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Did the Porsche 550 Inspire the Porsche 914?

Porsche 914 enthusiasts might want to put the new book, 50 Years Porsche 914 by Jurgen Lewandowski on their list of memorabilia to acquire for their Porsche 914 collection.

Porsche 550 and Porsche 914
Did the Porsche 550 Influence the Porsche 914?

Within the book it discusses the inspiration for the Porsche 914. The current and only third Porsche design boss Michael Mauer believes that the Porsche 550 was the inspiration for the Porsche 914. This thought is based on the fact of meeting two principles: 1) it is innovative and 2) it is mid-engine.

The idea was to develop an entry-level Porsche with a four-cylinder engine to further develop the Porsche 912 concept. Instead the Porsche design group went with a mid-engine design similar to the Porsche 550 that provided a smaller and more agile package than its competitors.

Design studies for the 914 started as early as 1964 and completed with the introduction of the Porsche 914 in 1969.

The idea of a mid-engine concept actually goes back to the Porsche 356 No.1 roadster that was also a mid-engine vehicle. Porsche ended up changing the mid-engine design to rear-engine due to production issues. So the idea that Ferry Porsche would want to return to an entry level Porsche with a mid-engine design as the history of Porsche is founded on.

Porsche Targa Open Top driving
Porsche 914 Targa Design

Similar to the Porsche 550, there was also a desire to have the 914 be an open, minimalist concept but due to US safety regulations called for a minimalist roof so the Targa top was born for the Porsche 914 design.

Another unique feature of the Porsche 914 was the idea of the raised front fender edge as used in the Porsche 911 so the driver could judge the position of his car more accurately. It is a useful feature when driving the mountains around Stuttgart so it was a feature that made into the Porsche 914 design. In most other sports cars you cannot see where your car ends, while in the 914 and 911 you see the end of your Porsche as you corner. It was an early brand identity element across the Porsche lineup.

Surprisingly the 914 has an extremely good drag coefficient of 0.37 versus the Porsche 440 Spyder’s drag coefficient of 0.45 and a ‘70s era 911 being approximately 0.38.

The interview in 50 Years Porsche 914 that is held with Porsche Designer Michael Maur has some interesting observations. Herr Maur still finds the design very bizarre but now understands how in the day it was a very modern design that was ahead of its time. It is a reduced purist approach to car design.

Porsche 914 air cooled Porsche
Porsche 914 Design Study

50 Years Porsche 914 is available on Amazon.

Tags: Porsche 914, 50 Years Porsche 914, Porsche 914 Design, Porsche 550

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