1973 VW Porsche 914 Model Year Review:
914. The 914-6 was discontinued and
the four cylinder cars were on their own. There would be no more comparison
to their six cylinder siblings.
Buyers had a choice of two engines for 1973 - the 1.7 liter and the 2.0 liter versions. For 1973, a new model designation was mentioned briefly in advertising brochures - the 914S. The “S” signified the 2.0 liter model and some upscale trim options we’ll mention later. Rubber bumper guards were standard on US spec 914s and bumpers were painted matte black, except on the 2.0 models that sported extra cost chrome bumpers. Many owners found chrome bumpers hidden under the matte black finish on the 1.7 liter models and preferred the look achieved by stripping the paint to reveal the chrome beneath.. Exterior paint color choices increased from 12 in 1972 to 14 in 1973. Upholstery and carpet choices remained unchanged from the 1972 model year. The 1973 914 carried a 12 month 20,000 mile warranty that covered most major items as long as the owner accomplished the factory scheduled maintenance requirements.
A few new wrinkles appeared in 1973 regarding safety and air pollution. The previously mentioned bumper cones were Porsche’s answer to the Federally mandated requirement that new cars had to have energy absorbing bumpers. At the same time, California was leading the nation in the war against air pollution. Every new car sold in the state had to pass an emission control test. Porsche added $15 to the sticker price of every 1973 914 sold in the state to cover the cost of testing (See memo from Porsche on next page).
The 2.0 liter, or GA, motor in the 914 met the emission standards for all 50 states. The 1.7 liter, however came in two versions - the EA version with 80 HP was the 49 state motor and Californians had to motor along with the EB 1.7 rated at 72 HP due to its 7.3:1 compression ratio.
1973 marked the end of the line for the “tail shifter” transmission with the much welcomed change to the “side shifter” that would remain until the end of the 914 production era. While still slightly vague, it was a vast improvement over the early 914 shift linkage.
The window lift mechanism was also improved from the original cable and weak plastic button interface to a more reliable scissors mechanism. The 914 was becoming a much more user friendly sports car.
Perfect as it was becoming, what would any 914 be without a little controversy? With the 914-6 dropped from the model line-up, a plan was devised to pump a little excitement into the four cylinder model by designating the 2.0 liter versions as the 914S and thereby the
perfect replacement for the 914-6. That plan lasted just long enough to print up and distribute a bazillion dealer brochures before being squashed. Porsche wanted no confusion with the 911S earned designation and brought that train of marketing thought to a screeching halt. If you’re fortunate enough to come across a dealer brochure or post card referencing the 1973 model year, you’ll see the reference to the 914S, a car that never officially existed. You’ll see some examples of the “S” designation in the following pages.
All in all, 1973 proved to be the high water mark for 914 sales. A total of 27,660 914s rolled off the assembly line during that production year. Porsche used to say that half of their production came to America and half of those cars came to California. Keep that in mind if you’re looking for a nice 1973 914 to add to your collection.. Annual production would take a steep slide in the following years.