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914 [1970 à 1976]

The 914-6 and the Cayman GT4: Siblings Separated by Fifty Years

Small, light, uncorrupted by gadgets, and honest. Both the 914-6 and the Cayman GT4 might not be the most powerful of the most focused Porsches, but my do they deliver the goods. Enough power in a perfectly balanced chassis is a recipe which will always go far. Fifty years ago, Porsche began developing a six-cylinder mid-engined road car, and the latest Cayman GT4 carries that flag forward with five decades of innovation behind it.

The 3,338 units of the 914/6 top model came directly from Zuffenhausen from 1969 to 1972 took the two-liter flat-six from a 911T and placed it further ahead in a shorter, wider body. The result: a car that provided superior driving dynamics which is available again in the Cayman GT4 and its open-top sibling, the Boxster Spyder. These cars might not have the wildest statistics, but the driving experience they deliver is second to none.

Massive turbochargers and four wheel-drive aren’t necessary when the car’s balance is perfect and the power is just enough to generate a little wheelspin at the ragged edge. By keeping the overhangs short and placing the bulk of mass in the middle of the car, the polar moment is reduced and the willingness to change direction is increased.

No need to turn off the aids in this involving car.

Without the delay or lumpy delivery of a turbocharged motor, these two gems provide the scream, response, and linearity one needs to find the edge and dance on it. The driver and the passenger sit « closer to the machine, » as Andreas Preuninger puts it poetically. For anyone who’s grown accustomed to the thrills and urgency a naturally-aspirated, high-revving, perfectly balanced sports car can provide, nothing compares. “We build both cars for true fans, for racers and purists who have waited for these models and whom we don’t need to persuade of the benefits of the mid-engine concept,” emphasizes Andreas Preuninger.

Not that the newest Cayman GT4 and Boxster Spyder are lacking in horsepower. With 420 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque from the naturally-aspirated four-liter, there’s more than enough. Yet, grunt is never the highlight of these cars; the sublime balance, outrageous grip from a lightweight chassis derived from a GT3, and newly developed tires from Michelin and Dunlop make this car accessible and confidence-inspiring. “Thanks to the modern suspension kinematics and the high grip of the tires, mid-engine sports cars like the GT4 or Spyder drive like they’re from another planet, even without vehicle stability control systems activated,” says Markus Atz, project manager for motorsport GT street vehicles. Not even the most powerful, grippiest, stat-heavy supercar, can provide the same sense of immersion and excitement. These gems provide a timeless experience—one best appreciated by the hardcore, the skilled, and the thrill-seeking.

Two siblings separated by fifty years.

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Right in the Middle

Fifty years ago Porsche brought the mid-engine from the racetrack to series production with the 914. The latest incarnations of the engine in front of the rear axle include the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 and the 718 Boxster Spyder.

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Porsche 914 : un essai routier pas comme les autres

Dans le cadre des célébrations entourant les 50 ans de modèles à moteur central chez Porsche , Le Guide de l’auto a eu l’opportunité de prendre le volant d’un modèle important dans l’histoire du constructeur : la 914. Pourquoi est-ce un modèle important? D’abord parce qu’il s’agit du premier modèle …

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Here’s What It’s Like To Experience A 914-6 For The First Time

Let’s get this out of the way right now- The Straight Pipes got their title wrong. The first mid-engine Porsche was 356-001 from 1948. Indeed, the hosts note that right at the beginning of the video, despite the title. There were also 84 550 Spyders (14 works and 70 customer/road cars), and numerous other race cars prior to the 914. The 914 was the first serial-production, mid-engine Porsche road car, but that makes for a terrible Youtube title, so we’ll have to let that slide.

The 914 is new ground for Yuri and Jakob, as the 1970 914-6 featured in the video is the oldest car they have ever reviewed. It is also a legitimate museum piece belonging to the Porsche museum. To top it off, neither of them has driven a car with a dogleg manual gearbox, and they found some of the 914’s features a bit puzzling. The three-point belts in the silver 914 1.8 featured were especially confusing to the hosts- people our age have all used inertia reel belts and slip-adjust lap belts, but nothing from the last few decades has slip-adjust three point belts. To folks born after about 1970, this sort of restraint is a relative unknown.

The hosts try to stay positive, but it’s clear that the 914 is pretty far out of their comfort zone. The 914’s defining minimalism makes this a tough piece for a pair of reviewers who love to dive in deep. There are almost zero interior features beyond the bare necessities (and you know we like minimalism around here). It’s a sports car, but it doesn’t at all conform to the modern paradigm. It is not particularly fast (even by 1970 standards), the brakes are weak by modern standards, and while they praised the handling and ride, they did mention that the car is quite a bit of work to drive. [Ed. Note: Maybe by comparison to modern cars? I’ve never found 914s to be anything other than a joy.]

To them, it seems that the car is more interesting as a reference point for how far cars have come. It is not an end in and of itself. This is just the beginning of their Porsche experience, however, as the pair are spending some time in Germany driving Porsche cars from Porsche’s private collection. It will be interesting to see what Porsche hands them the keys to next.

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Exposition « 50 ans de la Porsche 914 » au Porsche Museum

Afin de célébrer le cinquantenaire d’un modèle typique et légendaire – la Porsche 914, le Musée Porsche a organisé une exposition temporaire se tenant du 2 juin au 7 juillet 2019 : Typisch Porsche – 50 Jahre Porsche 914″. Pour l’occasion, 12 modèles rares et exceptionnels sont exposés, permettant aux visiteurs et aux passionnés de …

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