Oct 20, 2000 update to the Porsche 914 project car

Building the decidedly un-stock 914 engine

When discussing how to build our 914 project car’s 2.0-liter engine, we decided on three primary goals. First, we wanted way more than the stock 95 horsepower at 4900 rpm. (Stock torque is 108 ft.-lbs. at 3500 rpm.) Second, we wanted complete reliability and drivability. And third, we wanted to buck the popular trend of converting these engines to carburetors, preferring to stay with the much-maligned factory Bosch D-Jet fuel injection.

Virtually everyone we talked to told us our goals were not possible to reach. The experts all agreed that you can’t make any real power with the unalterable D-Jet fuel injection.

Every expert, that is, except one—that one being Richard Shine of Shine Racing in Walpole, Mass.. Better known for his very fast water-cooled Volkswagens in SCCA IT racing, Shine promised us he could make at least 110 horsepower with a stock 914 2.0-liter engine, with complete drivability and reliability without messing with the D-Jet Fuel injection.

To back you up a few steps, we located our beautiful (beauty being in the eye of the beholder) Zambizi Green 1973 914 in a tobacco barn in North Carolina a couple of years ago. Despite years of neglect, the car showed very little rust (a rarity for 914s) and looked very restorable. As expected, a bad (we mean really bad) exhaust leak turned out to be a badly damaged head (the number three cylinder was leaking). This head damage, combined with our inevitable desire to tinker, necessitated an entire engine rebuild. It was decided that we needed a nice, fun daily driver that would be a blast at the occasional autocross. Thus was born Project 914.

Cut To The Chase

To save you waiting for the stories to come out in GRM, we will tell you that Shine Racing met their promise and then some. When we got all done, we ended up with a perfectly reliable nice running 2.0-liter 914 engine that makes an average of 113.2 horsepower at 5100 rpm backed up by 128 ft.-lbs. of torque at 4100 rpm.

While most performance freaks may find this minimal compared to most 2.0-liter water-cooled engines, the Porsche enthusiast who understands the limitations of factory Bosch D-Jet fuel injection will understand that this 18.2-horsepower (or 19-percent) improvement is substantial. Torque figures are up by 20 ft.-lbs. for an 18.5-percent improvement. Again, we saw horsepower figures reach as high as 120, but we used averages, not one renegade run on a still cool engine. Remember, that air-cooled engines are rather difficult to dyno test, because unlike their water-cooled brethren, engine temps fluctuate wildly.

So, How Did We Do it?

Ahh, that’s the rub. We spent thousands of dollars on dyno time and tried four different exhaust systems, as well as countless other tricks and tuning techniques. We can’t just give away the whole story for free. (Remember, we are in the business of selling magazines.) Our Project 914 will start in the magazine soon, so why don’t you order up a subscription online and have fun reading!

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