Perusing the traits that Porsche and Ferrari share, including ultra-fast sports cars and matchless racing provenance, you eventually come to “stepchildren.” For Ferrari, it was the 1967–74 Dino, a mid-engine model powered by a V-6 engine designed by Ferrari but built by Fiat (and also used in the Fiat Dino Coupe and Spider). Porsche’s was the 1969–76 914, a mid-engine targa-top roadster born from collaboration with Volkswagen and using an air-cooled VW engine.
In both cases, full acceptance by marque purists came years after production ended. It probably didn’t shock too many collectors to see Dino values soar past $400,000 as Ferrari fever spread in recent years. But when a couple of four-cylinder Porsche 914s eclipsed $90,000 this past year, eyebrows raised.
At Gooding & Company’s 2018 Amelia Island sale, a green 1974 914 2.0-liter with just 4934 miles sold for $93,500. The previous August, RM Sotheby’s sold a yellow 1975 914 1.8-liter at Monterey for $93,000. For both, the prime driver for extraordinary prices was like-new preserved condition and super-low original miles—4934 for the Gooding car and 3200 for RM’s 914.
Four-cylinder models accounted for nearly 116,000 of the 119,000 914s built by Karmann, and the vast majority of 914s were sold in the U.S., where it was Porsche’s best seller. The six-cylinder 914-6 version accounted for 3300 cars, and the best today routinely cross the $100k threshold.
Values rising again
Until those $93k sales occurred, a $50,000 four-cylinder 914 might have been considered remarkable. According to Hagerty auction editor Andrew Newton,, average 914 values rose by 40 percent from 2007–10 and then declined 20 percent to $11.5K. More recently, values have again moved upward.
“Now that 911 values have flattened, buyers have started to look elsewhere, and it looks like some have set their sights on 914s,” Newton says. “Since September last year, #3 values have increased by more than 14 percent.”
Meanwhile, online insurance quotes, a measure Hagerty uses to gauge buyer interest, peaked in late 2015 for the 914.
“That coincides with the recent spike in interest for air-cooled 911s,” Newton says. “Since then, quotes have been falling about 10 percent annually. If quotes and values are moving in different directions, mass-market demand probably isn’t the reason values are up.”
Newton says the Amelia sale “really cemented the fact that the best original examples in the world are nearing six figures.”
He told you so
George Hussey, who founded his Porsche parts and restoration shop, Auto Atlanta, in Marietta, Georgia, in the late 1970s, says he was not surprised by those auction sales.
“I used to be the guy who thought 914s were worth much more, and everybody would say I was crazy,” Hussey says.
As with many collector cars, ultra-low-mile originals can draw ultra-high prices. In the 914’s case, however, these are likely very few. Many 914s have disappeared.
“The 914 sold to buyers who largely didn’t know about Porsche maintenance and upkeep,” Hussey says. “Cars were abused and quickly fell into disrepair. Rust was a problem, too.”
Today, the 914 is attracting buyers who remember these cars as the Porsches of their youth, Hussey explains. He also maintains that the 914’s status as the only regular-production mid-engine air-cooled Porsche attracts collector interest.
The price of perfection
While you can find a very good 914 driver for less than $30,000, Hussey says he sees unrealistic asking prices for cars he describes as “a mess.” Also, perfection is expensive.
“Restoring a 914 can cost every bit as much as restoring a 911,” he says. “The VW engine aside, the 914 uses a lot of 911 parts.”
Porsche, however, phased out its 914 parts stocks by the early 1990s. “Back then, I took a decent 914 and ordered $25k in new parts for it. The car was spectacular. But you can't do that today.”
Hussey looks beyond rising values to tout the 914. “It’s so easy to drive. The steering, brakes, and shifter are light, and with great visibility, you feel so close to the road,” says Hussey.
Critically, where the 911’s propensity for oversteer could land drivers in trouble, the understeering 914 was far more forgiving. For 1973, Porsche even added a rear anti-sway bar and a thicker front anti-sway bar to reduce understeer.
If there are more low-mile, well-preserved 914s are slumbering in garages, we hope to see them emerge.