Porsche 914/6 Targa

Car producer : 

Porsche

Model:

914/6 Targa

Year:

1969-1976

Type:

Targa



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.

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.

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.

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.

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. Karmann manufactured the rolling chassis at their plant, completing Volkswagen production in-house or delivering versions to Porsche for their final assembly.

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. 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. 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.

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.

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 (260 kW; 350 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 (220 kW; 300 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

Sold for: 145600 USD
Go to restoration
See other models

You may also like these cars

to top