Targa Time… Can the Porsche 911 Targa, Triumph TR4 Surrey Top, Ferrari 348ts, Toyota MR2 T-bar and TVR Tuscan successfully combine roofless rawness and coupé civility? And why now’s the time to buy them. ‘As time passes, they’ll look more classic than their conventional tin- or soft-top stablemates’ The targa roof’s modern-day obsolescence has made them late bloomers on the classic landscape. With their appeal growing by the minute, we take five of the best targa buys for a tour of the North York Moors. Words Sam Dawson. Photography Jonathan Jacob.
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Targa. It’s Italian for ‘shield’ and conjures up thoughts of Sicilian and Tasmanian road races. Thanks to Porsche’s use of the term, it’s also become the de facto name for a solid removable roof. It’s a neat piece of design that means – in theory – you can enjoy both hardtop and roofless motoring on a whim. The dramatic microsystems of weather found in the undulations of the North York Moors should test this idea to its limits as we pit five different takes on the targa - front-, mid- and rear-engined – against this wind-chilled, often-unforgiving landscape.
Targas are also a form of engineering fairly recently lost to time. Once Mercedes-Benz and Peugeot perfected electric folding hardtops, new-car buyers didn’t want to fiddle with a lift-of panel any more. It leaves targa-topped classics with uniquely period appeal, so as time passes, they’ll look more classic than their conventional tin- or soft-top stablemates. Buy one now and you’ll be ahead of a market that’s seeing these cars as increasingly desirable.
Our group of five spans prices from sub-£5k to £50k and applies the concept to everything from the traditional Sixties British roadster to the Eighties Italian supercar. But how will they fare?