- - Thursday, April 12, 2012

Back around the time that folks were arguing about whether the new millennium would begin in 2000 or 2001, Chris Hager was driving through Waldorf when he saw a Porsche 914 parked at a gas station with a ‘for sale’ sign in the window.

He made a mental note of where the car was because, he says, ‘I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for 914s.’

By the time he got around to checking on the Porsche, it was gone.

Time passed but the memory of the Porsche lingered, so earlier this year Mr. Hager actively began a search for a suitable 914. He soon discovered that most of the cars advertised for sale were either in California or Florida.

Eventually he located what sounded like a promising car in Blacksburg, Va. In August he drove the 250 miles down the Shenandoah Valley and found a Porsche 914 with the bottom half mostly rusted away. A dejected Mr. Hager retraced the long miles back home.

A few weeks later he saw a 1973 Porsche 914 advertised and it was within walking distance of his Falls Church home. The seller had owned the car for about four years and it was just what Mr. Hager was looking for. The car had 167,000 miles on the odometer, so Mr. Hager sought and received permission to have the compression tested. The results were good and he purchased the Porsche in September.

‘Since it’s not a daily driver,’ Mr. Hager says, ‘there is a good likelihood of it going for years with no problems.’

Because the 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine is located amidships, directly behind the seats in the cockpit, the Porsche has two trunks, one at each end of the car, which stretches almost 13 feet between the bumpers. The spare tire is mounted beneath a panel in the floor of the front trunk.

The light-weight top is easily removed and a storage bracket inside the rear trunk lid can accommodate the roof with a minimal loss of cargo space. ‘It’s best to pack duffel bags,’ Mr. Hager advises.

A total of 16 vents on the cowl draw fresh air into the cozy black cockpit of the 2,139-pound sports car. A five-speed manual transmission is operated with a floor-mounted shift lever with reverse at the upper left and the fifth gear at the lower right. Just forward of the shift lever is a vertical console featuring from the top a clock, temperature gauge and an ampere meter.

With Mr. Hager seated behind the three-spoke steering wheel, he can view the 150-mph speedometer through the spokes of the steering wheel.

Rolling along on a 96-inch wheelbase that guarantees nimble handling, the Porsche has a rubber air dam below the front bumper that scoots along 4.5-inches above the asphalt.

Like most midengine cars, access for the mechanic is limited. Fortunately, Mr. Hager says, that part of the car is really a Volkswagen with VW reliability.

Mr. Hager says his car was offered in one silver color, six blues, four reds, three oranges, six yellows, seven greens, one ivory and a black. He’s happy with his car the way it is.