Leigh Weiser is an automotive hobbyist who enjoys collecting and restoring Porsche 914s. Among their iconic creations, the 914 stands as a testament to timeless design and engineering excellence. However, like any vintage gem, these models may require a touch of restoration to truly shine once more. In the following article, Leigh Weiser revives the essence of the Porsche 914, offering enthusiasts a treasure trove of insights, tips, and techniques to bring these legendary cars back to life.
The Porsche 914 was a Porsche-Volkswagen collaboration project, becoming the manufacturer’s entry-level model in 1970. Otherwise known as the VW Porsche, it’s a two-seater, mid-engine sports car with an extended wheelbase, short overhangs, a removable roof center panel, and pop-up headlights.
As time wore on and 1973 rolled around, the brand released the 914.20, featuring matte black bumpers, anodized black rear logo, and recessed rectangular auxiliary headlights. But the somewhat obscure vehicle wasn’t finished evolving yet; it ended up realizing its final iteration in 1974 to 1976, boasting a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine.
Sadly, most Porsche lovers are well and truly on the Porsche 911 iconic bandwagon. Since its inception, it has become manufacturers’ measure of sporting competency, so it’s perhaps understanding that it’s a dream car for many motor heads. But Leigh Weiser explains that the seventies were a different story — the under loved Porsche 914 outsold the legendary vehicle. And while the models don’t garner as much mainstream attention, those who love them, love them, wanting the vehicles to be a part of their family for generations to come.
Leigh Weiser says that despite looking less like a German sports car and more like a British roadster, the relatively nippy performer is light and nimble, provided owners follow the below-mentioned expert Porsche 914 restoration steps.
Leigh Weiser Discusses Planning a Porsche 914 Restoration Project
Every successful project begins with a plan. As the pros say, it’s the most important part of restoring a Porsche 914.
Soon-to-be-restorers should focus on how they’re going to achieve their dream car, considering the following factors:
- Aspiration — The plans for the car.
- Budget — The final figure for the entire project, alongside the budget for each section.
- Location — Where the car will stay for the duration of the restoration.
- Documentation — Pictures and video recordings during the stripping phase is essential for remembering how the car came apart. Restorers should create a checklist of the parts, noting things that need replacing, repainting, or repairing.
- Timeframe — How long the project will take.
- Tools — Based on the plans, restorers need to figure out whether they have the right tools/whether they need to purchase them.
- Professional advice — Seeking professional help is a must when restoring a Porsche 914, even for those who wish to complete the restoration themselves.
Stripping the Car
Leigh Weiser explains that the actual restoration begins by:
- Removing the interior. Many newbies make the mistake of throwing away any broken parts but keeping them makes it easier to compare to replacements later on.
- Removing the wiring. Labeling it is recommended to avoid confusion during reassembly.
- Taking out the engine gearbox and transmission. Draining fluids first is a must-do to prevent mess.
- Removing the external panels, such as bumpers, clips, wings, and trims, before taking the hood and boot lid off, followed by the doors.
- Taking out the window glass.
- Removing the headlights. Following expert advice is essential here to avoid irreparable damage.
- Removing the front and rear suspensions, brakes, steering rack, and everything else underneath.
Whether wheels and axles, metal bumpers, or other metal parts, applying a powder coating offers a finer and more durable finish than paint. Leigh Weiser says that most suggest sending them to a professional for a guaranteed finish.
Sourcing Porsche 914 Parts
Using the list created in the first two steps, restorers need to source replacement parts. Leigh Weiser The following companies are best for Porsche 914 parts:
- Vertex Auto
- Heritage Parts Center
Being Aware of Common Porsche 914 Restoration Challenges
While they aren’t as popular as their 911 counterparts, seasoned restorers note a few challenges with the models.
Leigh Weiser says that rust is the most apparent issue, with the front lid, torsion bar mounting, and front bumper being the most problematic areas. The rubber seals around the roof are likely to be degraded, and damp in the foot wells is common to see.
On the plus side, restorers note engine maintenance is quite straightforward.
Cleaning, Sealing, and Fortifying
Leigh Weiser says that with any restoration, there will be a lot of cleaning that needs to occur. Following the removal of rust and dents, sealing is a must-do for durability and protection against scratches, UV rays, rust, corrosion, chips, abrasions, extreme temperatures, and chips.
Painting the bodywork comes next, before restorers must decide whether to upgrade or swap the engine. This all depends on the budget, but expert help will be needed to prevent costly errors.
Reassembling the Porsche 914
Leigh Weiser also notes that starting with the mechanical parts, restorers must reassemble the car, before arriving at the most rewarding part of the process — admiring and test driving!