Both Volkswagen and Porsche found themselves in need of a new model
in the late 1960s. Porsche needed to develop an entry-level
replacement for the 912, while Volkswagen was seeking a
top-of-the-line sports coupe to replace the Karmann Ghia coupe. The
idea for the project came from Ferry Porsche himself, with the goal
of giving young drivers an inexpensive entry into the world of
Porsche. An agreement was made that dated back to the founding days
of Porsche as a manufacturer had Porsche handling the majority of
the development work for Volkswagen. Ferdinand Alexander Porsche
was head of the design studio at the time, and he and his team were
called upon to lead the 914 Project. Heinrich Klie was one of
Ferdinand Alexander's most trusted staff members and was largely to
credit for the final design and development. Despite visually being
a radical departure from the 911, its form is decidedly Porsche.
Its low-slung body and mid-engine layout draw inspiration from one
of the greatest Porsche models ever produced- the 550 Spyder.
Today, the 914/6 has become a desirable and highly celebrated
classic Porsche model.
The 914 was sold by both companies in two different configurations.
The standard 914 offered with Volkswagen's 80 horsepower
flat-four-engine and the 914/6 powered by 911T's 2.0-liter, 110
horsepower flat-six. The additional horsepower and torque of the
flat-six earned the 914 a reputation as a highly capable sports car
with outstanding handling, a point bolstered by the Works-prepared
GT versions campaigned at Le Mans, Daytona, Sebring, and the
N�rburgring. Nevertheless, some dismissed it as not being a "real"
Porsche due to the joint collaboration between Volkswagen and
Porsche. The 914/6's price tag also rivaled that of the standard
911, as a result only 3,300 models sold across the span of its
three-year production run.
914-6 chassis 0443 began life as a European delivery car that was
brought to the US in the mid-'70s and turned into a weekend racer.
The fenders were cut out and wide flares were added to accommodate
wide wheels and tires, and the car was raced throughout Southern
California in local and regional competitions. During a race at the
California Speedway in the late 1970s, the 914-6 slid off of the
track and made contact with the tire wall, damaging the drivers
side door and fender. At the time, the damage exceeded the value of
the car and was parked. The owner did not repair the car so John
Rickard, a 914 enthusiast, and owner of Black Forest Automotive in
San Diego, purchased the car with the intention of restoring the
car to its original configuration. For the next 38 years, the car
stood untouched at the back of the shop.
In 2003, professional racer Scott Kuhne and John Rickard became
acquainted at a Porsche Club Race in Sebring, Florida where Kuhne
was volunteering as Scrutineer and Rickard were working as the
Chief Scrutineer. The two became friends and eventually led to
Kuhne turning to Rickard as his Crew Chief during PCA racing events
and off-road racing. Kuhne began storing his race cars at Black
Forest Automotive, where he observed the 914-6 among a number of
other project cars in the back of the shop. Kuhne made multiple
offers to purchase the 914-6 from Rickard, but was unsuccessful
until Rickard finally relented and agreed to sell the car to Kuhne
and assist in the restoration. The initial intention was to build
the 914-6 into a hot-rod our outlaw, but the plan changed once the
Porsche Certificate of Authenticity was received and revealed that
the 914-6 confirmed the drivetrain was numbers matching. With the
low documented miles from decades, the car spend at the back of the
shop, the plan quickly changed to perform a full restoration.
It was stripped to a bare chassis, bolted to a rotisserie and the
four cut-up quarter panels were removed by drilling out the spot
welds. The panels from a rust-free donor chassis were removed in
the same fashion, and then spot welded into place before being
sanded to bare metal by hand to avoid the risk of warping the
metal. The body was repainted in the original color of Light Ivory
(1110/L80E) as Porsche would have from the factory, with no tape
and the correct overspray. Black Forest's foreman, Mark Kinninger,
rebuilt the driveline while the body and chassis were being
painted. The cylinders of the original 2.0-liter flat-six received
a modest bump in power by enlarging the stock cylinders to
accommodate larger 2.2-liter pistons and a higher compression ratio
of 9.0:1 over the stock 8.6:1. The cylinder heads were ported and
polished and the downdraft Zenith carburetors were rebuilt and
re-jetted to match the modified camshaft timing, and the stock
distributor was re-curved to 911S specifications.
When the time came to reassemble the 914-6, Kuhne and the team at
Black Forest made a concerted effort to save the original
components when possible and source the correct components- an
aspect made more difficult given that the car was a European
specification model. Many of the parts were sourced from countries
around the globe, such as Belgium, Germany, France and the U.K.
Like the exterior, the interior required a near-complete overhaul.
The original dashboard was in very good condition thanks to the
bulk of the car's life spent indoors, the original gauges rebuilt
and the original steering wheel was recovered in the correct
leather. A new-old-stock carpet set was sourced from Germany, and
both the door panels and seats were reupholstered. Instead of
installing the Fuchs wheels that are typically the go-to wheel
choice, Kuhne decided to go with a set of 15�5.5-inch chrome-plated
steel wheels and hubcaps.
Following the 914-6's restoration, it was featured in the August
2021 issue of Excellence magazine and was awarded first in the Full
Restoration class along with the Zuffenhausen award at the 2021