|[Click on Photo]
Figure 1: Center Console with Gauges
Figure 2: Chrome Rear Bumper
Figure 3: 2.0L Forged Fuchs Alloys
Figure 4: 1.7L & 1.8L Engine Serial Number Location
Figure 5: 2.0L Engine Serial Number Location
||Decide What You Want
Before you start looking for a 914 to purchase, you should be
sure to know what your overall goal is. Do you want a daily driver, a project car, a
Concours car, or perhaps a weekend race car? Do you want a 4-cylinder (1.7,1.8, or 2.0) or
a 6-cylinder (stock, or conversion). Once you know what you want, you can start the search
process. [In the near future] You can read our tech article: How to identify Porsche 914
models, that will give you descriptions of different 914 models and how to identify them,
including all the options and differences.
Differences in the Years
Here's a brief summary of the differences between some of the
||Introductory year for the 914. Interior was a bit plain. Had
non-adjustable passenger seat, and fixed seat belts. Not too many early options
||Adjustable passenger seat and seat belts added. Air vents in dashboard added.
Improved insulation and sound deadening
||914-6 dropped from 914 family. Replaced with 914 2.0L. In 1973, the 2.0L
many cars came with Apearance Group option package. Identified by 2.0L on rear trunk
panel. In '73, both 1.7L and 2.0L cars got an improved shifting transmission, better
interior, and better window cranks. Bumper guards added to front.
||Engine remained the same as the years before, but the 1.7L had the same improvements
that were found on the 2.0L. Bumper guards added to front.
||Same car as the 1973, but most options were now, in fact, optional. Bumper
guards on both front and rear. 1974 saw the release of a Special Edition 914. These cars
were white with orange or green bumpers, wheels and rockers, or black with yellow
bumpers, wheels and rockers. They also had a limited edition front spoiler.
||Introduced in 1974, the 1.8L had lower horsepower from lower compression pistons.
The L-Jetrontic Fuel injection system is often considered unreliable when coupled
with poor maintenance. Bumper guards on both front and rear.
||Some cars get EGR tubes and California cars have a catalytic converter installed.
No smog pumps were used on the 1.8L cars. Heavier bumpers are added to the
front and rear. New exhaust system for emissions purposes. Fuel pump relocated
to front to avoid troublesome vapor lock problem.
||2.0L cars get EGR, smog pumps, and catalytic converters (CA). Heavier bumpers
like the 1.8, relocation of the fuel pump. Horsepower is down, and engine runs hotter due
to the emissions control.
||Same as 1975 model; only 2.0L cars were made in 1976. Later cars have many
options installed since Porsche wanted to discontinue the model and dispose of its
Here are some extras to look for when buying your car.
- Sway Bars. Sway bars were optional in most years, and it's
usually quite uncommon to find a car with them installed. The can be added later on
but it can take some time and patience, as well as a little welding.
- Center Console with Gauges. Originally sold with the Apearance
Group Package, the center console is a popular goodie with all 914 owners. They cost
about $300-$350 for a perfect condition one with the center cushion, all the gauges, and
the correct heater handle. See Figure
1 for a picture of the center console.
- Chrome Bumpers. Front and rear, these are another favorite with
many 914 owners. Figure 2 shows
the rear chrome bumper.
- Alloy Wheels. These were sometime standard on the 2.0L cars
(1973), and optional on the other cars. Figure
3 shows a car with the original Fuchs 2.0L Alloys. These wheel have the inserts
painted black, something that was not done to original wheels. Original Fuchs alloys have
a VW logo on the rear. In our photo gallery, there is a picture of a 914 with the rarer Mahle Alloys. Also available were Pedrini
- Air Conditioning. Not overly popular, the A/C system offered for
the 914 cut down on horsepower, and also made some major modifications to the chassis of
the car. The A/C unit was only installed by the dealers.
- Fog Lamps. Another popular option were fog lamps which were inset
into the front bumper.
- Other Options. Leather wrapped steering wheel, leather boot for shift
lever, tinted glass, passenger side exterior mirror, vinyl trim on the rollbar,
"PORSCHE" lettering above rockers, rear fog lamp (European cars only), center
(2+1 seating) seat-belt, and rear defroster.
Inspect the Car
Here are some helpful hints of what to look for when inspecting
your future Porsche. The first thing to always look for is rust. Unless you have a lot of
time and money on your hands (and love to weld), leave the rusty 914's alone, or buy one
for parts alone. Rust repair can be difficult and expensive, depending on how severe it
Where to look for rust on 914's:
- The front suspension A-arm mounting points (where the suspension bolts to the chassis).
- The floor pan (make sure the seats aren't falling through!)
- The rocker panels - especially check the jack post support area.
- The rear suspension mounting points, especially the right-hand side.
- The rear trunk pan.
- The floor of the front trunk.
- Inside the car, lift up the carpet and look for rust around the pedal assembly, the seat
mounting points, and behind the seats at the firewall.
- In the engine compartment: look around the battery tray. It is quite common for the
battery tray and support to be rusted, and that is a fairly easy fix, but what you want to
look for is rust in the engine shelf below the tray. If there are big rust areas and holes
here, then look under the car near at the right rear suspension console and look for
structural rust there.
- Also in the engine compartment, look in the forward corners (use a flashlight). It is an
area where water can sit.
Okay, so the chassis is good, what next? How is the body.? Are
the panels straight? Do the doors open and close easily? Have the front and rear decklids
ever been bent? Look at the reinforcement beams on the decklids, as they will show repair
welds or previous damage to the lids. In the front, look in the front trunk and see how
straight the panels are behind the bumper and along the headlight assembly supports.
Any previous repairs should be obvious there. Check for
rust in the channel that the hood seal is glued to - especially around the headlights.
Do the serial numbers in the front trunk (in two places) match
the other serial numbers (see Q&A on 914
chassis serial numbers). In the rear trunk check the straightness of the rear panel
between the taillight assemblies, and check for patches in the rear trunk pan. Remember,
the newest 914 is 22 years old (the last one was built on 1/22/76).
What is the history of the car? Is it fuel injected or
carbureted? Fuel Injected cars are inherently worth more, since most people abandoned the
fuel injection after they had problems with the running of the engine. How does it drive
(if it drives)? Does the engine start easily when it is cold? Does is start easily when
warm or hot? Does it idle well when it is warm (they all seem to idle rough when cold).
Does it shift okay?
Don't fall in love with a car just because it 'looks' good. We
have seen many, many cars where the owner will spend $1,000 on wheels and tires, yet they
won't spend money on normal maintenance. I know of a case where someone bought a beautiful
(looking) 914 2.0 for $4,000 (it was a real eye catcher), and within 8 months he had to
rebuild the engine and transmission, replace the clutch, all the brake discs and pads and
wheel bearings, and many other items. He ended up with a $12,000 914 real quick. Have the
car checked out by someone who knows.
How is the body? Are the panels straight? Do the doors open and
close easily, and are the gaps between the door and the body fairly even. Again, check the
underside of the battery, then look under the car near the battery. Does the owner have
any records? All 914-4 Porsches originally came with fuel injection (a few Solex
carburetor 914's were made for Europe). Again, have the car checked out!! It is
usually cheaper to pay more for a rust-free example than it is to repair a rusty one in
the long run. A fuel injected 914 in good shape should start up pretty easily. 914's are
known for having sloppy shifters and can be difficult to get into first gear. This could
be something as simple as a clutch adjustment and shift bushing replacement, or it can be
a sign of a worn clutch or transmission.
Ignoring the 914-6, there were three main versions of the 914-4
engine produced. These were the 1.7L, 1.8L, and 2.0L. Although nearly
identical to each other in design and principle, only a select few parts can be
interchanged among the years. The most definitive way for a beginner to tell the
difference between engine types is to check the serial number on the case. One word
of advice: always check the serial number yourself. The seller may not accurately
know what size engine is in the car.
In 1970, the 914-4 shipped with a 1.7L engine that output 80
Horsepower. The engine used a Bosch MPC (or D-Jetronic) fuel injection system.
This engine is most easily characterized by a circular air box located in the
center of the engine. Total engine displacement was 1679cc. For more detailed
information on this engine, see our technical
In the years 1970-1972, the engine basically did not change.
In 1973, the compression ratio was lowered in the California cars to accommodate
tougher smog laws and lower octane fuel. 1973 was the final year that the 1.7L
engine was produced.
The serial number for the 1.7L motors can be found on the engine
case, towards the rear of the car. The location of the 1.7L serial number is shown
in Figure 4. It may be difficult to
view this number because of all the fuel injection components that occupy space in the
engine compartment. 1.7L serial numbers always begin with the letter W, followed by
a number corresponding to the year of the car. For example, a 1972 1.7L engine's
serial number would start with the sequence W2. In late 1973, some 1.7L engines were
labeled with serial numbers beginning with EA and EB.
In 1974, Porsche changed the displacement and fuel injection of
the 1.7 motor, increasing it to 1.8L (1795). Because this motor used a lower
compression ratio, the overall horsepower garnered from the engine dropped to about 76 HP.
The newer fuel injection, the Bosch L-Jetronic system, relied heavily on the use of
vacuum control and feedback. Although a much better system than the D-Jetronic, the
early L-Jetronic systems were often prone to engine reliability problems primarily due to
the increased reliance on the integrity of the vacuum hoses. Visually, this system is
easily recognized by the large black plastic air box located in the engine compartment on
the left side.
Porsche was forced to add smog equipment to the 1.8L engines.
EGR tubes were added to the heads, and a catalytic converter was added to the
exhaust system. Total horsepower remained unchanged at 76. There was no smog
pump used on the 1975 1.8L 914. Additionally, there were no 1.8L engines produced in
The serial number for the 1.8L engine is located in the same
location as the one for the 1.7L. This location is shown in Figure 4. 1.8L engines. The 1.8L
engine serial numbers begin with the letters EC.
In 1973, Porsche developed an increased displacement motor for the 914.
The 914 2.0L used the same Bosch MPC (D-Jetronic) that the 1.7L motor had used,
however, almost none of the parts from the injection system are interchangeable. The
fuel injection system is visually recognized by a large square metal airbox that sits in
the center of the engine compartment. This 2.0L motor had a displacement of 1971cc and
achieved 95 horsepower. The European version had a slightly higher compression ratio
(by using different pistons) and achieved 100 horsepower. Although nearly identical
in design, this motor shares only a few parts with the 1.7L motor, and the 1.8L motor
developed the next year. Full
technical specs on the 2.0L engine can be found in our 914 technical section.
The 2.0L engine remained essentially unchanged from the 1973 model year.
However, in 1975 and 1976, Porsche added smog equipment that reduced the total
horsepower output to 90 HP. EGR tubes, and a smog pump were found on most cars, as
well as a catalytic converter for the California models.
The 2.0L engine serial number can be found on the engine case
just in front of the oil filler neck. This location is shown in Figure 5. The 2.0L engine cases always
started with the letters GA or GB.
Things That May Indicate Trouble
Carburetors on 914 Engines
All of the original 914s were sold with fuel injection on the
engines. You may find in your travels that this fuel injection system has been
removed and replaced with a set of carburetors. This is usually a bad sign for a
number of reasons.
Firstly, the removal of the fuel injection system indicates that
there was a problem with it that the owner either couldn't or didn't want to fix.
The fuel injection system (when running and properly maintained) makes for a superior fuel
delivery system. Replacing it with carbs makes the car run less efficiently, usually
coupled with a loss in power.
If an owner of a 914 replaced the fuel injection with carbs, they
might have done it because he rebuilt the motor to be a racing motor. The regular
fuel injection cam will not work well with a set of carbs, and likewise, if you place
carbs on the motor, then you should use a cam ground for specifically for carburation.
If there is a carb cam in the engine, replacing the original fuel injection will
not make the car run well. The cam needs to be matched to the injection system.
This is of special concern to smog-conscious owners. Replacing the fuel
injection on an engine with a carb cam inside will not make the car pass the smog test.
In California, it is illegal to install carburetors on the 914
engine for cars 1974 and newer. The car will not pass the visual smog test, and most
likely will not pass at the tailpipe. It is important to remember that replacing the
fuel injection will most likely cost a minimum of $750. Higher prices may be paid if
the engine is a 2.0L motor.
Missing Smog Equipment
On the 1975 & 1976 cars, there was a bunch of smog equipment
that was installed. Specifically, on 2.0L cars there were EGR tubes, smog pumps,
catalytic converters, and charcoal canisters. The 1.8L cars in 1975 had everything
but the smog pump. On the earlier cars, some were equipped with charcoal canisters
to capture excess gasoline fumes.
Missing smog equipment can be very expensive to replace.
For the most part, the various pieces of smog equipment can be difficult to locate in good
condition. Keep in mind that missing smog equipment indicates that someone has been
tampering with the engine.
VW Bus Engines in 914s
This one occurs much more than you would think. When the
engine inside the car doesn't match any of the 914 serial numbers, chances are that is an
engine from a VW bus. Most of the time, these engines will be carbureted, which
indicates trouble to begin with (see above). While having a VW bus engine in the car
may work perfectly fine, it significantly decreases the value of the car. Additionally,
you most likely don't know what condition the motor is in. VW bus motors are often
rebuilt to less than exacting standards.
Despite their sometimes low price, 914s are still
Porsches, and parts are relatively expensive compared to a VW bug. You should
therefore get the best car that you can at the time of purchase. A good used 2.0L
with many options can be had for $5K-$7K. While this may seem much higher than other
cars, condition is extremely important and the car will save you money in repairs later
on. Even the best car will have problems in the future - the cars are over 25 years
old. It's best to start with one that has been well cared for.
Most people want 2.0L cars, and they are more expensive as a
result. The ideal car would be a 1973 2.0L, and then a '74 with as many options as
possible. The late '75 & '76 cars don't appeal to everyone, and are subject to
much tougher smog requirements here in CA. The 1.8L cars can be reliable if they are
well cared for. The 1.7 cars are the most common, and usually a good selection of
them is available.
Well, there you have it. We hope that this guide has been
useful, and we will be constantly updating it, as there is a lot of information that is
not yet included. If you have any questions, feel free to email
Special thanks to Mike Willis and Dave Darling. Be sure to check out Dave
Darling's 914 Frequently
Asked Questions, also located on this site.