Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 4
After years of co-operation, Volkswagen and Porsche decided to launch a "combined" sports car in late 1969. Bearing the name VW -Porsche the new car was mid-engined, with an option of the 1.77 litre electronically-injected four-cylinder VW engine, or the two-litre Porsche "911 "six".
Both engines of course were horizontally-opposed and air-cooled
. The 914
had the four-cylinder engine and the 914-6 the "flat-six", the former being assembled by VW, the latter by Porsche.
The car featured a lift-off roof, the aft section of the body forming an anti-roll bar
. It was of ultra-low build, had luggage compartments fore and aft, and flip-up headlights. In appearance you either like it or loathe it - it was squat and powerfull looking, but rather angular. Its performmance however was never in doubt.
Unlike other Porsche (and VW) production road models, the VW -Porsche was mid-engined, the configuration inevitably making the car a two-seater. The seats didn't look comfortable but in fact were well-shaped and provided good lateral hold. The dashboard was dull with a minimum of instruments for a car of this type.
The driving position is good, the road view ahead was excellent with the fall-away nose, but the three-quarter-rear sections of the bodywork
formed blinker-like screens, which due to their nearness to the driver's eyes, would block large objects from view
The two-litre version of the six-cylinder Porsche engine had two three-choke Weber carburetters, a useful power-output of 110 hp, and the car was extremely lively. It would easily attain 110 mph and hold this speed happily, and there was a maximum of 120 mph.
The ride was good, the independent four-wheel suspension
soaking-up road irregularities in an impresssive manner, and the mid-engined configuration assisted with extremely rapid cornering capabilities. The 914-6 cornered as though it was on rails, and there seemed no limit to cornering speeds. Finally, the limit could be reached, then all four wheels broke away together rather untidly but bearing witness to the very even weight distribution.
The engine was smooth, flexible, and very responsive, but being mid-positioned its presence was never in doubt. The noise was tiring on long runs. The five speed gearbox had excellent synchromesh, but the floor lever didn't provide the precision of selection you would expect of this type of car, many road testers commenting that they found it all too easy to accidently engage third instead of fifth.
There was a good deal of transmitted heat within the cockpit, but although it was not a cramped area there was still nowhere for occupants to put jackets etc. Removal of the roof certainly admitted air and light, but there was too much turbulence for comfort at high cruising speeds. Unusually, the VW-Porsche had two luggage compartments, one on the nose, and another aft of the engine. A great deal of baggage could be stowed away with planning, but the car suffersed the seemingly inevitable bugbear of mid-engined cars in that the rear compartment was always hot.
The 914-6 was certainly a fast, smooth car, with handling
characteristics that received the highest praise, but in other details it fell short of being classed as a Grand Touring model. 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 95 hp (71 kW) 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 76 hp (57 kW) 1.8 L, and the new Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection
system was added to American units to help with emissions control. 914 production ended in 1976. The 2.0 L flat-4 engine continued to be used in the 912E, which provided an entry-level model until the 924 was introduced.
VW-Porsche 914/6 Quick Specs
Coupe with removable top, mid-engined, 2 doors, 2 seats. (also 914 model with 1.7-litre four-cylinder, fuel-injected Volkswagen engine).
Horizontally-opposed six-cylinder, air-cooled
. Bore 80 mm. Stroke 66 mm. Cubic capacity 1991 cc. Compression ratio 8.6:1. Two three-choke Weber carrburetters. Electronic ignition and alternator. Power-output 110 bhp (DIN) at 5800 rpm. Max torque 116 lb. ft. at 4200 rpm.
Rear engine, rear drive. Five-speed all-synchromesh manual: 3.36, 4.10, 5.40, 7.86, 13.68. Reverse 13.84. Porsche "Sportomatic" (optional extra semi-automatic/torque converter): 3.80, 5.53, 6.86, 10.61. Reverse 11.15. Top gear per 1000 rpm 21.8. mph. Limited-slip differential.
Chassis and suspension:
Unitary body and all-independent suspension
. Front, longitudinal torsion bars, rear, coil springs and semi-trailing arms. Four-wheel disc brakes
(ATE). Rack and pinion steering.
Wheelbase 8 ft. 0.25 in. Track, front 4 ft. 5.5 in., rear, 4 ft. 6.4 in. Length 13 ft. 0.7 in. Width 5 ft. 5 in. Height 4 ft. 0.5 in. Ground clearance 5.2 in. Turning circle 36 ft. Unladen weight 2070 lb. Fuel tank capacity 13.7 gallons (Imp). Tyres 165-15.