A natural aversion to the modern car has led this writer on a mad search for automobile excellence across the city of Nashville. I am seeking cars that, like a good horse, the driver can care for with his own hands, and in return, it makes him a master of the road or trail. The path led me to the curt owner of a Porsche 914, a car that was tested on the tracks of extreme endurance races and emerged battered and covered with laurels. The owner is a car salesman and a mechanic. I am an Automobile Evangelist. We share a disdain for Big Government.
The Porsche 914 is a tough and nimble little machine. It took 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the 1970 Nürburgring Marathon de la Route, an endurance race lasting 86 hours that Porsche would use to test parts under extreme wear. It beat BMW, Datsun, Volvo, Alfa Romeo, Triumph, all the big names, and its infamous brother — the 911.
With the engine directly behind the passengers, all of its weight sits between the axles, so traction is shared equally between the tires and it has a quicker turn - Imagine a figure skater locked in a spin, as she brings her weight into the center, she spins faster. It’s lower, wider, and lighter than the 911. It’s Porsche’s go-cart model.
The 914 is fuel injected and has disc brakes — both state of the art at the time. It has front and rear trunks with enough room for two to take a weekend trip, an air cooled engine, a removable top that fits in the trunk, pop-up headlights, and a tight decal.
Air cooled engines are great; it’s a bulletproof cooling system compared to standard liquid cooling. They can’t make them anymore because the government deemed them too loud and slapped them with a mandate. Good, I say! Those dirty car people make too much of a racket and they’re always endangering others. Reign them in!