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911 Targa 4S 3.8 – 355 ch [2007 à 2008]

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

Total 911’s top six Porsche 911 Targas of all time

The Porsche 911 Targa, named in honour of Zuffenhausen’s victories in the Targa Florio road race, is nearly as old at the hardtop 911 itself. With Total 911 recently road tripping in the latest open-top 911 – and Stuttgart already testing its replacement – we’ve decided to select the most sensational sextet of 911 Targas ever:

6) Porsche 991 Targa

Porsche 991 Targa The latest iteration of the Targa has seen Porsche return to the classic roll hoop design. It’s arguably the most beautiful open-top 911 ever created but, the alfresco experience isn’t as awesome as the aesthetics.

5) Porsche 993 Targa

Porsche 993 Targa

From the rear, with its flared hips and panoramic roof, its not hard to see why the 993 Targa appeals. It marked the end of the original roll-bar design, creating something potentially more practical: a sliding glass roof.

4) Porsche 964 Targa

Porsche 964 Targa

Its mix of classic and modern always makes the 964 attractive to buyers and, although its roll bar design may not be the prettiest, its place as the last air-cooled 911 with a full hoop above your head will certainly make it desirable in the future.

3) Porsche 997 Targa

Porsche 997 Targa

Like the 993 and 996 before it, the 997 Targa featured a sliding glass roof. The rear panel hinged up to provide access to a luggage shelf making it hugely practical but, while it visually appeals, it’s less of a Targa and more of a large sunroof.

2) Porsche 930 Targa

Porsche 911 Turbo Targa

If you like your Targa experience to be coupled with blistering speed then the ultra-rare Porsche 911 Turbo Targa is the car for you. Just 298 were built, ensuring incredible open-top exclusivity.

1) Porsche 911S Targa

1968 Porsche 911S Targa

Sometimes the original ideas are the best. The polished roll hoop of this original 1968 Porsche 911 Targa is as iconic as it is beautiful while, in today’s market, pre-impact bumper Targas provide a more accessible route to 911S ownership.

Do you agree with our Porsche 911 Targa top six? What is your favourite generation of the venerable open-top sports car? Comment below or join the debate on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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