Welcome to Down On The Street, where we admire old vehicles found parked on the streets of the Island That Rust Forgot: Alameda, California. Here's a car that had been sitting in a backyard in my neighborhood for years- in fact, enough years that Jimmy Carter was president the last time it moved under its own power- and which I had been offered free last year (on condition that I'd haul it away right now)… and I might have taken it, had it possessed an engine and lacked the odor of decades of raccoon habitation. Finally, the long-suffering landlord on whose property the car had been abandoned got fed up and pushed it out onto the street in all its single-doored glory.

The yellow '72 Porsche 914 lives at the same address, but the crucial difference is that the Porsche is owned by a rent-paying tenant and actually runs. I can't puzzle out the year on this car exactly, but items such as taillight lenses seem to point to 1970 or 1971. VW experts?

The owner seemed to be hoping that he'd get some offers on this car, once its beauty could be seen by many passersby; failing that, The Crusher's hunger for scrap steel to ship to China make it worth at least a hundred bucks.

I've driven a few Karmann Ghias of this era, and they behave pretty much exactly like Beetles on the road- not surprising, given that the chassis is identical to the Beetle's. The '70 K-G coupe is more than 100 pounds heavier than its Beetle sibling (1,918 pounds versus 1,807), so the "sporty" car of the pair is actually the slower one. However, for a two-seat coupe with Italian styling, the Karmann Ghia's price was hard to beat: $2,399. A new MGB-GT- not exactly a high-performance machine- would have set you back a stunning $3,260.

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