Our Cars: 1971 Porsche 914-4

By the late 1960s, Porsche was looking for a replacement for their entry-level 912,and Volkswagen wanted a new sports coupe to replace the Karmann Ghia. Ferdinand Piëch, who was in charge of research and development at Porsche, was put in charge of the 914 project.

Originally intending to sell the vehicle with a flat six-cylinder engine as a Porsche and with a flat four-cylinder engine as a Volkswagen, Porsche decided during development that having Volkswagen and Porsche models sharing the same body would be risky for business in America and convinced Volkswagen to allow them to sell both versions as Porsches in North America. That’s why European models in addition to having a two color (white-yellow) turn signal light on the front fender also had both Porsche and VW logos on the back of the car.

Porsche 914-4, 914

My brand new 1971 Porsche 1.7 liter four-cylinder model (shown above with a much younger me) in a contemporary photograph, cost me $3700. By contrast, the six cylinder 914/6 cost only a bit less than the 911T, which at the time was Porsche’s next lowest price car. The 914/6 sold quite poorly while the much less expensive 914/4 became Porsche’s top seller during its  run, outselling the 911 by a wide margin with over 118,000 units sold worldwide.

As you can see I had a lot of fun with the car. Except for…one Thanksgiving night I went to bed and was sleeping peacefully only to be awakened bu the sound of crashing metal. I quickly sat up in bed and said “somebody hit my car.” And sure enough, the car parked in front of my house and been clobbered from the back and was pushed into the a utility pole just a few feet in front of it.

After 55 days in the car hospital my 914 came back but she was never quite the same Irish Green beauty as it was before the crash. I ultimately sold it and purchased a blue 1968 Porsche 912 that turned out to be the car that has meant more to me than any other. You can ready all about that experience here.

 

If you want to know more about this wonderful car, pick up a copy of Richard Gooding’s book Porsche 914: An Enthusiast’s Guide. As I write this, new copies are available on Amazon for $19.95 plus shipping or Prime members can order one for $24.75.