In 1969, Porsche began its attempts to establish a second model series with the mid-engine sports car 914/6. However, the price tag of 19,980 Deutschmarks and similarity to the 911 prevented this from being produced in large numbers.
In the mid-1960s, Volkswagen was looking for a successor to its long-serving sports coupé type 34 – better known as the Karmann Ghia. At the same time, Porsche was aiming to expand its position on the market with a sports car in the highly promising segment below the 911. In 1966, this led to Porsche receiving the development order for a mid-engine sports car that was to be sold as a Volkswagen with a four-cylinder engine and as a Porsche with a six-cylinder boxer engine.
The Porsche sports car celebrated its debut in 1969 as the 914/6. It openly bore certain hallmarks of the 911, such as having the front mudguards positioned above the level of the bonnet. In addition, the basic design of the roll bar with the removable roof corresponded to that of the 911 Targa. As in the 911, the rev counter was located directly in front of the driver. There were also some fundamental differences, however, with the 914/6 featuring a characteristic mid-engine design drawn from the world of motorsport. Originally a brainchild of Professor Ferdinand Porsche, this concept had since become the standard in international sports cars and racing cars.
The 914/6 replaced the Porsche 912, an entry-level model that was still equipped with the 90-horsepower four-cylinder engine of the 356. In contrast, the new two-seater boasted 110 horsepower thanks to its two-litre six-cylinder engine originating from the 911 T. The central positioning of the engine ensured that the two-seater provided optimum handling. On routes featuring a large number of corners, it excelled even against rivals with much more powerful engines. Two luggage compartments were also included at the front and rear.
The potential of the 914/6 was demonstrated by the special versions, with two single units featuring an eight-cylinder racing engine being unveiled in the first year of construction. The 260-horsepower variant was given to Ferry Porsche as a 60th birthday present. 1971 saw the creation of 11 special models featuring the designation 916 and a six-cylinder engine that delivered 190 or 210 horsepower. Boasting particularly high-quality equipment, they also stood out from the production models in featuring a permanently welded steel roof. Exactly 3.338 units were produced up to 1972, with the 914/6 recording a number of race wins including the GT category at Le Mans in 1970. It enjoyed its greatest triumph in the 96-hour race at the Nürburgring, where three of the six-cylinder sports cars took places 1, 2 and 3.