911 Targa: This open Porsche, beautiful to cry on

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This open Porsche, beautiful to cry on

911 Targa: This open Porsche, beautiful to cry on-Porsche

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Homage to the original model: the new Porsche 911 Targa has a modern roof concept that opens and closes at the push of a button – but the distinctive bar is back.

Source: dpa-tmn

911 Targa: This open Porsche, beautiful to cry on-Porsche 911 Targa

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Pioneer at the Paris Motor Show 1934: The Peugeot 402 Eclipse with its elaborate tin roof construction. It was developed by a dentist Georges Auguste Paulin.

Source: Peugeot

911 Targa: This open Porsche, beautiful to cry on-practicality

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One of the descendants of the French: the Peugeot 206 CC with the foldable metal roof is a popular convertible.

Source: gms

911 Targa: This open Porsche, beautiful to cry on-practicality

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Porsche’s original Targa: In 1965, the Stuttgart-based company presented the 911 Targa with a removable central roof – the picture shows the 911 Targa from the 1967 model year.

Source: dpa-tmn

911 Targa: This open Porsche, beautiful to cry on-Porsche 911 Targa

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Also a hardtop classic: the Mercedes SLK, here the model from 2004.

Source: gms

The Porsche 911 Targa opens its top in 19 seconds. The technology is the culmination of 80 years of convertible top art. The automotive striptease started with a Peugeot and a dentist.

D.he patent “Open Top for Vehicles”, number 2105293, has four pages of description and five drawings littered with detailed views of hinges, gears, rollers and belts.

Curiously, the author is not an automobile designer, but a dentist from Paris. Georges Auguste Paulin invented the first folding roof convertible, which was installed in the Peugeot 401 Eclipse and which astonished trade fair visitors at the Paris Salon in 1934.

By 1937, the French carmaker had sold fewer than 500 Eclipse versions of the 401, 402 and 601 models, but the fascinating idea of ​​the convertible, which always had its hardtop with it, never let go of the carmaker.

With its cc models, Peugeot still has sleek coupe-convertibles on offer, but Porsche presented the most spectacular design for this open-air season with the new 911 Targa, which the sports car manufacturer will be launching in May.

The Targa was developed under the leadership of Erhard Mossle, who was literally in a tight spot: “On the one hand, we wanted the design to go back as far as possible to the original,” says the engineer, proudly pointing to the wide roll bar that like in the first Targa from 1965, the usual body pillars were replaced and shimmered silver in the spring sun.

You almost forget to drive off

“On the other hand, we didn’t want to do without the modern comfort of the successor, which may not be so stylistically accepted.” Because while the Porsche driver had to remove the roof panels by hand on the first Targa and store them in the garage, a push of a button was all that was needed later to let the glass roof buzz backwards electrically.

The latest Porsche design combines the two approaches. The bracket is back, and yet the comfort has not been lost. With the new Targa, too, the driver only has to press a button to start a spectacular spectacle: the glass rear window opens and tilts backwards.

Two flaps in the roll bar open and create the necessary space for the soft top. The system mainly consists of two sewn-in magnesium plates that fold like a Z and are placed in a recess behind the rear seats before the glass dome closes again. This clip-and-fold mechanism lasts 19 seconds and is so fascinating that you could almost forget to drive over it.

In a folding roof convertible, the staging of the transition from closed to open is decisive: the automobile striptease, a now mostly electrically performed ballet of joints and hinges, bows and tensioners, with which the roof folds in and reveals a view of the sky. Passers-by are amazed, the driver is filled with pride.

Difference between convertible and targa

There is an enormous amount of effort behind the impressive technology. Two dozen moving parts, hydraulic mechanisms, motors, springs and tensioners have to work together when the 911 opens its roof or puts the hood back on. Mossle is very satisfied with this filigree opening and closing of the precision mechanics and could spend hours guiding through the elaborate construction drawings on his iPad.

But one wonders why the difficult pull-ups are even necessary. Because for those who want to drive open, Porsche has the nine-eleven convertible in its range.

There is a crucial difference between a convertible and a Targa, objected Porsche man Mossle. After all, both cars appeal to different target groups. The Cabriolet is made for all those who like to let their hair ruffled by the wind and who want to enjoy their car with all their senses.

The Targa, on the other hand, is aimed at comfort customers. People who do not want to compromise and still want a vehicle that stands out from the mass-produced goods; who like to be comfortable and who attach great importance to year-round suitability. This is one of the reasons why the optionally 350 or 400 hp Targa will only be available with all-wheel drive, as in the previous generation.

Most clicked video

And then Mossle continues the great tradition: "The Targa has simply become part of the family." Since 1965, over 100,000 Targa have been built. That makes up around five percent of the total 911 sales, which, according to Mossle, justifies the effort for the folding artist. In this case, the additional effort is not even passed on to the customers.

With a base price of 109,338 euros, the Targa with its complicated roof costs even 1,000 euros less than the identical convertible under the hood. As if to appease the Porsche shareholders, Mossle says: "With this variant, too, we will achieve the usual return on our investments."

But with a car like the Targa it’s never just about the money and certainly not just about open-top driving – otherwise there would have been no need for such an elaborate solution. It’s about demonstrating competence and presenting a show effect. The demonstration of the roof mechanism is one of the most clicked videos in the history of the sports car manufacturer.

Like a luxurious bathtub

The folding technology of the Targa is the culmination of 80 years of convertible top art. At a time when convertible tops were as difficult to lay flat and open as team tents in the military, even for luxury brands such as Maybach and Rolls-Royce, dentist Paulin came up with the idea of ​​the first retractable hardtop.

The metal shell over the four spacious seats in the Peugeot Eclipse was as big as a luxurious bathtub. The roof of the first prototype could only be lifted by hand and then lowered into the trunk using a complicated chain and roller system. Only later did the system work electro-hydraulically on a few of the units.

The Eclipse paved the way for ever more sophisticated solutions. In 1961, Cologne-based vehicle works Peter Bauer presented the Ford Sportolet based on the two-door Ford 17 M at the IAA International Motor Show.

The practicality suffers

At the same time, the folding rear window and the rear side windows dove into corresponding recesses. The lowered roof covered the space behind the front seat backrests and could be pushed over the trunk lid if necessary, so that a two- or four-seater convertible was created.

Further experiments were eagerly carried out and the technology was refined, especially after the turn of the millennium. In a way, the culmination of this evolution is the new Porsche 911 Targa, which already had so many visitors under its spell when it premiered at the Detroit motor show in January that the model that sat in the exhibit and pressed the handle for the roof barely did came to demonstrate the other functions of the sports car.

Since the launch of the first series in 1996, the drivers of a Mercedes SLK have been able to confirm that the big show is sometimes at the expense of practicality.

And the buyers of the new 911 Targa will probably fare similarly. Here, as there, the technology is so filigree that the engineers do not want to expose it to the wind: while normal convertibles can now also be operated while driving, the retractable roof only works when the vehicle is stationary.

This attracts a lot of attention at the edge of road traffic, but it also costs a bit of time.

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