Earlier this week, Porsche revealed the eighth-generation 911 Targa, telling of the model’s enduring appeal. The Targa name promptly transcended the Porsche world after it was introduced in 1965, coming to symbolise an entire genre of stylish and safe semi-convertible sports cars. And this, the very first Porsche 911 Targa built, is the car that kindled that legend.
While series production for the 911 Targa commenced in 1967, this factory prototype, chassis 500001, is believed to have been built in 1965. Bastian Voigt, the Classic Driver dealer currently offering this car for sale, had it inspected by Jochen Bader, a former head of Porsche Classic and a renowned expert on early 911s.
A plethora of interesting features special to this specific chassis were noted as a result, among which are the wooden dashboard trim, the lack of air vents on the Targa rollover bar, and a subtly different ‘soft window’ with a wooden bow.
When its testing duties were complete and Porsche finally decided to part with this Targa in 1967, it was interestingly sold to Volkswagen in Wolfsburg. And it has remained in Northern Germany for its entire life. In 1979, the car was taken off the road and put into storage, where it remained until 2001 when it was sold as a restoration project to its final and current owner.
The two-year restoration by a respected German Porsche specialist that followed was carried out with the utmost respect for 500001’s significance as the very first Targa built. That meant preserving all the aforementioned prototype features.
The Targa was a master stroke on Porsche’s part, not only appealing to sun-worshipping enthusiasts who were as conscious about safety as they were style, but also keeping increasingly stringent safety regulators around the world at that time happy. It was billed drop-top of the future, and so it proved to be. This 911’s significance as a veritable piece of Porsche history can’t really be underestimated.
Photos courtesy of Bastian Voigt © 2020