When necessity becomes a virtue: vehicle concept for the Porsche Targa
The invention of a whole new type of car: The Targa was the reaction of Porsche to a discussion held in the early 1960s on the importance of the US market.
From Detroit to Dallas, open-top cars were suddenly considered dangerous as they were said to provide insufficient protection for occupants in an accident. Dark clouds were brewing over the future of the convertible.
The Swabians did not want to lose their customers in the sunshine states of the USA as the sales department was vehemently insisting on an open-top variant.
History of the Porsche Targa
The Targa is neither a cabriolet nor a coupé, neither a hard top nor a saloon, but something completely new: the first safety cabriolet in the world with a fixed safety or roll bar.
It had long been common practice among racing customers to fit open-top sports cars with a roll-over bar - the battle for seconds and positions can also end in a double somersault. However, the designs that were developed for the track did not look particularly attractive. Furthermore, the designer of the 911, Ferdinand Alexander (“Butzi”) Porsche, was not even particularly enthusiastic about a cabriolet version of his design-of-the-century fastback – so a clumsy tubular frame was out of the question. However, it was thought that the bar could perhaps be given an attractive shape and made from stainless steel to give a sporty yet elegant look with plenty of charisma.
One of the world’s most spectacular race circuits: the Targa
The Targa Florio was a motor race on public mountain roads through the Madonie Mountains of Sicily. From 1906 to 1977, racing cars with up to 600 PS thundered round hairpin bends and through picturesque mountain villages. The original circuit, conceived by Vincenzo Florio (see below), initially led from Cefalù through Cerda, Caltavuturo, Castellana, Petralia, Geraci and Castelbuono.
The prize as the source of the name: Targa means shield
The Florio family achieved enormous wealth with Marsala wine, chemicals, tuna processing and shipping. The founder’s grandson Vincenzo (1888 - 1958) had to leave the management of the company to his brother Ignazio. From 1906, Vincenzo organised a race in the mountainous hinterland of Palermo to encourage the state to build roads and petrol stations.
Jun 05, 2020 at 18:23