Porsche's all-out racing machines were always mid-engined, dating back to the 550 Spyder of the 1950s. After much racing success with this configuration, Porsche management decided in the late 1960s that its future high-performance road cars would also be mid-engined, due to the inherently better weight distribution. With this theory in mind, Porsche began development of the 914 with partners Volkswagen and Karmann. The plan was that each firm would share in the production of the Porsche-designed car, with VW lending a power unit, and Karmann assembling the car. Volkswagen held the rights to release a version powered by its flat-four in Europe; Porsche would sell this version as well as a Porsche-powered version (the 914/6) in the U.S. While the appearance of the 914 was completely new, the basic design elements were similar to its rear-engined cars. The MacPherson front struts were taken almost directly from the 911 and the rear suspension shared the 911 design theory as well. Disc brakes were used all around with dual master cylinders. The five-speed transmission was nearly identical to the 911. All 914 bodies had a lift-off "Targa" roof panel. On paper it was easy to see why the 914 made sense to Porsche, but the execution was lackluster and the cars were prone to problems. Many spirited drivers and racers have since taken the 914 and modified it for their specific needs. They have realized what Porsche could have achieved, had they invested more development time and money. The 914 presented here is just such a creation, having been built on a 1976 914/4 chassis. Finished in black as all such sinister creations should be, the car is fitted with a 3.0-liter six-cylinder Porsche 911 engine with Weber downdraft carbs, 964 cams, 964 brakes, Turbo-look wheels from a 3.6-liter, adjustable suspension dampening, Konig racing seats with five-point racing harnesses, Momo Corsa steering wheel, and a roll cage covered in red leather. The body is all steel including the flared fenders. This Porsche is offered for a fraction of what it cost to build. With an estimated $100,000 spent, it is a truly impressive example.

SCM Analysis


This modern Porsche 914 hot rod sold for $33,000 at RM’s Phoenix, AZ, sale on January 23, 2004.
The big question for value-minded Porsche watchers is whether this is a fair price. The answer is yes, but making sense of it takes some explaining. The general rule is that anything done to modify a car from stock lowers its value. But there are exceptions to that rule-this car, and other 914s made into lavish hot rods, included.
The SCM Price Guide lists values for stock #2 914s ranging from $5,000 for the cheapest 1.7-liter models up to a high of $15,000 for 914/6s. But don’t think for a minute that buying a beater 914/4 and hot-rodding it is any way to make a buck; these cars will almost always lose money for the owner doing the work. Note the claimed $100k spent on this one-even if that number was grossly exaggerated, the seller is still losing his shirt.
There are, however, small numbers of dedicated 914 hot rod admirers and should you choose to tread down this path with a 914 project, they will step up to buy your creation-at about 30 cents on the dollar, just what was paid for the car pictured here.
This recipe is actually quite simple: Take a collection of the best bits from the last 40 years of 911 development and transplant them into a cheap 914 chassis to make a Franken-Porsche of the highest order.
First is the 3.0-liter aluminum alloy engine case from the 911SC series (1978-1983). Although very different from the 2.0-liter magnesium alloy castings used in any original 914/6, this big displacement case is the way to go. It is heavier, but has proven far more rugged when handling big horsepower engines.
Cams from the 964 C2 (1990-1994) are a wonderful setup for a good balance between low-end torque and high-revving power in a big bore engine. These cams make power pretty much everywhere, and are an important upgrade beyond the rather soft cams required by the CIS fuel injection in the stock 911SC.
Thus the Weber carbs (1966-1969) become an easy choice, as they have the wide adjustability required to make these unmatched motor bits happily co-exist.
And finally, steel flares allow the fat tires to fit under the bodywork and are the right way to go on a high-dollar car. Fiberglass, although it is lighter and more desirable in a race car, just isn’t as valuable in a streetable hot rod-the same holds true whether it’s a Porsche or a ’32 Ford.
All in all, this was a tidy package, sold at a big discount from what it cost to build. The seller who paid for this pricey conversion work may be disappointed that his 914 ownership experience cost him the price of a brand new 911 C2 Coupe. At least the new owner can be sure to do much better, even having paid a full retail price.
Though his Porsche 914 isn’t going to appreciate for decades, he should have had enough fun driving it by then to consider his money well spent. Provided he takes care of this beast and is patient when it comes time to sell, he may even be able to recoup a significant share of his money.-Jim Schrager
(Historical and descriptive information courtesy of the auction company.)

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