[Lexique de la voiture ancienne] #14 Targa

[Lexique de la voiture ancienne] #14 Targa

This week, since it’s summer and we’d like to blow our hair in the wind, we’re focusing on the names of some things that can be discovered. They are Targa… even if only one car finally has the right to carry this name!


So Targa is a term that refers to a specific style of vintage (or not) convertible cars. After convertibles, roadsters, and even afterspeedsters, the Targa is the latest innovation to date (since the Coupé-Cabriolet actually dates back to the 1930s).

The principle can also be closer to the coupé-cabriolet as the Targa makes it possible to have a hard but removable roof. It turns the coupé into a convertible. Where it differs from a convertible that can carry a hard-top is that the rear window and the bow type behind the occupants, remains in place when the roof is removed.

This principle is recent and got its name after being employed by the mythical car.

The story of Targas

So the first Targa did not carry this name. We are in 1958 and Vignale it offers an elegant, airy coupé with American lines that are vaguely reminiscent of the Volvo P1800. The base is the Fiat 1200 and the Amazing Coupe offers to remove the top, temporarily, and store it in the boot. It is a unique car but he launched the idea.

Why haven’t we done this before? Because you still need good quality materials to ensure enough rigidity to drive without a roof … and to be able to put it back without the car being “distorted”.

The drawing of this Fiat is signed Michelotti. The same designer will offer the same thing in English: the TR4. A few models followed, or racing cars, like the Ford GT40 Roadster, in the early 1960s, but this retractable roof was not yet mass-produced.

The idea will convince in Stuttgart. The Porsche 911 901 jumped the convertible to suit the super sport. A more rigid solution than a convertible was the one chosen and shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show of 1965. This new type of work was produced on the 911 AND 912 and bears the name of a legendary race won by Porsche: Targa (Florio) . The car stands out with this system but also with its metal loop.

The idea will spread quickly. In France, the Matra 530 accepts it. In Italy, it’s the Miura Roadster that accepts it (so it’s not a roadster). Then comes the Fiat X1/9, the most produced out of the 911 (174,000 units between 1972 and 1989). None of these cars can be called a Targa for all that. The name is registered by Porsche.

As the years go by, the examples become more numerous. Ferrari does, even if they had already adopted it in their race cars of the 60s. So, the GTS is not a real Spider but a Targas. In Detroit, it was the Chevrolet Corvette C4 that spread the system (replacing the “T-Top”) that was stored (not conveniently) under the rear roof.

Porsche obviously drove the point home. The Porsche 914 is a Targa only. 924 can carry. Despite the appearance of an actual conversion in the 911 range, the Targa remains in the program. And it has placed its arches that differ from the color of the body work (except on 993 and 993).

The term Targa has thus become both common and specific to Porsches. Either way, it’s not relegated to another discoverable task by any marketing department, and that’s great!

Additional photos: the wheel