8 Reasons Why We Love The Porsche 914 (2 Reasons Why We’d Never Buy One)

For a long time, Porsche was mostly known for creating the iconic Porsche 911. With every generation, the 911 became the benchmark by which other manufacturers measure the competency of their sporting vehicles. The Porsche 911 is a dream car for many gearheads, the one car that they salivate over and long to own.

Yet turn the clock back to the seventies and the legendary Porsche 911 was outsold by the often forgotten Porsche 914. A quirky-looking two-seater sports car that many believe inspired the later awesome Lotus Elise. Created as a joint venture with Volkswagen, the Porsche 914 won over an adoring crowd of fans before fading into relative obscurity.

This radical-looking, relatively cheap-to-buy-and-run sports car ticked a lot of boxes for many consumers, and the 914 quickly found loving homes. A rare sight on modern roads, here are eight reasons why we love the Porsche 914, and two reasons why we’d never buy one.

10 The Forgotten Porsche

Unless it has “911” on the rear deck lid, other older Porsches just don’t get much mainstream love. Often forgotten by gearheads, the little 914 could easily be mistaken for anything but a Porsche. Its odd styling gives off a more British roadster vibe than it does German sportster.

An in-house design, the Porsche 914 replaced the entry-level 912. Offering modest performance but fantastic handling, the 914 made a name for itself as a car far more capable than its on-paper numbers would suggest. Its low (2,100 pound) curb weight helped make it an entertaining drive.

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9 A Vehicle Of Necessity

Bound by contract to Porsche to develop a final joint model, Volkswagen needed a replacement for the Type 34 Coupe. Initially, two identical vehicles badged with their respective manufacturers were planned, but this idea was then abandoned.

The decision was then made to badge all cars under the Porsche branding in North America. Eighty percent of finished cars ended up being exported to America, the 914s biggest marketplace. Nearly 120,000 cars were sold worldwide.

8 Some Borrowed Parts

Due to it being a joint venture between the two companies, both Volkswagen and Porsche offered up engines. Both four and six-cylinder variants span the engine lineup. Consumers were spoiled for choice when it came to power plant options.

With the four-cylinder engines having been sourced from various Volkswagen models, parts supply was never an issue.

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7 Entertaining Performance

By modern standards, the power output of a Porsche 914 would rank as embarrassing. The majority of cars made well below 100 hp, but the car’s lack of weight countered this. Less weight meant relatively brisk performance, despite the low horsepower figure.

Later models equipped with a 2.0-liter flat-four engine that made a modest 95 hp could scamper to 60 mph in 10 seconds. And thanks to its agile handling, the 914 would then go on to carry speed through tight corners at an alarming rate. Serving up a blend of poise and balanced performance, the entry-level Porsche was a blast to drive.

6 The Awesome 914-6 GT

Those seeking more from their Porsche 914 could opt for the rather costly GT. Essentially a race-prepared road car, it featured the engine from the Porsche 911T, a 2.0-liter flat-six unit that developed a healthy 110 hp and would hit 60 mph in as little as 8.5 seconds.

In such a lightweight car, the six-cylinder engine provided rocket-like in-gear acceleration. It also sounded fantastic. A homologation special, the 914/6 GT is a very sought-after collector vehicle. Race versions of the car pumped out a heady 205 hp.

5 Those Interesting Specials

Often chosen as the basis for modified or custom vehicle creations, the Porsche 914 has had some notable transformations. Gerber / Sbarro outfitted one with a Wankel rotary engine capable of propelling the 115 hp Porsche to a top speed of 118 mph.

More interestingly, a 914 was used to create the Corvette GM XP897-GT. This General Motors concept car was used to show off the company’s rotary engine. It boasted a 180 hp output, but was canceled. The concept vehicle then languished in storage for decades.

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4 The Affordable 70s Porsche

The 914 offers up an opportunity to purchase a classic Porsche at an affordable price. Decent examples can still be found with a realistic price tag that won’t require a second income, which is something a classic 911 can’t offer a potential purchaser.

The other positive is that Porsche 914 ownership needn’t be a costly affair. Its basic setup, borrowed engine parts, and transferable mechanicals mean that maintenance shouldn’t be costly. Restoration and refurbishment are also easier than most classic cars.

3 A Break From The Norm

When you first see a Porsche 914 in the metal, it’s hard to believe that it is indeed a Porsche. Often mistaken for a kit car wearing fake badges, the 914 continues to turn heads today. A very rare sight in Europe, the 914 is a fantastic vehicle to spot.

Badged as a VW / Porsche, the majority of 914s in Europe will also get tongues wagging. The usual questions about what it is and how it came to be will get asked. As will the inevitable request to be taken for an open-top ride. But then that’s the joy of classic car ownership.

2 We Wouldn’t Buy One: It Lacks True Excitement

There is no escaping the fact that the Porsche 914 lacks power. Yes, it may be light, but there is still no replacement for displacement. Its lack of torque means that rowing the shifter in search of power will become an annoying and tiring habit.

Even when a car has been mechanically improved to deliver more ponies, a 914 can still feel a little flat. Getting in and driving one is simply no memorable experience. There is no seat-of-the-pants thrill. No lasting satisfaction that tempts you back for more.

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1 We Wouldn’t Buy One: Not The Porsche You Want

The Porsche 914 sits at the bottom of the family tree for a reason. Cobbled together with a collection of old Volkswagen parts and engines, it’s not even a stop-gap on the way to inevitable 911 ownership. It’s a bad decision made worse when a Porsche 911 passes you by.

For those who like to speculate that the Porsche 914 will soar in value, then speculate. Genuine Porsche-powered examples will always be worth more than the Volkswagen-powered derivatives. But nothing will fill a gap in a collection like a classic Porsche 911.

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