Sunday, July 19, 2015

Show Car Sunday returns with a mid-engined targa beauty

I recently drove a quick loop through downtown Croton Falls when I saw this little number roosting in the MTA parking lot;
This is a 1976 Porsche 914 in Grand Prix White. When I was a kid I saw one of these and it really stuck with me due to the angled orange turn signals on top of the fenders. Nothing else has ever looked like this car before or since!
Even though this is a tight little sports car it is the U.S. import model so it has those large black rubber bumpers mandated by safety regulations of the day. 
The 914 was developed in a joint effort by Porsche and Volkswagen to replace both the VW Karmann Ghia and Porsche 912. From this angle you can see the similarity with the Karmann Ghia where there's a small passenger compartment between almost perfectly equal front and rear sections.
The main difference between the VW version (known as the Type 34 Ghia; a very rare car today) was the engine and its placement. The VW had a flat "pancake" engine hidden beneath the rear trunk floor, while the Porsche had either a 4 or 6 cylinder engine installed just behind the seats. All of the engines in the 914s were air-cooled. Being a low-slung, mid-engined car with the wheels near the far edges of the body meant for fantastic handling. 
Both the Karmann Ghia and the 914 had 2 trunks due to the mid-engine placement. The rear trunk on this car is pretty small, but will accommodate the removable fiberglass targa top with storage space underneath. The trunk in the front is surprisingly deep even with the spare tire installed.
This black mesh with PORSCHE written across it is actually the vented hood covering the engine. I feel like working on one of these would be like leaning down into your washing machine to fix something at the bottom.
This car is absolutely, show-stoppingly cherry in its condition! The carpeting is original (or a perfect replication) and perfect. The Blaupunkt cassette stereo even looks to be identical to the units available from the factory.
The only chrome on the car is the outline of the rear window opening.
These beautiful Fuchs wheels are original to the car and polish up nicely. They are definitely worth some money.
It was all I could do to not just sit in this thing! With the top off and open to the warm summer night I wish I was jumping in this ride to drive off on some twisty roads.
The headlights are hidden beneath those doors but the foglights in the bumper are about the same size.
914s are surprisingly affordable with regards to other classic Porsches. I found several that had recently sold for well under $10,000 in condition close to this. Even a show car such as this one could be had for $15,000 or so which is about what the cheapest new cars go for.
This sporty little number is the best. Porsche and VW would collaborate one more time after this ride, resulting in the entry level Porsche 924. The 924 was meant to be a VW but that company decided to shelve it in favor of introducing the Scirocco. Porsche bought their own design back in a strange deal that had VW employees building the cars for Porsche.
And there you have it!

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