1973 Porsche 911 Targa
From 1974 onwards, changes to US federal regulations resulted in a host of updates to the 911.
- Price new/now: £41,795 (1986)/£40,000
- Engine/power: 2.7-3.2 flat-six/150-231bhp
- 0-62/Top speed: 8.5-6.1 secs/130-152mph
- Number produced: 55,281
From 1974 onwards, changes to US federal regulations resulted in a host of updates to the 911. The tightening of exhaust emissions meant numerous engine tweaks, but the most obvious change was the introduction of energy-absorbing bumpers – the big-bumper 911 was born.
The Targa followed suit and, while Porsche considered giving the model a solid aluminium roof, it stuck to the same formula – although the roof bar was painted black. The 911 maintained its popularity throughout the seventies and into the eighties and, while Porsche initially saw the big, front-engined 928 as a successor, the 911 outsold it two to one, and remained the only Porsche for most people.
The 928 didn’t mark the end of the 911, but the arrival of a 911 Cabriolet could well have threatened the Targa. However, Porsche instead offered three bodystyles: Coupé, Cabriolet and Targa.
The stunning car in our pictures features the classic ‘eighties look’ of the wide, Turbo-inspired body and the famous ‘tea tray’ rear spoiler. Finished in Guards Red, the most popular Porsche colour of the eighties, this Carrera Targa was powered by the 3.2-litre 231bhp ‘930’ engine.
You didn’t only get the Turbo’s yuppie look, either, because these models featured the same suspension and brakes, plus the lower ride height and wider track. And while purists might miss the stainless steel Targa hoop, the black Targa bar works really nicely with the ‘black look’ wheels, spoiler, side sills and wing treatment.
Driven back-to-back with the 1973 car, you can certainly feel the 911’s gentle evolution over more than a decade. With wider tyres and tauter suspension, the eighties’ 911 is sharper, faster and has a lot more grip. There’s less play in all the controls, but the lovely sense of interaction with the road remains.
Arguably better looking than the Cabriolet roof up or down, the Targa maintained its unique appeal throughout this generation of 911 and, even when this incarnation came to an end with the launch of a limited-edition, raked-windscreen Speedster version, Targas still accounted for 30 per cent of sales.
In this review
- 1IntroductionWe drive the latest version of the Porsche 911 Targa alongside its legendary predecessors
- 21966 Porsche 911 Targa
- 31973 Porsche 911 Targa - currently readingFrom 1974 onwards, changes to US federal regulations resulted in a host of updates to the 911.
- 41989 Porsche 964 Carrera TargaThe 964 generation of 911 was a landmark car.
- 51995 Porsche 993 Carrera TargaThe 993 reinvigorated Porsche, but it also represented the end of an era.
- 62002 Porsche 996 Carrera TargaThe launch of the 996 generation in 1999 marked one of the most significant changes in 911 history, with the introduction of a water-cooled flat-six engine.
- 72006 Porsche 997 Carrera 4S TargaFor the next-generation 997 Targa, Porsche stuck to the formula it created for the 993 and went on to refine for the 996
- 82014 Porsche 991 Carrera 4 Targa