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911 S Targa 2.4 – 190 ch [1972]

Porsche 911 Targa 2,4L « S » by Berluti : une vente aux enchères exceptionnelle par Sotheby’s

La Maison Berluti, spécialisée dans le travail du cuir, et le constructeur automobile allemand Porsche proposent une collaboration unique : une Porsche 911 Targa, que Berluti a entièrement personnalisée. Cette voiture unique en son genre fera l’objet d’une mise aux enchères du 24 avril au 7 mai prochain.

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Video: A history of the Porsche 911 Targa

 

In 2017, the Porsche 911 Targa – the original open top Neunelfer – will reach its 50th birthday, a remarkable milestone for a model that was originally devised to meet safety regulations that were, ultimately, never implemented.

To celebrate the upcoming anniversary, we’ve decided to look back over the Targa’s half a century of history in our latest video, taking you through the evolution of the model from 1967 right through to the latest 991.2 Targa 4S.

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Our five-minute flick also stars a 1974 Porsche 911 Targa from esteemed specialist, Canford Classics, the original impact bumper iteration showing how the latest open-top Neunelfers has both changed and been inspired by Zuffenhausen’s iconic roll hoop design.

We’ve put the two idiosyncratic roof systems to the test too and, if you missed our road trip with the 991.2 version in Total 911 issue 142, Features Editor, Josh gives you his opinion from behind the wheel of the new 911 Targa to see if turbocharging has improved the alfresco driving experience.

For more of the latest and best Porsche 911 videos, check out our dedicated film section now.

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Rise of the classic Porsche 911 Targa

Born out of necessity, the Targa is an enduring if sometimes unloved model in the 911 range. Its inception was the result of Porsche’s obvious desire to offer an open-topped version of the 911 in the 1960s, though early 911s lacked the structural rigidity to offer a full open top.

Fate would intervene, with proposed US safety legislation effectively killing development of conventional Cabriolets thanks to the anticipated demand for roll-over protection. Given the potential of the US market and as Porsche is not one to shy away from the insurmountable, it took a more unconventional approach to give customers an open-air choice.

The solution was the Targa in 1967, which featured a full rollover hoop, to which a removable panel was fitted. On the earliest, short-wheelbase cars there was also a removable ‘soft’ rear window, which simply unzipped. Somewhat amusingly, Porsche’s safety-orientated open-top car took its name from a famously dangerous road race, the Sicilian Targa Florio.

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Coincidentally though, ‘Targa’ in Italian refers to an ancient shield; fitting given the Targa’s safety-derived inception. That US legislation would never materialise, though the Targa would remain Porsche’s only open-topped 911 until the Cabriolet joined the line-up in 1982.

The Targa added little weight over its Coupe relations, the roll hoop adding strength while the lightweight roof counteracted the additional weight of the four strengthened panels. The tooling costs were minimal, too, with most of the sheet metal below the waistline unchanged from the Coupe.

The removable rear window didn’t last long though, Porsche soon replacing it with that evocative curved glass, which was as much a signature of the Targa as that brushed Nirosta stainless steel finished roll-over bar (which later changed to black aluminium).

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That formula would remain from its late 1960s introduction through to the 964 series. The arrival of the 993 Targa in 1996 would see it adopt a large glass-opening sunroof, which slid behind the rear window.

This remained the case with the 996 and 997 models, which also benefitted from opening rear glass, creating a hatchback 911 as such. From the 993 onwards though, the Targa was no longer so visually distinct from its Coupe relations.

Only a company with the stubbornness of Porsche would persist in offering more than one open-top model in its range. At times when Porsche offered Speedsters, customers had as many as three ways of opening their 911 to the elements. The Targa could have quietly slipped away following the 993, 996 and 997 iterations.

To read ‘Targa Rising’ in full, pick up Total 911 issue 141 in store today. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery, or download it straight to your digital device now. 

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Evolution of the Porsche 911 Targa

There was always an open-top Porsche: Ferry’s first model was an open barchetta and if production realities soon dictated a closed design, it was only a couple of years before a convertible 356 appeared.

This was a vital model, especially in the US, for which Porsche’s gung-ho distributor Max Hoffman persuaded Zuffenhausen to build the Speedster, as featured in issue 128 of Total 911. By the late 1950s, consideration of the 356’s successor was in full swing at Porsche.

Between the competing designs of Erwin Komenda (Porsche’s long standing body engineer who saw himself as carrying the beacon for the late Professor Porsche), Ferry’s son Butzi who represented the first generation of automobile stylists, and Ferry’s own preferences, little thought was given to an open car.

Original 911 Targa

Moreover, high development costs of the 901 Coupé meant there was little in the way of budget left to invest in a convertible model.

The other concern at that time was the controversy in America, stirred up by Ralph Nader, about whether car manufacturers were putting users’ lives at risk with fundamentally unsafe cars.

In particular, the Chevrolet Corvair (a flat six rear engine design) had been singled out, as had the VW Microbus. In the general uncertainty, it was also unclear whether the US authorities were going to ban open cars. It was dissuasive enough: Porsche would develop an alternative to the Cabriolet which would be the birth of the Targa.

Porsche 991 Targa

Porsche’s experiments with open prototypes had already demonstrated that some sort of ‘roll hoop’ did manage to restore rigidity. Therefore, the ‘alternative cabrio’ would have this roll hoop and it became a question of what it would look like and how it would be incorporated.

Schröder, who had built 356 cabrios at Karmann, said that the most important detail at this stage was “to make this roll bar look right.” Having agreed on the aesthetics, they could then strengthen it as much as necessary.

To read the rest of our Porsche 911 Targa history, pick up issue 130 in store now. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery, or download it straight to your digital device.

Porsche 911 Targas

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Opinion: the sense behind the silly values of classic 911s

Much has been made of the surge in values of classic 911s this year. We’ve focussed on it a lot here at Total911.com, reporting on the action from every auction room sale as soon as the hammer falls.

To Joe Public, the astronomical sale prices of these classic 911s are simply inconceivable. The 964 RS sold at Monaco started the outry. “£225,000 for a pared-back Carrera?” was the main line of heresy bounding about social media in the aftermath of that particular sale. We’ve also seen a million-dollar 1974 3.0-litre RS sell at Pebble Beach, and to top it all off, just last week a 1973 S with the less desirable Targa top sold for £195,500. Madness, you might say? Absolutely not.

1973 Porsche 911 S Targa

Here’s why. Just look at that ’73 S Targa. Sure, its main USP is classic engineering and aesthetics, replenishing a lack of any discernable driver aids with retro charm by the lorry load. But, most importantly, there’s an added bonus of provenance attached to the car too. Just 5,054 examples of the 2.4-litre 911S were sold by Porsche, compared to over 15,000 997 Carrera S variants. And that’s in rear-driven form only, and not including the M97-clad first generation 997 either.

Modern sporstcars may be more accomplished to drive, but they're made in high numbers, denting their appeal as collectibles.

The crux of my argument is, on top of their zesty appeal to nostalgic buyers who grew up surrounded by cars from “the good old days,” we have to accept these classics carry a premium due to their hailing from a low-production era of automotive manufacturing. There’s simply less of them on the face of the earth than today’s machine-built, mass produced (and even platform sharing) sportscars. As production increases – Porsche themselves this week announced a 12% sales increase from last year – these early cars will only become rarer.

So, regardless of that idiosyncratic Targa top, all of a sudden £195,500 for a low-volume classic appears to be an absolute snip for such a car.

Do you agree? Comment below or tweet us @Total911 with your thoughts.

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