Porsche video explains the history, development of the 911 Targa

The integral roll bar was designed as convertibles were targeted as unsafe

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The Porsche 911 Targa with its integral roll bar was as much a product of necessity as creativity.  Safety advocates in the 1960s were targeting convertibles as inherently dangerous at the same time that Porsche was planning to produce its new 911 with a drop top.

The imaginative solution was… viola!… a built-in roll bar shaped to enhance the styling of the 911, allowing the roof panel to be removed while providing rollover protection for the occupants.  As an added bonus, the bar provided increased structural rigidity without adding much weight.

“The Targa concept was the starting signal for a totally different kind of Porsche driving experience and would be featured not only in all future 911 generations, but also subsequently in other cars, such as the 914 or the Carrera GT,” Porsche says in a news release.

The 911 Targa was named for the Targa Floria road race in Italy, where Porsche had been notably successful.  While Porsche patented the concept, the word “targa” became shorthand for an integral roll bar.

Porsche celebrates the development of the 911 Targa, which debuted in September 1965 at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt, as the German automaker introduces the targa concept for its latest 911 model, the 992.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

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