By on June 13, 2013

09 - 1974 Porsche 914 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere was a time, maybe a decade ago, when you saw Porsche 914s and Fiat 124 Sport Spiders in about equal numbers in self-service wrecking yards. I still find the Fiats these days, but junked 914s have become quite rare. That makes today’s Junkyard Find something a bit special.
02 - 1974 Porsche 914 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one, which I spotted a few weeks back in a San Francisco Bay Area yard, seems fairly complete, and the interior isn’t so bad.
05 - 1974 Porsche 914 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe engine is there, all accessories still intact.
15 - 1974 Porsche 914 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHoly cow, it even has the factory exhaust system!
12 - 1974 Porsche 914 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSince the body is pretty well bashed up and it has an impressive coating of dust, my guess is that it got into a multi-car fender-bender many years ago, then sat outdoors while its owner dithered about fixing it.
03 - 1974 Porsche 914 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinGiven that non-perfect 914s aren’t worth much nowadays, this car is worth more in parts than as a complete vehicle.
08 - 1974 Porsche 914 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLet’s hope that other Northern California 914s benefit from the demise of this one.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

47 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1974 Porsche 914...”


  • avatar
    FuzzyPlushroom

    I’m more scared by its neighbours. I suppose it’s inevitable that the less-stylish 700s will follow the 200s into the yards; it’s just sad to think that my first $200 740 might be the only one I own.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      I say its a mistake to scrap any RWD Volvo, all that Swedish steel, engineering, and etc. Its sad to think about what goes into a cars manufacturing, engineering, design, marketing, testing, only to end up sitting in a scrapyard.

      • 0 avatar
        skor

        My neighbor had a 95 740 with 114K on the clock and it took her a year to get rid of it. The clear coat was gone. She bumped the car once, no body damage, but the air bags popped. the AC was out. It had numerous little problems that would have been easy to take care of one by one but seemed insurmountable when taken on all at once. Eventually, she sold it to a high school kid for $1K. Kid drove it for less than a year before it ended up in the bone yard.

        Even with Volvos, you need to know when to say “when”.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    “Since the body is pretty well bashed up and it has an impressive coating of dust, my guess is that it got into a multi-car fender-bender many years ago, then sat outdoors while its owner dithered about fixing it.”

    That’s not outdoor dust, that’s parking deck or warehouse dust. The fairly good condition of the interior also makes me doubt it was sitting outside.

    Nice find, Murilee.

  • avatar
    J.Emerson

    Man, look at that interior. Back when a Porsche interior was a Porsche interior and not some wannabee Mercedes cow-lined sensory deprivation tank.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Nice ! .

    That’s _not_ a Factory muffler there…

    I see the never present tranny shift linkage cover is still intact , this usually means NO KIDDIES have owned the car so it’s worth fixing .

    It appears to be a 1.7 Liter with the basic (crude really) Bosch D-Jetronic fuel injection system ~ a wonderful system *if* you leave it along , no one ever does apart from the guys who also don’t mindlessly remove important under carriage weather covers =8-) .

    Yes , I’m a Fanboi for the fun , CHEAP Porsche styled VW’s ~ many had this same typ of collision damage as the suspension was tricky ~ let off the throttle in any corner and it’d *instantly* spin like a top , usually hitting the nearest stationary object w=in the dead center of a rear wheel arch , just like this one did .

    IIRC the fastest bone stock ones were the 1.8 L with AFC instead of the pokey D-Jet .

    Most of these rusted out in about 5 years , cheap a$$ed VW didn’t bother to dip them in a phosphate bath after the body tubs were finished welding , dammit .

    I had a ’76 2.0 L , D-Jet , air pump and all , I loved it but eventually my big brother ruined it so I sold it off and still miss it .
    I’ve never seen a 914-6 in a Pick-A-Part yet , that’d be neat .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    BMWnut

    It would be interesting to see how much of it is left before it goes to the crusher. Any chance of a follow up on this one, Murilee?

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    Some sources (Wikipedia) estimate that over 20% of these little guys are still on the road (often considerably modified) some 35 years after they quit rolling off the assembly line. Quite a tribute to German automobile engineering of that era.

    The Fiat 124 Spider, by comparison, was THE best looking affordable sports car of its day (normally such esthetic judgments should be tempered for differences in perspective, but not in this case). My soon to be bride owned one. My goodness they looked good together cruisin’ up and down the road. Mechanically though, oops. At least as far as the car was concerned.

    Part that little sucker out. Good ‘on ya mate.

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      FIATS

      I don’t like topic drifts but I agree those old Fiats were neat little cars ~ my big brother bought a rag top 124 in the 1970’s in Boston and ran it hard for several years .

      I also really like the Bertone Fiat X19 Coupes ~ never quite enough to go buy one of the many that are still around in good shape for $1,500 though =8-) .

      Several of my Son’s MotorHead buddies have bought them , tuned and repaired them carefully like no one 9not ever the Fiat DEALER for chri$$akes) ever did and Lo ! fun to drive faster than you’d expect little cars that were amazingly cheap to operate .

      -Nate

      • 0 avatar
        jimbob457

        Big problem with Fiats in those days. They tended to be beautiful junque. In most ways their engineering was OK. In other obvious ways, not so much. Do you know that when the driver’s seat of a 124 Spider falls fully forward, it honks the f**king horn?

        The joke went that MY car was assembled on Monday, right after the Sunday Communist Party rally, and before the workers had time to sleep off their hangovers.

        • 0 avatar

          I’ve been surprised how many 124’s I see out there, under the circumstances. They seem to be obscured by Alfa Spiders and MG’s, but once aware of what the 124 is they seem more common. There’s at least two in my town (one had been on Craigslist), and in Sacramento I used to drive by a Fiat specialty shop that would have maybe three or four outside… and a Delorean on one occasion. In any case, it’s a beautiful car to behold. The rear and roof (especially with a hard shell) has a slight Lancia Fulvia flavor to it.

          • 0 avatar
            jimbob457

            I am with you. There must be a way to make something as drop dead gorgeous as the Fiat 124 Spider not live forever.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I’m going to feel a bit sad if Murilee ever finds a 944…

    Unless said 944 was in the condition of the Juggalo Subaru XT. Then it would be okay, no use fixing up a car that got in a massive collision.

    • 0 avatar
      Johnny Bouncewell

      I see at least one 944 every time I go to the JY. Murlee won’t feature one because they’re far too common.

      Usually, they’re pretty beat and have obviously lived a rough life before getting dumped in the yard. Thrashed interior, heads off, and rattle can paint seems to be the typical condition…but they are there…always.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        I’m worried because I really would like to own a 944, but I see them so rarely that I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to find one.

        911s? Boxsters? Those I see rather often. 944s? It’s a special occasion if I see a 944.

        • 0 avatar

          The 944 is more affordable and a great handler, but as always parts are a pain. The engines cost a pretty penny to have rebuilt, even if it’s “just” an inline four.

          I was talking to an ex-owner of a 944 S, and he mentioned that the S received (essentially) half the 928 engine. I haven’t gone to confirm that myself, but it wouldn’t surprise me. The 944 did seem more common 10 years ago, for sure. There might have been three or four in my town for sale or nearby, and another out in the junk yard waiting for a rebuild (it was for sale, not out for being junked).

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Fortunately, whenever I do see a 944, it’s usually in really good shape. So while dumb hooners sent 944s to a premature grave, at least the 944s that are surviving are in great shape.

            Too bad Porsche will probably never make a new 944. It would compete too much with the Boxter and Cayman.

          • 0 avatar

            The ones I was seeing years ago were sadly modified, NoGoYo. Not by much (fart tip and faux turbo badge, anyone?), but they weren’t babied, either.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            All 944 models received half of a 928 engine. The 944S and 944S2 were the 4-valve per cylinder versions. The 924S also received half of a 928 engine, but regular 924s and 924 Turbos didn’t have 928 engine architecture. As for fart cans and turbo badges, fart cans may well have been inspired by the 944 stock exhaust system and there were turbo factory cars.

          • 0 avatar

            Thanks for clarifying, CJinSD.

            The 924’s I knew were the thrashy VW based engines. In fact, there was a house near my school that had two 924’s sitting out in the driveway.

          • 0 avatar
            jimbob457

            If you want the little beast from Stuttgart at on the cheap, try the 996.

          • 0 avatar
            Cubista

            One of the editors of this site is based in Atlanta, GA, right?

            There’s a repair shop on my drive to work on Buford Hwy in Duluth called International Car Service…and I’m not kidding, there are DOZENS of 944’s out front…it’s rotary-dial alloy wheel Heaven. I don’t know if they’re all awaiting repairs, or if they’re all restoration projects, or if they’re all for sale or what, but a story on that shop and all those Jake Ryan specials would make a helluva TTAC entry.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          The Achilles heel of the 944 is the timing belt service. It’s roughly $1500 every 30-40K miles depending on the year. So the 1st and 2nd owners did it, but the kid who bought it third hand didn’t, and BOOM! Then he finds out that the urban legends about Porsche parts prices are utterly true, and the car goes to the yard.

          I’m rehabbing a 924S, which has the same motor but a lot more cheapish VW bits around it. Still crazy expensive to deal with. To put it in perspective, it needs roughly the same amount and type of work as my last project, an Alfa Spider. It will have cost roughly double by the time I am done, not including that timing belt service! Labor of love at this point.

          I kind of wish I had gotten a 914, engine parts are cheaper, and I have not owned a mid-engine car.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Well that explains why I don’t see 944s often, while 80s 911s are still a somewhat frequent sight…

            Question is, what is it with cars and needing timing chains/belts every so often? And unlike with, say, oil, there don’t seem to be improve timing chains/belts that lengthen the useful interval.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            ’80s 911s are actually cheaper for routine maintenance than the 924S/944, and even more importantly they never depreciated to the point that penniless Frat boys could pick them up. No water cooling pump or hoses, no radiator, no timing belt. They aren’t any harder to work on either, though the parts are even more expensive when you need them. Price of entry is of course MUCH higher. God help you if you blow one up though!

            Timing belts have certainly improved. The change interval on my FIAT Abarth is 110K miles. Most VWs are over 100K now too. Even Porsche greatly increased the interval over the years, from 30-40K to 75K on the later cars. What makes the early cars a little scary is there was no margin in it – a lot of cars went BOOM! at 35K. The Porsche setup is also notoriously difficult to get the tension correct on, and they had a really crap automatic tensioner for a while that probably made things worse. Overtighten it and you eat a $400 waterpump, under-tighten it and it skips a few teeth and valves get intimate with pistons.

            Very few cars with timing chains ever need them replaced other than at really huge mileages. There are occasional gaffs of course. 90’s Saab 9000s are notorious for chain issues, as are 80’s MB V8s with the single-row chain. Usually replacing a timing chain is MUCH more expensive, as they aren’t usually designed to be changed. With a belt, at least SOME thought has to be given to servicing it. Usually. Some Ferraris require engine removal supposedly. :-)

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            The problem with old Porsches is they predate expensive labor rates. We had a 924S from 1986-2004, and it wasn’t exceptionally expensive to get serviced at the dealership during the first few years. Unfortunately, the dealer had financial problems stemming from an attempt to expand into a less lucrative market and wound up selling. Then the dealership went through a series of owners, some more ethical than others. One of them positively shafted us on a service that hit four figures back when they used to call you if your bill exceeded $75. That sent me to G&W Motorwerkes, an independent Porsche specialist. They were fairly reasonable, and I think the timing and balance shaft belt replacement, performed by a shop that had raced Porsches in the 24 hours of Daytona a couple weeks earlier, was still under $600.

            I don’t think an air-cooled Porsche 911 would be any cheaper to properly maintain. The difference is that their values justify the expense while 944 derivatives’ values do not. You’ve got to really love them for it to be worthwhile. With a 911, even an oil change is $300 at dealer rates. That’s 10 quarts of synthetic, two filters, and 2 hours of Porsche labor. The dry sump oiling system is an important part of the engine’s cooling system and clearances are all air cooled-loose, so don’t scrimp on oil changes! The 993 was the first 911 with hydraulic valve lash adjustment. The others need need valve adjustments at good old frequent intervals. Its the kind of thing that used to be fairly cheap when the engine was designed 50 years ago, but is now priced like the government is paying for it. Beyond these designed in expenses, each model of 911 has its idiosyncrasies, so best budget for a blown up air box on an SC or a clogged secondary air-injection on a 993. From what I’ve seen the operating expenses of 911s are easily up there with water cooled Porsches, but they do keep their value ever so much better.

          • 0 avatar
            jimbob457

            As a collector/investor or track day guy the air cooled 911’s are the only thing. For a daily driver the more modern and water cooled 996 and 997 are the only thing. At least by comparison with other Porsches.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d rock a first-gen Boxster S over an early 996.

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    non-rusty 914’s are certainly worth rescuing and fixing. You should take a picture of the lower part of the engine bay behind the passenger. If there is no rust there, then the tub is probably worth saving.

  • avatar

    There was a 914 sitting in the yard outside my NorCal town, too. Still had the Porsche alloys on there. I do love these things, and would have a 914 or 914/6 if I could find one. There’d been a white one parked on my windy route to Modesto (as opposed to the other, straighter routes) that apparently does get out once in a while. Can’t remember the last time I saw it, though.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    @Harvey: To tell you the truth, I kinda would be tempted to put on one of those “upturned” mufflers. You know, the ones with the tips coming up diagonally? I’ve seen a 944 with one of those and it works.

    But I did find a nice one about 15 miles away for $8,500 that hasn’t been hooned to death. That’s all I want.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    @jimbob: 996? You mean the first non-watercooled 911 with those funky headlights? Why would I want one of those when I want a 944?

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    @krhodes1: Now you just make me wish I own a red 80s Carrera 3.2 Targa with black Fuchs wheels.

    Which I have seen a couple times…somewhere.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    Any Toyota MR2 sitting at the wreckers? Fiero?

  • avatar
    nrd515

    Every time I see a 914 or a pic of a 914, I think of the neighbor’s blindingly green ( I have no idea what the color’s real name was)one. The wife drove it, and apparently she must have thought nobody would notice it, or everyone was color blind, because she constantly parked it in front of two motels on one of the main roads, where she frequently would “entertain” guys at. My mother would just laugh every time we would pass by and see it. One day, she went into a room and when she came out, the 914 was gone. It was found, trashed and burned. It was replaced with a red 944 of some type, which she drove for a long long time. Her finances went into the crapper about the time the 944 was going, and she wound up with a used 1st gen Taurus. What a letdown that must have been! She was “popular” well into her 50’s. About the only people who were unaware of her affairs were her kids and husband, her sister would joke about it behind her back, as did pretty much everyone that lived on our block. Except for a few guys who strangely became quiet when she was mentioned. Ohhh…

    • 0 avatar
      jimbob457

      Hot damn! There was something about 914’s and sex back in the day. Usually, it tended to work out for the best. Kind of like a German sports car – fast and fun, but also essentially reliable.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    JimBob Said ”

    As a collector/investor or track day guy the air cooled 911′s are the only thing. For a daily driver the more modern and water cooled 996 and 997 are the only thing. At least by comparison with other Porsches. ”

    ?? what about the venerable 356 & 912’s ?? . both were well designed and sturdy , handle well and are cheap to maitain .

    I gave my Son my old ’63 356 B Coupe , he made it into his Track Car .

    Sadly , I preferred my rusty , hundred different owner 5 speed ’67 912 to the 356 , that’s why I gave it to him .

    Most of the Porsche mechanics I know , warn me away from any 911 due to common can chain tensioner / ramp failure .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    A college roommate bought one , a 1974 914 2.0 when she graduated in 1977. It was that light blue color . I remember driving it , at the time I didn’t think it was all that fast and the transmission seemed a bit balky . Even for me , a VW Type III owner at the time , the engine compartment looked cramped , and difficult to work on . The interior shots here make me recall how thinly padded the seats were . The car was a disappointment for her , the air conditioning crapped out fairly soon and a lot of the interior parts – locks , heater etc. also gave out , and she sold it after a couple of years .A friend’s father also had a 1974 914 2.0 , he also disliked the car and traded it in on a new Accord after a couple of years .

  • avatar

    As a very wee lad, my mother picked up a used 914 and would take me to 1st grade in it. There was simply no one cooler arriving every morning. But even the VW Porsches will not tolerate neglect and it say from 3rd grade until 6th grade, when it was sold to my cousin, where it sat for the next decade. At 18 I came to his house wanting to buy the car to learn he had sold it that day.

    Even as a 911 guy now, I have a soft spot and if I ever get the Leno-esque garage majal I want, one of these will be parked in it.

  • avatar
    Archie P

    There’s a guy in England restoring a 914 that makes this one look in showroom condition! I’ve owned one since the early 80s and now restoring it – nothing too serious, some rust here and there. Drives like a hot darn, only equalled by the wife’s Alfa. i like 912s too. Less BS than the 911, and sure I’ve heard about collapsed cam towers that will cost you the GDP of most of South America!


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States