993 Porsche 911 Targa Gains Classic Soft-Window Roof Made of Plywood in Chris Labrooy Art

Nowadays, we take the Porsche 911 Targa for granted, as this has been a key part of the family for almost as long as the Neunelfer existed. Nevertheless, the actual form of the Targa has changed quite a bit over its nearly six decades of existence. And we’re here for those of you who don’t always agree with the official ways and would like to configure their Targas as the heart desires, mixing and matching parts from various generations of the Neunelfer.

The official Porsche 911 family, which normally holds over 20 derivatives, is formed by combining various items from the Porsche parts bin. More often than not, technical solutions are borrowed from one generation to another, which makes the overall mixing schemes even more complex.

And while all that is brilliant, sometimes people don’t get exactly what they want—for example, Porsche has only allowed customers to mix the Targa roof with the supercar-like firepower of the 911 Turbo for a few short years in the late 1980s.

But what if we were to go further and combine the various roof solutions of the 911 Targa? The answer comes from a digital artist named Chris Labrooy, whose work has been officially commissioned by Porsche itself, including during the recent Art Basel Miami, where Porsche launched the first-ever 911 Dakar.

The Scottish pixel master’s work has also been featured on the Lamborghini website and he isn’t afraid to give Ferraris a virtual pop culture injection. Well, for his latest rendering, which is now parked on our screens, Labrooy focuses on the 911 Targa. However, to better understand his time machine-like way of virtually building this Porscha, we’ll first deliver an overly simplified history of the 911 Targa.

How Porsche’s 911 Targa changed roof solutions

When Porsche introduced the 911 back in 1964, it had plenty of experience in building both coupes and cabriolets based on the vehicle’s predecessor, the 356. However, only a few years later, the carmaker, fearing that America’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) would ban convertibles featuring fully retractable soft tops over rollover protection risks, the automaker introduce the very first 911 Targa.

Coming to the US for the 1967 model year, the 911 Classic-based Targa debuted with a rollover bar just behind the front seats. At first, the rear screen was a flexible plastic unit that drivers could remove. However, since that option sounded better on paper than it did in real life, it only took a few years (and a bit of coexistence) for the early “soft-window” Targas to be replaced by the fixed-window Targa, which featured a non-removable rear window made of glass.

The cloth top was the part you could (manually) remove, though. Thus, the 911 Targa remained this best-of-both-coupe-and-cabriolet-worlds model until 1996, when the 993-generation Targa came along.

For the final air-cooled iteration of the 911, Porsche replaced the said setup with a super-sized, sliding glass panel. This would span the entire width of the roof and create a splendid panoramic glass roof together with the fixed rear window, albeit losing some of the open-air flair of its predecessors.

This form of building the Targa stayed in place for two more iterations of the sports car, the 996 and the 997—it all changed when the 2014 991-gen 911 Targa revived the cloth top, albeit integrating this and the rear window in a power-retractable system that is a marvel of engineering. And this is the Targa roof you’ll find on the current 992-gen 911.

Chris Labrooy’s classicized 911 Targa

In theory, Labrooy did something simple, gifting a 993-gen 911 Targa with the rollover hoop and the removable rear window of the 1967 soft-window Targa.

Nevertheless, as much as the various generations of the German machine resemble each other, getting the aesthetics right while adding the soft-window style to a car built three decades later couldn’t have been easy.

And, to add even more layers of complexity, the whole thing was “built” from plywood, including the rear engine cover—the word “luft” means “air” in German, so we know what kind of flat-six powers this creation.

The blue cabin finish suits the high-profile nature such a build would have in real life. And since Porsche likes to highlight the weight savings of its modern GT cars with stuff like fabric door pulls instead of interior handles, this thing tires to shed some weight—the Targa is the heaviest 911—by using such pulls on the outside.

PS: If you see an upmarket Porsche 914 (not this 914 Safari, though) while looking at this Targa, you’re not alone.



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