Racing driver Randy Pobst recently brought a 1970 Porsche 914/6 GT to Jay Leno's Garage, and the resulting video provides an in-depth look at a rare version of Porsche's 1970s entry-level sports car.
While the 914 itself was fairly common, just 16 examples of the 914/6 GT racing version were built. This particular example is still racing; Pobst recently drove it at Laguna Seca and claims to have overtaken a much newer 911 GT2 RS.
The 914 was the result of a partnership between Porsche and Volkswagen which was looking for a replacement for the Karmann Ghia. Porsche was still a small company at the time, and projects like this helped keep it afloat. VW later backed out of the partnership, but the 914 entered production under Porsche's auspices in 1969, and was still sold with VW-Porsche badging in Europe.
The base version also had a VW engine. While it was a smart cost-cutting move, the 1.7-liter flat-4 produced just 79 hp. But Porsche also offered the 914/6 with a 108-hp 2.0-liter flat-6 developed in-house.
Some Porsche fans sneered at the VW connection, and the styling—which was a big departure from the 911—took some getting used to as well. But the mid-mounted engine is much easier to access than the one in a modern 718 Cayman, Pobst noted, and the 914 still sold in respectable numbers. Porsche built 115,631 4-cylinder models between 1969 and 1975, and 3,338 6-cylinder models between 1969 and 1972.
To make it competitive on the track, the 914/6 GT was upgraded with a more powerful 2.0-liter flat-6 from the Porsche 906, good for about 220 hp, and this was coupled to a 5-speed manual transmission. The car also weighed just 1,940 lb—even with added stiffening bars in the rear trunk.
1970 Porsche 914/6 GT on Jay Leno's Garage
The flat-6 was fed from a 26-gallon fuel tank mounted under the front hood. It provided plenty of range and helped balance weight distribution when full, Pobst said, but that would obviously change as the tank drained and the front end got lighter. But the mid-engine design still made it better balanced than the rear-engined 911, Pobst noted.
While other Porsche race cars generally get more attention from enthusiasts, the 914/6 GT had some success in competition, including finishing 6th overall at the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans. The 914 itself laid the foundation for the later Porsche Boxster and Cayman.
You're unlikely to see a car with a Le Mans pedigree cruising around on public roads, especially one that's just one of 16 built. So definitely check out the video to see this 914/6 GT on the streets of Los Angeles.