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911 Targa 3.6 – 285 ch [1996 à 1998]

TCE 2019 – Une unique Porsche 911 Targa type 993

Les salons automobiles, comme le Techno Classica 2019 qui s’est tenu à Essen en Allemagne, permettent de faire de belles découvertes comme cette Porsche 993 Targa de 1996 transformer en vraie configuration Targa avec un toit amovible. La 911 Targa de la génération 993 se démarquait des précédentes versions par un système de toit ouvrant …

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Anecdote : Pourquoi la Porsche 911 Targa type 993 avait des jantes spécifiques?

Dévoilée au salon IAA de Francfort en 1965, la variante Targa a une place à part dans la gamme 911 du constructeur automobile Porsche. Ce type carrosserie a évolué sur la 993 en devenant un coupé avec un immense toit en verre, pouvant s’ouvrir en partie. La Porsche 911 Targa type 993 – dotée d’un …

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993 Targa: air apparent?

The sky is the colour of slate, the temperature scarcely into single figures and there’s a fine drizzle hanging in the air. This isn’t a
Targa sort of day. 
Photographer Dan and I are killing time in the Paul Stephens showroom, ogling Porsches and contemplating a third mug of tea. Dan wants the rain to stop before he can start snapping, but there’s a fully-fuelled 993 Targa outside and I’m itching to get behind the wheel. Eventually, Dan relents. “We’ll just have to work around it,” he shrugs as we climb aboard, raindrops now drumming steadily on the glass roof.

The Targa itself started life as a work-around. Porsche feared the US would outlaw full convertibles on safety grounds, so the halfway-house Targa – with its fixed roll-hoop and removable metal roof – was a means to sidestep legislation back in the 1960s. The drop-top ban never materialised, but Porsche’s Targa proved a sales success and soon became a fixture of the 911 range. It evolved gradually for almost three decades until a radical reinvention in 1996. The 993 Targa had arrived.

Nobody could accuse the 993 of being a work-around. This thoroughly modern Targa boasted a panoramic glass roof that retracted electrically behind the rear window. No longer did the driver have to remove a heavy, cumbersome Targa top and find somewhere to stow it; the 993 morphed from coupe to near-cabriolet in around 10 seconds, and at the touch of a button. The engineering was complex, but the execution brilliantly simple.

The styling, too, was a study in subtle elegance. Interestingly, the 993 Cabriolet, upon which the Targa is based, had been designed to more closely resemble the Coupe. Stylist Tony Hatter said: “I never liked the look of the early Cabriolets. The classical 911 shape is the Coupe. With the 993, we tried to get some of that form into the roof.”

This thinking also permeates the Targa; to the untrained eye, it’s almost indistinguishable from its Coupe cousin. Drag coefficient, too, is an identical 0.33. Unless you happen to be looking from above, the rear side windows – which taper to a sharp point instead of a smooth curve – are the obvious giveaway. Note also the pop-up wind deflector aft of the front screen, two-piece alloys with five concave spokes, absence of rain gutters on the roof and ‘Targa’ script on the engine lid.

‘Our’ Arena red Targa is for sale for £52,995 at the time of writing. At some point during the past two decades, its factory split-rims have been swapped for the more familiar Cup alloys and the rear badge has gone missing but, aftermarket radio aside, the car is otherwise standard. “We rarely see modified 993s,” explains Tom Wood, sales executive at Paul Stephens. “Owners tend to keep them original and simply enjoy driving them.”

The roof remains closed, but I’m already enjoying this one. The expanse of thermally insulated, UV-resistant glass overhead feels like an aircraft-style canopy. It floods the cabin with light, an effect exacerbated by the Classic grey carpets and trim (most owners opted for Midnight blue or black). In contrast to the claustrophobic 993 Cabriolet, with its huge three-quarter blind spots and plastic rear window, the Targa feels airy and accommodating. It looks better than the Cab when ‘open’, too.

For the full road test article on the Porsche 993 Targa, order your copy of Total 911 issue 163 here or download to your Apple or Android digital device. 

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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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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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