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Hagerty Employee

A few things to know before you steal my 914

Dear Thief, Welcome to my Porsche 914. I imagine that at this point (having found the door unlocked) your intention is to steal my car. Don't be encouraged by my leaving the door unlocked, the tumblers sheared-off in 1978. I would have locked it up if I could, so don't think you're too clever or that I'm too lazy.
117 REPLIES 117

Good read! You make my old 944 sound like a Lexus.

Very cute and original.
Intermediate Driver

i remember test driving a very rough condition 924 turbo that reminds me a lot of this article. i was drenched in sweat by the time the test drive was over; it was november.
Pit Crew

I'm not even gonna ask about the crushed 911 hood on the garage wall.
Intermediate Driver

Reminds me of the hood on our daughters first car, a 2003 Honda Civic. She was instructed to pay attantion to the road and not be messing with the radio. She rear ended another car on the way to school one morning. The Civic slid under their rear bumper, damaging the hood like the one on the wall, while also allowing the other vehicles hot tail pipe to melt a nice round hole in her rubber front bumper. I threatened to paint a white outline of a dead body on the hood. (It was still driveable). Didn't do so as a result of her begging. I did however confiscate the removable faceplate from the radio for 3 months.
Intermediate Driver

Deep thoughts, I was thinking same as well ?

I don't care.  Some of my best "balls-to-the-wall" fun thrashing came in my 914 in the early-'70s.  Yes, it had plenty of foibles and more than a few traits that belied the term "German Engineering Excellence", but I loved it, and it loved to be driven.  Plus, it was the only car I ever had with a low enough profile that it could hide behind a concrete Jersey-barrier guard rail alongside the freeway at just about dusk so that a pursuing state patrol car would drive right on past.


Man, I LOVE those cars!

A “friend” took me for an amazing, harrowing spin in one, where I’m certain he tried his best to flip it over; (no way.)

They’ve got TWO trunks, and the Targa roof even fits into the lid of one of them. THAT’S design!
Too bad they’re so spartan and under-powered, (the standard engine ones.)

Your article reads like the Most Honest Description Ever of a project car for sale.
Why do you still have it? Wait, wait — it’s because it can’t be stolen...

It appears that Porsche's anti theft efforts started with the 356. There are three bushings on the shift rod, anyone of which decides to not to do its job will make shifting to any gear an issue of guesswork. If your lucky enough to accidentally get into third, your good to go unless reverse is needed and you also need to be proficient in rolling stops. Then there is the fuel valve, left in one position your good to go as far as 1 1/2 gals will take you. left in another position and there will be no gas flowing to the engine and of course the three positions of the fuel valve are marked in a very confusing way; i.e Z/ZU is off, A/AU is on. You sort of need to memorize what the three positions do, left, right and straight up, and I will keep it a secret as to where the valve is.

Wow Norman! Who would've thought my '68 Chevy C10, with the 6 cyl and three on the tree had so much in common with a Porsche! 🙂
So, deep down inside, that old truck was really an exotic German Sports Car. Extraordinary.
Pit Crew

In my 2011 Mustang with 158,000 miles, don’t try to lower the passenger window using the switch on the driver’s side because it doesn’t work. There are 2 other ways to open it instead: You can reach across and use the switch on the passenger side, or, if you’re at a complete standstill (and it really must be a complete standstill or else it won’t work) you can use the top lowering switch located on the windshield header. The only problem with this approach is that it will lower all the windows whether you want it to or not. And did I mention that both power seats don’t work?
New Driver

Man, reading this article just made me realize that my old plan to try and shoehorn a 1.9 or 2.0 TDI + manual transaxle into a mid-engine position in some car would be a great candidate for a 914. And I'd consider it myself if I could actually fit *into* a 914. But it'd move like someone had set its bumper on fire, and get 75 mpg while doing it.

Maybe if I *really* committed to making an 11:10 scale model of a 914... 😉

I was 6'4" and about 250 pounds when I had my 914.  It was actually roomier than it looked.  Unless you're larger than that, I say...Go for it!

Intermediate Driver

Did you have problems with kicking out fuses???
Intermediate Driver

I’ve ridden in a Fiero with a tdi five speed
And also ridden in a Fiero with a 4.9 Cadillac V8 automatic

Both were fun in their own way
New Driver

Funny. Kind of feel the same way. If they can get mine to drive away, best of luck to the thief lol.
Intermediate Driver

Is it for sale....?
Intermediate Driver

Well grafted, well written. If Seinfeld was still being run on tv I'd recommend that you become a comedy writer for the show, you'd excel. Thanks for publishing this article, it was brilliant!

I've thought the same if someone attempted to break into my super-secure 2CV.

I never lock it (it's in great shape, and the paint/bodywork is way nicer than when it left the factory), because... Nobody can figure out how to shift it without instructions.

If it successfully leaves my garage under its own power (slowly, as the 2CV does everything), just start Googling Frenchmen (or women) in Buffalo, NY.

Guaranteed you'll find it quickly.
Pit Crew

You missed mentioning the most basic anti-theft device ... manual transmission! YouTube has some hilarious videos of failed heists 😉 So Friday I took delivery of my 2022 Mustang GT convertible with that ... very same 6 speed anti-theft system..... 😉
Advanced Driver

>> YouTube has some hilarious videos of failed heists

And a few of them are actual theft videos, not, er, "reenactments". Very few.
Pit Crew

Norman, thanks for saving me a bunch of time trying to fix the shifting issues in my relatively new to me, 914. Silly me, I thought something was wrong. I can instead use that time to address the leaking fluids in my Jaguar.
Pit Crew

I had a 914 for 40 years when my mechanic threatened to put a bullet in the block to prevent spending any more money on it. My car was stolen from the dealership early in its life. Someone needed the roof. It took several months to get a new one in 1980. They were not Craigslist specials. I drove it all of those months without a roof. The windshield is higher than the roll bar and provided decent protection from the rain if your drive it fast enough. When I complained to the folks at the Karmann factory in Osnabruck about the rust in 1982, they said, "we didn't expect to have them last this long..." Did I ever think I would see a $100k 914?
Advanced Driver

Think of the good side to having a jalopy like this stolen: Less having to spend on keeping the dang thing up! Get a Vespa on the cheap.
Advanced Driver

Vespas aren't cheap (DAMHIKT!)
Pit Crew

Great viewpoint on stealing cars....I guess you don't need a "kill switch"....Your whole car is a "kill switch".. I had a '91 Jeep that had a "universal" ignition switch...Great when you forget your key..
Intermediate Driver

I have owned several 914's and despite the truth of everything the author said, I regret selling each and every one of them!
Intermediate Driver

That is one hilarious bit of story telling.
Reminds me of some of the best writing in the car mags.
Made my day, with a gearhead's appreciation for the exaggeration.
Thanks Norman ....I'll bring a trailer !
Advanced Driver


Quality journalism right there. Thanks for the fun read. Anyone who owns old iron that they even dare to let another person drive, usually has a memorized schpeal on how to start up and drive it. I think between the accelerator pump, the clutch l, and absence of a choke, you’ve scared off 99% of today’s young thieves. Beware of the more sophisticated guy with the roll back trailer.
Intermediate Driver

Thanks! Best read I've had in years!
Pit Crew

Haha. We used to buy these back in the 1980s-90s to fix up and flip. So many of them had huge corrosion under the battery tray. We would open the doors, take off the roof panel, and jack up the right rear corner. If the doors would still close it was a car, if not it was parts- how does $250 sound, Bub?
Pit Crew

Sounds a lot like starting the '71 914 I was driving in the late 80s. Except that it didn't have the dual Webers, it still hat the original Bosch JetTronic injector and the starting procedure was to press the gas pedal to the floor and DO NOT LET UP UNTIL IT STARTS because the second press will flood it. The problem is that my parking brake also did not work, and if the car started to roll, the instinct is to let off the gas to hit the brake pedal. At this point, the only solution was to get out, open the engine lid, and take the fuse out of the injector main board, (which was easy to get to because the cover over the board was long gone,) get back in and start the car to burn off the excess fuel, get back out and replace the fuse, and start over. After a while I got tired of that procedure and wired a switch to disconnect the injector. I used this as an anti-theft device because the switch was hidden under the dash where it couldn't be seen, so I could just leave it parked with the fuel injector switched off.
Intermediate Driver

It’s comforting to hear that you are still attached to your old Porche 914. Giving tips to would be thieves concerning the ins and outs of bringing the vehicle to life despite its numerous “quirks” is interesting. The one issue you didn’t address is the undeterred thief that isn’t interested in actually driving it, and just brings a flat bed!

A great read for sure. Hilarious.

Note to would be thief: Bring a trailer with a winch and take notes for later.
Intermediate Driver

Very enjoyable read. My old 66 122s Volvo has a couple of those idiosyncrasies too. The last time I had it up for sale, I had to convince the prospective buyer that it was entirely unreliable on the freeway, though I myself do drive it at 65. We stuck to side roads, and he said he would be back the next day with his son who "would be" commuting 70 miles round trip per day if he bought it--all on the California freeway system. Unlucky for me, the son said he felt a vibration and said no, even to the reduced price I offered. I'll keep it. At 73 years old, I can keep it going another 56 years until I pass at 129.
Intermediate Driver

Great Story. My 914 story:
I traded a 72 Vega Wagon for a 72 914/4 in 1975.
I was getting a divorce and the other guy was getting married.
His future father in law was the lending officer who financed the boot on the sale.
When I made the first payment, I asked the bank teller out.
She hemmed and hawed about "Having something to do that night".
But her father helped her out, driving neighbor Bessie to see her husband in the hospital.
She was living at home and I think her parents were worried about having and old maid on their hands.
He was at the kitchen table cleaning a shotgun when I called for Cindy. (staged)
We just passed 42 wish I still had the 914.
Intermediate Driver

Ha! You basically described my first 4 cars! Of course, wife and kids will never understand why I have cars and bikes that require, how shall we say, finesse?
New Driver

Reminds me of the '60 Comet wagon I learned to drive in. Transmission gears were cracked so you had to ram the three on the tree to get a gear. The force eventually broke the pot metal collar (multiple times). It was always fun to take off with a young lady in the passenger seat and ask her to hold the gear shift lever in between shifts. The facial expressions were priceless.

Oh, and the Vega with the 215 V8 had an electric fuel pump installed with a toggle switch on the dash. It conveniently "ran out of gas" whenever the mood was right, and to hinder unwanted drivers.
Pit Crew

I certainly can appreciate the idiosyncrasies of your particular car. However this does not solve the issue for the thousands of other folks who are in serious jeopardy of having their car stolen. F150 trucks are being stolen and parted out an alarming rate Hondas Toyotas etc. I can appreciate the humor and satire and I certainly wouldn’t want anything to happen to your 914. It would be nice if there were a fix all for the serious issues relating to car theft we are facing now. An article detailing four or five bullets for the average person to help combat car theft would be greatly appreciated by the masses.
Intermediate Driver

Friend of mine had his car stolen and recovered three times

Then he wired the starter to the windshield squirter button.

I have a couple of cars that would be easy to steal
But I have installed a extra push button switch between the ignition and the starter , so both have to be used at the same time.
Hide the switch somewhere under the carpet or under the seat cover or wherever

Lighten up, Francis.

Pit Crew

My seemingly identical 914 provided for true adventures-a 22 hour Dayona Beac to Atlanta trip-a run using a popcorn popper cord for a throtle cable- on one other tripbut the nearly flat cornering and the top off drives were wonderful.
New Driver

Funny, I can write a very similar story about my Fiat Spider. No one is willing to steel it, so I guess I have to go thru the rituals every time I drive it as well. But I guess that could be with any vintage sports car.
Intermediate Driver

The T-45 in my New Edge is kinda notchy, but now I'm thinking that's a good thing.
Intermediate Driver

What a great story! I could do a similar write-up for my Model A...I've always said if a thief is able to start it and get it rolling without getting it into a death wobble, he (or she) has proved their worthiness and has my full blessing in their thieverous endeavors.
Intermediate Driver

Absolutely great article, I'll bet any gear head worth his salt can relate.....mine was a 63 Rambler 2 door American when I was in high school....kinda miss it. No working turn signal, add oil, check the gas, floor mat covered floor holes.....
New Driver

I used to ride a 1970 BSA Victor Special and I could write a very similar story. It had a big cantankerous single 441cc cylinder and a kick starter. Any thief without knowledge of the compression release tried to start it he would likely be found beside the bike with a broken leg. People used to ask if they could ride it. My reply: If you can start it you can ride it. If it was warm even I couldn't always get it lit and the difficulty in getting it started was always inversely proportional to the number of onlookers. But it was a fun ride.
Pit Crew

Great sense of humor and superb articulation. Reminded me of my '69 Triumph Spitfire, in which one had to move the shift lever in the shape of an upside-down question mark to move from first to second gear.

I now have a '56 Ford Fairlane Club Sedan with a factory anti-theft feature; it was not designed to start in Park, only in Neutral.