The Porsche 914

The Porsche 914-6 that I first drove looked like this.

I appropriated the car to impress a young lady with whom I was hopelessly in love. Earlier that week, she told me that a friend of hers (a rival, in my mind) had taken her out for a ride in the country on his motorcycle. Since I neither owned or knew how to operate a motorcycle at that time, I was inordinately jealous.

Several years later, I purchased a 1974 Porsche 914 of my own. The aforementioned young lady was no longer on my romantic radar, but I had such a fun time with the first 914 that I wanted one of my own. As you can see, the engine hides behind the back seat. One must be a contortionist to work on these things. My Porsche 914 book says that for most work, the engine must be removed from the car. You can't get at it from either the front or rear 'trunk;' it has a third 'trunk' that is about a foot and a half long, and about as wide as the car.
This is my 1974 signal orange 914, before the frame rusted apart and collapsed.  It had a 1.8 litre engine that was highly unreliable, until I removed the 23-year-old electric ( It would be too generous to call it an "electronic," although that's how Porsche advertised it ) fuel-injection system, and replaced it with a nice simple carburetor.  Reliability problems ceased immediately, and performance increased significantly.  It had about 80 horsepower with the carburetor, and a lot less with the fuel-injection system.  Oh -- this is the car before I took off the goofy (and super-expensive) "Fuchs" wheels.  I put some wheels on the car that I liked better -- they looked like the wheels on a Mattel "Hot Wheels" car.  One of the "Fuchs" wheels cost about as much as ALL FOUR "Hot Wheels" -- I didn't like the idea that I was driving on wheels that were worth more than the car, so I sold them. 

What my 914 might look like after purplification

News Flash!  In October of 2000, I purchased another Porsche 914.  It's a monster.  Well, maybe a pocket-monster, without very big teeth.  Still, it has almost twice the horsepower that my previous 914 had -- nearly 150, thanks to the big ol' dual Weber carburetors I put on it.  It has a mighty 2.4 litre engine (it came with a 2.0 litre, but the previous owner had it expensively and extensively over-bored and modified) tuned for autocross racing, a racing suspension, racing steering wheel, and a racing seat that is amazingly uncomfortable.  It has a 4-point safety harness, and Porsche a 911 master brake cylinder.  In short, it's a really great little car, if you don't mind taking public transportation most of the time.  It will probably out-perform and definitely out-handle a Porsche 911 of the same vintage when it is running correctly.  I don't really drive faster than 65 mph though, so all that horsepower is kind of wasted on me.  My friends complain "Why did you get a Porsche if you're going to drive it so slowly!?!"   I can definitely get to 65 faster than I could in my last 914. 

I purchased the car in late October of  2000.  It needed a lot of work.

The car has only been drivable for a total of about six months. It spent the first three months I owned it in the shop, and it has been in and out of two other shops for weeks or months at a time.  I had to replace many components of the electrical system, since I got tired of the car's lights, instruments, and windshield wipers failing whenever it rained. 

Current Status:  Back in the shop [05/06/2002].  Still drivable, but poor performance (too rich mixture/cool spark?), and possible problems with left trailing arm.  I noticed something was awry when I put 60-width tires on the car, and they fit fine, except for on the left rear, where the tire was actually in contact with the wheel well at all times - even when the car was not moving.  I had to go with 65-width tires, and even with them, the gap between the left fender and the tire is only about half an inch.  It's more than an inch between all other wheels and fenders.  I do have my wonderful, inexpensive Riviera wheels on the car -- the ones that look like Hot Wheels Car wheels, but they're doing me precious little good at the moment...

Last Released form the Garage (AutoTherapy):  04/25/2002

Next Major Project(s):  Get estimate for cost of painting, with minor body work -- panels will have to be removed to catch spot rust before it becomes a serious problem. 

At this point, I am beginning to consider trading this car in to Automobile Atlanta, and starting again from scratch with one of their "re-conditioned" 914s.  I've squandered a lot of money on the car, and the electrical problems seem to keep re-occurring.  The previous owner's work on the suspension, to lower it for autocross racing, may not have been done correctly.  This may explain the problems with the trailing arm.

Next Minor Project(s):  Replace or repair flaky speedometer.  Figure out how to seal the engine compartment.  All 914s have a leaky engine compartment -- there is no factory-installed seal between the lid and the trunk.  My 914 will have such a seal, and it will be the envy of all other 914 owners.