V.I.S.I.T.: A Clean 'Teener – Porsche 914


After Rob showcased the ignominious fate suffered by a 914 in his post yesterday, I saw this gorgeously original 1976 model parked across the street from my office around lunchtime. I have had a long and tumultuous history with Porsche’s little two-seater, and It has usually been worth remembering. In my opinion, the 914 was far ahead of its time in styling, driveability, and handling performance. While a bit on the slow side, I’ve always been of the opinion that it is more fun to drive a slow car fast than to drive a fast car slow [We all are -KK]. If they would do something about that engine, it might just be the perfect car.

The large rubber bumpers on this particular model have never quite been to my taste, but somehow against this beautiful Malaga Red paint, they seem to work out okay. The black vinyl of the targa sail panel, the black fiberglass top, black rocker panels, and black rubber bumpers all conspire to make the small car look even smaller and about as dainty as a box-edged design can appear. While not what I would call “classically beautiful”, the 914’s design is somewhat strange, but purely striking. When it was first shown in 1969, the design was quite abnormal, almost alien, among the sports car market. It certainly stood out in a crowd then, and it continues to do so today.


As mentioned before, that VW sourced engine is a bit underpowered, especially for the increased weight that the later models received. Without laying under the car to inspect things further, I couldn’t tell if the car was equipped with the 85 horsepower 1.8 liter, or the 100 horsepower 2.0 liter, but either way, it could stand a bit of a bump in power. I’ve never really liked the Type 4 engines found in these cars, as I find the exhaust note annoying, and they are not really built to rev like a sports car engine should. That said, the balance, connectivity, and pure joy of driving a 914 definitely outweighs the negatives provided by the engine. Go for a drive, you’ll see what I mean.

I’ve always imagined that it would be interesting to run one of these with a slightly warmed over Type 1 derived engine, perhaps to the tune of 110 or 120 horsepower.  While a 6-cylinder swap is typical, and even V8 swaps seem normal, I dare to be different…  Then again, I’ve always thought a rotary would be pretty fun in one of these.

Were this my car, I’d probably have to ditch the heavy bumpers in favor of some backdated chrome pieces. I’d lose the USA mandated side markers, and slap on a set of “GT” fender flares (not the nasty boxed ones on the junkyard car from yesterday), and set it on some wide vintage gold Campagnolo wheels and Avon racing tires. With plenty of room available in either trunk, and a reasonably comfortable driving position, this could be a great car for everything from long highway trips to weekend drives in the mountains.

In what flavor would you want your 914?

Note 1:Photographs were taken with my abysmal and aging Motorola cellular telephone. I really need to start bringing my SLR everywhere I go. Maybe things would have turned out better if I’d taken more than 2 pictures of the car. Poor judgement and terrible photography cannot be made up for with cheap instagram filters, and for that I apologize.

Note 2: While ‘Teener is a term among owners and enthusiasts to refer to the Porsche 914, it is apparently also a slang term for “half an 8-ball” (ie. a 16th of an ounce) of some forms of illicit drugs. Either way, I’d rate the Porsche as more addictive, and probably a better value for your adrenaline seeking money.

All images ©2014 Hooniverse/Bradley C. Brownell, All Rights Reserved.

Bradley C. Brownell is an Editor with Hooniverse.com, but he also contributes to his own site “BavarianDrive“. Head over there for more of his work.

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