TRIED&TESTED VALUE AT A GLANCE Condition Price Performance Overall
With roving tyre kicker, Kieron Fennelly
The 993 Targa was introduced with the facelift for model year 1996. Visually the 993 was virtually unchanged, but modifications to the engine included larger inlet and exhaust valves and Varioram induction, a first stage to tailoring air input to actual engine requirements. Power went up from 272 to 285bhp, attributable to the revised cylinder head, not the impressive-looking Varioram which noticeably enhanced torque. The 993 Targa was a landmark because it replaced the removable roof panel, a design synonymous with Porsche since 1967, with an elegant sliding glass roof arrangement. Combined with the 993’s other refinements, the 911 Targa had become more sophisticated tourer than uncompromised sports car.
This Targa has spent most of its life in the north or western Home Counties and its five owners have clearly looked after it: the service stamps are so numerous they extend to a second book. Six consecutive HR Owen services at St Albans or Hatfield cover the period to 2001 and 62,288 miles. These are followed by a stamp from Prestige Autos in Reading and then an unbroken run of thirteen stamps from Northway Porsche, the last dated June 2017 carried out at 99,369 miles. The last owner purchased the car from Northway in March 2017 and he spent considerable sums on refurbishment: new springs, dampers and rollbars, a four-wheel geometry reset and new tyres.
Externally, the Targa looks as smart as you might expect: the polar silver metallic of the body suits the glass roof and the 17in split-rim alloys are unmarked. The fractionally imperfect fit of the front valance means it was was probably replaced at some point in the past; the paintwork shows some stone chips around the bonnet and there are small rust bubbles around the opening roof and that 993 favourite, the windscreen. Ray explains that the previous owner’s priority was the suspension and he planned to attend to the paintwork, but a sudden change of circumstance obliged him to sell the Targa, hence its return to Northway after barely four months. The cabin in black leather is unspoiled, the seats and steering wheel unmarked and there is no sign either of the scuffing which disfigures some 993s where a briefcase (remember those?) has been tossed into the back of a car that, in its day, was the ultimate executive express. The opening roof and blind slide smoothly and the a/c produces impressively cold air.
On the road, this Targa feels very good: on uneven surfaces there are the inevitable creaks from the roof, but the suspension renewal really makes itself felt – steering and handling are spot on. The gearshift is precise, the clutch bites where it should and the brakes, which appear to have plenty of material, are authoritative. The flat-six is lively and responsive and its addictive zest is proof if ever it were needed that, with regular care, these air-cooled engines will retain their performance well into their third decade.
This 993 is a fine 911 which lacks only minor repainting to make it perfect. The Targa is not to everybody’s taste, but you’ll pay £8–10,000 more for a 993 coupé in comparable condition. PW