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issue 141

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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Gallery: The last RHD 911 Carrera 2.7 RS unearthed

It may not look like much but this particular Porsche 911 is genuinely a car of much significance. Modified with over the years, the chassis underneath reveals that it is, in fact, the last right-hand drive Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 RS to roll off the production line in 1973.

To read the car’s full story – possibly one of the greatest tales ever told in Total 911 – you’ll have to pick up the latest issue. However, we couldn’t help but share a few more shots of this 2.7 RS’s incredible patina. Enjoy:

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To read about this barn-find 2.7 RS’s tale in full, pick up Total 911 issue 141 in store today. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery, or download it to your digital device now.

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The last RHD 911 Carrera 2.7 RS: Purple Gain

“I sort of stand back and look at the classic car market and wonder what it’s all about, and ask myself where is it going to be when I’m long gone,” explains Josh Sadler, Autofarm’s resident RS polymath.

“There are the investment cars – that’s a nice investment RS there,” he says, pointing to an immaculate 1973 RS under a car cover, “or do you want something like this, something that has a story?”

“For me, life is about people, and the stories associated with them.” This car, his car, has him conflicted, though to look at it you might wonder what all the fuss is about.”

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Let’s backtrack to late summer last year. Sadler was arranging to race at Rennsport Reunion V at Laguna Seca and the Daytona Classic 24-Hour endurance race in Florida. He had shipped out his 1970 911S ‘Prototype’, a car he and the team at Autofarm had lovingly restored and built as a racer.

They did a good job, too, the car running both races faultlessly – though Sadler didn’t bring it back. He had heard through a contact, called Rikard Asbjornsen, about an interesting RHD 1973 RS that he had located in Trinidad.

Naturally, Sadler’s interest was raised, and conveniently the asking price for it matched the amount he received in the sale of his 911S Prototype.

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Back in 1973 when Gordon Durham was ordering his new sports car, he would never have known just how interesting its future would be. Delivered to him in Teesside, England, it cost £7,500 and wore the registration MXG 911L.

One of the 117 right-hand-drive cars built, its M472 code marks it as one of the 94 UK Touring models, though significantly its 9113601576 chassis code marks it out as the last RHD RS built.

It was fairly comprehensively specified, too, the options added to it including a tinted and heated rear window (M102), limited-slip differential (M220), head restraints (M258), driver’s side mirror (M423), rear wiper (M425), electric sliding sunroof (M650) and electric windows (M651).

To read about this barn-find 2.7 RS’s Trinidadian story, pick up Total 911 issue 141 in store today. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery, or download it to your digital device now.

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Porsche 911 R driven: the gallery

We really don’t get bored of looking at the new Porsche 911 R. It’s a stunning looking machine and, as Lee finds out in the new issue, one that has managed to live up to its unbelievable hype.

Our exclusive first drive of the car in the latest issue not only provided a scintillating drive, it also produced some stunning photos (backed up by Scotland’s equally impressive scenery), so we’ve decided to share some previously unseen shots with you. Enjoy:

Porsche at Knockhill race circuit. Photo: James Lipman / jameslipman.com

Porsche at Knockhill race circuit. Photo: James Lipman / jameslipman.com

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Porsche at Knockhill race circuit. Photo: James Lipman / jameslipman.com

Porsche at Knockhill race circuit. Photo: James Lipman / jameslipman.com

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Porsche at Knockhill race circuit. Photo: James Lipman / jameslipman.com

To read our first drive of the new Porsche 911 R in full, pick up Total 911 issue 141 in store. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery, or download it straight to your digital device now.

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New Porsche 911 R driven: Preuninger’s finest hour

The 9A1 Rennsport flat six fills the cabin with a howling crescendo of noise as the 991 dashes at an astonishing rate along the asphalt. My right foot buried into the floor, I glance down to see the tachometer needle thrash round towards the redline as the car’s crank spins wildly.

Approximately 200 yards dead ahead, three pylon-mounted arrow signs point left as the road duly sweeps round and out of sight. Action is required to prepare the car for the upcoming corner, and quickly.

Then something strange happens. After scrubbing some speed with a dab of the brake pedal, convention in a 991 GT car dictates that a mere pull of the left PDK paddle on the steering wheel is all that’s needed to change down a gear, a smooth-yet largely excitement-free action for the driver to implement pre-turn in.

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But then this is far from a conventional 991 GT. It may have the 500hp, 4.0-litre engine of the latest 911 Rennsport, but this is no mere 991 GT3 RS either: equipped with a manual gearbox, this is the GT3 RS’s fiery sibling, the 991 R – and it’s outrageously brilliant.

We unveiled the rebirth of Porsche’s ‘R’ moniker to you back in issue 138 and now, three weeks ahead of the car’s official first drive for journalists around the globe, we’re treated to two golden hours at the wheel of a German-plated yet right-hand drive example on twisty, deserted roads from Scotland’s Pitlochry to the Isle Of Skye.

Porsche’s new manual six-speeder has given me more to do before that fast-approaching corner though, so I’m coerced into dabbing the brake pedal with the toes of my right foot, shortly before my right heel prods down and right to blip the throttle.

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Meanwhile, my left foot kicks that all-important third pedal, decoupling the clutch for a split second as I push the shifter across its gate to engage second gear from third, keeping the car in check as it makes the turn.

The practice of heel-and-toe is a classic if well-versed routine to a driver, yet in a 991-generation GT car, the technique is as welcome as it is refreshing, the sensation transformational in providing another stratum of entertainment at the wheel.

The return of a third pedal to the footwell of a ‘Preuninger 911’ is, after all, a victory for the avid peddler. Great as the 991 GT3 and GT3 RS are at lopping chunks from lap times, the caveat ultimately is a detachment between car and driver in terms of involvement. Porschephiles not intent on clinical circuit driving demanded a more traditionally oriented performance 911 and, as is pleasing to see, Andreas Preuninger’s Weissach team has listened carefully.

To read Lee’s Porsche 991 R test drive 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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