Among 911s that really pop off the page this Gold Metallic 1971 Porsche 911T Targa really stands out. It won’t grab you because of what model it is; this is the entry-level 911 of its day and the Targa itself doesn’t really draw the eyes as much as the longhood Coupe. But that Gold Metallic paint attracts your eyes and doesn’t let go. I’ve seen this color a few times not looking at its best and the difference in appeal is substantial. So it’ll probably require effort to keep it looking this good, but I’m guessing any new owner will have no problem putting in the elbow grease to keep this early 911 looking great.
I don’t normally prefer to post two cars from the same seller on consecutive days, but this seller has two very different 911s for sale and I like both of them quite a bit and for entirely different reasons. So, here we are. Yesterday’s 964 Turbo showed us a fairly pristine example of the 3.3 liter Turbo. It’s a model I probably don’t pay enough attention to focusing instead on the 930 that preceded it or the later 3.6 liter 964s. It came with a very high price tag.
Here we have something entirely of a different nature. This is a Petrol Blue 1978 Porsche 911SC Targa with Cork interior and 65,500 miles on it. It’s not pristine – though the mileage is fairly low – but the color combination is phenomenal and the added detail provided by the Targa roll hoop enhances the overall look. Compared with the 964, the price should be much more reasonable.
I have expressed my love for the Targa numerous times throughout these pages and that naturally extends to the reintroduction of the proper version as part of the 991 lineup. Porsche seems to have pegged the new Targa as the least sporting of the 911 models. It’s only available with all-wheel drive and at its debut I believe it was the heaviest (read: slowest) of the various 911 models you could buy. Though a GTS model eventually was made available it still seems like relative to a comparable Coupe or Cabriolet you’re opting for the Porsche luxury and refinement side of the spectrum. At least so far as their flagship sportscar goes. But let’s be honest, the worst performing 911 still is more than capable of lighting a fire in your belly.
While I think it would be great if there were a rear-drive Targa S at some point we make the best of what’s available. I think this one does just that. Here is a Guards Red 2015 Porsche 911 Targa 4S, located in Houston, with only 5,100 miles on it. It’s equipped with PDK, adaptive sport seats, PCCB, sport exhaust, and a few other nice items.
This is starting to get a little bit silly. As I mentioned in my most recent feature of a Turbolook Carrera Cabriolet, we’ve seen a decent number of these 911s, also known by their M491 option code, come up for sale recently. I wasn’t really looking to post more of them. But then three all popped up for sale within a few days of one another and there are a lot of similarities among them. I still wasn’t entirely sure about posting them, but honestly two of them are so interesting and unique that I simply could not pass them by. Given how similar they all are it made the most sense to bring them all together into a single post.
One piece of good fortune: among these three cars we have a representative of each Carrera model so regardless of which model M491 you’re looking for we’ve got you covered! The similarities: All three of these Carreras are in exceptionally good condition and sit with very low mileage. All are from the earlier side of 3.2 Carrera production, meaning they have the 915 5-speed transmission. Two are for sale from the sale seller, presumably as part of the same collection, and come with a few questions, but have crazy unique interiors. All three have very high prices; high enough that when I first came across the Coupe we’ll see below I thought the seller had misidentified a 930. And I still thought the price was too high!
Anyway, on to the cars. I’ll show them all before any discussion and in ascending order by price:
If you find yourself desiring a classic 911 from the ’80s you’re immediately presented with a few decisions. The first of which, while seemingly the most straightforward, can actually present the biggest quandary: which model do you get, the 911SC or the 3.2 Carrera? Both are great and their similarities in design and performance are such that either model should fulfill your desires. But let’s say you’re set on the 3.2 Carrera. You want the improved performance and slightly more refined feel. You still have one more decision to make: would you rather find one of the earlier models (1984-1986) utilizing the long-standing 915 5-speed transmission or a later model (1987-1989) with the newer G50 5-speed transmission? It seems a minor detail, but the transmissions do make a difference. Most drivers find the G50 to be the nicer shifting of the two and it is a more stout transmission to begin with, a point that certainly could make a difference 30 years from new. However, the G50 also is heavier and typically the prices for the later Carreras, in part because of that transmission, tend to be higher. If you’re thinking strictly about adding one to a collection the G50 probably is the one to get. For a driver? It’s not so straightforward.
Generally speaking, unless you’re very patient most of these decisions will be made for you since you’re typically best off by buying the best available option from these years. A well sorted 911SC is likely to bring you more joy and fewer headaches than a 3.2 Carrera with some issues. Sometimes, however, the options are such that you really can have your choice and, in fact, in our case here your choice really is distilled down almost completely to the different transmissions.
Here we have two Grand Prix White 3.2 Carrera Targas with pretty similar mileage, pretty similar asking prices, and seemingly very similar condition. Both also are located in the same general region of the country. The only real differences are the interior color and the model year. Let’s proceed in chronological order and begin with this 1985 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa, located in Miami, with Burgundy interior and 103,000 miles on it.
Anyone who has been reading these pages for a while will know that I am a huge fan of the 911 Targa. My first experiences with a Porsche of any kind were in a Targa and I guess that first love has remained with me. I love the aesthetics and the versatility. I even love Porsche’s initial forays into the model’s development with the kind-of-crazy Soft-window Targa. I loved them right up until 1996 when the design was modified for the 993. The Targa basically had become a giant sunroof.
Thankfully that all changed in 2014 when Porsche returned the Targa to its true form. It wasn’t all roses. At its release the Targa was only available as either a 4 or 4S, i.e. no rear-drive Targa, but the Targa was back and it looked great! It fit the design of the 991 well. The new Targa allowed electronics to do all of the work so the top could be removed without too much fuss. You do have to come to a stop though. The horror.
Even with the Targa’s return I have seen very few of them on the road. So I guess the least loved of the 911s will remain that way. Maybe buyers aren’t sure what it is? I doubt anyone would fail to stop and look at this one: a Viper Green 2017 Porsche 911 Targa 4S, located in New York, with 7-speed manual transmission and 6,396 miles on it.
We’ve seen a couple of Turbolook Carrera Targas come up for sale recently. Lovely cars and very rare. What we haven’t seen are actual turbocharged Targas for sale. The last time I featured one was almost two years ago. The feature before that takes us back almost another two years. While it’s extremely unlikely I would have seen and featured every 930 Targa to come up for sale over those four years, that tiny number of posts stands in stark contrast to the abundance of 930 Coupes and Cabriolets that grace our pages. In any given week I can almost always find a beautiful 930 Coupe to write about if I so choose. To some degree the same goes for the Cabriolet. The Targa, not so much.
In part this rarity comes down to production time – the 930 Targa only was available for three years, though that’s also true of the Cabriolet and we still see many more of those – and numbers: the Targa was produced in far fewer numbers relative to Coupes and Cabriolets. Why? Presumably they were less desirable. Porsche produced fewer 911 Targas in general. Still the 930 Targa remains a relatively more rare machine.
Anyway, here is one! A 1988 Porsche 930 Targa, located in New Jersey, with 68,100 miles on it:
After seemingly going a while without seeing one it now appears Turbolook 911s are all coming out of the woodwork. I’ve posted a couple that I particularly liked, one of which specifically because it was a coupe as those still aren’t coming around very often. It is still the case that most of those we see are the earlier, and slightly less desirable, models with the 915 5-speed transmission. There are fewer of the later G50 transmission models with the ’89MY naturally leading the way in rarity.
But here we have one of those later models. It’s not a Coupe, but still has plenty of appeal in its own right: a paint-to-sample Marine Blue Metallic 1987 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa with the M491 package and 81,713 miles on it.
I suppose it’s a testament to how much I like the classic 911 that I can spend nearly as much time looking over the details of a 911 like this one as I do with the various exotic, rare, and/or high performance 911s I also feature. As I’ve said before those high-dollar 911s are great and they’re great to look at and ponder, but when it really comes down to a 911 I might enjoy spending a lot of time with I invariably come back to the ’80s.
Whether you prefer the 911SC or the 3.2 Carrera largely is a matter of preference and in many cases can be a matter of availability. The two models share enough useful characteristics that a good one from either model is better than one that’s a little lackluster. There are certainly differences and for those who might want more certainty about its value the later G50-equipped models do make a little more sense. Otherwise, find the one you like! Perhaps this one: a Guards Red 1984 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa, located in Illinois, with Black interior and 47,903 miles on it.
Among Porsche option packages there aren’t many that draw more attention than the M491 package (along with the associated M470 spoiler delete) available for the 3.2 Carrera. Commonly dubbed the Turbo-look, the M491 Carreras were exactly that: a 3.2 Carrera with braking, suspension, and rear body from the 930, but no turbocharged 3.3 liter engine. For some this was a very desirable package as it gave the look and improved handling and braking of the Turbo, but without the higher maintenance (and higher cost) engine. Of course, some simply saw them as fake Turbos and in a way the original purpose was as a way to placate the market during the years the 930 was not available in the US. Once the 930 became available again in 1986 M491 numbers shifted and dwindled. Cabriolets became the most popular and by the time we reach the final model year the Targa and Coupe had become exceedingly rare. This being an option package numbers aren’t always easy to pin down as the VIN tells us nothing more than that it is a Carrera, but we see them very, very, rarely.
That means when we do come across one we must snap to attention. Here we have one of those very rare G50-equipped M491 Carreras: a Coral Metallic 1989 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa, located in California, with Mahogany leather interior and 43,354 miles on it. If you’ve been looking for a M491 Targa with the G50 transmission you’ll find yourself with few opportunities.