1976 Porsche 914 Targa
The Porsche 914 was a great example of the right car at the wrong time. Porsche faithful weren't ready for a mid-engined entry-level Porsche, but the passage of time proves that cars like this 1976 Porsche 914 are a very affordable way to have an air-cooled Porsche on a budget, and it's one that doesn't turn around and bite you in the corners! This bright yellow Porsche looks like it should cost a lot more than it does. You can lay some of the blame on the fact that 914s haven't caught on with collectors in a meaningful way, and maybe some on the fact that it was designed from the start to be relatively affordable. But I think that does this neat little mid-engined sports car a real disservice, because even at a glance it looks like a party on wheels. The bright yellow paint isn't subtle, but if you have a Porsche sports car do you really want to stay anonymous? Panel fit is good and these were well-built cars with Porsche's traditionally high standards of build quality, and time does nothing to diminish that fact. The paint is older but shines up nicely and for a machine that you're going to want to use regularly, it's more than presentable. The black details, including the big bumper up front and the targa roof, look excellent against the yellow paint and show very little evidence of UV damage or fading. Lenses, stainless trim, and the luggage rack out back all attest to the fact that someone has really cared for this car. The interior is highlighted by the funky plaid seats, which were part of the package in 1976 and make this Porsche an awesome trip back in time. The thin-shell buckets are featherweight and comfortable, and the driving position is arguably better than that of an early 911. Big, round dials with the tach in the center will look familiar to anyone who has been in an air-cooled Porsche in the past, with secondary controls that are sensibly, if a little cryptically laid out. There's a newer Blaupunkt AM/FM/CD stereo in the center of the dash and we have to admit that the green carpets work rather well in the yellow car with plaid seats. The roof lifts off easily and stows in the surprisingly spacious trunk, making this a true open-air cruiser. And with both front and rear trunks, there's a great deal of storage space. The engine is an air-cooled 2.0 liter flat-four, a machine familiar to those of you who also may have driven a 912. The car is mid-engined, meaning that the engine lives right behind the passenger compartment and ahead of the rear axle, which is a direct contrast to the rear-engined 911, whose tail-happy antics are well documented. Service access is actually decent since it was designed to be accessed from below, but we'll admit it's not as easy as just lifting the hood (just ask Boxter owners how they like it). It starts with a familiar flat-four bark from the dual exhaust and idles like it's eager to get on with it. The 4-speed manual transmission snaps through the gears neatly, with shift feel somewhere between a Beetle and a 911, and the all-independent suspension is competent. In fact, this car is an awesome example of the idea that it's far more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow. Not that this is a terribly slow car, but thanks to its high cornering limits and benign road manners, there's more suspension than the engine can use, and that means FUN. Powerful disc brakes are there to bail you out and it sits on 14-inch alloy wheels with recent Dunlop radials. With a stack of service receipts, this neat little 914 delivers big fun, great looks, and a lot of charisma for not a lot of cash. Hard to go wrong here! Call today!