Unloved, and now almost forgotten, the Porsche 914 was a hybrid, conceived to give Porsche a foot hold in the mass market sports car sector, which later achieved with the Boxster. For collaborators Volkswagen worried by poor sales of its mainstay Beetle, it meant some much needed showroom glamour to draw in the customers. Launched in 1969, the Karmann built targa top which always seemed to look as if it was going both ways at once, was powered by an injected VW411, air cooled, mid mounted flat four. This produced a modest 85 bhp for a disappointing top speed of little more 107 mph (171 km/h). Later versions had a much superior and much needed 2 liter unit specially developed by Porsche, although the top of the range 914/6 with the 2 liter 911 flat six proved short lived due to its ridiculously high production cost. The 914 had considerable appeal as a superior entry level sports car, particularly in the USA. There was road holding aplenty, decent luggage space in its noise and tail, importantly; it was built as well as any 911.
Historians tend to view the Porsche VW914 as a commercial flop, but in reality this wasn’t the case, 119,000 examples of all types were built before Porsche pulled the plug in 1975. On the terms of sales figures, the car was a success. Of these, 84,000 went to North America, the main intended market for the 914. However, there is a lot more to a good car then sales, as the 914 very aptly demonstrates.