Air Cooled Project: 1974 Porsche 914 2.0

It was the late 1960s. Volkswagen’s Karmann Ghia had had a long and satisfying run but was out of date, and Porsche wanted to replace its entry-level 912. The entwined history of Porsche and Volkswagen goes back a long way; suffice to say that Porsche was responsible for design work for Volkwagen since Porsche’s founding. Together, the companies came up with a nifty mid-engined layout, in a Targa-topped car with a long wheelbase and short overhang. Two engines were planned – a flat-four and a flat-six. Initially, the four was to be branded a VW, and the six a Porsche, but the companies decided this would confuse Americans. So both cars were introduced as Porsches. Of course, Porschephiles flipped their collective lids, since the flat-four was a VW engine. Still, the little car generated many fans, outselling the 911 for a time – though this was probably due to price. Here on craigslist, is a 1974 Porsche 914 project car, with an asking price of $7,100. The car is located in Pike County, Missouri. Thanks to Gunter Kramer for the tip!

This car was purchased by the seller from an older couple who passed on restoring it. The seller himself let it sit a year before deciding he wasn’t going to restore it either. We don’t know much about the condition of any of the components. The view above is the infamous battery tray, which can corrode so badly that it causes the hinge above it to also corrode, making the engine lid wonky. The car’s odometer reads 70,000 miles. The car is badged as a 2.0 liter, which was the largest of the flat-four options. The 2.0 engine was fuel injected and coupled with a five-speed 901-type manual. Horsepower ran to 100 bhp and it hustled 0 to 60 in about 10.5 seconds. Interestingly the seller notes that this car was actually “born” in 1973, but doesn’t make any statements about the engine. The 1.7 liter was also offered in ’73, but based on the spark plug positions, this one is definitely a 2.0 liter!

The interior appears to be tan but no detailed photos are provided. The rear trunk (you get two, another is in the front) is clean. The targa top fits here neatly when you want the breeze in your hair.

The underside looks clean from the two photos supplied, as do the wheel arch edges. But personal inspection is a must, as the 914 has a habit of rusting in places where you didn’t know there are places! The driving experience is a blast, despite the vague gearshift. These cars can be your “race on Sunday, groceries on Monday” experience. Prices for nice ones have shot up in the last few years. Still, there’s some work here. What do you say, is the price right?


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    The amount of underside surface rust would keep me from paying the asking price but the car looks solid enough to be a good candidate for a rebuild. Had two of these, a ’72 1.7 and a ’74 1.8. Never figured out where the 1.8 came from but we managed to pull over 130 hp out of it as a combination street/autocross car. Both cars had AC which made touring very comfortable. Even the 1.8 managed almost 30 mpg at 70 mph so it was the best of all worlds. Fun cars.

    Like 3
  2. Big Len

    Build date is late 73, October, so would be a 74. Plus it has bumpettes, front and rear, that only 74s have.
    There aren’t enough quality pictures to assess much except the battery tray is a bit crusty. Only an inspection could determine how far it goes, but looks like it is worthy of a closer look

    Like 4
  3. Squigly

    I find it amazing that a car that was designed to be a VW (or the 924, and Audi. Go Auto Union!) then rebadged a Porsche can bring such cash. Is it really the car people want, or prestige? I say that because, both VW and Audi make some fine cars and are great to drive, yet put a Porsche badge on something and automatically the price sky rockets. The companies are easily considered step siblings at the least, and we all know they share blood lines. Family they are. Doesn’t take much of an analyzer to read that DNA. If there is more to explain the value, please enlighten me.

    Like 1
    • Steveo

      Well, they are fun cars to drive, fairly cheap to maintain, and pretty reliable.
      The nice thing about air-cooled cars is that they keep pretty well even if not driven regularly. There is value in that.

      Like 3
    • DonC

      Well, Chevy, Pontiac, Buick, Caddy, Oldsmobile are all of the same GM bloodline, right? But you’ll always pay more for a Vette because of what goes into it more than the others. So it is with Porsche. I’ve owned both VWs and now have a 911 Cabrio. They are different!

  4. Chris In Australia

    Worst side marker lights. Ever.

    • Steve Clinton

      I always wondered why they didn’t incorporate the side marker lights in the signal lights on the fender’s edge.

  5. Howie

    I hope it does not have a VW engine.

  6. Malcolm Boyes

    I guarantee those who knock the 914 have never, ever driven or owned one. They are Porsche designed and engineered even with the VW (tweaked by Porsche)motor. I had a humble 1970 1.7 and it was the most fun car I have ever owned. I drove it at 105 thro Death Valley, and got 42 mpg on a high speed run from Palm Beach to Key West. My pal and my sister drove it fully loaded across country in utter comfort with two surfboards on the back and no problems and I drove it the length and breadth of Ca..up to Sonoma and down through Baja. I currently own a 56 356 A Outlaw and a stock 1968 912..and miss that 914 every day. If there is no terminal rust in the crucial areas this looks like a good project…73/74 2 litres sell for (way) over $30,000 these days…the 6’s for over six figures..

    Like 5
  7. Michelle Rand Staff

    There is a lot to be said for the cool cabin – no hot air from the engine bay washing over you when it’s 90 degrees out. However they are prone to vapor lock. That can be solved or at least remediated though.

  8. James Lambott

    Nice autocross car

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