Not every classic that passes through the Autohaus Hamilton garage is destined for a full bare metal restoration, and that’s a very good thing.
This lovely original 1967 911 Targa Soft Window arrived in our garage late in 2013 with a simple set of instructions – give it a full inspection, and get it running.
“When I bought my first Porsche, when I was about 25, I bought a 2.7 Litre 911 Carrera. Like most enthusiasts I thought that Targas were a Porsche that only hairdressers or architects would buy, and they’d be bought for all the wrong reasons and then not properly maintained.”
“So I’d never really liked the idea of a Targa, new or used. Then one day out of the blue my son found a little Targa for sale in Newcastle that was a complete car with only a few owners. I went to have a look at it and thought, Shit, I have to have that!”
‘We originally were going to give it a quick makeover and sell it, but it was so good that we’ve kept it. All we’ve done is restored the upholstery and given it plenty of polish and detailing, and it keeps winning ‘Wash and Polish’ in the Concours and everyone loves it”.
“Nobody loves it more than me, however; it’s tight as a drum and drives beautifully! Thus began my love of Targas.”
“We’ve never really had an early car, so I thought that I’d better get a skinny bumper Targa and maybe make a speedster or hotrod out of it. I started thinking about and researching it, and eventually came across the soft window Targa. I learned that 1967 was the first year of the Targa and ’67 and ’68 were the only years when soft windows were made, so I decided that that was the model to get.”
“I found this particular car when speaking with a fellow enthusiast collector in Melbourne. It’s a left-hand drive car which, when it first arrived in Melbourne from America, was driven into the shed in which I first saw it, and left untouched for twelve years. It took me twelve months to decide, but when I saw the owner again I bought it and it was delivered to Autohaus.”
We received the car as you see it now and got to work learning about it and getting it running.
Our job with the car was to develop a complete and nuanced understanding of it which would then form the basis of future decisions about what to do with it. We were to get it running and making sure that everything was working and safe. Its owner wants to do a lot of the work on the car himself, so we were really developing the groundwork for the project and making a critical start.
And that’s what we did! We flushed the fuel tank, rebuilt the carburettors and cleaned the lines, fixed linkages and bushes and got everything running again. The engine’s actually in good condition considering that it hasn’t been run in so long, and once it was running we were able to run through the gears and make sure that the clutch was operating correctly and generally get everything running again.
When we inspected the brakes we discovered that the master cylinder had seized and the pedal was going to the floor, so we fixed that and replaced some of the linings to make sure that everything was going to work well run reliably.
With the owner content with the car it’s now a process of research and decision making; deciding which direction to take with it.
“It’s been a pleasant surprise, this little car. We keep finding out good things about it as we work through it, including learning things about these cars which we didn’t know when we bought it.”
“I believe that Targas as a model are going to become very collectable. Only about 400 soft window cars are believed to remain in existence, and more people are catching on to them and developing an interest in them.”
“I have mixed feelings about what to do with it. Some people recommend repairing any rust and faults, detailing the interior and keeping it as an original car because it’s such a complete and original example. Restoring the car would make it prettier, but less original and could spoil it.”
“I haven’t decided if I am going to take that approach, but I’m thinking that I’ll keep it as original as I can, and paint sympathetically where necessary. I need to do the roof because I want to be able to use the car but that’s not going to be practical if I have a roof that leaks like a sieve.”
“I’m visiting the Porsche factory in a few weeks time, so I’ve organised a meeting with the Porsche Classic department to get to the bottom of the car, ask a lot of questions and get their opinion of which direction to take.”
We can’t wait to see the car again and take things a little further, in which ever direction that may be! Stay tuned!