Garage Find: 1971 Porsche 914

Does this 1971 Porsche 914 run or doesn’t it? The seller claims he hasn’t run it in two years, but also maintains that it will run. I realize these concepts seem to run in opposition to each other, but perhaps the seller means it will run again once you tackle to the necessary deferred maintenance issues that occur once a vehicle begins to sit. The 914 resides near Boise, Idaho and looks quite dry and straight sitting in the seller’s garage. This sounds like a classic case of buying a project car and then running out of time or ambition to finish it, so check it out here on craigslist with an asking price of $10,000.

The 914 appeared to be enjoying a moment a few months (or even a few years) ago, when some truly exceptional examples began trading hands for real money. I’m not sure that pattern was ever going to take hold and if it was more just an effect of disappointed 911 shoppers looking to drown their sorrows in what seemed like an affordable Porsche, one that was certainly destined to explode in value like the 911 did. That didn’t exactly happen, except for perhaps the six-cylinder powered cars and only the best four-cylinder models that come up for sale. All in all, the driving experience has never been described as particularly memorable, and while 914s are certainly awesome hobby cars, it may not make the most sense to treat them like investments.

In this case, I feel like the seller’s asking price is ambitious. $10,000 is a lot to ask for a non-running 914 equipped with the smaller 1.8L engine. The later 2.0L cars did address some of the original ills, giving the 914 close to an even 100 b.h.p. and a far more sporting driving experience in the process. Upgrading to the larger, injected engine is a smart move, but not if you’re a purist who is trying to keep the car as authentic as possible: then, you’ll want the best example you can find, regardless of the engine size. So where does that leave our subject car? Well, it’s not exactly a survivor and it has at best average cosmetics; throw in the smaller engine and I suspect $10K will be a tall ask.

On the flip side, it is a complete car with what looks like a serviceable interior; if the engine ran before its long-term storage arrangement, there’s a good chance it will fire again with minimal effort. The bodywork looks very sound with no obvious rust, but I’d still want to peer inside the battery compartment before making a final judgement on its rot-free condition – the troublesome “hell hole” area is well documented. The odometer reading photo shows a tick over 80K, which if proven to be real, could make the seller’s argument for a higher asking price more plausible, especially if the paint is original. Would you pay the asking price for this garage-find 914?


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  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Jeff… The 1.8 is a sturdy engine. We got 130 easy hp out of our ’74 with a minimum of modifications and even used a 2.0 ltr modified fuel injection in the process. With the twin carbs you can add a street cam, hydraulic lifters (higher rpm capable) and up the smog level compression and have a car with more than sufficient horsepower. Agree that a little price bargaining needs to take place but on the surface this looks like a good car. Might go back and look at my comments and picture in the yellow 914 write up.

    Like 2
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Jeff… I didn’t see a reference to the engine size in the craigslist ad. Where did you get the 1.8. The ’72’s prime engine was the 1.7 and it wasn’t a barn burner but can be make into one. That one got right by me.

    Like 1
  3. alphasud Member

    Beat me to it Bob. I saw the 1.8 and scratched my head. I also agree build a healthy 2.0 engine and you will have more than enough fun at your disposal. These are very fun to drive and I don’t get the ugly part. I think they are really nice and at one time very affordable. Less so today but relative to current market they are affordable. Us old timers need to recalibrate our brains. These used to sell for 2-3K running and driving.

    Like 6
  4. Steveo

    Driving experience not memorable? Mine handles like a go-kart and I don’t have to worry about the front end lifting or the rear end coming unstuck in the turns. Yeah, I guess that’s pretty boring.

    Like 7
  5. Malcolm Boyes

    I dont “buy” that these are not getting goof prices..all 914’s from the lowly 1.7 to the 6’s have been going up..and up. Said it before and I’ll say it again..these are great cars..even with the 1.7 they have plenty of power to be tons of fun..very roomy interior ( 2 plus one believe me!), huge luggage space for a sports car and I got over 40 mpg out of mine on a high speed run from Palm Beach to Key West and back and got 105 mph out of it in Death Valley..and that was a lowly , stock 1970 1.7. If I didnt already have 2 P cars I would grab one like this after checking the “hell hole”. Dont knock these and, yes, they are good investments..

    Like 2
  6. Raymond Keck

    The 1.8 is a serviceable engine but, when I rode with a 914 club, the 2.0’s would dust the 1.8’s anytime there was a grade to climb. And that was with a bigger bore kit in my 1.8. I’ve got a ’76 2-liter now and the difference is notable. As for the price, that yellow non-running ’71 went for almost $15K last night on Ebay. Just sayin’.

    Like 1
  7. Howie Mueler

    The ad is gone now.

  8. Chuck Foster Chuck Foster

    High school buddy had one that was a lot of fun, I have a rusty 72 in Florida that I probably paid too much for, but it did come with new wheels and exhaust. I can’t resist a low priced one, just got another, this is my last car. Until I sell some. LOL.

    Like 1
  9. bobhess bobhess Member

    Chuck. Why don’t you build one of these and go autocrossing or racing with it. Fix the other one for the street.

  10. Chuck Foster Chuck Foster

    That’s what I should have done with my 82 911SC, I seem to be addicted to buying cars I like but have never had. I do a little flipping to support my habit.

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