The 2020 Hagerty Bull Market list showcases the top vehicles that our valuation experts project will appreciate in the coming year. For the full list of 10 vehicles (and one motorcycle!) click here.
Once upon a time, Volkswagen wanted a sports car and Porsche wanted an entry-level model to slot in below the 911. The two companies, both of which owed their existence to genius engineer Ferdinand Porsche, came together in 1969 like peanut butter and chocolate and produced the 914. The initial plan was to sell the car as a VW with an air-cooled Type IV four-cylinder and as a Porsche with a 911 engine. That strategy, however, blew up at the last hour for complex reasons, and anyway, the Porsche badge has a certain honesty to it because the 914 was designed and engineered by the company. The front suspension belongs to the 911, but in the rear, the engine sits between the two seats and rear axle, a move to avoid the back-end pendulum tendency of the rear-engined 911.
As the Porsche starter car, base versions used a 1.7-liter flat-four sourced from Volkswagen, with 85 horsepower, a paltry figure but enough for a car that weighed about 2000 pounds and cost $3595. The 914/6 had a 125-hp six-cylinder. That car’s $5999 price was a few payments shy of a 911’s, and it consequently gathered showroom dust until it bit the dust in 1971 after 3332 were made. Meanwhile, the 914/4 comparatively flew, and more than 100,000 were made. By the end of the run in 1976, the hottest engine was a 2.0-liter with 84 horsepower, which is what’s in the engine bay of Hagerty member David Macintyre’s Sunflower Yellow 914 pictured here.
Macintyre’s car is a rare unmolested survivor with 58,000 miles on the odo. “You couldn’t show up to a Porsche event in a 914,” he said, “but in the past three years, guys now respect the car because they got priced out of 911s.” This recognition is overdue. The 914 is a supremely agile and surprisingly usable little car. That engine mounts deep in the chassis, and occupants practically sit on the floor. The suspension is compliant, and with little weight on the front tires, the communicative steering is light, even without power assist. There are two trunks, or one for each person, and a five-speed manual transmission with a tall enough top gear to comfortably keep up with modern traffic.
A 914 won’t make you rich, but you can likely buy one, drive it for a few years, and then sell it for enough to cover the running costs. That’s like free fun, and rest assured, this Porsche/VW mashup is indeed fun.
[+] Practical and fun; VW engine parts are cheap and plentiful; a way to get your Luftgekühlt fix without breaking the bank.
[–] The design is an acquired taste; the 914 is so low that SUV lug nuts will be at eye level; you might search awhile before finding the perfect one.
Only the third street car Porsche ever designed is still the cheapest way to get into a vintage Porsche, and the 914 is being reevaluated for its great handling and affordability. The VW association that once tarnished it carries less of a knock now among younger buyers.