A Sincerest Salute To The Porsche 914: History Alley

This article could use something chilled to wash it down. Why not pair it with a nice private owner Porsche 914 profile?

The Porsche 914 is best remembered as the underpowered, hauntingly Volkswagen, budget Porsche model from the 1970s. But a recent piece in Bloomberg has stirred something in us – something strangely resembling admiration – and so we raise our glasses high to the underdog VW-Porsche 914 in this chaperoned walk down history alley.

A Source of Shame

The Porsche 914 is a bit of a black sheep because of its origins; intended to be sold as both a Volkswagen and a Porsche, the two marque’s hyphenated their names in Europe to create the “VW-Porsche” badge, under which the car would be dealt. Sales suffered in Europe as a result of the declaration of marriage.

Power came from an anemic 1.7 liter flat-4 produced by Volkswagen, and one could grab lunch in the time it took the car to reach 60 mph (13.7 seconds).

An American Redemption

Despite this, the Porsche 914 sold very well in the US; that’s largely thanks to its hyphen-less “Porsche” badging. It represented a cheaper entry into Porsche ownership than the flagship 911, and offered mid-engined performance on a large-scale production Stuttgart offering.

The Porsche 914 was further redeemed by the “914/6,” in which the car was given a proper, high-output 2.0 liter flat-6. That boosted the acceleration of the car to near-911 levels – which was a necessity to sales, as the 914/6 cost nearly as much as a base-level 911T.

From Underdog To Classic

While the styling was off-putting to some at the time – as Porsche fanatics proved unwilling to accept anything other than the graduated, sloped back of the beloved 911 and 356 – the linear, simple classic roadster look has endured. And despite its questionable pedigree, the Porsche 914 has appreciated substantially over the last several years; one of the 120,000 Porsche 914/4s sold from 1970 to 1976 could be valued anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 depending on engine displacement and condition (according to NADA Guides).

The far rarer Porsche 914/6? That can run you up to $50,000 and beyond, with the average price of $43,000 representing an $11,000 jump from just five years ago. Scarcity is to blame for that hike, with only 3,300 examples having been produced. And, as Bloomberg reports, there is another, far rarer variant: the Porsche 914/6 GT. That’s the racing version of the car, and it’ll cost you around $200,000.

So, Porsche 914, you didn’t go unappreciated after all; you were simply decades ahead of your time.

Here’s to you. Cheers.

Aaron Birch is an automotive enthusiast and writer/filmmaker from Detroit, MI. As a rule, he only buys cars older than himself.

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