Tens of millions of pickup trucks have engines in the front. Then there are the ones with engines in the rear (think Volkswagen Type 2 pickups, for instance). But have you ever seen one with an engine in the middle?
This 1972 Porsche 914 pickup truck is most likely one of the only two in the world. Now owned by Myron Vernis of Akron, Ohio, it was converted during the 1970s by famed southern California coachbuilding firm Troutman & Barnes, perhaps best known for building the Scarab Grand Prix and Le Mans cars of the late 1950s and early 1960s.
According to Vernis, the company built one for itself, and a second one for Aase Brothers Porsche, a parts and wrecking business in Anaheim, California. It appears that Troutman (or Barnes) bought a wrecked Porsche 914-6 from the firm, and mentioned to Dave Aase that he planned to turn it into a pickup truck.
Aase asked if he would turn another 914 they had--the less-powerful four-cylinder 914-4 model--into a second pickup at the same time, and the deal was done. The taillights, by the way, are from an Opel Manta.
The wrecking business used it as a shop truck and parts transporter, and the 914 pickup was featured in VW Trends magazine with with adult entertainer Renee Vaughn posing on the car. At that time, it was painted brown, with the business advertised on the rear quarters.
That's the car that Vernis has now--since repainted red--which he'd pursued for 15 years and has only owned since June. That's not all he owns, either; he suffers from what he delicately terms the "disease" of collecting rare car-based pickup trucks.
He also has, for instance, a Ford Durango. That's a pickup made in 1980 and 1981 from a Ford Fairmont coupe, one of 212 built by National Coach of Los Angeles, with Ford's authorization as a replacement for the discontinued Ranchero. The Durango's engine, however, is in the usual place. The 914 pickup? Not so much.
You can see photos of the Troutman & Barnes Porsche 914-6 pickup, now owned by Kevin Jeannette of Gunnar Racing, here.