De­sign icons

As pop­u­lar to­day as it was four decades ago, this fresh-air op­tion brought a new di­men­sion to the 911

Total 911 - - Contents -

The orig­i­nal Targa roof de­sign is so revered, Porsche went back to it in 2013…

Porsche is no stranger to de­sign and engi­neer­ing in­no­va­tion, but 40 years ago it in­tro­duced a fea­ture that would be­gin an en­dur­ing legacy. Keen to repli­cate the suc­cess of the 356 cabri­o­let, the ob­vi­ous op­tion was re­mov­ing the roof from the ne­unelfer, but cost and loss of rigid­ity pre­sented no­table bar­ri­ers. early ex­per­i­ments saw the nec­es­sary brac­ing add un­de­sir­able weight, too, so in 1967 Zuf­fen­hausen launched an in­trigu­ing al­ter­na­tive for both 911 and 912 mod­els. nam­ing the new de­riv­a­tive af­ter its suc­cesses in the chal­leng­ing si­cil­ian road race, the Targa fea­tured a lift-out panel above the cabin. com­pris­ing of wa­ter­proof fab­ric over a fold­ing me­tal frame to strengthen the ar­range­ment, and with a cloth in­ner lining for neat­ness, the panel could be quickly re­moved and stored in the front lug­gage com­part­ment.

de­vel­op­ment costs were con­tained by util­is­ing all of the orig­i­nal met­al­work be­low the win­dow line, while a zip-out plas­tic rear win­dow/hood sec­tion en­sured sim­plic­ity. The lat­ter proved prob­lem­atic, how­ever, be­ing prone to wa­ter leaks, dam­age in cold tem­per­a­tures and af­fect­ing over­all struc­tural rigid­ity, al­though Porsche un­der­stand­ably said lit­tle about this last as­pect.

The an­swer ar­rived in 1968 when a fixed glass win­dow was made avail­able as an op­tion, then made stan­dard four years later. Another ad­di­tion was a dis­tinc­tive roll hoop pre­sented in a brushed-steel fin­ish, which added rigid­ity and acted as an ideal mount­ing point for the roof. That would change to black a lit­tle later, and from the B-series mod­els the hoop would fea­ture vents to help ex­tract air from the cabin and im­prove ven­ti­la­tion. The lat­ter was never a 911 strong suit in the early days, so the piv­ot­ing quar­terlight win­dows fit­ted up to K-series cars were a fur­ther at­tempt to im­prove mat­ters. how­ever, as they didn’t ex­actly help in pre­vent­ing un­de­sir­ables from ac­cess­ing the in­te­rior, they were deleted from 1977 to im­prove se­cu­rity. in any case, on­go­ing im­prove­ments to heat­ing and ven­ti­la­tion were fur­ther im­prov­ing mat­ters.

hav­ing be­come a per­ma­nent ad­di­tion to the 911 range the Targa roof in this form would re­main right up un­til the 964 gen­er­a­tion, emerg­ing later in a new form for the air-cooled 993…

“The panel could be quickly re­moved and stored in the front lug­gage com­part­ment”

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