Roll With It

Roll With It

The birth of Porsche’s Targa was a case of ‘feet on the ground, head in the sky’...

Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention. In this particular case, the American car market was becoming concerned that open-top cars were not seen as providing sufficient protection in a crash. The concern back in Zuffenhausen was that those profitable sunshine States in the US may become less so as a consequence of this development.

However, this being Porsche, they set out to create a solution that would stick with the company’s engineering ethos and yet be attractive. As expected, form followed function

Taking their cue from motorsport, a roll-bar solution was hit upon. Yet while initial objections that it didn’t exactly look aesthetically harmonious were prevalent, it was agreed that this jump-off point could be the basis for a solution.

Smoothed out and styled to a point where it looked like an integrated feature, the solution was seen as the ‘safe-convertible’, offering structural rigidity and minimal panel reconfigurement. What was missing was a name.

Just as the iconic term “Carrera” referenced Porsche’s early success at the famous Carrera Panamericana in Mexico, the name of the new 911 bearing a rollover bar was also intended to evoke motorsport connotations. “Le Mans” or “Monza” were obvious choices, but both were already taken.
An endurance race entitled Targa Florio in Sicily was recently won for the fourth time in five years, inspiring sales manager Harald Wagner to, well, you know the rest…
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What we have here is the very first 911 S Targa ever built - it also had a famous first owner: the pre-production prototype was registered to Ferry Porsche