A Friend is More than a Fiberglass Top

Porsche 914 Ad

Our mid-engine car is a fair-weather friend that won’t let you down in foul weather. On sunny days, the top snaps off in less than a minute, stores under the rear trunk lid and takes up almost no room at all. On rainy days the top locks back on almost as fast. And because it’s fiberglass, it won’t leak or rip. Unlike fabric.

But a friend is more than a fiberglass top. First of all, it’s a two-seater in the classic sports car tradition.

And right behind the two seats is an engine in our race car tradition.

The mid-engine concept gives the Porsche 914 a whole bundle of advantages over ordinary cars.

It holds the road better because its centre of gravity is lower.

It corners better, because there’s no heavy frond end to steer and no heavy back end to slide out.

It brakes faster and saves tire life because all the wheels carry a more equal load.

It also comes with a built-in roll bar, electronic fuel injection, 5 speed synchromesh transmission and two trunks.

Best of all, you can get all of this for a whole lot less than you would expect to pay to own a Porsche. Really.

But don’t just settle for an impression from an ad. Test drive the Porsche 914 yourself. Swing it into a few corners. Pop off the fiberglass top.

You’ll see the light.

Nice Shot! 914 Rally Car

You don’t often think of the Porsche 914 as a rally car, but this shot from the 2010 Boucles de Spa rally in Belgium shows it’s versatility yet again. She may among the forgotten and unloved Porsches but I’m always impressed by them at vintage races, where they often participate in 4 or 5 different race groups—another sign of their range. This is, after all, a car that finished sixth overall at the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans, and deserves more props than it gets.

Fantastic bokeh in this shot.

(via Bulgogi Brothers)

Update: Guillaume T has been identified as the photographer. It’s an amazing shot, as are the rest of his photos from the event, which you can find on his Flickr. Thanks Guillaume!

Porsche 917s Are Tiny

Porsche 917 and 914Sorry for all the Porsche 917 posts late—you know what? Scratch that. There’s no sense in apologizing for it. I’d probably make damn-near every post about this majestic ride if I could.

Now the videos we saw earlier this week of a 917 (reproduction) in traffic do a bit to give you the true stature of the machine. It’s giant reputation and it’s long low proportions have, like the 910, always made it seem to me like a larger machine. Low- yes; but big. The long swept tail in some iterations make it seem even more so. Even though I’ve seen a 917 in person on the track, and through the window at Symbolic Motors, I’ve never been close enough to actually take in the true scale of the beast.

But this photo from Sports Car Digest of a Gulf liveried 917 parked next to a Porsche 914 on the track at Spa-Francorchamp, 1970, really hits me with the true scale of the thing. I’ve seen hundreds of photos of the Porsche 917: On the track, in the pits, on the big screen. None of them have, for whatever reason, given me a true sense of how small this incredible machine is. I’ve driven a 914, a car so small that I could barely shift into 2nd gear without uncomfortably pushing against my leg. The 917 is TINY.

Maybe it’s like how people are surprised when a famous actor is short when they see them in person, but the 917 seems like too much of a giant to be this small.