When I was a kid I spent a lot of time playing Need For Speed: Porsche Unleashed. For some reason I painted all of the Porsches in my collection yellow with red and black rocker stripe decals. I was pretty poor at driving digital 911s with their interesting rear-heavy weight balance, but I loved the 914.
It doesn't seem fair to me that the Porsche 914 has been maligned so badly by Porsche enthusiasts. Yes, it's not really a true Porsche. The 914 was co-developed with Volkswagen as a replacement for both the VW Karmann Ghia Type 34 and the Porsche 912, a 911 body with economy Volkswagen flat-four power. The original plan was to make the car with two available engines, a 1.7 liter VW four-cylinder and a 2.0 liter flat-six from the 911, and market the 914/4 as a VW and the 914/6 as a Porsche. Both cars ultimately were sold in the U.S. as Porsches, although the 914/6 was only on the market until 1972 when it was dropped due to slow sales. Buyers didn't want to pay almost-911 money for a car that wasn't a 911. The four-cylinder 914 was Porsche's best selling model in the United States from 1969 to 1976, known for its excellent weight distribution and good handling, if not for straight-line performance or attractive styling.
As far as I know, this is a 1972 914/4 with the 1.7 liter engine. It's Saturn Yellow with the small early-model bumpers, and wearing "Riviera" style aftermarket wheels accented in body color. The spinner hub centers are an unusual touch I haven't seen before on a car like this. Personally, I've always thought the 914 is a cute little runabout with its removable targa roof section and pop-up headlights. My neighbor used to have a 914, originally Ravenna Green but repainted red. I never got the chance to shoot that one on the street since it's been sold, but I found this one and it's a nice substitute.
California Streets is a blog that celebrates the history of the automobile in California. We feature old, interesting and often rare cars and trucks found parked on public streets and roads around the state of California.
I'm a delivery driver by trade, but I'm also a freelance artist and hobby photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area with a healthy interest in cars. I love finding and documenting fascinating old vehicles wherever I go.