Lorren D. Caffee's
(Click on Photo to Enlarge)
TAKING THE 914-6 BACK TO ITS FUTURE
I sort of backed into Porsches in general and 914s in particular. I was first infected with the sports car virus in college when I acquired a 1960 MGA roadster. The disease went into remission for many years, although frequent flashbacks of open-air drives on June nights and agile handling translating lateral gs to the seat of the pants would stir reveries.
I never really trusted air-cooled engines until I started flying. Then in 1987 I helped a step-son purchase a 1975 914. He decided that the care and feeding of such an entity was not to his liking. I, therefore, inherited a sports car and the old virus reasserted itself. The 75 had its problems but I used it around town and the countryside until it suffered a catastrophic engine failure to accompany the rust-induced body sag that had been growing in severity. By this time, however, I was well into the advanced stages of the disease and acquired a 1973 914. I salvaged parts from the 75 to repair the 73 and was quite happy with the result until the 73 and I partially completed an inadvertent attempt to traverse a narrow bridge sideways. Undaunted by the experience, I then acquired the vehicle that was to become the subject of my 914-6 conversion project.
Im certain my neighbors have wondered about a judge in his garage working on, under, and, in strange contortions, inside what appeared to them to be a go-cart on steroids. The only skills I brought to the enterprise were a farm boys familiarity with tools and a lawyers research abilities. (A law professor of mine once said that a good litigator has to be able to become an expert in any field a case presents to him.) I had the body work done professionally as well as the mating of the engine and clutch to the transmission. Everything else I did myself.
The entire premise of my 914-6 conversion project was to use the interchangeability of many components of more modern Porsche 911s with those of the mid-engined Porsche 914, produced from 1970 to 1976, to achieve a vehicle the factory could have produced if the life of the 914 model line had extended into the 1980s.
The great majority of 914s had four-cylinder Volkswagen-based engines. However six-cylinder versions were manufactured in the model years 1970 through 1972. These vehicles used Porsche engines identical to the contemporary 911 models as well as similar brake and wheel components. An even rarer variant of the 914-6 was the 914-6 GT. There is documentation of 43 such units produced at the factory; only eight of which were for 1972. Approximately 400 GT kits were sold to customers, primarily racers, for do-it-yourself conversions to GT specs. The factory also built about a dozen 916s, a more advanced and luxurious development of the GT.
My vehicle began as a 1972 four-cylinder 914 that I purchased without an engine and transmission in Georgia in 1989 after the untimely demise of my 73 914. The body was sanded to bare metal throughout before being painted. It was remarkable in that no rust was discovered at all except for a small spot in the battery tray area. I then installed the four-cylinder engine and transmission from my old 1973 model, totally restored the interior, installed GT style side-bolstered seats purchased from Automobile Atlanta, and added a modern sound system.
In late 1995 I became determined to build this vehicle into a replica of a 914-6 GT using more modern and more potent Porsche Carrera components. Appearance authenticity as well as functionality has been accomplished with the addition of steel GT fender flares from the factory at all four corners. I also added a front valance with an oil cooler opening, rocker panels, and a rear valance that coordinate with the fender flares. A double grill (as was used on the 916) was installed in the engine compartment lid. The rear chassis has been reinforced as Porsche racing experience and practice has dictated. The car has been completely repainted Guards Red with polyurethane based paint. This vehicle is completely rust-free and has never seen snow. A full roll cage by Safety Devices has been installed adding significantly to the rigidity of the chassis.
The engine is a recently rebuilt 3.2 liter six-cylinder from a 1984 Porsche 911 Carrera with new twin Weber triple-throated 46 IDA carburetors with 38mm ports and K&N high-flow filters. The plastic stock supply and return fuel lines have been replaced with steel. I constructed my own accelerator linkage to the Webers which is very straightforward and obviates the need for attaching a stock bell crank and rod to the sideshifter transmission. The engine-surrounding sheet metal is powder coated steel.
The 1 5/8 inch exhaust headers are ceramic coated by Jet-Hot and oxygen sensors, connected to gauges mounted in the cockpits center console, are installed in each aft of the collector union. The front oil cooler is a competition unit with a core size of 20" x 5.5" x 2.25" and the rear engine-mounted oil cooler is stock for a 3.2 but is modified to clear the rear suspension in the 914 application. A custom-built aluminum shroud encloses the front oil cooler. A beautifully crafted aluminum replica of a stock 914-6 oil tank by Vellios Motorsports, Inc. is used. The entire oil-cooling system is thermostatically coupled front and rear and employs racing quality stainless steel-braided hoses with aluminum fittings.
Estimated power output should be about 275 horsepower and 225 ft./lbs. of torque. Given the curb weight of 2,385 pounds (46% on the front wheels and 54% on the rear), zero to 60 mph. times should be about five seconds or less. Top speed is never likely to be experienced but its capability should be in the 150 to 155 mph. range.
The computer ignition system is a Jacobs Ultra Pak, with an integral anti-theft device, and is mated to a Bosch distributor from a 1977 or earlier 911S with a rotor that limits revs to 6500. I have installed a new High-Torque starter designed for 911s and 911 Turbos. The alternator is newly rebuilt and is mated with a new external 911 voltage regulator mounted in place of the stock 914 unit.
The entire front suspension, including the steering rack through the control arms (with 19mm torsion bars), Boge struts, hubs, and brakes consists of 911 Carrera components from the 1984-1989 period. The only exceptions are the 930 Turbo tie rods. Bump steer spacers have also been installed. Shocks are adjustable sport Konis. The front suspension is augmented with a 23mm Weltmeister anti-roll bar with easily adjustable drop links. The front brakes are comprised of vented and slotted Carrera rotors and Carrera calipers.
The rear trailing arms have been stiffened with additional steel boxing and modified by Patrick Motorsports to accept Carrera bearings and hubs as well as vented and slotted Carrera brake rotors and calipers. The trailing arm bushings are competition grade by Weltmeister. Carrera axle assemblies with modified flanges are also used to connect to the 914 five-speed sideshifter transmission. The Adjustable Koni rear sport shocks are paired with 180 pound Weltmeister coil-over springs. The springs are height-adjustable. The transmission linkage was able to be used without alteration thanks to the design of the Patrick Motorsports motor mount. A Weltmeister short shift kit and a lockout plate reinforcement spring kit also by Weltmeister makes shifting positive and quick.
Stainless steel brake lines and a new 19mm master cylinder are used with a Tilton adjustable proportioning valve. Except for the transmission and clutch, the entire drivetrain, suspension, and brake system are 911 Carrera components. The clutch is a Centerforce Dual-Friction high performance model.
The wheels are aluminum alloy 911 Carrera 2 Turbo replicas by Borbet, sized 17" x 9" in the rear and 17" x 7.5" in the front with B. F. Goodrich Comp T/As mounted: 255/40ZR17 on the rear and 225/45ZR17 on the front. All four wheels have ¼ inch spacers. To date there is 2,600 miles on the conversion.
Driver information components include a rebuilt 914 speedometer and a rebuilt tachometer from a 3.0 liter Porsche 911SC mounted in the stock 914 instrument cluster. Also the center console contains a voltmeter, a 150 psi oil pressure gauge, an oil temperature gauge, and a cylinder head temperature gauge, all by VDO, as well as two LED fuel and air mixture monitors, one for each bank of cylinders.
The stereo system includes an AM-FM-TV band and cassette head unit by Proton connected directly to a Sony 10-disk CD player with remote controller. The two sets of Pioneer speakers are individually amped by a 100 watt per channel Kenwood and a 30 watt per channel Crutchfield, both controlled by a five-band passive equalizer and fader. The antenna is retractable.
The front compartment contains, in addition to the oil cooler and its housing, the battery, the larger of the two stereo power amplifiers, the Sony CD changer, and a Holley 7psi/97GPH electric fuel pump (my only departure from Porsche authenticity). I tried a Hardi pump, as was used on stock 914-6s, but, after a short period of time, it failed to maintain steady pressure. The spare tire is a collapsible spare from a later model 911, ala the 916 which was the first Porsche to carry a collapsible spare.
I have applied ceramic-based heat reflecting paint to the underside of the rear trunk to reduce heat transfer to the trunk contents. (I was once carrying my saxophones in the trunk with the four-cylinder engine in the car and all my cork grease melted.) I have also lined the interior door panels, the floor of the passenger compartment, and the passenger compartment side of the firewall with Dynamat sound insulation.
August, 17, 1998
Lorren D. Caffee
|Find out about ordering parts for your car...|
|Select here to find out about ordering information,
shipping options, and our money-back guarantee on all parts.
|Email us with your comments & questions...|
|Send us feedback on our web site -
We're constantly trying to improve.
|Return back to our home page.|
This site was designed and produced solely by Pelican Parts.