A Tale Of The Undead Volksporsche: 914 All Over Again?
End of the 60s, Volkswagen and Porsche cooperated on a budget sportscar called the 914. Soon, one of the many feuds erupted between Wolfsburg and Zuffenhausen, and the mid-engined twoseater was sold as a “VW-Porsche” in Europe. Memories of the boxy, targa-topped car flash through my mind as I read in Germany’s AUTOBILD that Volkswagen might bring back a new Volksporsche.
“Volksporsche.” Porsche for the people. That’s what people promptly called it when it was launched, spiteful souls even shortened it to “VoPo” – which also was the abbreviation of the Volkspolizei, the police of East Germany, not very much in favor in the West, or the East. In the U.S., the car was spared the humiliation, and it was sold as a Porsche.
If you looked hard enough, you could find “Volkswagenwerk” on the identification plate of the 4 banger. The six-cylinder version was built at Porsche. The 6 banger sold poorly, the 4 pot version was a runaway hit and cannibalized the sales of the 911. The car needed a firm hand in the turns. The Neunvierzehner’s claim to shame was the hole behind the front passenger seat. This was where the battery had been placed, and seeping battery acid accelerated the rust already aggressively munching away on the budget steel used to build car. No big deal: When the battery fell out of the car, the 914 stopped automatically.
1976, the episode was over. No more Volksporsches.
And now, it might be back again. Beginning in 2014, at least according to AUTOBILD’s dubious sources, a new, mid engined (possibly targa-topped) budget-priced sportscar will be launched. At a starting price of €27,500 ($38,000 in today’s $).
Built from the new kit developed in the Volkswagen realm, three different versions will be available, an Audi, a Porsche, and a Volkswagen. Not just rebadged, totally different looking, swears the paper. Brand separation will happen by horsepower: The Volksporsche VW will be powered by meek 110 to 180 hp. The Porsche (rumored moniker “Porsche 550”) will receive engines with 210 and 250 hp. Strangely enough, the Audi version will be given a 350 hp engine. Again, all as per AUTOBILD.
A lot of water will have flown down the Mittellandkanal before 2014. But hey, stranger things did happen.
PS: No mention of hybrid, plug-in, hydrogen, chloroform, or any other alternative propellants. Not even diesel talk. There still is time.
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