The Porsche 914 is a mid-engined sports car built in collaboration to Volkswagen and sold between 1969 and 1976. The Volkswagen versions were known as the 914/4S, while the Porsche version as 914/6s. For Volkswagen the 914 replaced the Karmann-Ghia, while for Porsche it was just another sports car added to the line-up.
Back in the mid-60s VW was looking for a successor to its then rather outdated Type 34 sports coupe, better known as the "Karmann Ghia". At the same time Porsche was striving to expand its position in the market with a sports car in the promising segment beneath the 911.
Facing this challenge Ferry Porsche and VW’s CEO Heinrich Nordhoff agreed in spring 1966 on a joint venture destined to benefit both parties: Porsche was given the assignment by Volkswagen to develop a low-cost mid-engined sports car intended to enter the market as a Volkswagen with four cylinders and as a Porsche with a six-cylinder boxer engine.
With the development process continuing at a good pace, the Board of Management of VW was suddenly confronted with a tragic change: Heinrich Nordhoff died unexpectedly in 1968 and Kurt Lotz was appointed the new Chief Executive Officer. Lotz rescinded the contract agreed verbally and insisted on Volkswagen receiving the sole and exclusive sales rights for the car being developed by Porsche. After long and tough struggles bringing the 914 to the brink of failure more than once, the two companies agreed in a compromise to call the new car the "VW-Porsche" and to market this new model through a joint sales network.
The VW-Porsche 914 was presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show on 11 September 1969 as the first mid-engined sports car built in Germany in series production. The combination of the two brand names Volkswagen and Porsche nevertheless turned out to be an image problem for the new model series commonly referred to by the press as the "Volksporsche" or "People’s Porsche". This was a particular disadvantage for the 914/6 powered by the two-litre flat-six carried over from the 911 T 2.0. For despite its outstanding performance, the 914/6 was hardly accepted by most of Porsche’s existing customers.
The four-cylinder VW-Porsche 914, on the other hand, became a genuine success in the market, accounting for a production volume of 115,631 units until the series ceased production in spring 1976, and thus becoming the best-selling sports car of its time.
Most of the cars built were exported to the United States, where the 914 was marketed as a genuine, fully-fledged Porsche without the VW prefix.