No car will be reliable after 35 years unless it is looked after. Why do people not realise this?
I disagree with some of the above statements the car is 35 years old what do you expect. If you can't handle the work don't own a 914. 914 for life!!!
Just a comment on the VW engine comments: The 914 engine is NOT the same as the Beetle engine. The 914 engine is like the 411 pancake engine found in the buses, not the Beetles I believe. I have also heard that the Porsche engine is not the same as the VW engine - originally being built with some Porsche parts and to higher tolerances. Don't know if this is true...
The magical air-cooled engine? You've been hitting the magical pixie dust. They were an interesting attempt at innovation, much like Chevrolet's use of air cooling in the Corvair, but the air-cooled engine is now nothing more than an oddity (except for its use in the Pinzgauer). They were hardly great enough to relegate water-cooled engines as "junk". Before gushing about Beetles, let's remember that these cars were slow, underpowered, noisy, utilitarian rattle boxes. Some people think that they're cute enough to make up for that, and that's a personal taste issue. Reliable? Okay, sure we'll agree on that (at least until the block warps from heat and your oil spills out on the highway), but so is a mule-drawn wagon.
I posted the AMAZING 914 article, and I disagree with the unreliable part, my 914 is my daily driver (28 mpg vs my 10 mpg jeep, you decide) and I have had no major problems, tune up every 6 months or so, so maybe you got yourself a dud, cause the right mechanic can make the 914 a dream, cool, fun daily driver (but so cal in summer sucks with no ac, but still fun)
I was happy to have found this website so I may also give honest facts about my Porsche 914 2.0 liter. I purchased this car, manufactured in 1975, in 1980. I was the documented third owner. I had loved the unique looks and the fine simple engineering Porsche/VW had put into these wonderful cars. I still own this car today. I have moved out of state and "she" follows me home. When properly maintained, the 914 is exceptionally reliable, gets easily 26-30 mpg city and on the highway I average 29-32 mpg. Everything is stock original to include the fuel injection system. The handling is like a go-kart. Clock the steering wheel two degrees and the 914 will move into the third lane on the highway/freeway. I have owned my 914 now for 27 years. I am a very happy with her. Maintaining and extending the life of a 914 that has a regular maintenance program and is stock is actually rather simple. Check the spark plug gaps and clean them every 3000 miles. CHANGE the motor oil during the same time as well as the oil filter. Check the air filter and change out if necessary. Check to make sure gas lines are not cracked or frayed in any way. It is always a good idea to have an onboard fire extinguisher, preferably one with Halon as its contents. Happy motoring :)
Porsche 914s have Type 4 engines, which are similar to Type 1 engines (engines in ALL beetles). Beetles NEVER came with Type 4 engines, however buses & 411/412s did. Type 4s are bigger and have various differences to Type 1s. Type 3s or "Pancake" engines are also similar. Type 4 engines are the most modern of the aircooled volkswagen engines.
It's just like the person from May, 2006 said: of the people I've known that gushed and fawned over their Beetle, Karman Ghia, and Mini-Bus, they were all left sitting on the highway with warped blocks squatting over pools of oil.
To the reply above.
They sat there after miles and miles (and miles and miles) of fun driving.
I bought both a Beetle and a 914 as a package deal back in 1975. The Beetle was a 70 and the 914 is a 71.
I don't know much about mechanics of either vehicle. Or for any vehicle for that matter. I know just enough to do general maintenance myself.
I started off driving the Beetle more often, because at the start I thought Porsches were high maintenance, performance machines. The Beetle was very fun to drive, fun to look at, sit in, you name it. The fact that it is probably still the cheekiest cars on the road today, and one of the simplest cars ever engineered.
Then one day I dusted off the 914 and took it out. I noticed it was even more fun to drive. I did some research and figured out the engine in my 914 was similar to the ol' VW, yet performed completely different. Since then I have been driving the thing daily. I sold the VW back in 1995 and took that money to hire a man to rebuild my 914's engine. I've clocked over 550k miles in the car and loved everyone of them.
Sure the car's not the fastest car on the road. Sure it has it quirks, but what car doesn't.
You just need to stop comparing it to other cars and take it for what it is. It's a simple car that does what you want it to do.
As for the problems I've had with my 914... Just paint, seat tears, and my tachometer stopped working. All easy fixes and it's still my favorite car. I did relocate the battery and remove the OE battery tray. but that was simple and I did it myself for no cost.
I would just like to state that the aircooled type 1 engine is the most produced engine, ever. They were in Beetles from the mid 30's until the 2000's. I don't think one of the largest automobile manufactures would keep an engine going for that long if it was just an "experiment". The aircooled engine works, period.
I had a pancake engine in a 411. I drove it from Sebastian, Fla to Naples Fla. every week for six months at the end of the work week, it was awesome, it would creep up on you faster and faster on those back roads, never should have sold it.
I'm looking to buy a 1971 914 with a 1.7 liter. Is this a crappy motor compared to the 2.0? Are the 1.7 liters any good?
I am happy to have found this website. I have owned my 1975 914 Porsche 2.0L for thirty-four long years. It is a very reliable car and a hoot to drive. It is quick and nimble, and tracks extremely well for its age and being somewhat "under-powered". It does top out at 110mph.
A lot depends upon proper maintenance and care of your 914 for it to give you its "ultimate driving experience". I belong to the PCA and have had past memberships with the 914 Owners Association. Long ago these cars were a neglected beast, looked upon as nothing more than "just another VW", or simply "A Poor Man's Porsche". It is too bad people require the need to state bad or substandard comments on otherwise a very well engineered car. Hell, it is also mid-engined. Simple to work on. Wonder why it tracks so well and also has a proven race history, especially of beating other P-cars around hair-pin corners. Of course these are 914-6's.
I am extremely happy with my 914 as the second owner, and will most likely keep it in my Porsche collection. She is inexpensive to keep maintained and very reliable...