This Porsche 914/6 GT Werks in All the Right Ways

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The 914 debuted in 1970, and for too much of its existence, the mid-engine Porsche lived a life of ignominy in the eyes of casual car enthusiasts, and even among some Porschephiles. “Not a real Porsche” went the refrain for the car jointly developed with Volkswagen. Priced as such, said the value trends.

Well, the refrain and the trends have changed in the last decade or so, as people have woken up to the fact that, actually, these things are terrific. With their VW-derived 1.7-liter (and later 2.0-liter) four-cylinder engines making roughly 80–90 horsepower, 914s were never blistering performers, but their mid-engine layout and light weight always made them nimble.

Porsche addressed the power issue to some extent with a run of 914s powered by the 125-hp carbureted 2.0-liter flat-six from the 911 T, but the 914/6 makes up just a fraction of the nearly 100,000 914s built through 1976. Still, from the very beginning, Porsche knew what it wanted to do with the 914/6: take it racing.

1971 Porsche 914/6 GT head on
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In 1970 and ’71, the factory built a dozen 914/6 GT race cars to be used as works (or werks) entries for various endurance races and rallies, plus another 47 examples for privateers. The race-prepped cars differed in numerous ways from production 914/6s, of course, including their Type 901/25 engine, which was tweaked with polished intake and exhaust ports, dual ignition, Carrera 6 cams, Weber 46 IDA carbs, and more to deliver significantly more power—around 220 hp at 8000 rpm. The body was widened with steel fender flares, a roll cage was fitted inside, and four large Cibie lights were mounted on the nose. Suspension was courtesy Bilstein rally shocks at all four corners, and vented discs from the 911S provided the stopping power. These purpose-built 914s were quick, too; one of the customer cars won its class and finished sixth overall at Le Mans in 1970.

The 914/6 GT shown here, Project No. 914/58, was the final of the 12 factory cars built, completed in December 1970—just in time for the Monte Carlo Rally the following month. Porsche fielded a trio of 914/6 GTs there, all of them finished in Signal Orange, and all piloted by true hot shoes. In an effort to earn extra points in the rally, competitors were able to begin in far-off locales, and the French duo of driver Gérard Larrousse and co-driver Jean-Claude Perramond strapped into 914/58 in Warsaw, then headed southwest across the continent to the French Riviera.

It proved to be a particularly attritional event, with nearly 90 percent of the 248 competitors failing to finish, including all the factory 914s. This car succumbed to a broken clutch lever, and that was that; no glory for Porsche after three successive Monte victories with 911s.

Vic Elford next made use of 914/58, when he drove it to Sicily in the spring as reconnaissance car for May’s Targa Florio, in which he shared a 908/03 with Larrousse. The trip was not without incident, however, and “Quick Vic” had something of a shunt. In a letter to a Mr. Fiegl in the Experimental Department, Elford wrote: During the Targa Florio pre-practice I had a slight accident with another car. The car involved was an Opel Olympia… [Fellow Porsche racer] Mr. Herbert Muller arrived shortly after the accident and explained to [the Opel’s owner] that the Porsche insurance would cover everything, although it was obviously 50/50 since both cars were in the middle of the road. The Opel had damage to all the body panels on the left side and some mechanical damage to the steering. The damage to the Porsche you are aware of.

Whatever the damage, it was minor, and after two years spent as something of a test mule in the engineering department, the car was then sold to Porsche engineer Walther Näher, with whom it stayed for 30 years. Näher began a restoration on the car in 2002, making liberal use of rare parts and expertise from Porsche to correctly return 914/58 to its “as raced” Monte Carlo spec. As one of its Monte stablemates had long ago been scrapped by the factory, and the other converted in period by racing safety pioneer Herbert Linge into a safety car, Näher’s efforts to preserve his 914/6’s history were admirable.

Jeff Zwart acquired the car in 2010. Anyone whose Instagram algorithm has ever served them classic car content has likely seen Zwart’s photo and video work. The commercial film director, photographer, racer, and Porsche collector showed his Monte Carlo 914/6 GT at events like Rennsport Reunion IV and at the 2015 Amelia Island Concours, where it won best in class.

A spot on the lawn at Pebble Beach last year as part of the Porsche 75th Anniversary class is the final feather in the cap of this otherwise unremarkable race and road car’s rather remarkable journey. “A real Porsche indeed,” goes the new refrain. When it crosses the block this week, it is estimated to sell for $1.2M–$1.5M. And if it sells, what might the value trends say then? Priced accordingly, we suspect.

1971 Porsche 914/6 GT profile
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    I like them. I saw a guy in my area with a nicely modded one. It looked like a go-kart which is probably accurate.

    Over a 5 year period I finished a 916 look to a 914.Bilstein shocks,930 front and 911S rear brakes, body strengthening kit, large oil cooler and 964 3.6 engine.Also had the interior re carpeted.
    It is a very quick car, bit like a wolf in sheeps clothes!

    I saw the 914/6 GT variant on Jay Leno’s Garage. The guest was Randy Pobst. Randy said (at that time) his daily is a 2.0L Camaro with the 1LE Track Package.

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