Let me tell you the story of the Easter Ham. Or at least my version of it.
One Easter, after hunting eggs laid by the Easter Bunny…you know what, before I go on let me address this Easter Bunny thing first. I have seen pastel colored eggs. Real eggs. Mainly in the blue and turquoise family and also some that are kind of pinkish. Many eggs are speckled, and some even look like a Jackson Pollock painting. All of which are wonderful to behold. Like edible gems that won’t hurt your teeth and when properly handled, won’t give you an unforgettable case of salmonella. What I’m saying is that there are a lot of different colors of eggshells.
Oh, let’s not forget “Robin’s Egg Blue”. It’s an amazing color. But like asking the trick question, “Who is buried in Grant’s Tomb?” if we ask “What bird lays robin’s blue eggs?” I would hope the answer would be obvious. But in case you didn’t know, the answer is the Easter Bunny. Or so someone somewhere back along the way would have you think.
The thing is, I have a lot of rabbits in my yard. A lot. Some years it gets pretty out of hand. We had to rip out all the grass in the front yard, or what was left of it, because of the little scoundrels. You’d think that as repayment for maintaining that pasture, they’d leave some pastel eggs behind. I’m not even asking for the chocolate kind, just your regular breakfasty eggs. I eat them daily and it would be awfully convenient to just be able to step out the door and pick some up off the ground in the morning so that I could make a fancy omelette. It could be a cycle of life sort of thing: I feed the bunnies and they feed me. Everyone is in harmony.
But that’s not how it goes.
As it turns out, I feed the bunnies and the bunnies feed my dog. I have a small dog, so you can just put out of your mind the image of a hunting dog with a flaccid rabbit in it’s mouth. No. You see my dog enjoys the Easter Bunny’s eggs too. But they’re of the very small variety and come in little earth-colored piles, and they are everywhere. Much to our surprise they weren’t eggs at all and have been implicated in the demise of my lawn.
For the sake of brevity and so you don’t end up throwing your napkin on the table and shaking your fist at me for spoiling your breakfast, I’ll just call these “eggs” rabbit snacks. Which is how my Sonoran Desert mutt thinks of them: yummy treats. As you may know, dogs can’t eat chocolate, so this is apparently the next best thing. I wouldn’t recommend this sort of egg for those with a finer palate than Fido however. Let’s also just suggest obliquely that bunnies don’t lay eggs.
What does this have to do with the Easter Ham story, you ask? Well as it turns out, I have no idea, but stick with me because eventually everything will tie together.
So as I was saying, a family was gathered cooking the Easter meal. A young girl watching her mother preparing the ham noticed that her mother cut both ends of it off before putting it in the oven. She asked her mother “Mommy, why do you cut off both ends?” And the mother replied that she didn’t know, it was just the way her mother always did it. So they went to Grandmother and the mother asked her, “Mom, why do you always cut both ends off of the Easter ham?” The grandmother replied that she also didn’t know, but it was a tradition and it’s the way her mother always did it.
Fortunately, Great Grandmother was still alive and kicking but was taking a load off and kicking back in a recliner. So the girl, the mother and the grandmother all went into the living room and asked, Great Grandmother, why did you always cut both ends off of the Easter Ham? Great Grandmother replied, “Because the pan was too small.”
Because the pan was too small.
So this takes us to the rear-engine setup of the 911. Why does the 911 have an engine over and behind the rear axle instead of somewhere farther forward in the car? It may have to do with Mr. Porsche’s design of the VW Beetle which got carried forward. Although other early Porsche designs included a mid-engine layout the rumor is, much like the Easter Bunny laying eggs, that the 911 was so fast, the engine slid backwards on the frame when leaving the starting line. I like that explanation and I’m sticking with it, even if it is total BS that I just made up. In case that wasn’t enough, here’s some more:
In order to keep the power plant in the middle of the car, which maximized balance and performance, the 914 was developed with a smaller lightweight engine putting out 80-85 HP (depending on year) so as to not whip the tablecloth out from underneath the dinnerware, so to speak. Thus the 8.5 second or so 0-60 time allowed the engine to remain in the center of the car and not slide backward.
So despite the inherent instability and disadvantages, the engine remained in the rear of the 911 for it’s entire production run, which has been a very very long time indeed. There was at one time an unsuccessful stab at moving the 911 engine to the front (in the form of the staggeringly expensive 928 model). But tradition held and the 911 just kept getting the engine put in the “way back”, as Daddy Porsche had done it all those years ago.
Nobody seems to know why, as Grandpappy, er…“Opa” Porsche isn’t here to ask any longer, but if we loosely follow the Easter Ham story we can analogize and say that he put it in the back because the front end of the car was too small to put such a big engine in. By the way, I’d recommend telling your kids NOT to use this post as a reference for their German Automotive History class. The real story is nearly as bizarre as the one I’m telling you now. Go look it up.
Anyway, the 914 was always known to have great balance and handling despite it’s diminutive 1.7 and later 1.8 liter flat-4 engines (and later a flat-6 in the 914/6 variant). The car was meant to be a melange of Volkswagen and Porsche which served as an entry-level Porsche while at the same time being a high end VW. I guess you could call it a Porschewagen, or a Volksporsche. Either way it served as a sort of DNA bridge between the Karmann Ghia and what would be represented by the Boxter/Cayman twins today.
This particular 1975 914 is very attractive in its green over tan leather suit. It has the 1.8 liter flavor of power, mating to the rear wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission. It features a targa top, retractible headlights, chrome door handles, front fog lights, and 15” wheels. The seller states that the car has been completely rebuilt and is in great running condition. It has a clear title and is ready to roll. For more info, you can click HERE to contact the seller who is asking $28,500 for this perky and pequeño Porsche.
And don’t eat the rabbit snacks.