Although the new Porsche 911, first dubbed the 901, came to the market as a fastback 2+2 coupe, an open version had always been on the minds of its designers and engineers. After all, the first automobile to bear the family’s name began as an open car, and when series production began in Zuffenhausen with the steel-bodied “Pre-A” 356, there had been convertible versions offered. First came Cabriolets to accompany the coupes, and soon afterward, the fabled Speedster.
When the first 11 901 prototypes appeared in the early 1960s, all were coupes. While the factory was still thinking about an open 901/911, the US government had safety on their minds, and there was serious talk of banning convertibles due to roll-over concerns. Porsche smartly began thinking about ways to have its cake and eat it too. The company’s designers took a different approach. “Butzi” Porsche and his team conceived of a “Safety Convertible” that would offer both an open-air experience as well as roll-over protection. A wide steel hoop with a stainless skin behind the front seats was drawn up, with a removable and foldable fabric panel between the hoop and the windshield frame, and a zip-out, clear plastic rear window. The name “Targa” was chosen to commemorate Porsche’s brilliant win at the 1967 Targa Florio in Sicily. Delivery of Targas began in 1967 with this example one of 483 produced for that model year.
Chassis 500457S was equipped with a 1991cc air-cooled flat-six developing a healthy 160 hp, feeding that Weber IDS carbureted power through a five-speed manual transmission to the rear wheels. According to the included digital copy of its Kardex, it was delivered on 29 September 1967 to a Chicago-area dealer and then delivered to its first owner, a local surgeon, Dr. William H. Requarth, who optioned it with a Webasto gas heater, tinted windshield and door glass, a radio antenna and speaker package, two sets of seat belts, and Dunlop 165-15 tires. Research by the restorer found that Dr. Requarth kept the car for about 10 years before selling it to its second owner. The third owner was from San Francisco.
Around 2008 it passed to its fifth owner, a well-known Porsche enthusiast, who soon requested a copy of its Kardex to learn what he could of its specifications and history. He subsequently took the car, then showing about 64,000 total original miles, to Paul Kramer at The Auto Kennel in Costa Mesa, California. The owner’s goal, as Kramer wrote on the Early 911S website, “was not to make it a PCA Concours car, but rather a very nice example that would be true to original as well as being reliable to take on long drives and simply enjoy. Because the condition of the original trim, interior, and other bits and pieces was in such good shape, his goal was to retain as much originality as possible to help preserve the car’s history.”
What began as a top-end freshening soon became a full mechanical rebuild with many new parts including valves, bearings – although the originals showed no wear – custom rings to fit honed cylinders, an upgraded oil pump, 930 tensioners; along with timing chains, rocker arms and shafts; motor mounts, and SSI heat exchangers. The twin Weber carburetors were rebuilt and the magnesium fan was polished. The transmission was fully rebuilt with new shorter gearing in third, fourth, and top. The flywheel was resurfaced and a new clutch package was installed. The suspension was properly rebuilt with all components powder-coated. There were new Koni shocks, bushings, Turbo tie-rod ends, and new factory axles. The four-wheel disc brakes were overhauled and the calipers rebuilt. All brake lines were replaced.
With the drivetrain out of the car, the owner decided to have the shell repainted in its original color. The body was sent to Best of Show Coachworks near San Diego, California, where the glass was carefully removed and the shell stripped to bare metal, by hand on top and by soda-blasting underneath. Glasurit supplied correctly-formulated factory original 6605 Bahama Yellow paint and the car was refinished to show quality standards. During re-assembly, all gaps were judged to be excellent. All new seals and gaskets including the doors, lids, Targa bar, and top were installed, along with a new windshield and a set of NOS 1967 headlight assemblies. Although the door window frames were re-chromed, other original brightwork was retained, including the door handles, exterior mirror, and non-functioning fog lights. The engine grille is original and unrestored, as are the Targa bar, and badging. The original, one-year-only Fuchs 4.5 x 15 alloy wheels were refinished by Harvey Weidman.
The interior also received scrupulous attention; it remains mostly original barring the carpet, which was replaced at Autos International. Autos International also replaced the vinyl around the windshield and Targa bar. Kramer also stated that the door panels and sunvisors, dashboard top and knee-pads are original and unrestored. The original instruments were refurbished and the rear-view mirror was replaced. It has also been equipped with an extended-hub steering wheel. Today, this rare matching numbers Bahama Yellow 911 S Soft-Window Targa retains a binder of original documentation, along with its trunk-mounted spare, jack, and tool kit. Rare is the opportunity to acquire a special early open-air 911, especially one that has been described as one of the finest of its kind, recording approximately a thousand miles since restoration.