Porsche 911 Targa – Hot or Not?

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I have a confession to make. I’ve always – always – been a fan of the old Porsche 911 Targa. You know the one, the ‘lunch pail’ model that most 911 purists talk about with a tone of voice that could rarely be described as ‘fond’.

Porsche 911 Targa

Photo above from Boldride, which has a nice article on the history of the Targa.

Not only is the old Targa usually more affordable than a Coupe of the same age, but there’s also something quite elegant about it, something appealing about the versatility. It’s probably not the 911 to buy if you want to properly learn the dark art of rear-engined driving, but it’s the exact 911 to consider if you want a more affordable 911 that’ll give you a wonderful afternoon on a country road somewhere.

991 Porsche 911 Targa 4S - 3

Porsche has used the press days at the 2014 NAIAS in Detroit to unveil a new 911 Targa. The old Targa had a pull-out roof held in by a couple of clips. Of course, that arrangement is far too primitive for a modern Porsche so the whole Targa concept has become a mechnised party-trick.

Skip the architectural bollocks in the video below and go straight to the 45 second mark to see the roof in action. There’s also an animation at the 911 Targa microsite.

The 911 Targa will be a 2015 model and the full badging will be either the 911 Targa 4 or the 911 Targa 4S. The ‘4’ that’s common to both variants denotes 4WD, which is the only configuration available. The decision, then, is between whether you buy the ‘S’ or not.

The ‘S’ gets you a 3.8 litre engine with 400hp and the non-S car will have a 3.4 with 350hp. That’s plenty of poke in anyone’s language.

What do you reckon? Hot or Not?

I like the whole Targa concept on the right car and I’m quite sure Porsche will have sorted any concerns about chassis rigidity. I’m a fan.

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14 Comments

  1. Pretty car.

    You’ve come a long way from the soft window Targa of a friend’s ’68 912 Targa. He owned a ’67 912 Targa from new back in the day, sold it and found Porsche love again in the 1990’s with the ’68 912.

    As far as the mechinations of the top, just suffice it to say the engineers at Porsche did it just to show it could be done. The only question is how the mechanics will hold up over time.

    Those “architectural bollocks” are none other than the Quadracci Pavilion at the Milwaukee Art Museum, located on the shore of Lake Michigan. Designed by Santiago Calatrava the Quadracci Pavilion was completed in 2001. Check out: http://mam.org/info/details/quadracci.php

  2. I like the roof line and the Targa top. Not a fan of the complexity of the mechanism. Like Jon above, I wonder about the longevity of the components, and fixing them will cost a pretty penny, you can bet your last. I’ll take the original and be very, very happy.

  3. I don’t mind the look but wonder about the aerodynamics. That back window must catch a lot of air while driving at higher speeds. Sort of like when you roll down all the windows and get turbulence.

    1. If the new Targa is anything like the old Targa…and I can only assume it is much better…there will be minimal turbulence.

      In 1984, I took my wife back to GB to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, and hired a “Triple Black” 1984 Carrera Targa for two glorious weeks of blasting around England and Scotland. Oh what a fun time was had by all! 🙂

      We had the roof panel off as often as possible, and even at speed on the motorways, the ride was enjoyable. With the “old” cars, the roof stowed in the front boot, but still left room for “soft luggage” underneath.

      The most memorable trip was on the M1 from London to Nottingham (via Wembley) in about 90 minutes. 125 miles (200 km) INCLUDING being stuck in football traffic around Wembley for 30+ minutes! Averaged about 125 -130 mph (200-220 kph) for the ride. Can’t do that these days unfortunately, but back then…no problem at all.

      Did a couple of top speed runs by myself, and got north of 150 mph (240 kph) with ease…before running into traffic.

      The funniest (sort of) episode however, occurred in London late one evening, after a show and dinner.

      In between this 1984 trip, and our previous trip to GB, many of the roads in Central London were changed from two-way streets to one-way streets, with Oxford Street now being completely off limits to everything but commercial traffic most of the day.

      After seeing a great show in town, having dinner, and washing it down with some red wine, we started to head back to our hotel just outside of Heathrow airport around midnight.

      Well…with the aforementioned changes in the road directions…I drove around for a while trying to find the A4 to the West. Around and around Trafalger Square we drove, until I finally saw a small sign off in the distance. So I accelerated to get through a light that was in the process of turning from green…to orange…to red. It happened to be right next to a Zebra Crossing (with the round orange lights on top…keep that in mind). Hooray…we were on our way!

      Ahh..,.not so fast buddy. 🙁 The next thing I knew, there was a Rover 3500 full of Bobbies (three women and one man) behind me, with those lovely blue flashing lights going. Oh boy.

      So I stop…and two of the women and the man get out and approach the car. Again, in the intervening years between visits, Britain had enacted serious drink-driving laws, with little or no tolerance. I knew this beforehand, so when the gentleman approached my side of the car, and asks did I realize that I had gone through a red light?…I was a bit nervous.

      I said no…it was orange…just like the Zebra Crossing lights…not red. He disagreed politely…then asked for the paperwork, and I told him it was a hire car. He was a bit shocked and asked me “can you prove this?”…and I said no problem, the paperwork was in the glove box, if he would allow me to get it for him. OK…that was fine. He also asked me to unlatch the boot AND engine compartment lids, upon which the ladies proceeded to tear apart the car. Pulling up carpeting, looking under the spare wheel, checking door jambs, and scouring the engine compartment. WTF I thought to myself.

      I asked him what were they looking for, and could I get out of the car? That was fine. So I get out, and the next thing he asks is “Had I had been drinking?” I said yes, we had been to a show and dinner afterwards…I had had a couple glasses of wine with dinner…and that was that…thank goodness.

      I told him we were lost trying to get to the A4 to the West back to our hotel, as that roads had been all changed around since our last visit, and could he tell me how to get to it? He did, and told me to drive a little slower.

      After checking my paperwork with their offices, they put the car back together…and off we went. No ticket…no problem. 🙂

      As for why they were dismantling the car? They were checking the VIN in different areas of the car. Seems that at that time (1984) there were very few right-hand drive 911s in London…AND EVERY ONE HAD BEEN STOLEN…AT LEAST ONCE!

      The next day…found myself ON Oxford Street…in amongst the lorries, buses, and cabs…in a completely illegal area. Ooopppss! Oh well I thought…the taxis are black…the 911 is black…maybe no one will notice. 😉 They didn’t…too much…but got a few dirty looks.

      Time to head for the countryside!!

      The car continued to attract attention everywhere we went for the next two weeks. Only this time, it was admiring looks. No more adventures with the Constabulary.

  4. From the side, this new Targa reminds me of a C5 ‘Vette! Love them both, and the original.

    Re: Andy’s comment about turbulence, never noticed this in a C5 with the roof panel off, so maybe the design doesn’t create too much turbulence.

  5. I have a confession to make, I have ALWAYS hated the Targa! To me it is not a real 911. Swade mentions that the prices are cheaper than the coupe. DUH! That because they are way less desirable to the Porsche purist. They are considered an aberration and it is hard to understand that Porsche ever built it in the first place.

    And now they are building it again!

    Swade has been expecting this comment. He knows that I have a nice 1973 coupe…..heck he has even ridden in it around Santa Monica when he was here for the 97x introduction so long ago. [Yes I still have a couple of 95 Aeros and my sons have a couple more Aero wagons, so we are still Saab people.]

    When the 911 replaced the 356, Porsche continued to be interested in a convertible. Problem was the 911 torsional rigidity without the top was terrible. They kept fiddling with it and it still was a Flexi Flyer. Remember that this was the era when convertibles were rare because in the USA [the biggest market] we were worried about rollover safety. Porsche being a conservative company decided to do a 911 with a big fat aluminum clad roll bar, with a floppy Saran Wrap rear window.

    The gorgeous classic look of the 911 coupe now had a lunch pail handle!

    I hate the Targa so much that when I look at 911 coffee table books that describe the history of the model and they have Targa photos, I just ask……WHY!! Why even admit that Porsche ever built THAT thing!!

    In summary, in the world of old hard core 911 owners, the Targa is an embarrassment. On the serious Porsche blogs the Targa owners keep a low profile. They risk being slammed and embarrassed by real 911 owners…..and they usually are.

    OK Swade, I love you, but I had to bare my soul!

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