Porsche 914

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Porsche 914
Porsche 914 (1970) - 9579225634.jpg
1970 Porsche 914
Also calledVW-Porsche 914
  • 1969–1976
  • 118,978 produced[1]
  • 914/4: 115,646
  • 914/6: 3,332
  • 914/8: 2[2]
Body and chassis
ClassSports car
Body style2-door targa
LayoutRear mid-engine, rear-wheel drive
RelatedPorsche 914-6 GT
Porsche Tapiro
Wheelbase2,450 mm (96.5 in)
Length3,985 mm (156.9 in)
Width1,650 mm (65.0 in)
Height1,230 mm (48.4 in)
Curb weight940–995 kg (2,072–2,194 lb)
SuccessorPorsche 924

The Porsche 914 or VW-Porsche 914 is a mid-engined sports car designed, manufactured and marketed collaboratively by Volkswagen and Porsche from 1969 to 1976. It was available as a targa-topped two-seat roadster powered by either a flat-4 or flat-6 engine.



By the late 1960s, both Volkswagen and Porsche were in need of new models; Porsche was looking for a replacement for their entry-level 912, and Volkswagen wanted a new range-topping sports coupé to replace the Karmann Ghia coupé. At the time, the majority of Volkswagen's developmental work was handled by Porsche, part of a setup that dated back to Porsche's founding; Volkswagen needed to contract out one last project to Porsche to fulfill the contract, and decided to make the 914 that project. Ferdinand Piëch, who was in charge of research and development at Porsche, was put in charge of the 914 project.

Porsche 914 at right and the car it replaced at the top of VW's line, the Type 34 Karmann Ghia, at left
1974 Porsche 914 1.8

Originally intending to sell the vehicle with a flat four-cylinder engine as a Volkswagen and with a flat six-cylinder engine as a Porsche, Porsche decided during development that having Volkswagen and Porsche models sharing the same body would be risky for business in the American market, and convinced Volkswagen to allow them to sell both versions as Porsches in North America.[3]

On March 1, 1968, the first 914 prototype was presented. However, development became complicated after the death of Volkswagen's chairman, Heinz Nordhoff, on April 12, 1968. His successor, Kurt Lotz, was not connected with the Porsche dynasty and the verbal agreement between Volkswagen and Porsche fell apart.[4]

In Lotz's opinion, Volkswagen had all rights to the model, and no incentive to share it with Porsche if they would not share in tooling expenses. With this decision, the price and marketing concept for the 914 had failed before series production had begun. As a result, the price of the chassis went up considerably, and the 914/6 ended up costing only a bit less than the 911T, Porsche's next lowest priced car. The 914/6 sold quite poorly while the much less expensive 914/4 became Porsche's top seller during its model run, outselling the Porsche 911 by a wide margin with over 118,000 units sold worldwide.

The distinctive rear of the Porsche 914

Design evolution[edit]

Volkswagen versions originally featured an 80 bhp (60 kW; 81 PS) fuel-injected 1.7 L flat-4 engine based on the Volkswagen air-cooled engine. Porsche's 914/6 variant featured a carbureted 110 bhp (82 kW; 112 PS) 2.0 L flat-6 engine from the 1969 911T, placed amidships in front of a version of the 1969 911's "901" gearbox configured for a mid-engined sports car.[5] Karmann manufactured the rolling chassis at their plant, completing Volkswagen production in-house or delivering versions to Porsche for their final assembly.[6]

The 914/6 models used lower gear ratios and high brake gearing in order to try to overcome the greater weight of the six-cylinder engine along with higher power output. They also featured five lug wheels and an ignition on the left side of the steering wheel.[7] Suspension and handling were otherwise mostly the same. A Volkswagen-Porsche joint venture, Volkswagen of America, handled export to the U.S., where both versions were badged and sold as Porsches. The four-cylinder cars were sold as Volkswagen-Porsches at European Volkswagen dealerships.

Slow sales and rising costs prompted Porsche to discontinue the 914/6 variant in 1972 after producing 3,351 of them; its place in the lineup was filled by a variant powered by a new 100 bhp (75 kW; 101 PS) 2.0 L, fuel-injected version of Volkswagen's Type 4 engine in 1973. For 1974, the 1.7 L engine was replaced by a 85 bhp (63 kW; 86 PS) 1.8 L, and the new Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection system was added to American units to help with emissions control.[8] The 914's production ended in 1976. The 2.0 L flat-4 engine continued to be used in the 912E, introduced that year as an entry-level model until the front-engined I-4 cylinder 924 was introduced the following model year.

The 914 was Motor Trend's Import Car of the Year for 1970.[9]


A 914/6 GT driven by Frenchmen Claude Ballot-Lena and Guy Chasseuil won the GTS class and finished sixth overall at the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans.[10]

Brian Redman used a 914/6 to scout the course in practice runs for the 1970 Targa Florio.

Technical specifications of the standard versions[edit]

The Porsche 914 was produced from 1969 to 1976 in the following models:

914/4 1.7 (Targa) 914/6 (Targa) 914 1.8 (Targa) 914 2.0 (Targa)
Engine Flat-four engine (fuel injection) Flat-six engine (carburetor) Flat-four engine (fuel injection) Flat-four engine (fuel injection)
Displacement 1679 cc 1991 cc 1795 cc 1970 cc
Bore x stroke 90 mm × 66 mm
(3.5 in × 2.6 in)
80 mm × 66 mm
(3.1 in × 2.6 in)
93 mm × 66 mm
(3.7 in × 2.6 in)
94 mm × 71 mm
(3.7 in × 2.8 in)
Performance at rpm 59 kW (80 PS; 79 hp) at 4,900 81 kW (110 PS; 109 hp) at 5,800 63 kW (86 PS; 84 hp) 74 kW (101 PS; 99 hp) at 5,000
Max torque at rpm 136 N⋅m (100 lb⋅ft) at 2,700 160 N⋅m (118 lbf⋅ft) at 4,200 138 N⋅m (102 lb⋅ft) at 3,400 160 N⋅m (118 lbf⋅ft) at 3,500
Compression ratio 8.2:1 8.6:1 8.6:1 8.0:1
Valve system OHV, a central camshaft OHC, two camshafts (one per cylinder bank) OHV, a central camshaft
Cooling Air cooling (fan)
Transmission 5-speed manual gearbox, rear wheel drive
Front suspension Independent suspension on transverse links and damper struts
Rear suspension Independent suspension trailing arms
Front suspension Torsion bars located along
Rear suspension Coil springs
Body Self-supporting steel body
Track width
(front / rear)
1,337 / 1,374 mm
(52.6 / 54.1 in)
1,361 / 1,382 mm
(53.6 / 54.4 in)
Wheelbase 2,450 mm
(96 in)
Tires 155 SR 15 165 HR 15 or 185 HR 14 165 SR 15 165 HR 15
(L x W x H)
3,985 mm × 1,650 mm × 1,220 mm
(156.9 in × 65.0 in × 48.0 in)
3,985 mm × 1,650 mm × 1,220 mm
(156.9 in × 65.0 in × 48.0 in)
3,985 mm × 1,650 mm × 1,230 mm
(156.9 in × 65.0 in × 48.4 in)
Curb weight 940 kg
(2,072 lb)[a]
985 kg
(2,172 lb)[a]
950 kg
(2,094 lb)
Maximum speed 186.5 km/h
(115.9 mph)
207 km/h
(129 mph)[a]
178 km/h
(111 mph)
190 km/h
(118 mph)
0–100 km/h
(0–62 mph)
13.3 s 8.7 s[a] 12.0 s 10.5 s
  1. ^ a b c d Measurement of "auto motor und sport" (reviews in issue 22/1969 8/1970)

Chart of 914 development[edit]

Porsche 914 road vehicle history of 1969 to 1976
Model Power 1960s 1970s
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
914/4 59 kW (80 PS; 79 hp)
914/6 81 kW (110 PS; 109 hp)
914 1.7 59 kW (80 PS; 79 hp)
914 1.8 56 kW (76 PS; 75 hp) (US)
63 kW (86 PS; 84 hp) (RoW)
914 2.0 70 kW (95 PS; 94 hp) (US)
74 kW (101 PS; 99 hp) (RoW)
914 2.0 (only in US) 65 kW (88 PS; 87 hp)


Two prototype 914s, dubbed 914/8, were built during 1969. The orange 914/8 was the first constructed, at the instigation of Ferdinand Piëch (then head of the racing department), to prove the concept. Powered by the full-blown, 350 hp (261 kW; 355 PS) 908 flat-eight racing engine, it was based on a surplus 914 handbuilt development prototype bodyshell (chassis No. 914111), hence the many differences from the standard vehicle (e.g., the quad headlights). The second, silver, road-registered car, powered by a carburetted and detuned 908 race engine making 300 hp (224 kW; 304 PS) was then prepared as a gift to Ferry Porsche on his 60th birthday. Also based on a spare prototype shell (chassis No. 914006), it was much closer to the standard car in detail. By all accounts Ferry didn't like the car very much and it is now in the Porsche Museum. Neither car saw a racetrack except for the purposes of testing. The 914/8 was not considered for production as a regular model. Another factory prototype, a 914/6 (chassis no. 914114) surfaced in the US in 2001. Together with a surviving prototype Sportomatic 914/6 (chassis No. 914120), reputedly in Southern Germany, they are a special part of Porsche history.

Porsche 916[edit]

Planned for the 1972 model year, the Porsche 916 program was cancelled after eleven prototypes with aerodynamic front and rear bumpers and either the 2.4 engine from the 911S, or the 2.7 from the Carrera. They were also to have a fixed steel roof, wider wheels, double grilled engine lid, and flared fenders as styled from the 914-6 GT cars.[11] Ventilated disc brakes were fitted to all four wheels, and also a "mid-engined" version of the then-new 915 transmission, giving a conventional shift pattern with one to four in an H and fifth out on a limb. One 916 was built to US specs and on delivery to the US was fitted with air conditioning by the dealer (Brumos) and has been housed at the Automobile Atlanta 914 museum since 1990 along with eleven other rare 914 and 914-6 models

Technical information[edit]

Chassis numbers[edit]

Porsche 914 chassis numbers from 1970 to 1976
Year 914/4 914/6 916
1970 4702900001 – 4702913312 9140430001 – 9140432668
1971 4712900001 – 4712916231 9141430001 – 9141430443 9141430195
1972 4722900001 – 4722921580 9142430001 – 9142430260 9142330011 – 9142330020
1973 4732900001 – 4732927660
1974 4742900001 – 4742921370
1975 4752900001 – 4752911368
1976 4762900001 – 4762904100

Model year changes[edit]

Over the seven model years, Porsche made a number of changes to the 914. Some of these changes were cosmetic and others were in response to changing crash protection standards. From 1970 to 1974, the 914 was offered with chrome or painted bumpers. In early 1970, rear bumpers were produced with a straight crease on either side of the license plate indent. Between 1970 and 1972, both front and rear bumpers were smooth without bumper guards. In 1973, bumper guards were added to the front of the car. In 1974, guards were also added to the rear bumper. In 1975 and 1976, the chrome or painted bumpers were replaced with heavy, rubber-covered units which actually made the cars more stable at high speeds.

The headlight surrounds were white from the first 914s to mid-production of 73 and subsequently black. Cars produced up to early 1972 had a fixed passenger seat and a removable passenger footrest. Later cars featured a movable passenger seat. Other interior differences included changing vinyl designs, gauge appearance, and air vent configurations in the dash.

The most significant performance upgrade during the vehicle's lifespan was the introduction of anti-roll bars, significantly improving the handling, and a change from the "tail shifter" to the "side shifter" gearbox for 1973, improving the otherwise vague long linkage.

914 Limited Edition[edit]

"Bumblebee" (black) 914 LE

In 1974, Porsche produced a series of Limited Edition cars for the North American market to commemorate Porsche's victories in the Can Am racing series. They were equipped with individual color schemes and came standard with otherwise optional equipment. The factory is said to have produced about 1,000 of these vehicles, about 50% Bumblebee and 50% Creamsicle. Variants of this series were manufactured and distributed in very limited numbers to European markets and Japan.[citation needed] Along with the regular Appearance Group option (fog lamps and center console with clock and additional gauges) at $300, the LE package set buyers back another $320. All Limited Editions models came with the 2.0 L (1,971 cc) flat four engine, which was otherwise optional in the standard 914, that produced 91 hp in U.S. trim.[12]

The Creamsicle: With a cream color exterior (paint code U2V9), these cars sported Phoenix red trim, including color matched lower valences and bumpers.[13] This light ivory color scheme concept carried over from the 1973 911 Carrera RS series.

The Bumblebee: Featuring a black exterior (paint code L041), these cars sported a Sunflower yellow trim (paint code L13K). Black body paint color was always an additional cost special option on standard 914 Porsche cars, but was included as a standard component on the black 914 LE cars. Like the Creamsicle All but one photo of the 914 Porsche Can Am prototype cars are Bumblebee cars. The black-based 914 LE color scheme is specific to the 914 LE cars and has no precedent with the Can Am race cars or the 1973 911 Carrera RS series cars. The majority of 914 Limited Editions seem to be Bumblebees.[14]

All 914 LE cars featured a specially designed front spoiler and negative side stripes. Additionally, all Limited Editions were equipped with front and rear anti sway bars, dual horns, leather covered steering wheel, driving lights, painted rear roll bar trim (as opposed to vinyl clad), Mahle cast aluminum wheels and a center console with an oil temperature gauge, clock, and voltmeter.[15]

Media Appearances[edit]

According to Internet Movie Cars Database, the 914 has made over 150 film and television appearances so far.[16] These include the prominent car chase where the car is piloted by Deborah Grant in the UFO (TV series) episode The Psychobombs from 1971. On the television series The Rockford Files (1974-1980) Gretchen Corbett, played James Garner's attorney, and drove an orange Porsche 914 from 1974-1978.

F1 Safety Car[edit]

The Porsche 914 is renowned for having been Formula One's first Safety Car following its deployment at the 1973 Canadian Grand Prix to help manage the race, which had seen various incidents due to treacherous weather conditions.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Oswald, Werner (2001). Deutsche Autos 1945-1990, vol.4. Stuttgart: Motorbuch Verlag. p. 362. ISBN 3-613-02131-5.
  2. ^ Bring-a-Trailer. "Unobtanium: Ferdinand Piëch's Flat Eight Porsche 914/8". Retrieved 2018-05-05.
  3. ^ George, Patrick. "The Porsche 914: A History". Jalopnik. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  4. ^ "Porsche 914 | Articles". classicmotorsports.com. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  5. ^ "Porsche 914/6 - Porsche USA". Porsche HOME - Porsche USA. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  6. ^ "Model Guide: 914 — The VW-Porsche | Porsche Club of America". www.pca.org. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  7. ^ "Porsche 914/6 - Porsche USA". Porsche HOME - Porsche USA. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  8. ^ "Porsche 914 - Porsche USA". Porsche HOME - Porsche USA. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  9. ^ "1970 Porsche 914 - Motor Trend Import Car of the Year - Motor Trend Classic". Motor Trend. 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-25.
  10. ^ "Le Mans 24 Hours 1970 - Final Standings". 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-03-25.
  11. ^ "Porsche 916". Volkswagen Porsche 914 club Westphalia. 2007. Archived from the original on 2006-10-06. Retrieved 2007-03-25.
  12. ^ "Of Bumblebees and Creamsicles – 1974 Porsche 914 LE". www.hemmings.com. Retrieved 2018-08-11.
  13. ^ "1974 Porsche 914 2.0 Limited Edition". The best vintage and classic cars for sale online | Bring a Trailer. Retrieved 2018-08-11.
  14. ^ Bowlsby, Jeff. "The 914 Porsche Limited Edition". The 914 Can Am Cars.
  15. ^ "Bonhams : 1974 Porsche 914 2.0-Litre Bumblebee Limited Edition Targa Chassis no. 4742915510". www.bonhams.com. Retrieved 2018-08-11.
  16. ^ "IMCDb.org: porsche 914 in movies and TV series". www.imcdb.org. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  17. ^ Kathri, Tarun (2012-02-07). "First ever Safety Car in Formula 1 : Rewind to 1973". aaFormula1.com. Archived from the original on 2015-04-07. Retrieved 2015-04-03.

External links[edit]