Detroit Auto Show: Porsche Re-Introduces Targa Model to 911 Line

 AP Photo/Paul Sancya

DETROIT -- In the midst of the most tech-intensive, future-proofing auto show on record, Porsche turned back the clock and reintroduced its beloved Targa model to the 911 line at the North American International Auto Show.

The Targa -- a convertible-hardtop hybrid -- debuted as a 1967 production model and has bounced in and out of the Porsche lineup ever since. Named after Italy's Targa Florio race, the Targa was originally developed as a safer alternative to the traditional ragtop, which affords occupants little protection in a rollover, as well as presumed legislation, never realized, that would have outlawed convertibles.

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The new Targa shares the distinctive side profile of its predecessors, grafted onto the latest 911 body type. The top-lowering mechanism is a marvel of James Bondian engineering cool -- the entire rear of the car seems to unhinge and swallow the roof.

Porsche CEO Matthias Muller pointed out that almost 13 percent of the all 911s ever manufactured are Targas.

"For more than 45 years the Targa has been at the heart of the 911, and our latest 911 range would not be complete without one," Muller said during the car's unveiling.

Two Targas will be sold, both in four-wheel-drive configuration: the 350 horsepower Targa 4, which starts at just over $102,000, and the 4S, starting at about $117,000.

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