How Porsche Classic restored a 50-year-old 911 Targa
The one-off Porsche 911 S 2.4 Targa from 1972 that celebrates a special anniversary
Restored Porsche 911 S 2.4 Targa parked outside modern house
Signed by F.A. Porsche, finished in his preferred colour of black, and two years in the making, this unique restoration project pays homage to the 50th anniversary of Porsche Design
This 911 S 2.4 Targa is truly unique. In restoring this vehicle, which originally dates from 1972, Porsche Classic and the Sonderwunsch department, who handle special customer requests or ‘wishes’, have successfully developed an historical counterpart to the 911 Edition 50 Years Porsche Design released earlier in 2022. Brought back to life by the factory restoration team in honour of Porsche Design’s 50th birthday, as well as paying tribute to Prof. Ferdinand Alexander Porsche – designer and son of Porsche founder, Ferry – the one-of-a-kind car features the same colours as the Chronograph 1 watch. This legendary timepiece was designed by what was known then as Porsche Design Studio, the company founded by Prof F. A. Porsche in 1972. What is Porsche Design?Prof. F. A. Porsche set up Porsche Design Studio (now called Studio F. A. Porsche in his honour) with his brother, Hans-Peter Porsche, fuelled by a vision to elevate Porsche beyond that of the automobile world. Under F. A. Porsche’s inspiring leadership, the company quickly became known for consistently producing functional and high-quality products that featured timeless design, from ski goggles to speedboats. The restored and refined Porsche 911 S 2.4 Targa, the 911 Edition 50 Years Porsche Design vehicle and the special edition Chronograph 1 were all unveiled in 2022 to commemorate 50 years of Porsche Design.
Restored Porsche 911 S 2.4 Targa parked outside modern house
Putting it all on black: the Targa’s exterior and many interior details were finished in Black as a nod to F.A. Porsche’s affinity for the colour
The inspiration behind the Targa’s restoration It was almost exactly 60 years ago that the 911 was introduced, designed by Prof. Ferdinand Alexander Porsche in 1963. A decade later, Porsche Design followed in his pioneering footsteps by designing the legendary Chronograph 1 timepiece – the first commercially available watch to feature a black casing and black dial. This never-seen-before monochrome colour scheme cleverly eliminated all reflections, taking the watch and design world by storm. And so, with a vehicle from the year that Porsche Design was founded in their possession, the factory restoration team powered ahead with a meticulous one-off car in tribute to him, painted in the same black hue as that famous Chronograph 1 watch. When the car was sold in December 2022 at RM Sotheby’s for over one million Euros, it was clear evidence that its design language continues to resonate down the decades. “Our vision was to build an historic counterpart for the new 911 Porsche Design 50th Anniversary Edition special model,” says Ulrike Lutz, Director of Porsche Classic, in explaining the inspiration behind the anniversary celebrations and restoration. “The new Sonderwunsch programme gave us an opportunity to implement this idea for a unique vehicle pairing. The designers and members of the factory restoration team were tasked with carefully transferring the specification from the new car to the classic.” Porsche Design and Porsche Classic worked closely together over two years, with significant design input from longtime the chief design officer of Porsche Design, Roland Heiler.
1972 Targa body shell in Porsche factory restoration workshop
The poor condition of the 1972 Targa made it the perfect blank canvas for a project that aimed to blend history with the present day
Creating a Porsche factory one-off When tackling this factory one-off, the Porsche Classic team was presented with a base vehicle that was in very poor condition. “Our general philosophy in a factory restoration project is to restore the vehicles to be as faithful to the original as possible,” explains Uwe Makrutzki, Manager of Porsche Classic Factory Restoration. “We deliberately took a different approach with this project. We’ve created a unique vehicle that blends tradition and present day and bears the signature of Ferdinand Alexander Porsche.” When challenges arose, the dedicated teams worked together to find the best possible solutions. “We achieve perfection in all our projects, including this one-off,” says Uwe Makrutzki. One of the challenges that cropped up was how to best present that iconic feature of every Porsche 911 Targa, the rollover bar. Instead of using the usual brushed stainless steel, the restoration was finished in Satin Platinum, meaning that the varnish had to be diluted several times before application onto the vehicle. Even then, the basic structure remained visible, so the paint was supplemented with a chemical component to allow for better adhesion. Finally, the roughness on the surface caused by brushing made it possible to permanently connect the paint to the bar. With the experts completely upgrading the engine and chassis to the S version, what you see today is a truly one-of-one version of the 911 S 2.4 from 1972. It’s another example of how the final vehicle perfectly fits the aim of its original brief – to meld tradition with the modern day.
Restored Porsche 911 S 2.4 Targa parked outside modern house
The fully restored Porsche 911 S 2.4 Targa: an unbeatable golden anniversary gift
Paint it black – incorporating F. A. Porsche’s favourite colour With Prof. F. A. Porsche’s penchant for black, it was only natural that the restored model should be finished in that colour. Having found inspiration in the black dashboards of racecars (which minimise reflections from the windshield), the man himself would surely give his nod of approval to today’s restoration. The final 911 S 2.4 Targa is painted in solid black with anodised Fuchs rims, as well as Targa lettering in Matt Black. Open the door and you’ll discover an interior that is also dominated by the colour.Perhaps the most eye-catching feature of the interior is its chequered pattern – a design choice that also ties in to the special edition model. Its Sport Tex seat fabric features a Black and Cool Grey combination and can also be found on the door trims, central section of the seats and the lower section of the dashboard. Such modern cover materials have never been used in a classic 911 until now. During the car’s restoration, this meant having to adapt the material to alternative seat geography – and the first samples unfortunately did not yield good results. It was only by precisely calculating the overhangs of this cover material on the subsequent attempt that success was achieved. When it comes to the Platinum Satin details, classic lateral stripes integrating Porsche Design lettering decorate the flanks, and the effect is also spotted on the Targa rollbar. Echoing the special edition model, the engine cover grille at the rear features a ‘Porsche Design 50th Anniversary’ badge with a reproduction of Ferdinand Alexander’s signature – a suitable flourish for this one-off vehicle.
Passenger door open to 1972 restored Targa, roof down
Redesigned to the visual standards of the 911 Edition 50 Years Porsche Design, the unique character of the original 911 Targa was beautifully preserved
Reaching the classic Porsche restoration finish line We can see it looks great – but how does it drive? Uwe Makrutzki describes the feelings that bubble up when driving such a unique car. “For me it is always a highly emotional moment when I drive such a one-of-a-kind vehicle,” he says. “After all, I witnessed how the vehicle was recreated in all its details, every day for almost three years. This enthusiasm never wanes!” And in the case of this extra special Porsche Targa, it was very much a five-star experience, “The smooth-running engine, the handling, the pure feeling to drive this car – all of it is outstanding!”
Restored 1972 Porsche Targa in courtyard with special edition counterpart
Then and now: half a decade may lie between the two vehicles, yet they’re a perfect match when it comes to timeless design
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