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Piech's Hot Rod: Porsche 914/8

By Mark Zimmerman

You develop Porsche’s racing program in the late sixties, rewriting their racing history from race to race, win to win.  Your team is developing faster and wilder racers, putting you in reach of the company’s first Le Mans outright victory. So what do you do when you are handed the responsibilities of developing the company’s new entry car platform? If you are Ferdinand Piëch, grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, you jam the biggest racing engine in it that will fit.

The Porsche 914 was a controversial model to the brand from the start. Originally targeted to be a joint model between VW and Porsche, the deal fell apart with the death of Heinz Nordhoff, VW’s Chairman. Porsche continued ahead with the project, and grandson Piëch was responsible for the platform. Piëch was also in charge of Porsche’s racing activities at the time, constantly building and developing faster and more competitive racers. Starting with the 906, their race cars became stronger and stronger with the 910, 907, 908, and ultimately the 917 that delivered Porsche their first Le Mans win in a very wet 1970. While creating the start of their racing dynasty at Le Mans, Piëch brought Porsche’s first mid-engine platform to market, and created the wildest 8 cylinder 914s while he was at it.

Porsche only built 2 914/8s. The first was a development mule that Piëch used to prove the concept of a 914/8. The second was built for Ferry Porsche as a birthday present. Both are very unique 914s still owned by Porsche and regularly shown at the museum in Stuttgart.

914111 – Orange – This was Piëch’s test mule for a possible future flat 8 variant. It had a 300 HP 3.0L 908 engine and a 916 transmission, and was never registered for the street. This was a test bed and a prototype, with many unique features that did not end up on the production 914s.

From the front, you can see headlight openings that hide dual headlights, a side mirror that is very different from the production cars, an opening in the bumper for the air to oil cooler located in the front trunk, and a chrome switch located on the front passenger cowl.

When comparing the first 2 photos to this production 914/6, you can notice the unique wheel openings that are slightly flared in the back and rounder opening up front. The mirror and the headlights become obvious.


 

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Comments
Mcstiff
Mcstifflink
Thursday, August 08, 2013 1:51 AM
Always nice to see some Euro coverage! Since you kept mentioning it, that seat fabric pattern is herringbone (like the fish) and not houndstooth.
Dan Barnes
Dan Barneslink
Thursday, August 08, 2013 11:21 PM
I was all fired up to build a Porscharu about ten years ago, but couldn't find a suitable donor. All the cars I could find, even then, were either too nice (and expensive for me then) to mess with or complete roaches that needed body-off restos.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Friday, August 09, 2013 1:07 PM
I always wanted a 914-6
Mark Zimmerman
Mark Zimmermanlink
Monday, August 19, 2013 9:47 PM
Thanks for setting me straight on the fabric. I have a 914/4 that I am slowwwwly restoring, and I got really lucky to see both 918/8s during a trip tot he Porsche Museum during some time off on a work trip. I was crawling all over the very plain silver one while everyone else was checking out the 911 turbos.

The Turbo 4 from the Subaru's make great transplants.
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