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porsche 911 targa

The narrow G comes under the spotlight

“It has guts like Jupp Heynckes on the firing range and the rough charm of Jean-Paul Belmondo. Its appearance is characterized by the new fenders (bumpers), considerable inner values are still reliability, temperament, safety and solid workmanship. ” This is how Rudolf Urban from the Munich magazine “tz” introduced the new G-model for 1974. But the fan base was shocked. Purists refused to understand what had just happened. The American 911 friends, however, were happy that the Porsche 911 was still alive.

“It has guts like Jupp Heynckes on the firing range and the rough charm of Jean-Paul Belmondo.” – Rudolf Urban

After having been built for about ten years, the 911 was thus extensively revised. Porsche summarized it as follows in the sales prospectus of 1976:

“There already was a 911 in 1964 – and it looked hardly different than today. Not only was it almost as beautiful – it was almost as fast too: 210 km/h. So what have we done since then? Eleven years of model constancy, that is eleven years of fine work on detail: barely visible, but immediately felt. A comparison drive of only a few minutes would make the crucial difference clear to you. In today’s Porsche, the same pace seems only half as fast – and half as exhausting. The same power is available at speeds that are one third lower. The higher torque allows longer gear ratios and makes the engine elastic. You do not have to change gears as often. And – it has become much quieter inside the Porsche.”

Three versions were available

The program for the 1974 model included three engine and two construction variants. All vehicles had the 2.7-liter engine. In the 911 and 911 S models with 150 and 175 hp, a Bosch K-Jetronic provided the fuel-air mixture preparation, while in the Carrera the mechanical injection taken over from the predecessor Carrera RS provided for 210 HP. The 911 was available as as coupe and Targa, and for the first time the Carrera could also be ordered with an open roof. While the base prices (from today’s point of view) were quite attractive (26,980 DM for the 911, 30,980 DM for the 911 S), the extras could push up the price considerably. So a fully equipped 911 could cost a whopping 40,000 DM.

With the new G model, Porsche served a whole range of smaller optimizations. The most important were:

  • the plastic fuel tank, enlarged to 80 liters
  • the extended foot pedals
  • the auxiliary spring of the clutch pedal, which reduced the force needed by one third
  • the omission of the hydro-pneumatic struts from the M equipment list
  • new rear axle suspension struts made of light cast metal.
  • Defroster nozzles for the side windows
  • stronger torque generators for the 911 and 911S (not for the Carrera)
  • a 66 amp hour battery in the trunk
  • a headlight cleaning system at an extra charge
  • the water filler neck for the windscreen washer in the front fender

 

A real Porsche, even at 150 hp  

In 1974, 150 hp was big news, because the normal car could usually achieve only about 50 – 75 hp. Thanks to their low weight, very sporty performance was possible. The Porsche could sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.2 seconds, the maximum speed was measured at a stately 210.4 km/h. Please do not forget, we are talking about the 70s. The response to the gas pedal is direct, and typical of a 6-cylinder boxer, the car only develops its full sound and performance potential at more than 4,000 revs. At this point it should be mentioned that the 150 hp 911 is in no way inferior to the 911S in terms of torque. Both the 911 and 911S achieve 235 nm of torque, but the “small” 911 reaches this maximum even 200 revs earlier than its big brother, namely at 3,800 rpm.

Tester Fritz Reuter found that the the 911, has a a slight understeering driving behavior, but we all love this about the 911. The summer 1974 issue of auto motor und sport magazine compared to the 911 S with its main competitors: Mercedes 280 SLC, BMW 3.0 CSi and Alfa Romeo Montreal (8 cylinders). Incidentally, the Porsche was the weakest of the rivals with 175 hp at the time. Despite its shortage of horsepower, the 911 was the winner in the categories acceleration and top speed.

Despite its shortage of horsepower, the 911 was the winner in the categories acceleration and top speed.

The brakes were highly praised and the ride comfort was attested to be a great improvement on its predecessor. No wonder then that the conclusion of the endurance test published in the following year was that the 911 was one of the best all-round sports cars in the world. From model year 1976, the supporting parts of the body were hot-dip galvanized and this solved the major problem of the first series released.

Just a few years ago, many G-models were rebuilt to mimic a car of the predecessor series, but today demand for well-preserved and original, narrow G-models is increasing. Many collectors have recognized that the numbers were still low and the technology quite exquisite. Good vehicles are no longer easy to find, because even back in the 1970s, narrow G models were frequently rebuilt. An example was the new, very wide and powerful 911 Turbo, which entered the market in 1975. In addition, the cars of those years specifically are considered quite durable and at the same time largely unadulterated, after all, with the exception of fuel injection hardly anything in the traditional technology orientation was changed in those years.

Conclusion:

The narrow G-model finally came into the spotlight and stepped out of the shadows of other models. Considering the already very high prices for F-models, the early G-model presents a real alternative. Significantly better performance combined with classic optics make the narrow G-model to a very exciting 911.

Significantly better performance combined with classic optics make the narrow G-model to a very exciting 911.

Vehicle in the article: Porsche 911S Targa 2.7 from 1977 (fully galvanized)
Pictures by: Roman Rätzke Fotografie (www.roman-raetzke.de)

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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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Féérique session porschiste

Vous sentez l’odeur des petits fours qui attire votre gourmandise, les bulles pétillent déjà dans les coupes de champagne et la bonne humeur arrive pour clôturer cette année 2015 si intense. De notre côté nous vous proposons de terminer cette belle année à vos côtés avec la délicatesse et la majesté d’une Porsche 911 Targa 4S. Une Porsche […]

Porsche-911-Targa-4S-65-Joer-Lëtzebuerg-3-1024x683

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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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