If you have not owned a Porsche and are thinking that it is time to get into one, what should your first Porsche be? Sure it would be easy to just saw the latest 911, 718 Boxster or 718 Cayman and call it done. However, if you have the cash for a new Porsche then the cars in this series are not for you (with a few exceptions). These are cars for someone that is wanting to get their first Porsche, but they don’t want it to break the bank. All of them can be had for under $30,000 with some being as low as about $5,000 for a running car in good condition.
With a lower budget a buyer is likely to want a car that they can do the routine maintenance themselves. It also needs to be fairly dependable as it may double as a commuter car as well as a weekend driver. Below is the list of Porsche’s that we think best fit this criteria. Over the next few articles we will cover each model, so make sure to subscribe to our updates now (scroll down to get our daily updates in your email box for free).
Today we cover the second car on our list which is the Porsche 914.
The Porsche 914 was a joint venture between Volkswagen and Porsche. While US models were badges as simply a Porsche, the rest of the world models wore a VW-Porsche badge.
The concept of the 914 was to offer a less expensive sports car with a flat-four engine provided by Volkswagen and a higher performance model with a flat-six engine from Porsche. All were cooled by God’s good air. While the 914-6 was built with a 2.0-liter engine from the 911T it didn’t sell very well. It was arguably the best combination of performance and handling in a road car that Porsche made at the time. Unfortunately, it’s added cost over the four-cylinder 914 made it a poor seller. The 914-4 with its VW sourced power plant on the other hand was quite successful.
The styling of the 914 was not fully inline with traditional Porsche exterior design with its popup headlights and boxy shape. It was a low riding targa that provided well balanced handling thanks to its mid-engined layout.
The standard 914 started off with a 1.7-liter Volkswagen flat-four sitting in the middle. It only pumped out 79 horsepower, but it felt plenty quick thanks to the fact that the sports car only weighed just over 2,000 pounds.
The Porsche 914 VW based power plant would later grow to 1.8-liters horsepower raised to 84 horses. While just an increase of 5 horsepower it added a bit of pep to the small sports car. The final variation of the VW sourced flat-four was 2.0-liters and it offered 99 horsepower. That number is just 10 fewer than the 914-6, but the maximum torque figure was the same between the two with the four-cylinder reaching it at 3,500 RPMs versus 4,200 RPMs for the 911 sourced engine.
While access to the engine is somewhat more difficult due to its layout, routine maintenance can easily be done by a home mechanic. With the VW sourced boxer engines, maintenance is similar to that of a Volkswagen Type 1 (a.k.a. Bug) of the time period.
When looking for a good 914 buy the best one that you can afford. Make sure to check for rust as fender wells, the battery tray and floor boards tend to be problem areas.
In recent years prices of Porsche 914s have been on the rise. That being said you can still find decent deals for these classic cars. 1.7-liter cars in good condition can be found for $9,500. The smallest engine 914 in fair condition will run you about $5,600. If you do buy a car on the lower end be mindful of how much work it needs as repair costs can quickly put you into the price range of a car in much better condition.
Moving up to the 1.8-liter model will cost you about $10,500 for a good condition car. However, the 2.0-liter flat-four car is possibly the best value considering the available performance and maintenance costs. A good 2.0 will cost about $14,300.
The king of all 914s is the 914-6. Thanks to its 911 sources power plant and low production models it is the blue chip collector car in the 914 lineup. Because of this good examples fetch about $46,000 with a number 1 concourse vehicle going for about $79,500.
Due to changing regulations over the production life of the 914 earlier cars featured chrome bumpers. Later models have the less appealing large rubber bumpers. Expect to pay a slightly premium if you purchase a chrome bumper vehicle over a similar car with the rubber bumper.
No matter which 914 you are able to buy, a pre-purchase inspection is a must. Having a mechanic that is familiar with the model take a look at it can save you thousands in the long run.
Picture Source: MartinHansV