Porsche 914: Spotted

Having lived in Esher for many years, I'm familiar with the concept of keeping up with the Joneses. It explains why, when acquaintances there ask me which car might suit them, and I mention the name Skoda, they either wrinkle their noses or rush off to vomit.

They're not the only ones led astray by a label, of course. Quite a few of those people either drive, or would aspire to drive, Porsches, and, such is the high regard for which the firm's products are now held, they're willing to drive almost anything that wears the badge - how else to explain the popularity of those early Cayennes?

It was always like that, alas. Some befuddled thinking and some internal squabbling led to mass confusion in the marketing of the VW-Porsche 914, at its launch in 1969 a most meritorious and refreshing car. A mid-engined, targa-topped and wonderfully low-slung two-seater (it is no taller than a packet of crisps), here was a rigid roadster with agile handling and some features, notably the fuel injection, fully independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes and five-speed gearbox, that were years ahead of their time.

Unfortunately, some thought it tainted by its associations with the lowly VW badge, in those days a firm known more for the old Beetle than for Golf GTIs and such. The spectre of the 911 hung over the 914, too, immensely popular even then despite its erratic behaviour, this being before it became the triumph of evolution over design it now is.

For whatever reason, the 914 didn't enjoy the evolution it deserved, and as a result its history was short. The original 1.7-litre flat-four VW-engined one was rather slow, in fairness, and testers and owners initially found the gearchange irksome. The one to have was the 914/6, which had the flat-six 108hp 2.0-litre carbureted Porsche engine, was generally faster and felt much nicer in all directions, but alas was doomed to be sold at too high a price.

This one, up for a rather overly ambitious £24,995, is a 1971 VW-engined car, imported from the US of A. It appears in good condition, if a little too white, and with a fair amount of history behind it. We think there should be scope for negotiation on that price, although the Porsche-engined cars can easily make twice as much.

Oh, and if you are put off by the VW-Porsche bit, can I suggest you just tell your friends it's a very early Boxster?

Mark Pearson

: 1,679cc, flat-four
Transmission: 5-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 80@4,900rpm
Torque (lb ft): 98@2,700rpm
CO2: N/A
First registered: 1971
Recorded mileage: 55,000 miles
Yours for: £24,995

See the original advert here

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (35) Join the discussion on the forum

  • SmartVenom 24 Oct 2017

    I reckon that would look quite good in the same shade of white all over!

  • pilotdan 24 Oct 2017

    The cost of keeping these on the road - think 'straight through' rust and classic Porsche parts prices - way outstrips the fun of driving one.

    Even if the engine is an air cooled flat 4 from a VW transporter.

    Many have been re-powered with 3.0 SC engines, which could be a lot of fun but, again, the running costs have sky rocketed in recent years on the back of the early cars prices.

  • Yipper 24 Oct 2017

    Like a little Dinky car. So bad, it's good.

  • Plinth 24 Oct 2017

    Yipper said:
    Like a little Dinky car. So bad, it's good.

  • Tuvra 24 Oct 2017

    Love classic Porsches but these are absolute mingers frown

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