By 1965 Porsche had a lot going for itself. The 356 was a huge hit having produced more than 76,000 examples worldwide in a variety of variants between coupes, cabs, and roadsters with a variety of engines and options. Their motorsports success was ever increasing and on par with those of other major manufacturers. This was also the year of the launch of the 911/912 models that Butzi Porsche had penned only a few years earlier. Things were moving along nicely. When the 911 was launched in 1964 it was an immediate success between the refined design, bigger engine, and its possibilities on motor racing circuits. The 911 successfully replaced the 356 in all facets except for one, it didn’t offer open top motoring for those Porsche customers who loved the cabriolets and roadsters, of which during their 17 years of the 356 production there was always a roadster or cabriolet to match the coupe.
Originating from the famous road race in Siciliy, the “Targa Florio” (of which Porsche had much success over the years) the 911 Targa was introduced in 1967 nearly 3 years after the 911’s debut. It was offered in both 911 and 912 variants and was a big part of the market for Porsche to capture as they had previously done with the 356 open cars. If you were ordering a 911 or 912, you could have it any way you wanted, and then if you so chose, you could turn it into a Targa as well. This provided endless combinations to Porsche Customers.
With the end of the short wheel base cars in 1968 came a more defined Porsche line-up for 1969 with the T, E, and S variants, again with nearly unlimited options, combinations and of course the now popular Targa was in ever high demand. The Targa would continue on well into the 3.2L cars of 1989 and even a few 964’s. The true Targa as we know it is best represented in the iconic stainless steel Targa cars of 1967-1973. It was until only the 991 variant of 2012-Present that the Targa was reintroduced as homage to the original, featuring the classic stainless steel Targa bar.
The example on offer here, Chassis # 11911082, according to its Porsche Certificate of Authenticity was produced on June 20th, 1969 and was delivered new as an Irish Green over Black Targa. The options were extensive including tinted and heated rear window, 5-Speed Transmission, Comfort Equipment, BHKZ Ignition System, Chrome Side Molding, Ignition Lock, Light Metal Wheels (“Deep six” Fuchs), Antenna, and Dunlop Tires. Additionally when the car was delivered new to its ordering customer in California (as we are told) it was fitted new by the dealer with a “Koolaire” air conditioning unit. Unfortunately exact early history on this example is not totally known. According to one of the cars most recent custodians, it was brought back from CA to the East Coast in 1999 and was reportedly a California car from new with minimal owners. This 911, once brought to the East Coast in 1999 was put away in storage in a Philadelphia Warehouse until re-discovered in the fall of 2013 by LBI Limited. Upon our discovery the car was tucked away in the corner of a 2 story warehouse, covered in dust, but thankfully dry for all these years. The car had minimal rust and showed an engine number of 6196958, it was numbers-matching and still finished in its original colors. It looked mostly original and untouched for the most part; the perfect candidate for a total restoration. The car was then sold as a project and immediately taken to local restorer Knut Holzer of British Motor Corp (BMC) to complete a full nut and bolt restoration to the highest standards possible. BMC is widely regarded in the Austin Healey club circles as one of the best if not the best Austin Healey Restorers of all time with plenty of Concours Gold Awards in their portfolio amongst other noted achievements. BMC, while not a Porsche specialist, knows quality and understood the importance of correctness and attention to detail as per PCA standards; factors that ultimately contributed to this cars impressive and thorough restoration.
The restoration entailed total disassembly, bolt by bolt, categorically bagged tagged and organized. The Engine and Transmission were immediately sent to Bitner Automotive for a total rebuild to factory specifications. The Carburetors were sent to noted Porsche Expert: Parts Klassik of Flagstaff, AZ for a total overhaul and tuning. Once minimal metal work was completed, the body was primed and painted. During the process however, extensive research was done to understand important details of correctness. For instance, the undercarriage required an expert be brought in to critique the correct method and application of factory undercoating and then exactly how to spray the color coat over it, just as they did at the factory in 1969. After extensive prep work the color was applied and an exact match to the correct Irish Green was the result. Not only was the color perfect but the panels are laser straight with absolutely no flaws, perfect gaps, and near perfect fitment throughout. Once polishing and fitment was finished the car began re-assembly which included refitting the original wire harness but only after it was properly cleaned and any issues addressed. The brakes and suspension were all completely rebuilt and reinstalled and any and all rubber components of any sort were replaced, during the re-installation.
The car was then sent to Automat in Long Island, NY for the interior to be completely restored to concours quality. All correct and proper materials were used and everything from the steering wheel, to the seats, to the door cards and dash were completely rebuilt and restored. Everything right down to the seat bases where the tracks slide were painted and/or properly coated, very thorough, correct and nicely completed. It should be stressed that the proper materials were sourced from all of the right vendors who reproduce the exact quality of original Porsche materials. Additionally, many of the parts sourced for the restoration for both the interior and the rest of the car were also from Porsche. Parts and Engine, and interior totals over $80,000 invested, all documented.
Once the Carburetors were mated to the nearly new Engine and Transmission, the set-up was first tested and broken in on a dyno before being fitted to the car. Upon being fitted, final critiques were made, the ubiquitous Targa Hoop installed, glass fitted, newly refinished Targa top installed and many little odds and ends were tended to before a maiden voyage was completed. This example was only completed weeks ago and shows about 400 miles since completion. With so few miles does mean however that the car is still in its trial stages and may still require the most minor of sorting until the 1,000 mile mark is reached; typical of freshly restored cars.
We have had the opportunity to drive this example a few miles to understand the thoroughness of the restoration. In short it is very well done. The feel of the interior is very high quality, accurate, shows incredibly well, and is easily concours ready. Every last item is in working order with nothing out of place or skipped. The car starts, runs strong, and everything is in proper order overall. As previously mentioned there is still a good 600 miles of break in time remaining and as a result, there should be attention given to the absolute most minor of items here or there that one may notice. Items that we have noticed are nominal, such as cadmium plating throughout the car is not 100% correct. Lot’s of pieces are, but a few are not that should be, certainly this is nit picking, but this is also a superbly restored car, and one for only the best collection or for those seeking PCA Concours Competition, as such it should be mentioned. The wheels are freshly wrapped in Pirelli p6000’s, an excellent tire for these cars, but the wheels aren’t absolutely perfect, though anything slightly less than perfect sticks out on this example as everything is done to such a high standard. Otherwise the car runs well, shifts, well, the brakes work as they should and the steering and handling is tight and feels like a new car.
The Air-cooled 911 market is finally coming into its own. These important German sports cars are becoming market mature and finding their rightful place amongst other sports cars. They will always prove to have value, will be a fine addition to any collection, and can always be relied upon for a fantastic weekend driver. Additionally, they are always welcome to most shows. This example in particular is at the forefront of not only value but real quality. While most 911’s were hardly ever comprehensively restored in the past, that is no longer the case. The 911T Targa offers superb entry level enjoyment in Classic 911 circles. This example in particular will be the benchmark of quality at any PCA Concours event and will prove to be a very wise investment moving forward. As the buy-in for un-restored cars continues on their upward trend, and superbly restored examples continue to set records. This 911, with all of its hallmarks one seeks, will absolutely be a wise choice, fantastic addition to any collection and truly enjoyable 911 experience.
Available Documentation: (Click on the links below to view the file)