Another sign of the generational shift in collector cars: The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance has announced that the once-humble Porsche 914 will be among the honored marques in March.
Of course, this is the prestigious Amelia Island Concours, so you won’t see your neighbor’s 914 driver sitting on the lawn among the classic car finery. The 914 class at the Florida concours will feature eight of the rarest production models, including one of just 11 high-performance 916 variations, plus a group of Porsche’s mid-engine championship race and rally cars from the 1970s.
The 914, which appeared as a prototype in 1968, was Porsche’s first mid-engine production car with roots leading back to the original Gmund Porsche that first wore the family name and started the illustrious line of sports/racing cars.
As a joint project with Volkswagen to produce an entry-level car for Porsche to replace the four-cylinder 912, the 914 was denigrated by purists as a mutt that did not live up to the standards of the breed.
But the affordable 914 proved highly popular, and its owners soon discovered that the low, lean and balanced 914 was a terrific handling sports car on back roads and race tracks alike. The six-cylinder 914/6 version became highly coveted, as it still is today, for the added performance.
For many years, four-cylinder 914s have been refugees dwelling in the bargain basement of collector cars, but great ones are finding their way up the ladder of value and interest.
“The 914 is a true Porsche with pure Porsche DNA,” Bill Warner, founder and chairman of the Amelia Concours d’Elegance, said in a news release. “The 914 was raced and rallied successfully all around the world and, like the 911, a cult has grown up around it. It’s time the 914 had its day in the sun.”
Amelia’s honors for the 914 echo the decision last year by the Forest Grove Concours in Oregon to place Datsun Z sports cars among its honored class list. Like the 914, the 240Z and its successors are everyman’s cars from the ’70s that are gaining acceptance in the collector-car community.
The Amelia Island event also adds another intriguing class for March with its “Hot Rods: East Meets West,” featuring 1950s and ’60s customs that the concours calls “a celebration of the most dynamic and democratic of the automotive arts.”
An Amelia Island news release describes the fun:
“A class of 16 period American hot rods will be displayed on the field. Eight East Coast rods will line up on the east side of the field, anchored by Posies East Coast Aeroliner Sport. Eric Zausner’s Moal Coachworks Falcon will anchor the West Coast rods on the west…”
According to Warner, East Coast and West Coast hot rods were very different animals stemming from divergent performance cultures.
“The East Coast rod is a blood relation of the sports car,” the chairman said, “while the West Coast rod has the style of the dry-lakes roadster, of Bonneville and the whole Ford ‘flathead’ V8 scene, probably what most people envision when they hear the words ‘hot rod.’”
Among the star hot rods are both examples from the United States Postal Service’s “Hot Rods Forever” commemorative stamps: Bruce Meyer’s red 1932 Bob McGee Ford Roadster, cover car for the October 1948 issue of Hot Rod magazine, and Mark Graham’s black high boy built by Vern Tardel.
The 2015 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is scheduled March 13-15 at the Golf Club of Amelia Island at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island. For more information, see ameliaconcours.org.