Rare Rides: A Prototype 1970 Porsche 914 Murene, by Heuliez

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides a prototype 1970 porsche 914 murene by heuliez

Today’s Rare Ride is the second vehicle in the series designed by French coachbuilder Heuliez, and was a one-off as part of a Porsche 914 styling competition.

The 914 was a joint Volkswagen-Porsche project and entered the Porsche lineup as the brand’s entry-level vehicle for the 1970 model year. There were two basic versions available, the base 914 with a 1.7-liter flat-four, or the 914/6 with a 2.0-liter flat-six. The former mill was a VW engine, so was derided among the Porsche purists of the day. The six-cylinder came from Porsche and thus was more acceptable, but the 914 was still tainted with the dueling auras of cheap and Volkswagen.

Before the 914 entered production, Porsche decided to have a contest to see who could restyle the rather plain-looking 914 into something better. An early production example was originally obtained by a company called Brissonneau et Lotz, who planned to implement a 914 body of their (employee’s) design. The 914 edit idea came from employee Jacques Cooper, a designer who was a former employee of Raymond Loewy. But B et L had some money troubles, and couldn’t afford to start the project. It didn’t progress past the design sketch stage, which Cooper penned.

The 914 build was passed on to designer Henri Heuliez, who was still new to the automotive design industry. Cooper managed the transition from Brissonneau to Heuliez, and Heuliez started work immediately. The 914 rework went from a paper sketch to a driving prototype in 10 weeks, as Heuliez was eager to prove he could complete a quality car body in short order.

Nearly all original panels of the 914 were replaced, the boxy shape tossed in favor of a wedge with upswept lines toward the rear. B-pillars were widened and included cooling gills that were formerly found on the hood above the midship engine. There were also taillamps unique to the Murene in place of the Porsche units. Perhaps most notably, the 914’s coupe form was edited into a hatchback.

The Heuliez design took the stage for the first time at the Paris Motor Show of 1970, where it was one of three wedge-shaped 914 design exercises completed that year. ItalDesign completed another under the direction of boss Giorgetto Giugiaro that was called Tapiro. A third take was designed by Eurostyle Torino. The Heuliez design received an official name that fall at the Geneva Motor Show: Murene.

After the show circuit and per agreement, the Murene was the property of Brissonneau. Porsche decided to drop the 914 restyling idea for unstated reasons. Brissonneau didn’t hold on to the Murene for long, and Heuliez bought it from them in 1971. Heuliez immediately repainted the Murene from light brown to a super Seventies two-tone orange and beige and put it in his personal garage. Heuliez owned the Murene through 2012 (near the time of Heuliez’ closure) and restored it before its sale to a third private owner.

The Murene sold to its fourth happy owner in August 2021, for $159,914.

[Images: YouTube]

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  • Mjz Mjz on Sep 15, 2021

    It looks like one of those weird fiberglass kit cars. Simply horrendous. Not up to fun, funky French design standards at all.

  • Renewingmind Renewingmind on Sep 17, 2021

    It isn’t pretty but it seems like a pretty good deal for a one of one custom rebody of a classic Porsche. And I absolutely agree on the Opel GT vibes the headlights give off.

  • Jeff S Corey--We know but we still want to give our support to you and let TTAC know that your articles are excellent and better than what the typical articles are.
  • Jeff S A sport utility vehicle or SUV is a car classification that combines elements of road-going passenger cars with features from off-road vehicles, such as raised ground clearance and four-wheel drive.There is no commonly agreed-upon definition of an SUV and usage of the term varies between countries. Thus, it is "a loose term that traditionally covers a broad range of vehicles with four-wheel drive." Some definitions claim that an SUV must be built on a light truck chassis; however, broader definitions consider any vehicle with off-road design features to be an SUV. A [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossover_(automobile)]crossover SUV[/url] is often defined as an SUV built with a unibody construction (as with passenger cars), however, the designations are increasingly blurred because of the capabilities of the vehicles, the labelling by marketers, and electrification of new models.The predecessors to SUVs date back to military and low-volume models from the late 1930s, and the four-wheel drive station wagons and carryalls that began to be introduced in 1949. The 1984 [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep_Cherokee_(XJ)]Jeep Cherokee (XJ)[/url] is considered to be the first SUV in the modern style. Some SUVs produced today use unibody construction; however, in the past, more SUVs used body-on-frame construction. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the popularity of SUVs greatly increased, often at the expense of the popularity of large [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedan_(automobile)]sedans[/url] and station wagons.More recently, smaller SUVs, mid-size, and crossovers have become increasingly popular. SUVs are currently the world's largest automotive segment and accounted for 45.9% of the world's passenger car market in 2021. SUVs have been criticized for a variety of environmental and safety-related reasons. They generally have poorer fuel efficiency and require more resources to manufacture than smaller vehicles, contributing more to climate change and environmental degradation. Between 2010 and 2018 SUVs were the second largest contributor to the global increase in carbon emissions worldwide. Their higher center of gravity increases their risk of rollovers. Their larger mass increases their stopping distance, reduces visibility, and increases damage to other road users in collisions. Their higher front-end profile makes them at least twice as likely to kill pedestrians they hit. Additionally, the psychological sense of security they provide influences drivers to drive less cautiously. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sport_utility_vehicleWith the above definition of SUV any vehicle that is not a pickup truck if it is enclosed, doesn't have a trunk, and is jacked up with bigger tires. If the green activists adhere to this definition of what an SUV is there will be millions of vehicles with flat tires which include HRVs, Rav4s, CRVs, Ford Escapes, Buick Encores, and many of compact and subcompact vehicles. The green movement is going to have to recruit millions of new followers and will be busy flattening millions of tires in the US and across the globe. Might be easier to protest.
  • Sckid213 I actually do agree that most Nissans are ultimately junk. (I also think many BMWs are also). I was talking challenging the 3 in terms of driving dynamics. Agree all were failures in sales.
  • THX1136 More accurately said, we are seeing exponential growth in the manufacturing capabilities in this market. Unless, of course, all those vehicles are sold with customers waiting until more a produced so they can buy. Indeed, there are certainly more EVs being purchased now than back in 2016. Is demand outstripping manufacturing? Maybe or maybe not. I sincerely don't know which is why I ask.
  • ToolGuy The page here (linked in the writeup) is ridiculously stupid https://www.tyreextinguishers.com/how-to-spot-an-suvLike, seriously stupid, e.g., A) Not sure that particular Volvo is killing the planet as quickly as some other vehicles we might choose. B) A Juke is "huge"??? C) The last picture shows a RAV4 Hybrid?
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