‘A bulked-up 914 with matching bumpers, why is this car cordoned off?’
This was my thought when I spotted a bright yellow Porsche in the main aisle at DRT 2019. I’ve never been a huge fan of this body style, but I’ll be quick to admit they’ve been growing on me. Add in the wide fenders and reworked bumpers painted to match the bodywork on this example and you’re really starting to sell me on it.
Except for the supposed one million dollar price tag, as this is no ordinary Porsche 914.
Actually, it isn’t even a Porsche 914 at all.
Taking a look inside, the car is an absolute time machine, especially when it comes to the seats. They remind me of what my grandma’s curtains might have looked like 20 years ago, or perhaps a rug in a trendy furniture shop in San Francisco today.
Regardless, based on the wear on the driver’s side, the seats serve as evidence that this example was actually driven, and perhaps even the home of a several butt-clenching moments.
While these moments were admittedly less likely to happen in a factory version of its elder brother, the 914 — which was originally powered by a Volkswagen Type 4 capable of around 80bhp — this early ’70s Porsche 916 prototype came equipped with the drivetrain from a then current 911S.
Add in the hardtop rather than the Targa-style roof featured on the 914 and this chassis was well on its way to being a properly quick car. In fact, weighing less than the 911, and featuring improved suspension, sway bars front and rear, disc brakes, along with being mid-engined, the 916 would have been the fastest car Porsche produced at the time.
It was also destined to be the most expensive; a high-end Ferrari killer. But declining cash flow coupled with the high price tag meant that just 11 were ever built by Porsche — likely all by hand — which is a bit of a shame.
This car could have completely rewritten history in terms of Porsche’s development and market presence. Can you imagine a world where air-cooled 914s and 916s are selling for six figures, and Singer is building these instead of 911s? How about a Moby Dick 916, or a street-spec RWB 914?
No, neither can I, but we might have been that close…