Lipstick on a Pig: 1973 Porsche 914 1.7 5-Speed – Sold!
To the untrained eye, a fresh bright red paint job can fool a potential buyer into purchasing a car that might not be worth what’s being asked for it. We have a funny feeling that may be the case with this red over black vinyl 1973 Porsche 914 1.7 Liter 5-speed listed on Craigslist in Irondequoit, New York (Rochester) for the asking price of $6,995. A review of the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the private sellers have their 914 priced about $1,200 less than the current #4 “Fair” (Daily Driver) estimate of $8,200.
By the late 1960s, both Porsche and Volkswagen saw the need for new entry-level sports cars for their respective divisions: VW was hoping to replace its aging Karmann Ghia while Porsche wanted to replace the 912 with a distinctively different model. The two joined forces to co-develop the Targa-topped, two-seat, mid-engined 914 roadsters. While in Europe 914s were labeled VW-Porsches, in North America the car was only sold through Porsche dealerships. Originally intending to sell the vehicle with a flat four-cylinder engine as a Volkswagen and with a flat six-cylinder engine as a Porsche, Porsche decided during development that having Volkswagen and Porsche models sharing the same body would be risky for business in the American market, and convinced Volkswagen to allow them to sell both versions as Porsches in North America.
Six weeks after designers presented the first 914 prototypes on March 1, 1968, development became complicated following the death of Volkswagen’s chairman, Heinrich Nordhoff in April that same year. His successor, Kurt Lotz, was not connected with the Porsche dynasty and the verbal agreement between Volkswagen and Porsche fell apart. In Lotz’s opinion, Volkswagen had all rights to the model and no incentive to share it with Porsche if they would not share in tooling expenses. With this decision, the price and marketing concept for the 914 had failed before series production had begun. As a result, the price of the chassis went up considerably, and the 914/6 ended up costing only a bit less than the 911T, Porsche’s next lowest priced car.
Launched in the fall of 1969, Motor Trend named the 914 its Import Car of the Year for 1970. Unfortunately, slow sales and rising costs prompted Porsche to discontinue the 914/6 variant in 1972 after producing 3,351 of them. However, the 914/4 such as the example featured here became Porsche’s top-selling model during its six-year production run with well over 100,000 units sold worldwide. Long considered the step-child entry-level car in the Porsche community, the nostalgia growth of all things air-cooled in the past six years helped fuel the popularity of 914/4s and prices are starting to reflect that.
Here’s a vintage video of actor Paul Newman talking about a Pro-Am race which featured equally-matched Porsche 914s:
Here’s our take on the good, the bad, and the ugly on this 914. First the good: the interior presents well and appears to be in excellent condition. This example has the very desirable Fuchs wheels that present very well. Now, the bad: This example is the less desirable 1.7 Liter base model. Additionally, we note all Porsche 914’s came with a black ABS plastic rocker panel moldings which this example is missing. While it’s a great way to confirm a lack of rust in that area of the car, it’s an immediate signal this 914 has been repainted. Now the ugly: between the obvious paint overspray in the frunk and the rear compartment, your in-person inspection will likely confirm at best an amateur respray. What concerns us is the picture of the rear trunk area as the heavily undercoated section appears to be hiding a rusty panel. This being a Western/Central New York car, this original did not do well in the heavily salted roads, so we would crawl underneath to assess the pan of this 914. The bumpers also appear to be worn and cracked which will also require replacement.
While it may seem like we’re nit-picking a Porsche priced below “Fair” condition, we’re doing it for good reason: the most expensive car you can buy is an inexpensive Porsche. Good luck with the purchase!
Here’s the seller’s description:
“1973 Porsche 914. Estate purchase. 5 speed, 1.7 litre engine. 48,000 miles. Runs good. Guards red with black top. Body and paint in good condition. $6995. Call Ron 585-474-0016 or Lee 585-233-9456.“
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