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Porsche 991 Targa

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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Porsche launch 991 Targa 4 GTS: the ultimate Pacific Coast cruiser?

It’s currently -1°C in Detroit, home of the North American International Auto Show. It’s certainly not 911 Targa weather however, Porsche has chosen the first major show of 2015 to launch the Porsche 991 Targa 4 GTS.

After launching Coupe and Cabriolet version of the new Porsche 991 GTS in October (with out first drive coming in issue 121), Zuffenhausen has now completed the GTS range with the retro-styled open-top sports car.

The standard Porsche 991 Targa already utilises the four-wheel drive widebody of the Carrera 4/Carrera 4S, making a Targa version an easy proposition for the engineers at Porsche.

Like its hardtop brother, the new Porsche 991 Targa 4 GTS comes with the 3.8-litre flat six with Powerkit as standard, resulting in 430hp. Other standard equipment includes the Sport Chrono package, PASM and sports exhaust.

911 Targa 4 GTS

The Porsche 991 Targa 4 GTS features a host of black highlights, including the ‘Targa’ and ‘GTS’ badging on the iconic silver roll hoop. Elsewhere, the black theme is extended to the centre-lock Turbo S wheels, as seen on the previously revealed Porsche 991 GTSs.

While Detroit is unlikely to be the new Porsche 991 Targa 4 GTS’s natural home ground, the latest open-top Porsche 911 is likely to sell well in North America, a market where Porsche saw overall sales grow by 11.1 per cent in 2014.

With the 991 Targa’s retro aesthetic and credentials as an excellent boulevard cruiser making it an ideal fit in Los Angeles, we can see the new Porsche 991 Targa 4 GTS proving popular on the West Coast, where it’s improved performance over standard Targas should set it apart in California’s excellent mountain roads.

To read our review of the Porsche 991 Carrera GTS, order your copy of Total 911 issue 121 now. Alternatively, download it straight to your digital device for immediate access to our definitive GTS opinion.

911 Targa 4 GTS

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Porsche 991 Targa on tour

It had only been ten weeks since our 991 Targa rolled fresh off the factory floor at Zuffenhausen before being added to a Porsche consignment destined for British shores.

Yet there I was, on an early Sunday morning in Blighty, preparing to drive the 911 all the way back to its original point of manufacture (where testing of its replacement has already begun).

Of course, it’s not uncommon for enthusiastic owners to make similar journeys in the other direction after paying the £1,160 premium to collect their new 911 from the factory.

Porsche 991 Targa Box Hill

However, driving a Porsche ‘back home’ has a romance to it that brought about giddy excitement as I left the Dorset coastline behind me and pointed the Racing yellow Targa in the direction of London to pick up my photographer for the excursion.

From there, my next meaningful appointment was scheduled for 9.30am the next day at the Museum on Porscheplatz some 600 miles away. This would make for a real-world acid test for Porsche’s reworked Targa concept, where the agenda is as much about grand touring excellence as it is automotive sporting prowess.

After collecting Phil and his plethora of photography bags – all fitting in a generous front luggage compartment devoid of a removable roof canvas, as per the old roll-bar Targas – we made our way towards the Eurotunnel to France.

Porsche 991 Targa Black Forest

En route to mainland Europe, we exchanged our respective views of the Targa concept and its place in the 991 line-up. “The recent generations haven’t been a Targa in my mind,” says Phil, former owner of a 993 C4S.

I quite agree with him – and it seems Porsche do too, offering this redesign to alleviate clashing with the large sliding sunroofs now offered on 991 Coupes.

To read more of Lee’s European excursion in the new Porsche 991 Targa 4, pick up a copy of Total 911 issue 117 in store now. Alternatively you can order it online, or download it straight to your digital device for an immediate 911 fix.

Porsche 991 Targa Porscheplatz
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EXCLUSIVE: Is this the facelifted Porsche 991 Targa already?

Last week we exclusively brought you spy shots of the car rumoured to be the next in line to the Porsche 911 name: the supposedly turbocharged ‘Porsche 992’. Hot on that car’s heels is a Targa version, seen here for the first time in black test mule camouflage.

While the 992 Carrera was spied in a pre-production metallic grey, the fact that this Porsche 911 Targa is still wearing some disguising tape shows that a Porsche 992 Targa (if this is indeed the 991’s full replacement) is still some way off reaching the market.

However, the very fact that a replacement for the current Porsche 991 Targa 4 is already testing is still quite shocking given that the latest open-top 911 has only just reached customers after its initial unveiling in May of this year.

Porsche 992 Targa 1

The test mule that Total 911’s spy spotted bears many of the same hallmarks spotted on the 992 pre-production car, including the new door handles, moveable front air vents, and exit slates on the rear bumper believed to help cool the new Porsche 911 Carrera’s turbocharged engine.

What’s more, the decklid on the Targa test mule has been altered compared to the 991 (although it appears to be in an earlier stage of production compared to the 992). Also, the eagle-eyed will spot a Porsche Macan/918 Spyder-style steering wheel adorning the cockpit.

No release date for an updated Porsche 911 Targa has been confirmed with Zuffenhausen not even confirming the existence of such a car. Is this going to be a facelifted Porsche 991, or will it form the base of the all-new Porsche 992 range? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below or head to our Facebook and Twitter pages now.

Porsche 992 Targa 7
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Ten top photos from Total 911 issue 117

Every generation of Porsche 911 GT3, plus a track test of the latest iteration, and a host of Porsche 911 Targa content. Oh, and an interview with 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Richard Attwood plus a whole host more in issue 117. Here’s our photographic round-up of the new issue.

And, if it whets your appetite, you can pick up a copy in store now. You can also head over to the Imagine Shop to order your copy or, alternatively, you can download it to your digital device.

Porsche 991 Targa 4 trip Restoration Design Porsche 991 GT3 on track Richard Attwood interview Porsche 964 991 Targa Porsche 996 Carrera Porsche Approved Used 1972 Porsche 911E Porsche 930 LE wheel
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