Sales debate - is a Targa 964 still the cheapest classic 911 to buy?
For many years, the Targa was out of favour in the 911 market, offering possibly the cheapest way into each model. Is that still the case? No, says Philip Raby of Philip Raby Specialist Cars: “They were once unloved, because they leaked, or gave wind noise issues, so the Cabriolets were more popular. Today, that’s probably reversed.” Philip explains this is partly down to fresh interest in the model after the 991 Targa reintroduced the silver hoop of earlier cars. That, and Targas retaining the lines of the Coupe compared to the less clean lines of the earlier Cabriolet hoods. Jonathan Aucott of Avantgarde Classics agrees: “The pecking order has changed in favour of the Targa.”
Jonathan breaks it down to Total 911. “In early cars, the value is on condition, and being a T, E or S model as the deciding factor, rather than body,” he says, the higher performance largely dictating the strata. “The Impact Bumper era is where their price difference begins.” Here, the buyer’s intentions take over. “Buyers either want the Targa/Convertible as a weekend car, or only want a Coupe – usually that latter buyer wants it as a driver’s car, so favours the extra rigidity of the Coupe,” he adds. “The advantage for anyone considering a Targa is to go for a convertible, which is often the more affordable option.”
The 993 reinvented the Targa roof, where it became a panoramic glass panel, and this carried on for a couple of 911 generations. “A stroke of genius,” says Philip, notably in the 996 where the Targa added a hinged panel. He points out that they also offer softer suspension – ideal for roads in the UK, at least. Both our dealers advise that Targa variants come with a little extra hassle in the form of possible creaks, water leaks or increased maintenance, notably on 993 and later roof mechanisms. Not a reason to avoid them, but as ever, be aware.
In the later water-cooled years, there’s less to separate the models between Carrera and Targa, partly because of the sheer breadth of the range by then, and ample production numbers offering plenty of choice. “For later cars, Cabriolets are probably a better option,” says Philip, adding that a 997.2 is his pick of the modern-era Targa. The takeaways then are that today, there isn’t much to be achieved by looking for a Targa. For those seeking a more affordable option, the Cabriolet is the model that offers the financial advantage.