F ew cars are as iconic as the Porsche 911 Targa. The two-door, rear-engine 911, introduced in the mid-1960s, quickly became one of the most influential designs in automotive history. But around the same time, the US government considered a blanket ban on convertibles over safety concerns. In 1967, Ferdinand Alexander “Butzi” Porsche – the grandson of Porsche’s founder, Ferdinand Porsche, and the son of Ferry Porsche – improved the 911’s safety while maintaining its classic silhouette. Inspired by motorsports, this new 911 featured a roll bar and was dubbed Targa – Italian for “shield” – after a grueling endurance race held in the mountains of Sicily. Today, the Targa remains one of several open-top variants of the 911 and is prized for its elegance, timelessness and beautifully engineered rooftop mechanism.
Making the Porsche 911 S 2.4 Targa
Alongside his brother, Hans-Peter, in 1972 F. A. Porsche founded The Porsche Design Studio – now known as Studio F. A. Porsche. To commemorate its 50th anniversary this year, Porsche Design is partnering with Sotheby’s to auction a one-of-a-kind Porsche 911 S 2.4 Targa. This special reinterpretation of the designer’s legendary automotive signature is a celebration of Porsche’s exceptional heritage.
Built as part of the new Sonderwunsch (special request) program, which makes sports-car dreams come true through extraordinary craftsmanship and attention to detail, the factory one-off is the classic counterpart to the limited-edition special model “Porsche 911 Edition 50 Years of Porsche Design” (generation 992). A team of experts at the Porsche Classic Factory Restoration in Stuttgart, Germany, dismantled a 1972 911 Targa down to its last screw and paint particle, then rebuilt it using original production techniques – except with the added precision of modern-day frame-straightening benches and laser measuring.
The result is a vehicle that’s absolutely timeless. That iconic Targa roll bar is coated in satin platinum and its logo is inset in matte black. Inside, the 50-year-old seats and instrument panel are upholstered with a new black-and-gray checkered pattern. Under the hood, the original engine and chassis – as well as the brakes – have been upgraded to S versions, bringing the car up to 190 horsepower. Both the interior and the engine bear special “Porsche Design 50th Anniversary” badges adorned with F. A. Porsche’s signature.
“We deliberately took a different approach with this project,” says Uwe Makrutzki, Manager of Porsche Classic Factory Restoration at Porsche AG. “We’ve created a unique vehicle that blends tradition and present day and bears the signature of Ferdinand Alexander Porsche.”
Porsche Design, who is presenting Sotheby’s Luxury Week this season, commemorates the lovingly constructed vehicle with a second classic item: an F. A. Porsche-designed watch also from 1972. This November, the company reissued the Chronograph I in an all-black numbered edition; accompanying the car’s auction is an even rarer Chronograph 1 – 911 S 2.4 Targa.
Every graceful detail of the timepiece has been thought out: The dial, crown, wristband and case all bear the historic Porsche Design logo. Its all-black body with white and silver accents echoes the Targa’s design. And its back is engraved with the vehicle’s VIN.
The special Chronograph 1 does more than capture the aesthetic of the 911 S 2.4 Targa – it also extends the sports car’s feeling and spirit. Developed and tested in Porsche Design’s own watch-making facility in Solothurn, Switzerland, the unique watch features a winding rotor on the back of the case which mirrors the Targa’s historic forged wheels known as Fuchsfelge. The sleek exterior conceals a brilliant feat of engineering: this rotor transfers the wearer’s wrist motion into energy via a mechanical chronograph caliper to power the watch.
On 23 November, the restored and refined Porsche 911 S 2.4 Targa arrived at Sotheby’s New York, where it’s displayed in the lobby. Both car and timepiece will be offered together as a single-lot auction at RM Sotheby’s from 29 November through 14 December. These special collector’s items are more than just an homage to F. A. Porsche and his iconic designs. Together, they’re an expression of Porsche Design’s timeless and forward-thinking vision.