Porsche 914 was a product of two famous European automobile brands: Volkswagen and Porsche. The two-seat roadster was manufactured from 1969 to 1976, marking a seven-year run. It was named Import Car of the Year by Motor Trend for 1970. It was also successful in the racing circuit. The 914/6 GT used by Claude Ballot-Lena and Guy Chasseuil won in the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans. It took the top spot for the GTS class and ranked sixth overall.
1960s: How the 914 was conceived
The collaboration for the Porsche 914 started in the late 1960s, when Volkswagen and Porsche needed to come up with new replacements to the Porsche 912 and Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. Volkswagen had teamed up with Porsche for its developmental work. It had one last project with Porsche in the contract, and this would be the 914. The original plan was for Volkswagen to sell the 914 with a flat four-cylinder engine and for Porsche to offer it with a flat six-cylinder engine. But, Porsche was able to persuade Volkswagen to sell these versions as Porsches in the North American market, as this would be better for business.
The prototype for the 914 first came out in 1968. However, the development part of the project didn’t go smoothly after the death of Volkswagen chairman Heinz Nordhoff in the same year. Nordhoff’s successor, Kurt Lotz, didn’t have a strong connection with Porsche, resulting in the failure to fulfill the verbal agreement between the two. Because of the falling out, the pricing and marketing for the Porsche 914 didn’t go well as expected. The 914/6 didn’t sell well, while the 914/4 did better as Porsche’s best-selling model during its time. Because of the poor sales and high cost, the 914/6 was dropped in 1972. Production of 914 ceased in 1976.
1970s: Changes through the years
Several changes were made to the 914. Some of them were aesthetic upgrades, while others were done to meet certain safety standards. Chrome or painted bumpers were offered from 1970 till 1974. Smoother front and rear bumpers were used between 1970 and 1972. The fixed passenger seat used till the early 1972 was replaced by a movable passenger seat. Interior modifications involved the use of different vinyl designs, air vent configurations on the dash, and changes in gauge appearance. Bumper guards were used on the front end in 1973 and were added to the rear in 1974. In 1975 and 1976, heavy rubber-covered bumpers were used. From the initial white color, headlight surrounds became black after the 1973 mid production. When anti-roll bars were introduced as performance upgrades, the Porsche 914 became smoother and easier to handle.
Limited Edition cars were released by Porsche for the North American market. These were available in Creamsicle ( cream color exterior and Phoenix red trim) and Bumblebee (black exterior and Sunflower yellow trim). Most 914 Limited Editions were Bumblebees. Aside from the striking color schemes, these limited edition Porsches also turned optional equipment into standard features.