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Perceived as a reasonably priced entry level model for Porsche, the 914's early history was blighted by political problems with VW s new management. However, by the end of production, almost 119,000 examples had been sold. This book records the full international story of the mid-engined 914, from concept through to the final production car, illustrated throughout with contemporary material. Today the 914 is an affordable and practical classic.
Launched in 1969, the 914 series went through many problems and many changes before production came to an end in 1976. It was constantly improved during its short life, but time just ran out for the model. It is interesting to note that until the Boxster made its debut, it remained Porsche s only mid-engined production car, although the company s racing models had been built with this layout for some years.The 914 also had a fine competition history something that is often overlooked or run down because it wasn t as brilliant as that of the 911 s. But by normal standards, it was indeed a fine history. There were also a large number of specials built on the 914 chassis, and both of these aspects have been covered in detail.The 914 series has often been cited as the forgotten Porsche, but there is a growing band of enthusiasts who only have eyes for the model. The handling is of course a major factor contributing towards the enjoyment of the type, but a large number of people like the styling, and the fact that for so many years this was the most affordable of all Porsches to own and run.Now the times have changed and the model has appreciated, not only in value, but in terms of awareness as well. The 914/6 has become particularly desirable, and it is hoped that this book will go some way towards explaining the 914 s various merits.
Long recounts a fine story ... illustrated with marvellous period photography.
This book records the full story, its history from concept through to production and is a fascinating book on a fascinating Porsche model.
Total Kit Car
This, another of the Veloce 'Classic Reprint' series, is a most comprehensive, two hundred-page reference work…
Reviews for the previous editions:
Despite the combined engineering might of VW and Porsche, the 914 project was a commercial failure. Conceived as a joint exercise which would save the Stuttgart company a lot of tooling costs for a new mid-engined two-seater with 911 power, and give Volkswagen a sports car to replace the Karmann Ghia, the two cars did not hit the market sweet spot. They weren’t particularly well styled and the two models looked identical.
Much of the reason lay in America where a dealer shake-up, also involving VW’s recent acquisition of Audi, had confused traditional Porsche buyers. Then the dollar declined against the mark. The flat-four powered 914 became too expensive, while the 914-6’s price got too close to that of the 911, for which it was supposed to provide an entry level. Profitability had also been hit from the start as the bodies were delivered fully-trimmed from Karmann, and cost almost as much as 911 ones. A new joint factory had been set up to build the cars at a rate of 30,000 a year. Over the production period of 1970-76, just under 119,000 914s were built, while the 914-6 fell out in 1972 after just 3318 had been built. While the cars were available in the UK, no right-hand-drive cars were built, so they remained rarities over here.
Now, 30-35 years on, this has all been forgotten. The cars have found their own price level and can be assessed on their dynamic merits. Although the build quality wasn’t up to 911 standards, they were good cars in their day, so they have become collectable. This book, a considerably expanded version of the author’s 1997 work, tells the whole story of the design and the year-by-year development, including a lot of quotes from period reports. Although it wasn’t a front runner, the two models achieved a fair amount of class success in rallies and races, particularly in America. This aspect is fully covered as are the few special-bodied cars and the sadly aborted 916, a 914-6 with an engine matching that available in the contemporary 911s. There is also a short buyer’s guide section.
Fairly profusely illustrated with period photographs, many of them used in factory brochures, this book is, as it says, a definitive history of a well-engineered car let down by the bean-counters.
Review by Mike R for Classics Monthly, November 2006
The 914 has always lived in the shadow of the 911, yet it had a strong road and race identity of its own which is fully covered here. This book is an updated and reworked version, and the many period colour photos make it visually strong. And there's plenty to read as the text is chocked full of facts and specifications, plus a useful concise buying guide at the end making it great value. A collector's hardback version is also available.
Review from Practical Classics, August 2006
The 914 is the forgotten child of the Porsche family, but this new book gives it the exposure it deserves. It charts the 914's history and contains a compact buying and restoration guide.
Review from Classic Car Mart, July 2006
This is a genuinely fascinating book that chronicles the entire in-depth story of Porsche’s first mid-engined offering.
Brian Long’s attention to detail throughout this book is excellent, with every variation on the 914 theme covered along the way. It all kicks off, though, with a fascinating account of the history of Porsche up to the point when the 914 arrived, as well as a highly detailed look at the model’s pre-production development. Throughout each section of the book you’ll find terrific period photography and illustrations, helping to give it a pleasingly nostalgic feel.
Towards the end of this excellent read there’s even a chapter dedicated to what happened with Porsche after the 914, bringing subsequent models like the 924, 928 and 944 into context.
We’re delighted to see the hugely underrated Porsche 914 finally getting the attention it deserves via this excellent new title.
Review from All Torque, Issue 25, April 2005
Author Brian Long certainly knows his stuff, as readers of this column will avow. In writing this excellent specialist volume, he follows the tried and tested path of looking also at the 914s mid-engined lineage (550 and 550A Spyders, the 918 RSKs, the elegant 904 series and the 910s spring to mind), while covering the early history of the VW-Porsche joint venture that spawned this underrated model. Chapters on all production models, detailed though not overtly technical, plus independent and official Porsche photography make it a book I thoroughly enjoyed. It is refreshing also to read the 'warts and all' comments published in full. For example, Car and Driver magazine in 1970: "What we've said up to now is the 914 is a compact but spacious mid-engined car – a well-conceived machine. Brace yourselves, Porsche fanatics. That is the outer boundaries of its excellence. The name Porsche is automatically associated with performance, mechanical refinement and quality workmanship - all assets of which the 914 is conspicuously bankrupt."
Chapters featuring the 914/6 GT and its racing success, plus motorsport in the 1970s and an enthralling chapter on numerous 914 specials make this a book I'll be delving into for some time to come. For the 914 fanatic, it's a book for the bedside rather than the workshop, but none the poorer for that in being a highly entertaining read.