Bargain hunt

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Porsche 914

Truth be told the Porsche 914 is probably a love or hate model. I happen to be one who loves its slightly oddball looks and revel in its equally awkward history.

This example above was recently passed in at a Shannons auction held on Monday. The expected price range was a seemingly reasonable $12,000-18,000. For more pics check out the Shannons website.

The pre-auction press release from Shannons can be read below, which includes a brief history of the 914 and how it came to be.

Boxster’s Ancestor Celebrates 40 at Shannons

Porsche rarely describes it this way, but the mid-engined Porsche 914 that was nearly a Volkswagen’ and is the direct production predecessor of the enormously successful Boxster roadster turns 40 this year.

Back in the mid-60s, VW was looking for a successor to its then-dated Karmann Ghia sports coupe, while Porsche at the same time wanted a more affordable sports car beneath the 911.

Facing this challenge, the two companies in 1966 verbally agreed on a joint venture, with Porsche given the assignment to develop a low-cost mid-engined sports car intended to enter the market as a ‘Volkswagen’ with four cylinders and as a ‘Porsche‘ with a six-cylinder boxer engine.

However during the development process there was a change of VW management following the sudden death of CEO Heinrich Nordhoff in 1968 and his successor Kurt Lotz rescinded the contract and insisted on VW having exclusive sales rights for the car.

However after a vigorous Boardroom struggle that took the 914 project to the brink of failure, the two companies agreed in a compromise: the new car with its ‘Targa’ roof would be called the ‘VW-Porsche’ would be marketed through a joint sales network.

Prophetically, the VW-Porsche 914 was presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show on ‘9/11’ –September 11, 1969 – and became the first series production mid-engined sports car built in Germany. But it created an image problem for Porsche in Europe with the press referring to it as the “People’s Porsche”.

Originally sold with a 1.7-litre Volkswagen-developed air-cooled engine running on carburetors and later upgraded to 1.8 litres, and finally 2.0 litres with Bosch fuel injection, the four-cylinder VW-Porsche 914 became a genuine success, accounting for 115,631 cars until production ceased in early in 1976 and becoming the best-selling sports car of its time.

Most of the cars built were exported to the United States, where the 914 was marketed as a genuine, fully-fledged Porsche without the VW prefix.

All 914 models in Australia are private imports and Shannons has a well-presented right hand drive 1974 model fitted with the later 2.0-litre engine going under the hammer at its May 4 Autumn Classic Auction in Sydney.

Fitted with rollover protection, making it attractive to those wanting to use it in Porsche Club motorsport events, the white 914 with its very tidy black vinyl and chequered cloth interior is expected to sell in the $12,000-$18,000 range, making it an affordable entry into Porsche ownership and a collectible part of Porsche’s rich roadster history.