Not their finest hour: Porsche 914

Celebrating the greatest cock-ups in automotive history. This week we look at the Porsche 914
By Dejan Jovanovic, Features Writer
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September 06, 2016
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In the Eighties, Porsche was raking in American dollars. Thanks to a sweet currency exchange rate for the Deutschmark and new 911 variants that Americans lapped up, 85 per cent of production went to the States in the early Eighties.

But back in the Seventies, Porsche was in a rut it was trying desperately to get out of, with radical new products like the front-engined and water-cooled 928 GT car that was bred to replace the 911 line altogether. The public didn’t take to it, and neither did Porsche engineers. The company even tried to go downmarket to stay afloat with a sportscar project developed using Volkswagen parts off the shelf to save as much money as possible.

The resulting Porsche 914 was praised for its handling, but many moaned about the car’s cheapness and lack of power from the four-cylinder engine. It didn’t help the reputation of this affordable Porsche that — again for cost-cutting purposes — the fuel lines were made of plastic, which would wear out with potential to spill on the hot engine and cause a fire. A Porsche recall was issued to replace the lines with rubber ones, and today most cars have aftermarket stronger lines fitted anyway.

It took all these years for enthusiasts to start appreciating the Porsche 914, and while it was cheap for decades, the nicest cars are now already over Dh367,000.