Lot 309: Porsche 914 Racecar
The Porsche Company is indelibly linked with the rear engine sports car. Despite significant numbers of 924, 944 and 928 front-engine sports cars, the public hears Porsche and thinks 356 or 911. Yet few people are aware that the first 356, 001 actually was a mid-engine, not a rear-engine car. Mid-engine Porsches came along in the mid-1950s with the 550 Spider and subsequent RSK, RS60 and RS61 Spiders. Simply put, if it was a racing Porsche, the engine was behind the seats and in front of the rear axles. The first mass-produced Porsche to follow this philosophy was the 914, which was a joint venture with Volkswagen and intended to be marketed in Europe as the VW-Porsche. A true mid-engine car, Porsche designed it around the Volkswagen 411 flat-four air-cooled engine and fitted it with many familiar components such as MacPherson strut front suspension with longitudinal torsion bars and a rear trailing link suspension that owed much to the Porsche 911. In contemporary Porsche practice, brakes were discs all around. The steel unibody structure was built by Karmann and offered luggage space front and rear, although the interior was very tightly packaged. Initially two versions were offered in the United States, the base 1.7 liter four and a 2-liter six from the 911T. The injected four was good for 76hp SAE, while the six produced 105hp. All versions used a Porsche-sourced five-speed transaxle. The 914 offered here has been extensively modified for racing. Compliant with current SCCA regulations (fire suppression system, 5-point racing harnesses, remote battery cut-off, etc.), the car is a turn-key opportunity to go racing. The 1700cc four cylinder engine is strong and has been upgraded with a front mounted oil-cooler. Upgraded too are wheels and brakes from a 911. We are told that in the hands of the very experienced vendor, on a twisty track, the car regularly outruns the 911 equipped competition.
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Bonhams & Butterfields, Los Angeles
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