The 914 is Porsche's baby with Volkswagen and was introduced in 1969. The car is a mid-engine, two-seat vehicle intended to replace Porsche's entry-level 912. Although the 914 underwent a series of modifications to address the problems it had in the early stages, 914 owners cannot sit relaxed. To name a few, here are some of the common problems experienced by the drivers.
Even before getting to the specs, the 914 had issues with its components and accessories. The problem is basically because the 914 was engineered by Porsche but had VW components. Enthusiasts even refused to consider the vehicle as a full-fledged Porsche. According to them, the 914 had poor shift linkage, awkward styling, and cut-rate quality that reflect the low-cost components. This led to a cold welcome from the motoring press, as well as from the buyers.
A notable complaint against the early versions of 914s was the placement of the battery above the fuel lines. In this set-up, a failure of the battery case such as rust, which is very common for this part, could cause the battery to drop onto the fuel lines, which would then cause the car to burst into flames. In some cases, even a drop of acid from the battery is enough to have the 914 explode. A common counter measure before done by owners was replacing the car's fragile fuel lines with braided stainless lines.
However, the problem soon led to a recall in 1970. The NHTSA found that the fuel line connections were improperly assembled, risking small quantities of fuel to escape. To address this, the company relocated the fuel pump and lines. Porsche transferred the fuel pump to a cooler location away from the engine, which also helped cut down the possibility of vapor lock.
Another issue people had with the earlier versions of the 914 was the engine. Apparently, VW and Porsche decided to use Volkswagen's air-cooled, flat four engines with a 1.7-liter and 80hp capability. With this specs, it was far from being a performance engine. Thus despite a lightweight body, a 0-to-60mph came only after 13 seconds.
The 914 has a five-speed transaxle with a dogleg first gear, much like the Porsche 911. It takes more effort to quickly go through the gears, possibly too much for the driver's comfort.