km/h 3.0 sec. 2.6 sec.
Acceleration 0-60 km/h 5.8 sec. 4.8 sec.
Acceleration 0-80 km/h 9.0 sec. 7.0 sec.
Acceleration 0-100 km/h (62 mph) 13.0 sec. 9.9 sec.
Acceleration 0-120 km/h 19.4 sec. 14.0 sec.
Acceleration 0-140 km/h 27.2 sec. 19.2 sec.
Acceleration 0-160 km/h (100 mph) 43.2 sec. 26.5 sec.
Acceleration 0-180 km/h 37.0 sec.
Top speed 177 km/h (110 mph) 201 km/h (125 mph)

The 914/4 was available with 15" VW steel wheels (first design MY1970-73 with chrome hub caps, second design MY1974-76), 15" Pedrini wheels, 15" Mahle wheels and 15" 4-bolt Fuchs wheels. The 914/6 was available with 15" steel wheels (silver or chrome), 15" Mahle wheels and with 15" Fuchs wheels. In addition the 14" Fuchs wheels could be ordered for more comfortable ride (higher tyre profile).

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914-4 with the VW hub caps© Porsche
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The hip can be well seen from this angle © Porsche
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To fill the 62 litre fuel tank you had to open the hood © Porsche
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© Porsche

The 914 has the luggage compartments in the front and at the back, with total volume comparable to a mid-size family car. The removable fiberglass roof panel could be stored in the rear trunk.

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5-bolt Mahle wheels © Porsche
The European version has no P O R S C H E-lettering on the black engine cover grill, not even on the 6-cylinder model whereas all US-models, including the ones with the 4-cylinder VW engine, have it. Lucky Americans!© Porsche
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© Porsche
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Leather seats were available only for the 914-6. As can be seen, the passenger seat is not adjustable © Porsche
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914-4© Porsche
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914-4 sold in Europe had the Wolfsburg (city of VW HQ) crest on the steering wheel© Porsche
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914-6 dashboard (the steering wheel has a Porsche crest on it)© Porsche
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914-6 instuments© Porsche
914-4 instuments© Porsche
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Adjustable passenger footrest © Porsche
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1.7-litre 4-cylinder VW engine with Bosch electronic fuel injection (D-jetronic)© Porsche
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2.0-litre 6-cylinder Porsche engine with dry sump lubrication© Porsche

All the 914s were equipped with the 5-speed gearbox as standard and the 914/6 was also available with the 4-speed Sportomatic. Sportomatic was a mechanical gearbox with hydraulic gearchange. There was no clutch pedal - moving the gear lever initiated the hydraulic actuation of the gear change. Instead of the clutch there was a torque converter.

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4-speed Sportomatic gearbox (manual shift, but without clutch pedal)© Porsche
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The front torsion bar suspension is from the 911 as well as are the internally vented brake discs on the 6-cylinder model. The rear suspension utilises usual springs.© Porsche
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3 turns from lock to lock, turning circle 11 m © Porsche
Dimensions© Porsche
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914 1.7 © Porsche

There was the second 3.0-litre prototype created as a surprise for the company leader Ferry Porsche for his 60th birthday. While the Piëch's 914/8 had Bosch Kugefischer mechanical fuel injection, Ferry's 914/8 was equipped with the carburetors. And it was a coupé and not a targa - it had a welded steel roof with the sunroof. The car also had the fuel filler flap on the front lid while with the production models you had to lift the front lid for refuelling.

1969 September 19, Ferry's 60th birthday present is a silver 914/8 3.0 (prototype chassis no. 914006). In addition to Ferdinand Anton Ernst "Ferry" Porsche, Head of development, Ferdinand Piëch, can be seen on the photo with paper file in his hand. © Porsche
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Ferry's 914/8 hardtop coupe with sunroof © James Herne / Stuttcars.com
Brian Redman makes a practice lap at Targa Florio in May 1970 in a 914 (will win the race in a 908/03)

The 914/6 was produced with narrow body as street car and with wide body as competition car (commonly refferred to as the 914/6 GT, although this is not the official name). The racing version was specified by the option code M491. It was possible to order the 914/6 street car with the wide body of the racing car. The option code for only the wide body was M471. It was a very expensive option as the widebody conversion would be handmade at Porsche, not at the Karmann factory where the narrow-bodied cars were completed on the production line. The widened body panels were also available as spare parts. The street 2.0F6 had 81 kW, but the competition version exactly double, 162 kW @7800 rpm (engine type 901/25, torque 20.5 mkp/148 lb-ft/201 Nm). Like on the street car, 2 triple Weber carburetors were used. Empty weight was 880 kg/1940 lb. Top speed depended on the gearbox ratios, but was at least 150 mph/240 kmh.

On June 14, 1970, Porsche finally won the Le Mans 24H race with the 917 and as a surprise the 6th position and 2-litre class victory was taken by a debuting 914!

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1970 Le Mans 24H race 6th place and 2-litre class winning 914/6 "GT" #40 driven by Claude Ballot-Léna/Guy Chasseuil© Porsche
© Porsche

Four 914/6 racing cars were signed up for the 1970 Marathon de la Route 86 hour (!) endurance race held from August 18 to 22. It was held on the 28 km combined track of the Nürburgring Nordschleife and Südschleife. The first MDLR on the Nürburgring was held in 1965. In 1967 and 1968 the event was won with a 911. The rules said it is only allowed to spend 1 minute in the pits for driver change, tyre change or refuel. When more time is spent, a lap is deleted from the final results. Stopping in pits for more than 15 minutes - disqualification. If you would spent more than 24 minutes (30 minutes during first 4 hours) for one lap, you would be disqualified. During the last 12 hours as many laps has to be driven as during the first 12 hours. No doubt on how tough the event was! And it was just a year ago, in 1969, when the Police of Adenau wanted to stop the whole race because some cars had damaged or lost their exhaust systems and drove with very loud noise as stopping for repairs would be penalized.

Photoshooting before the 1970 Marathon de la Route© Porsche

The privately entered 914/6 of team Neusser MSC retired due to an accident, but all three 914/6 M491 entered by Porsche System Engineering finished and all on podium! The fourth place was taken by a BMW 2002 Ti and fifth place by a 911. In total 24 cars out of 64 starters finished. Great result considering the strict rules.
1. #1 Gérard Larrousse, Helmut Marko, Claude Haldi, total 360 laps/358 laps counted
2. #3 Björn Waldegaard, Åke Andersson, Guy Chasseuil, 359/357 laps
3. #2 Claude Ballot-Léna, Günther Steckkönig, Nicolas Koob, 356/354 laps
In 1971 the event was held for the last time - then on Nordschleife only and for 4 full days (96 hours).

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1970 Marathon de la Route winner © Porsche
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1970 Marathon de la Route posters © Porsche
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Porsches with mid-mounted air-cooled flat engines posing at Spa-Francorchamps race track in 1971: 917 K (4.9F12, 441 kW) and 914/4 (1.7F4, 59 kW). Despite the 914 having 7.5 times less power, you could buy around 20 of them for the price of the 917. Both the 914 and the 917 were born in 1969. © Porsche

In 1971, for model year 1972, the proper passenger seat was announced and the dashboard was modified to have side air vents.

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Model year 1972 changes included the individual passenger seat© Porsche
914-4 model year 1972 © Porsche
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Family meeting of 6-cylinder cars (model year 1972 cars) © Porsche

The 914/6 2.0 carburetor version was discontinued after the 1972 model year and the 914/4 2.0 EFI was introduced for MY1973. It produced a bit less power (74 kW), but the same amount of torque (16 mkp/115 lb-ft/157 Nm). In Japan and in the States the 2.0 4-cylinder was also called as the 914 S. 914/4 2.0 was capable of accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in 10.5 seconds and to the top speed of 118 mph/190 km/h. Both the MY1973 4-cylinder cars, the 1.7L and the 2.0L, had empty weight of 950 kg/2094 lb (MY1970 1.7L was 900 kg/1984 lb). The standard compression ratio of the 1.7-litre engine was 8.2:1, but for California 7.3:1 which meant the engine lost 10% from its already ridiculous power figures. The 53 kW Californian version was made only for the 1973 model year.

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This 914-4 2.0 prototype shows a painted Targa-bar and Pedrini wheels© Porsche
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The headlight surrounds were initially white and later black. Check the 4-bolt forged Fuchs wheels!© Porsche
914/4 2.0 © Porsche

In addition to M-option list, there were two option packages for 1973 European models. The Comfort-package included velour carpets, sports steering wheel, centre console with clock, oil temperature and voltmeter gauges, leather gear lever boot, safety bar covered with black vinyl, chrome trim on safety bar and two-tone horn. The Sports-package included forged 4-bolt Fuchs wheels, stabilizer bars front and rear and H4 halogen headlamps

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© Porsche
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© Porsche

On July 28, 1973 a test run was organized at the Volkswagen's Ehra-Lessien test track. The new MY1974 VW-Porsche 914 1.8 in the hands of Fritz Huschke von Hanstein achieved the following average speed results:
Standing start 10 km - 108.203 mph / 174.136 km/h
Standing start 10 miles - 112.215 mph / 180.592 km/h

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1973 October 14 Laguna Seca Can-Am: a 914 leading the pack of turbocharged 917s and other race cars © Corel Photo
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Distinctive features of the US-models are the front bumperettes that appeared for 1973 models, fully amber front lenses and front side marker lamps. On the background there are two widebody racing 914s with their windscreen frames cut off. © Corel Photo

In 1973, for the model year 1974, the base engines now where 1.8 litre. The news were not good for Americans - the US version lost a bit power compared to the outgoing 1.7-litre and the rear look was made hideous by the bumperettes (the front ones had appeared already a year earlier). For European market, the 1.8-litre was equipped with the carburetors (the only 4-cylinder 914 without fuel injection) and got bit more power than the predecessor. The 'European' 63 kW 1.8L 914 accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in 12.5 seconds and to the top speed of 110 mph/178 km/h. It had 13.8 mkp of torque (99 lb-ft/135 Nm). Empty weight was 950 kg/1984 lb. From MY1974 came the automatic seatbelts and headlamp washer became available on the request of the Swedish market.

The 1974 models had the following jovial colours available: Light Ivory (the shade of white known from the '73 911 Carrera RS), Bahia Red, Signal Orange, Chrome Yellow, Ravenna Green, Summer Yellow, Forest Green, Olympic Blue, Phoenix Red and special colours Black, Metallic Chrome Yellow, Metallic Ocean Blue, Silver Metallic and Metallic Marathon Blue. The interior was available in black, brown or beige.

German pricelist for 1974 model year

1.8-litre, 63 kW2.0-litre, 74 kW
VW-Porsche 914-4DM 13.990DM 14.990
Comfort-package incl. velour carpets, sports steering wheel, leather gear lever boot, dual-tone horn, centre console with voltmeter, clock, oil temperature gauges and storage compartment with padded lid, halogen headlamps, automatic seat beltsDM 700DM 700
M474 Bilstein shock absorbers DM 320 DM 320
M485 Mahle wheels (4-bolt) DM 690 DM 690
M596 Fuchs forged wheels (4-bolt) DM 800 DM 800
M220 Limited slip differential 80% DM 690 DM 690
M404 Stabilizer bars DM 300 DM 300
M102 Rear window heater DM 112 DM 112
M265 Chrome bumpers DM 300 DM 300
M568 Tinted side windows and tinted safety glass windscreenDM 390 DM 240
M089 Safety glass windscreen DM 159 standard
M567 Tinted safety glass windscreen DM 300 DM 150
M640 PVC underbody protection DM 65 DM 65
M591 Storage compartment between the seats DM 59 DM 59
Leatherette seats instead of perlon DM 0 DM 0
M166 Central seat belt DM 55 DM 55
M570 Central seat cushion DM 50 DM 50
M565 Padded sports steering wheel DM 110 DM 110
M490 Antenna and radio preparation DM 128 DM 128
M097 Radio Blaupunkt Emden, antenna DM 365 DM 365
M587 Radio Blaupunkt Hannover with automatic search, antenna DM 640 DM 640
M095 Radio Blaupunkt Wolfsburg DM 288 DM 288
M572 Two-tone horn DM 35 DM 35
M551 Halogen headlamps DM 115 DM 115
M433 Fog lamps (white) instead of additional headlamps DM 35 DM 35
M659 Fog lamps (white) instead of additional headlamps + rear fog lamp DM 90 DM 90
M571 Rear fog lamp DM 60 DM 60
M652 Intermittent feature for windscreen wipers DM 35 DM 35
Individual colour DM 850 DM 850
Special colour DM 580 DM 580

In 1974, a limited edition model was available either in black with yellow trim or in white with red trim. In the prototype stage it was called the "CanAm"-edition (and was seen with various CanAm side stickers), but then Porsche decided not to compete in the 1974 CanAm season due to rule changes and so the car was relased just as the 'Limited Edition'. As the CanAm couldn't be associated with this edition of the 914 anymore, it was now said to mark the 100.000th 914 built. In USA it was sold with the PORSCHE-side lettering, whereas that was not possible in Europe, because it was as much Volkswagen as it was Porsche. In Japan the Limited Edition was called the SL, 'Sports Limited'. Although called the 'Limited Edition', in reality no records are available on how many cars were ordered in this trim - estimated at least 1000 cars.

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Celebrating 100.000 cars made in 1974, the Limited Edition variants were made - either in Black with Sun Yellow ('Bumblebee') trim or Light Ivory with Phoenix Red ('Creamsicle') trim known from the '73 911 Carrera RS. Note the special front spoiler.© Porsche

The ugly bumperettes on the US-models forced Porsche designers to come up with something new. In 1974, for model year 1975, the new design bumpers were introduced. This meant the European models were also equipped with the new heavy rubber bumpers.

MY1975 bumper change © Porsche
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4-bolt Mahle wheels © Porsche
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© Porsche
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© Porsche
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Center-mounted tachometer and the 150 mph speedometer promise more than it's able to offer. The US-models (despite the VW engines) always had the Porsche crest on the steering wheel.© Porsche

For 1975 model year, the catalytic converter was available. In addition to specifying individual options, two option packages were available. The Appearance Group included the fog lights, dual-tone horn, steering wheel and gear lever with leatherette cover, center console with clock, oil temperature gauge and voltage meter. The Performance Group included front spoiler, cast alloy wheels, front and rear stabilizer bars. The cars became heavier year by year and so the official performance data for the 1975 European models looked as follows:
1.8L: 0-62 mph/100 km/h in 13.5 seconds, top speed 107 mph/172 km/h
2.0L: 0-62 mph/100 km/h in 12.0 seconds, top speed 112 mph/180 km/h
(DIN dry weight 1000 kg / 2205 lb)

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Power and torque curves for European models © James Herne / Stuttcars.com

Transmission codes

300.01  914/6 manual 5-speed
300.05  914/6 sportomatic 4-speed
300.11  914/4 manual 5-speed MY1970-1973
300.12  914/4 manual 5-speed MY1974-1976

Many design companies chose the 914 as a base for their own one-off show cars, for example the Carrozzeria Eurostyle (Albrecht Goertz), Pietro Frua, ItalDesign (1970 Porsche Tapiro).

The 914 was produced only in left-hand-drive version. Initially it was expected that around 25% of the cars would get the Porsche engine, but in reality only 3% did. The production numbers were as follows: 914/4 counted for more than 115.000 and the 914/6 for less than 4000. The 914/4 had the Volkswagen chassis numbers (starting with 47...) and the 914/6 had the Porsche chassis numbers (beginning with 914...). The 914 was replaced by the 924.



Article © James Herne / Stuttcars.com


Sales catalogues

PDF 1973 914 USA: 1.7L and 2.0L 4-cylinder (25 MB)
“It’s as close as we could get to building a mountain goat. It’ll take you to the most dizzying heights, thanks to electronic fuel injection that feeds the engine the exact amount of gas it needs at all times.”
“There’s a bigger engine with more horsepower. It makes you feel as good as you look. It has forged light alloy wheels. They make you look as good as you feel.”

PDF 1975 914 USA: 1.8L and 2.0L 4-cylinder (24 MB)
“For one thing, it’s very peppy. It goes from 0-60 in 12 seconds. /.../ Up till now we have been talking about the Porsche 914 with a 2-litre engine. But some people don’t require so much power, so we built a 914 with a 1.8-litre engine.”


Search for a 914 or continue to 916 or 924
Anniversaries
Jul, 10 – 51st birthday of the 910 (1966)
Jul, 16 – 13th birthday of the 911 997 (2004)
Aug, 19 – 78th birthday of the type 64 (1939)
Aug, 29 – 52nd birthday of the 906 (1965)
Sep, 03 – 142nd birthday anniversary of Ferdinand Porsche (1875)