The 996 Porsche 911 Targa is a model that sometimes I forget even exists. They always catch me off guard when I see one come up for sale for the pure novelty of them and you paid around $10,000 more when new for a 16-square-foot view of the open sky. It also turned the rear glass into a hatch, which is an interesting configuration given the engine is in the rear too. Now that we are well over a decade into the glass roof Targa cars, many are shying away when purchasing these. Why? Well, the sliding glass roof is a precision instrument to say the least, and those precision instrument break and cost precision instrument money to repair. Seriously, if your power Targa roof stops functioning, you are looking at some invasive procedures by specialists who you should be happy are willing to do the job.
Still, while not fun to maybe buy, they are very fun to look at. Especially when one has 4,600 miles, is finished in paint-to-sample Atlantis Metallic, and even has even rarer Magnolia leather. Get ready to exchange your pile of dollars for some old fashion pounds, because if you want this one, a trip to Nottinghamshire, England is in order.
Welcome back to Wednesday Wheel Roundup. Today, I wanted to check out a few sets of wheels that differ quite a lot in size and taste. First up are a set of 19” Mercedes-Benz Monoblock wheels. They are a 19×8.5 and 19x.9.5 that let you run some really wide tires if that is the look you are going for. These are seen as the ultimate wheels for the W140 or the R129. Next are another set of 19″ wheels but this time from Brabus, followed by a hard-to-find set of BMW Style 38s. These 3-spokes are now back in style thanks to the resurgence of everything 80s and 90s now. Speaking of, Carter tracked down a few sets of DP Motorsports wheels following up on yesterday’s DP935. Carter also threw in one of his favorite 911 wheel designs – the Speedlines from the 993 Targa. The last two sets are great options for the cars who want to upgrade from their stock 14″ wheels into a 15” set, but keep the OEM look. A very clean set of ATS wheels that look identical to the factory 14” Bundts open up an entirely new world of tire choices and if you want to keep your hubcaps, a set of 15″ steelies with the ultra-rare 15″ hubcaps that were on the W100 600 and some ambulances in Europe.
When speaking of regular 911s, i.e. not the various limited-production variants Porsche has released, the Targa always has been my favorite model and among the Targas the 964 is the one I like best. With the Targa, I like the slightly different profile the roll hoop provides and really like the versatility of the Targa top. The 964 gives us a little more modern performance and refinement relative to the 911SC and 3.2 Carrera that preceded it and it looks just a little bit better. The problem is we very rarely see them. There aren’t a ton of 964 Targas out there and many of those I do come across really don’t seem to be in great condition. Alas.
This one appears to be an exception: a Grand Prix White 1992 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Targa with what the seller has listed as a Cream leather interior (perhaps Linen?) and 130,935 miles on it. We aren’t provided any details, but it looks in really nice condition given the mileage. It’s pretty pricey. That isn’t surprising with 964 Targas, especially the Carrera 2, but this one is pushing things a little bit. Nonetheless it’s still great to take a look at one of these.
Slate Grey, the preferred color of the famous Steve McQueen. This isn’t one of McQueen’s cars, but those who restored it seem to have had McQueen in mind when choosing how to proceed with their work. This is a 1973 Porsche 911E Targa painted in that wonderful Slate Grey, located in New York, with Tan interior showing a nice set of sport seats and a reported 54,100 miles on it. It has been fully restored and as it sits now looks quite good!
As the seller has noted, the 911E was positioned in between the entry-level 911T and the sportier 911S. It utilized a similar mechanically fuel-injected engine as the 911S, though with fewer horses (160 hp). Hydro-pneumatic struts replaced the torsion bars up front providing a smoother ride than the standard suspension available on the T. The E thus served as the luxury version relative to the more sporty 911S. Values, of course, tend to follow suit with the E slotting in between the other two models. However, the gap from the E to the S is far more significant than between the T and E.
I sort of stumbled into this 911, but I’m very glad that I did! I had come to this dealer’s website looking for information on a 911 I’d seen listed on one of the various classifieds. As it turns out I hadn’t even been looking for that 911 either, but rather was on a completely different search. But that’s another story. Anyway, the 911 I was seeking more information on apparently has sold since it no longer is listed. But my eyes immediately were taken in by this one and just look at it!
We can’t really call this a backdate, because it isn’t a backdate though it certainly exists in that restomod/backdate universe of 911s. This is a 1979 Porsche 911SC Targa that’s basically been enhanced in pretty much every way. The exterior mostly remains as any other 911SC would look. It hasn’t been widened and it remains a short-hood. But it was stripped to bare metal, all parts of the body and frame were reconditioned as needed, various areas were stiffened, and a roll bar was integrated and painted to match the exterior. I’m not exactly sure what color this is, but it looks quite good. Really the only exterior cues to really tell you this 911 is a little different are the round fog lamps and the center-exit exhaust. It’s an attractive looking car and I’m sure would attract plenty of notice. But it is the interior and the engine where things really begin to take shape.
It seems somewhat fortuitous to stumble upon today’s creation, which manages to build upon a few prior posts. Last week I look a look at a beefed-up 1976 2002 with a S14 swap. Then, yesterday, I took a look at the crazy 4-door convertible 316i Baur TC4. Combining those two unique creations is today’s 1972 BMW 2002.
Like last week, this one is pretty far from original. It’s also got tacked-on flares, super-wide wheels, a non-original interior and is painted a non-original color – in this case, Sunflower Yellow borrowed from the contemporaneous Porsche. But the big news here is again the S14 and 5-speed swap, giving more muscle to match the macho looks. On top of that, or rather topless perhaps, this one appears to be a Baur Targa conversion. It was certainly worth a closer look:
Karosserie Baur in Stuttgart had a unique history of working directly with manufacturers to produce some pretty special cars. Most notably linked to the Baur name was a string of interesting but also-ran BMW 3-series convertibles. However, three of the most prized 80s German collector cars in the market today were also linked to the firm; first the BMW M1 after Lamborghini’s meltdown, and then Audi’s shortened Sport Quattro rolled through the special production line. Baur also constructed the special bodies of the Porsche 959.
However, Baur is linked most closely with offering drop-top BMWs to a market devoid of such options. First was the E10 chassis, with Baur chopping the top off of everything from 1602s to 2002s. Baur then moved on to the E21 chassis, offering the ‘Top Cabriolet’ TC1. The E30 also recieved the Baur treatment , but by that point BMW had released its own convertible model and the draw of the more expensive TC models waned, leading to a steadily disappearing market share. Perhaps the most unique was their last BMW creation. Based upon the E36 chassis, Baur released what it called the ‘Landaulet TC4’. It was effectively a 4-door E36 Targa (Porsche’s use of the Targa name was proprietary which prevented Baur from using it) and just over 300 were produced, making it one of the most rare E36 chassis configurations to see:
There is very little that will attract my attention more than a black car looking its best. It may only look its best for the 15 minutes immediately after being detailed, but it’s a divine 15 minutes. I particularly like open-top black cars, which is why I own one. Sadly, it never looks its best since it always is parked outside. Meaning I end up looking longingly at the occasional exceptional examples I see. Some people will tell you black cars are boring and too common. They are wrong.
This one, a Black 2019 Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS with Espresso/Cognac natural leather interior and 557 miles on it, looks so devilishly good. I don’t typically feature many nearly new 911s other than the various rare GT and special edition models, but I saw this one and couldn’t take my eyes off of it. It’s been built pretty well too with a bunch of worthwhile options and it has a manual transmission. During the summer I walked past a black Targa 4 GTS parked in the neighborhood and it was stunning. This one rekindles that memory.
What is it that we look for in these cars? Assuming you’re not after the perfect collector example the list is fairly straightforward though not short. The availability of documentation and a known history obviously are of great importance. A knowledgeable seller helps in this regard as well. Abundant photos, paint meter readings, an assessment of its current mechanical condition including any known flaws, and possibly originality of the equipment. Obviously, the last point will vary quite a bit from buyer to buyer, but any buyer will want to know what is original to a particular 911 and what isn’t even if that buyer does not mind the lack of originality. Lastly, we all want a fair price, but perhaps even more so when looking at driver-quality cars. Their value typically is pretty locked in so you can’t bank on higher resale down the road.
I think this Marine Blue 1988 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa fulfills most of those points and that’s part of what I like about it. It’s up for auction without reserve so the price should be fair. It also looks pretty great. It sounds like there isn’t a huge amount of documentation, but some does exist, and it does appear we know the ownership history. There is one red flag in its history – it was a theft recovery back in the ’90s – but that red flag doesn’t seem to be causing it any problems. It is stated to have a clear title. It isn’t perfect, but looks like a very nice example of a late Carrera Targa and could find itself in a sweet spot in the market.
The second-hand car market for almost-new Porsches is kind of amusing to me these days. On the one hand, you have the various GT cars – the GT3, GT3 RS, and GT2 RS. All of those have been selling for above MSRP and in the case of the GT2 RS the markup is high enough that you easily could buy yourself a second nearly-new 911 instead. They are amazing cars and prices will come down, but still.
On the other hand, you have pretty much every other Porsche on the market, which, like most any other car, goes through a decent bit of depreciation almost immediately. For instance, there is this Graphite Blue 2017 Porsche 911 Targa 4S, located in Texas, with Graphite Blue/Chalk leather interior. In truth, this one probably isn’t even a particularly good deal, but it is one that I like quite a bit. The Graphite Blue exterior is a fantastic color, I really like the interior contrast, it has the 7-speed manual transmission, and it’s a Targa. There’s a lot to like about this 911.
To be clear, I am in no way perplexed by these phenomena; I just find it amusing.