To Targa or not to Targa?

Now, this is something we have historically not paid much attention to, because we like fixed head coupés. But Carby has recently been intrigued by one, and that got us thinking as well— in fact, we’ve got questions aplenty, such as:

  • How much structural rigidity does the Targa give up to the coupe?
  • The removable Targa top obviously breaks up the roofline of the car. Is that a bad thing?
  • How do we feel about the wraparound greenhouse in the back? Practically? Aesthetically?
  • How delicate or robust are they? Can they hold up to track duty as well as the coupe?

964 and earlier are the only Targas we’d ever consider. They are undeniably attractive, but would we prefer one to a coupe? There, the jury is out. We are inclined to think ‘no’, however.

What do you think, or better yet, know from experience? Have your say.

~ by velofinds on October 6, 2010.

17 Responses to “To Targa or not to Targa?”

  1. My otherwise solid 2.7S used to shimmy a little over train tracks, but other than that, was quite rigid on rough surfaces. A friend though used to run a 3.0 and under hard cornering you could see daylight through the roof cracks – never a good sign when you’re trying to be the fastest.

    While roof in, they look a little awkward – that flat roof panel breaks up the otherwise smooth 911 curve – roof out, with that big rear glass it all comes together.

    Not my choice as a track car, but many times I removed the roof to cart larger objects in the passenger seat. Plus, nothing beats a quick blast up a mountain pass with the roof out after a hot day at work… Big exhaust, the smell of the wet forest, and that classic 911 squirming around on the tight corners under power. Bliss.

  2. If I may be so bold:

    What’s the best thing about a 911? The iconic slope. What ruins this iconic slope? Targas, whale tails and convertibles.

    The charm of old Targas is in their ugliness — similar to a BMW E21 Baur. In other words: gross, but still kinda cool. Just not anywhere near as cool as a coupe.

    As far as driving pleasure, I can’t argue with the last paragraph of the comment above. But damn. The 911 is iconic because of the slope.

  3. The best part about 911 Targas?? They are way cheaper than coupes to buy. If you want a bargain, an early 80s targa is within reach for a lot of enthusiasts on a tight budget.

    • Automobiliac is correct about the budget constraints. But it is that way because Targas are just not as desirable, so they cost less. I would rather have a beater Coupe than mint Targa, when it comes to budget.

      • Also, if SC coupes are going for $17k and SC Targas are going for $9k, that’s still $9k. For $9k you could pick from a variety of non-beater enthusiast cars far less gross than a Targa.

        I say this will all due respect to Targa lovers. If you honestly think Targas look good, then more power to you. But if you’re sacrificing dignity just to have a Porsche in a certain price range, you have other options.

  4. The only thing worse than a Targa is a Convertible. I would only consider having a 911 in coupe version, and that is from a looks standpoint. The structural stiffness is a bonus. If you are a wind in your hair guy, get a 550 spyder or a 356.

    Obviously there are people just as passionate about how awesome converts and targa roofed cars are, but I wouldn’t want to hang out with them. ha. Well, the Top Gear crew usually likes the open roofed versions of cars better, but I will let that slide.

    I would only consider a Targa if it were the later model versions where its not really a Targa but more a huge glass roof, to not interrupt the roofline. Even then the weight penalty is too much.

  5. My Corvette’s got a targa top. Pretty nice to have in the summer, just a little bit of a hassle to take it on/off. Better looking than a full-on convertible.

  6. i agree with much of what’s been said here. but there’s no way i can say no to this. not a chance:

    @mike: i would say comparing the targa to an e21 baur is pretty uncharitable to the targa!

    @blufaction: somehow, i think a targa top works better on a vette than it does on a 911.

    • @ Con Brio: Agreed, but I must point out that in both cases (Targa and Baur), you’re taking a beautiful shape and ruining it.

      I wouldn’t gouge a chunk of metal out of the Disney Concert Hall, I wouldn’t park a PT Cruiser in the driveway of a Neutra, I wouldn’t chop off a unicorn’s horn, and I sure as hell DON’T ROLL ON SHABBOS!
      – Mike

    • I wouldn’t say no either, but I would be actively looking for someone to trade me a coupe for it.

    • Agreed !
      This was one of the pictures that first drew me to your great website.
      Early small bumper 911s are still the best looking.

  7. Ahhh… you have to live the life first. The view looks different from here:

  8. For all the 911 purists, what about a 996/997 Targa ?
    Maintains the silhouette and structural integrity with the option of open air motoring ?

    • for me, these introduce too much weight and complexity. it’s nicely executed, but i want to reduce complexity, not add it.

      • Aesthetically, I actually like the 997 Targa except for one thing… what’s up with that fat chrome (or brushed aluminum?) strip along the top of the window? It matches… nothing. There’s nothing shiny anywhere else on the car.

      • so true. i think porsche takes pains to visually differentiate targas from the other models in the 911 lineup (in addition to the one obvious way), and i suspect that that’s what’s going on here. an instant candidate for aftermarket mofidication, in any case (i’d probably redo it in black).

  9. how to make a 997 targa gross, per mike:




    the first one is just wrong, but i have to confess, the green RUF doesn’t look half bad! no doubt the color has something to do with it.

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