Car video reviews:

1976 Porsche 914 Spent 30 Years in a Barn, Flat-Four Engine Comes Back to Life

When it comes to Porsche classics, it's the 911 and 356 that get all the attention. The 914, the company's entry-level sports car from 1969 to 1976, has been living in the shadows for years. But now that it's more than 50 years old, the two-door targa-top is finally getting the attention it deserves.
1976 Porsche 914/4 barn find 6 photos
1976 Porsche 914/4 barn find1976 Porsche 914/4 barn find1976 Porsche 914/4 barn find1976 Porsche 914/4 barn find1976 Porsche 914/4 barn find
Sure, the 914 isn't as desirable and expensive as the first-generation 911, but more and more people are dragging their old examples out of barns to either sell or put them back on the road. This 1976 914, a final-year version of the sports car, spent almost three decades in storage. Yet it comes back to life and struggles to make a case for a proper restoration.

No, it's by no means ready to hit public roads just yet. This 914 has a long list of issues that prevent it from being road-worthy as is. But amazingly enough, the Volkswagen Type 4 engine agrees to fire up (and even drive for a bit) without major intervention. Even though it had rats living in and around it for many years.

So what's the deal with this old Porsche? Well, the story goes that the owner purchased the cars for his sons to work on, but they never did. The Tennessee license plate reads 1994, so this 914 has been sitting for 28 years as of 2022. We documented the rescue earlier this January, when the red targa was dragged out of its resting place.

The plan is to make it road-worthy again, but it remains to be seen if it will get a full restoration. It might be worth it though because Porsche didn't make too many 914s in 1976, the year when the nameplate was phased out. Porsche built almost 119,000 of these sports cars over seven years, but apparently, fewer than 5,000 were put together in 1976.

The 914 was co-developed with Volkswagen and most cars were powered by the Type 4 flat-four engine supplied by the company that also made de Beetle. This mill was offered in three versions, displacing 1.7, 1.8, and 2.0 liters. In 1976, the latter came with 94 horsepower in the U.S. and 99 horses in Europe.

Porsche also offered a 914/6 model powered by a 2.0-liter flat-six engine. Discontinued in 1972, the flat-six made 109 horsepower and was the most potent mill offered in the production-spec 914.

Porsche also built a few race-spec cars with more than 200 horsepower, as well as a couple of 914/8 prototypes fitted with a flat-eight racing engine. The race-spec 914/8 came with 350 horsepower, while the road-registered version built for Ferry Porsche generated 300 horsepower.

But that's enough 914 history for today, let's see this 914/4 come back to life after almost 30 years in storage.

Video thumbnail


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories