Number 1: The first ever produced Porsche 911 Targa is ready for you
In the 1960s, the convertible class stood on the brink of extinction. New safety regulations sought to minimise the dangers of open vehicles. But instead of heralding the end of convertibles, a new type of vehicle was created in Zuffenhausen: the Porsche 911 Targa.
Many roads lead to open-top driving pleasure. The only thing that was clear was that it couldn’t go on as before, especially with sports cars like the Porsche 911. At the very least, some safety should be planned to offer the driver maximum protection even in the event of a rollover, almost like in a closed coupé.
After a long development period and a host of rejected ideas, the decision was made in favour of a version with a fixed roll bar clad with stainless steel, a removable roof and a foldable rear window. In September 1965, Porsche presented the first Porsche 911 Targa at the IAA in Frankfurt am Main.
PORSCHE 911 TARGA – A NEW NAME FOR A NEW GENERATION
Fortunately, Porsche was creative enough to give the new type of vehicle an interesting name – Targa – and not to rely on some awkward German phrase such as “Safety Cabriolet”. Targa sounds very consciously Italian, where the word appropriately means “shield”, which nods to the safety aspect of the car. The name is also reminiscent of the legendary Targa Florio race, in which Porsche scored impressive victories in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Not all customers were initially enthusiastic about the sometimes fiddly folding window and zipper; today, the early “soft window” Targas are worth more than later models.
The Porsche 911 Targa hit the zeitgeist perfectly and bridged the gap between the safety aspects of a coupé and the open-air feeling of a full-fledged convertible. For the Zuffenhausen brand, it’s a concept that has celebrated success for decades; but today the term also stands for an entire vehicle class, as several other manufacturers have adopted the design principle and have also brought out vehicles with Targa roofs.
In order to take into account the new era of open Porsche models, a new number range was started, starting with 500 001. Exactly this example is currently on the market, offered by Bastian Voigt Collectors Cars.
THE FIRST PORSCHE 911 TARGA IS FOR SALE
If you come across such a special specimen as a dealer, you naturally prick up your ears and try to understand the history as completely as possible. Bastian Voigt consulted Jochen Bader’s expertise. He headed the Porsche Classic workshop for many years and in this role was responsible for factory restorations at Porsche: the best qualifications for examining the originality and the condition of special classics like this “number 1”.
The two of them examined the first Porsche 911 Targa closely and came across some special features that set it apart from later series vehicles. There are some details that can otherwise only be found on 911 Coupés until mid-1965, such as the wooden paneling on the dashboard, the inserted knee bar and the non-adjustable strut domes.
Because of this evidence, Voigt and Bader come to the conclusion that this Porsche 911 Targa on offer must have been built in mid-1965. The precise construction period is not known, as Porsche only documented the date of delivery and not the date of completion. This assumption is also supported by the fact that the following chassis number 500 002 was used by developer Helmut Bott for test drives in September 1965. So 500 001 must have been completed earlier. There are also deviations from later models in the Targa-specific details. The “soft window” is constructed differently and has a wooden bow and the Targa roof is not foldable.
MORE THAN JUST NUMBERS AND FACTS
Expressed in pure numbers, it reads as follows: According to the Porsche delivery confirmation, the car was used in the Porsche testing department. It was registered on March 22nd, 1966, i.e. 8 months before the start of series production of the Porsche 911 Targa in January 1967.
On July 13, 1967, the car was released from Porsche’s service and delivered to its first external owner. Interestingly, the buyer was Volkswagen in Wolfsburg. As a result, the Porsche 911 Targa always stayed in the same region in northern Germany. The owners in the 1970s are well documented by the vehicle documents and information from the Federal Motor Transport Authority.
In 1979, the penultimate owner de-registered it and put it into storage. It wasn’t until 22 years later that he sold the car to the current owner in 2001 as a restoration project. This documented the condition at the time of purchase and collection with numerous photos. Immediately after the purchase, he had the car restored by a renowned German restoration company specializing in Porsche. The restoration lasted from February 2001 to May 2003 and is very well documented with pictures and invoices.
Thus the Porsche 911 Targa is presented today in perfect condition. Much more importantly, however, is the fact that this particular example was the first of its kind and that an entire vehicle category across all brands now bears his name.
You can find more information about the first Porsche 911 Targa here.
Photos Bastian Voigt Collectors Cars
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