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