Guest blog: three forgotten Porsches
John Slavin is a student and aspiring motoring writer who rather likes lists. Lists of bad things, lists of good things. Lists of anything from annoyances to his favourite cheeses. Here follows a ‘list’.
Porsche, without doubt, makes some of the most desirable cars in the world. Ask anyone what their dream five-car garage would be, and a Porsche will likely place high on their list. But there are some models in Porsche’s past portfolio that don’t ignite as much passion as a 911 or a 928 might. These cars don’t get the attention and love of their big brothers, but all the same they are part of the marque’s history, and they’re definitely worth a look.
Here are my top three ‘forgotten’ Porsches:
Introduced in 1969, the 914 was available with a Porsche six-cylinder engine (914/6), and a Volkswagen six-cylinder (914/4). Originally, the plan was to sell the 914/4 as a Volkswagen and the 914/6 as a Porsche, but Porsche worried about the ramifications of diluting the brand by having a cosmetically identical Volkswagen trundling around.
Despite being widely regarded as an ‘ugly’ car, the 914/4 sold well, though because of high costs, the six-cylinder was less popular. Eventually it was phased out, and replaced with a fuel injected four-ylinder.
The 914/6, though, was the most ‘Porsche’ of the line-up, and with more power than any of the four-cylinder variants, the best to drive. It’s a shame that less than 3,500 were made.
Another VW collaboration, the 924 was the first departure from the traditional Porsche set up of an air-cooled rear engine. It was designed to be VWs flagship, but they decided to go with the Scirocco instead, so Porsche went ahead with it themselves. The first model had very little to shout about, using a VW van engine and four-speed ’box. Eventually, though, Porsche released the 924 Turbo… an altogether better car, although sadly an unreliable one.
My favourite model is the 924S. Fitted with the 2.5 litre engine from the 944, this car had none of the turbo-related troubles, but produced a similar amount of power.
I’ve seen one 968 in the past 10 years, and that was in Belgium, not the UK. They’re really quite rare, and that’s confusing, because I think they’re gorgeous. With a 3.0 litre four-cylinder, which in turbocharged form produced 301bhp, the 968 wasn’t a slouch. And it was an important car, too; the Variocam technology from the 968 would later be seen in what is my very favourite Porsche, the 993. The 968 took styling cues from the rest of the Porsche family, but I feel all of the best elements came together in the 968, making it a very attractive vehicle.
Best of the range was the Turbo S, which had a top speed of around 180mph. Only 16 were made, making it extremely rare indeed.
I could go on to write about 944s or 912s, but I won’t because they don’t have quite so much of an underdog status these three. Hopefully this list has got you thinking about your favourite underdogs!
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