1989 Porsche 964 Carrera Targa

The 964 generation of 911 was a landmark car.

  • Price new/now: £43,450 (1989)/£16,000 plus
  • Engine/power: 3.6 flat-six/250bhp
  • 0-60/Top speed: 5.7-6.6 secs/159-161mph
  • Number produced: 4,863

The 964 generation of 911 was a landmark car. For starters, with the launch of the Carrera 4 in 1989, it was the first all-wheel-drive 911. The traditional rear-wheel-drive Carrera 2 followed in 1990, with this year also seeing the introduction of Porsche’s four-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox.

Both these innovations were offered with the Targa bodyshape, but what makes this a crucial chapter in the Targa story is the fact that this was the last car to feature the traditional Targa design of fixed-hoop, removable roof panel and glass rear screen.

While the 964 was offered in the same Coupé, Cabriolet and Targa bodystyle line-up as before, this time the charms of the Convertible’s fully electric fabric hood proved too much for buyers and it soon outsold the Targa version. Still, with an electronically rising rear spoiler, ABS and the option of a driver’s airbag, it came with a lot more tech than any previous Targa.

Today, 964-generation cars are rapidly appreciating classics, and the rarity of the Targa only adds to its appeal. The stunning Guards Red 964 Carrera 2 we drove was fitted with the smooth Tiptronic gearbox. While performance purists will find this four-speed automatic slightly at odds with the sports car nature of the 911, it seems well suited to the Targa. 

If you want a 911 for casually cruising along a sun-kissed boulevard, then the combination of the Targa’s open top and the Tiptronic’s ease of use is perfect. Without the hassle of a clutch pedal, it’s great around town, too, while the option of a four-wheel-drive transmission gave this Targa another string to its bow.

On the road, the 964 strikes a pleasing balance between feeling like a traditional old 911 and being modern enough to be easy to drive. And if you want to enjoy the 250bhp 3.6-litre engine to the full, all you have to do is knock the gearlever to the right to hold a gear or shift manually with the stick.

This 911 Targa was the last of its kind, which in itself makes it one of our favourites. From this point on, the Targa was a very different car.

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