Let’s get this out of the way right now- The Straight Pipes got their title wrong. The first mid-engine Porsche was 356-001 from 1948. Indeed, the hosts note that right at the beginning of the video, despite the title. There were also 84 550 Spyders (14 works and 70 customer/road cars), and numerous other race cars prior to the 914. The 914 was the first serial-production, mid-engine Porsche road car, but that makes for a terrible Youtube title, so we’ll have to let that slide.
The 914 is new ground for Yuri and Jakob, as the 1970 914-6 featured in the video is the oldest car they have ever reviewed. It is also a legitimate museum piece belonging to the Porsche museum. To top it off, neither of them has driven a car with a dogleg manual gearbox, and they found some of the 914’s features a bit puzzling. The three-point belts in the silver 914 1.8 featured were especially confusing to the hosts- people our age have all used inertia reel belts and slip-adjust lap belts, but nothing from the last few decades has slip-adjust three point belts. To folks born after about 1970, this sort of restraint is a relative unknown.
The hosts try to stay positive, but it’s clear that the 914 is pretty far out of their comfort zone. The 914’s defining minimalism makes this a tough piece for a pair of reviewers who love to dive in deep. There are almost zero interior features beyond the bare necessities (and you know we like minimalism around here). It’s a sports car, but it doesn’t at all conform to the modern paradigm. It is not particularly fast (even by 1970 standards), the brakes are weak by modern standards, and while they praised the handling and ride, they did mention that the car is quite a bit of work to drive. [Ed. Note: Maybe by comparison to modern cars? I’ve never found 914s to be anything other than a joy.]
To them, it seems that the car is more interesting as a reference point for how far cars have come. It is not an end in and of itself. This is just the beginning of their Porsche experience, however, as the pair are spending some time in Germany driving Porsche cars from Porsche’s private collection. It will be interesting to see what Porsche hands them the keys to next.