|Question: I realize that the car is 23
years old, and manufactured when fuel standards were very different from today. What
type of gas should I burn in my car today?
When the 914 was originally manufactured, the gasoline was leaded in order to allow for additional engine and valve lubrication. Today's gasoline, in particular the California reformulated gasoline, is generally harder on today's cars. As a rule, in any older car, you should run the highest octane fuel available at the pump. This is because the car will run cooler, and the engine will undoubtedly last longer. The later cars (75 & 76) were tuned to run hotter and release less emissions. As a result, the engines generally did not last as long. Running higher octane fuel in the car could increase the life of your engine.
The early cars (70-71) were rated to run at 98 octane with leaded fuel. Later cars were rated to run at 91 octane. These are the numbers from available literature.
The higher octane gasoline you use, the slower the fuel will burn, and the cooler your car will run. The increased octane represents a fuel that has already been 'burned' slightly, and thus will ignite with less speed. The quick ignition of the fuel leads to a hotter engine and less life out of your heads.
You also don't address the issue of leaded vs. unleaded fuels, which is implied in the question. The answer is that unleaded fuels are fine. It is only in the very oldest of VWs and Porsches that there were ever any worries about not having leaded fuel. The 914 is simply not that old. The problems with modern fuels and 914s appear to have more to do with some of the additives now in common use--particularly Methanol and MTBE. And the best way to deal with those are to regularly change out your rubber fuel system parts, every year or two."
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