At the close of the 1960s, both Porsche and Volkswagen were in desperate need of new sports cars to fill their lineup. VW’s Karmann-Ghia had proved prohibitively expensive to build and was become dated, while the Porsche 356 was put out to pasture in favor of the larger and more expensive 911. Porsche CEO Ferdinand Piech proposed a joint venture where one sports car could be built and offered with the choice of flat-four or flat-six engines. VW would market and sell the 4-cylinder cars while the 6-cylinder cars would be sold as entry level Porsches. Porsche lacked the money to develop the car, so a handshake agreement was made that saw VW covering the development costs. However, as the 914 project was well underway, the chairman of VW died, and the new chairman had no interest in honoring an old handshake agreement if it was costing his company money. VW pulled the financial plug on the 914 and Porsche was stuck with the bill to develop and build the new sports car, causing the price to rise dangerously close to that of the 911.
Although it was fraught with development woes, the 914 did prove to be a brilliant little car. Light, quick, fuel efficient and even practical thanks to two trunks and a removable roof panel, the mid-engine 914 was a joy to drive and offered near perfect handling. The chassis could easily handle more power, so Porsche dropped a 2-liter version of their flat six in to create the 914-6. The 914-6 quickly found success in rallying and circuit racing, and could have done more had it not come perilously close to outperforming the 911. In spite of high prices and the stigma of being considered a rebadged VW when new, the 914 sold well between 1969 and 1976. Today’s enthusiasts have finally recognized the 914 as a true Porsche and an all-time great driver’s car, which has sent values soaring in recent years.
This 1970 914-6 is an exquisite example that presents in beautiful, factory correct condition, rolling on a set of fully restored and highly desirable Mahle “Gas Burner” alloys. The correct and desirable Tangerine paintwork is striking; applied to an arrow straight and expertly aligned body. The chrome bumpers are of similar quality, excellently presented and trimmed with fresh rubber impact strips. Correct black vinyl covers the pillars and roof which is correctly trimmed with silver anodized alloy moldings. It almost goes without saying that the structure is solid and rust free, with the troublesome “hell hole” under the battery in excellent order.
One of the great charms of the 914 is the basic, no frills nature of the cabin. Correct pattered vinyl seats are in excellent condition, having been fully restored and seeing little use since. Fresh Perlon carpet has been expertly fitted, and the dash is in beautiful condition, free of cracks or sun damage. It still wears its correct original steering wheel and shift knob, both items that are commonly lost and highly desirable to restorers. The special alloy trim on the fascia is straight and clean, brightening up the cockpit just enough while still maintaining that serious Teutonic character.
Of course the magic of the 914-6 lies behind the seats in the form of the jewel-like 2.0-liter, air-cooled flat-six that produces 110 horsepower at 5800 rpm, giving the featherweight 914 a proper 911-hunting turn of speed. This particular car wears its original, numbers-matching engine which has been restored to a very high quality standard. The engine bay is well detailed and very tidy. Power is fed through a 5-speed manual gearbox which delivers crisp, positive shift feel.
This is a very well sorted, mechanically excellent 914-6 that also happens to also have gorgeous cosmetics. The sale includes a factory tool kit, owner’s manual, service booklet, both keys (red and black) and an official Certificate of Authenticity which confirms the matching numbers and desirable specification. As values skyrocket on air-cooled Porsches of all types, it will become difficult to repeat an opportunity on such a rare, collectible and high-quality 914-6.