The Porsche 914 or VW-Porsche 914 is a mid-engined sports car designed, manufactured and marketed collaboratively by Volkswagen and Porsche from 1969 to 1976. It was available as a targa-topped two-seat roadster powered by either a flat-4 or flat-6 engine.
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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.
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.
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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.
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A 914/6 GT driven by Frenchmen Claude Ballot-Lena and Guy Chasseuil won the GTS class and finished sixth overall at the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans.Brian Redman used a 914/6 to scout the course in practice runs for the 1970 Targa Florio.
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 (261 kW; 355 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 (224 kW; 304 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.