All classic Porsche are now collectibles, even modern icons that weren’t well received initially, such as the Cayenne. However, there’s one exception. Wanting to give the little sports car another chance, Jay Leno checks out a 1970 Porsche 914-6 GT and discovers its capabilities with the help of the renowned racing driver Randy Pobst.
Launched in 1969, the Porsche 914 is a mid-engined sports car, unlike the rear-engined 911 which the Stuttgart automaker is known for. Now, that by itself isn’t the problem; fans of the brand just don’t appreciate the design and can’t get over the lack of power.
The basic 914-4 featured a flat-4 1.7-liter Volkswagen Type 4 engine with just 80 horsepower. Originally, this was supposed to be sold under the VW brand but they deemed it too risky in America. Meanwhile, this 914-6 featured the 2.0-liter air-colled Type 901/3 flat-six engine from the 1969 911T model, and this was the least powerful engine they made at just 110 hp.
Even in Germany, these weren’t that well received, as they were nicknamed the Volks-Porsche due to the collaboration between the brands. Not many people realize this, but cheap sports cars almost always sell well, and the 914-4 is no exception with 115,000 produced. However, this 914-6 is much more difficult to find with 3,332, partly because production ended in 1972 while the cheaper one continued four years longer. As such, these things are going for over $150,000 right now.
Jay usually examines cars through his past experiences, so to him, this is probably not amazing because Volkswagen of America imported them; they had them in their dealerships. But a Rolex 24 racing driver is going to review the Porsche 914 purely on the way it handles.
Randy immediately tells us that he drove this classic around Laguna Seca Raceway and it’s an amazingly well-balanced machine that barely required him to use the brakes around this tricky circuit. The race car driver trolls the audience by saying the beat a new 911 GT2 RS, which says more about his skill and ambition as a driver because that’s a 700-horsepower monster.
Even if this has a Porsche badge on it, the engineering of the 914 was handed over to Porsche, where Ferdinand Piech was in charge of its development. GT2 RS aside, this particular version really was better than a 911 because it’s one of sixteen 914-6 GT race cars. These weren’t designed for the road and so they came with race engines making 220 horsepower, shared from the Porsche 906.
Jay Leno also gets a real kick out of a 1970 car that came with a 5-speed manual and all-road disc brakes. It has a gigantic fuel tank in the front trunk and a sway bar in the rear trunk. You’re never going to see another car with a sway bar in such a detached position. A similar GT race car finished 6th overall at Le Mans that year which is amazing when you consider the pedigree of Ferrari track cars it went up against.