TRIED&TESTED VALUE AT A GLANCE Con­di­tion Price Per­for­mance Over­all

With rov­ing tyre kicker, Kieron Fen­nelly

911 Porsche World - - Practical Porsche - 911 & Porsche World’s

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

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