A 1990 964 Carrera 4 Targa with a twist.
During the course of conversation with the various specialists advertising in the pages of Classic Porsche, when asked for their opinion on the air-cooled classics offering the best bang for your buck as lockdown restrictions lift, one of the themes repeated time and again was the benefit of spending much less than you can afford and then earmarking the remaining cash for upgrades, ultimately resulting in a more personalised — and arguably more satisfying — ownership experience than if splashing out top whack for the most expensive Porsche available in the given price bracket. A contingency budget is always a good idea when buying a used car, of course, but no matter the badge your treasured four-wheeler wears, but there’s huge satisfaction in putting your hard-earned cash into it through choice, rather than necessity.
Having said all this, we’ve all seen Porsche restomods assembled at high cost, especially when it comes to aircooled cars, but the fact of the matter is most owners don’t want to shell out vast sums of cash to achieve their dream drive. As far as Porsche sports cars are concerned, there is little written in mainstream media about an alternative approach, but as regular readers will be well aware, Classic Porsche is keen to promote the idea of owning and personalising a Porsche without breaking the bank. To this end, the next issue of the magazine will focus on accessible routes into air-cooled
Porsche ownership. Yes, believe it or not, there are still ways to find your name on the logbook of a classic Porsche without having to sell your kids, though it’s entirely possible you may consider trading them for a Stuttgart-crested retro ride something of a fair deal.
Chances are, if you ask anyone who professes to know about classic cars what they think the cheapest way into air-cooled Porsche ownership might be, they’ll tell you to keep your eyes peeled for a 911 SC coupe. Granted, the model’s high-volume production (and, therefore, lack of exclusivity) plays a part in maintaining the SC’S reputation for delivering a reasonable purchase price, but you also have to take into consideration the fact a lofty number of Porschephiles dismiss the SC in favour of the late Carrera 3.2, complete with its G50 gearbox, increased performance and better overall technical specification. Others hold out for the charm of an early 1970s 911. Runt of the litter, then? Well, no, not quite, but it’s certainly true to say the three-litre coupe is less loved than its earlier or later counterparts. If you’re not committed to owning a tin-top, however, the choice of air-cooled 911s available within a modest budget (in aircooled Porsche terms, at least) opens up a much wider variety of cars, including one of our picks of the pack: the excellent 964 Targa.
Let’s wind the clock back. Debuting on Porsche’s trade stand at the 1965 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Targa was a 911 equipped with a lift-out roof panel, a fixed rollover ‘hoop’ and a removable plastic rear window. We featured the very first 911 Targa on the cover of the March 2021 issue of Classic Porsche (hop online and order a copy at bit.ly/issuescp). Production started in 1966 ready for launch the following year and, although the new arrival initially experienced slow sales, it was soon accounting for a massive forty percent of all 911s shifting out of dealer showrooms in Porsche’s home country. As outlined in earlier issues of Classic Porsche, the manufacturer pitched its new design as “the world’s first safety cabriolet” when explaining the inclusion of the prominent and unorthodox roll bar, which was introduced in the interests of structural rigidity at a time car makers suspected North American road safety legislators were preparing to ban cabriolets on the grounds of a high probably of occupant death if the drop-top they were travelling in rolled. Cabriolets accounted for a significant percentage of Porsche’s sales output in the USA, which is why the Zuffenhausen engineering team was quick to act. Thankfully, it managed to make the Targa’s defining