The groovy Porsche 914 is half a century old and the targa-topped roadster still brings a smile to those enthusiastic middle-aged petrolheads.
It was a Volkswagen and Porsche collaboration that brought this mid-engined little sports car to the roadster party in a bid to enthuse a customer base that demanded some action in the German model range.
The German marque was actively looking to expand its foothold in the growing sports car market, primarily beneath the 911. Such a task would inflict financial strain on the modest company which lead to the partnership between themselves and the Zuffenhausen-based car manufacturer Volkswagen, who were themselves looking for a successor to its Type 34 sports coupé, better known as the Karmann Ghia.
The first of the mid-engined pocket racers, the 914 was introduced to the market in 1969 and never ever looked back, or even forward.
The spritely roadster was originally intended to house the flat 4 engine as a Volkswagen and with a flat 6 cylinder engine as a Porsche, but the idea was shelved due to a conflict of interests and customer ambiguity. Porsche went ‘Bavarian cap in hand’ to its German counterpart and came away selling both under the Porsche banner.
The VW engine was a completely new design and marked the first production injection engine offered by the marque. The 1.7-litre four-cylinder model developed 80 PS at 4,900 rpm, meaning it could reach 100 km/h in an impressive 13 seconds, topping out at an eye-watering 177 km/h.
The Porsche six-cylinder engine came from the 911 T and was designed for maximum sports performance with its overhead camshafts, triple carburettors and high-performance capacitor ignition.
The two-litre boxer offered 110 PS at 5,800 rpm, making it both much more powerful and more rev-happy than its VW counterpart, weighing in at 900 kilograms or 940 kilograms for the six-cylinder variant, the 914 boasted a truly exceptional power-to-weight ratio.