Targas have gotten a bit of a bad rap through the years. They burden a car with the same decrease in rigidity and increase in weight as a convertible, without the full open-air effect. Times are changing, however, and the newest Porsche 991 Targa is nearly indistinguishable from a coupe in terms of rigidity—and cars have become so heavy that a few more pounds are inconsequential. Most sports car owners choose a Targa simply because they love the look and the wind in their hair. That's not to say those reasons are wrong, but why else would you want one if you didn't mind messing your mop while amplifying the visceral experience?
Since this encompasses the majority of Targa owners' decisions to own one (except I'd own one to constantly witness the automatic retractable top—have you seen it done?), I initially didn't expect anything different regarding this TechArt Porsche 991 Targa 4S in Springfield, Missouri. But it wasn't until after the photo shoot, upon returning the car to its owner, Dr. Shachar Tauber, that I realized this Targa's reason to live goes deeper than that.
To begin with, as a child, the '67 Porsche 911 S Targa was the car of Dr. Tauber's dreams. "Keeping the lines of the car, while having the open-car feel, was incredible," he says. He acquired his first Targa sports car in the late '90s while living in Connecticut, although it wasn't a Porsche. When a patient introduced him to the Ferrari club, Dr. Tauber bought a Ferrari 328 GTS, (stands for "Gran Turismo Spider," or Targa top).
During his years with the Ferrari club, Dr. Tauber got to experience a variety of meets and drives, but one event in particular tugged at his heartstrings. It was the annual Father's Day Concorso at the Children's Hospital of Connecticut. At the conclusion of the show, several Ferrari owners got to take some of the patients out for a parade ride.
Dr. Tauber recalled one young leukemia patient in particular, Cody, who was ogling his Ferrari. However, his nurse told Cody that he couldn't go for a ride, due to his condition. Of course, the nurse was just doing her job, but Dr. Tauber also knew this little guy might not get the opportunity to ride in a Ferrari again. In an effort to put a big smile on the boy's face (isn't that the whole point of sports cars?), Dr. Tauber put in a call to Cody's doctor on the spot and got the blessing to give this wide-eyed lad his dream ride.
There was one condition, however. The only way Cody would be able to ride in the Ferrari was if his tall chemotherapy IV pole went with him. If Dr. Tauber had bought a Ferrari GTB coupe, this wouldn't have happened. But the fact that this 328 GTS could have its top removed meant the boy got his ride.
The following year, Dr. Tauber had moved from Connecticut to Missouri, and although he never saw Cody again, it was this one experience that cemented his love for pop-top cars. As a result, Dr. Tauber has owned Targas ever since. The next one was a Ferrari 355 GTS, which he enjoyed, but he still longed for his childhood dream 911.
Fast-forward to 2013, and for Dr. Tauber's 50th birthday, he and his wife, Debbie, took a trip to Europe with Porsche Owner's Club "Fast Lane Travel," driving the brand-new Porsche 911 (Type 991). Dr. Tauber and his wife wanted to drive a Targa but were immediately disappointed by the fact that none were available to the group.
In 2014, they returned with FLT to Europe, and this time the Targa was there. One of the other couples on the trip even took European delivery of one while there. "We were smitten [by their car]," Dr. Tauber says. "It was white and beautiful," he added. The mental seed of future ownership had been planted and was quickly sprouting.
Later, the Taubers visited TechArt in Germany. "Holy cow, it was incredible! I was like a kid in a candy store," Dr. Tauber recalls. The problem Dr. Tauber had was communicating his desire to TechArt engineers for a white, tastefully modified but daily-driven Targa 4S because, at the time, TechArt didn't have anything for the 991 Targa. "They showed me the 991 Turbo they had just finished, and the steering wheel—which felt so amazing." At the dinner, they literally proceeded to draw a TechArt rendering of a 991 Targa on a napkin.
When Dr. Tauber returned home to his current residence in Springfield, Missouri, TechArt sent him an audio track of TechArt's 991 exhaust system. The story is that he played it so much in his house that his wife, who was finally at her wit's end, told him to just buy the thing already.
Shortly after, Dr. Tauber took delivery of his dreamt-up 991 Targa 4S; the TechArt parts were completed and shipped to Missouri. There, Porsche of Springfield Sales Director Michael Kanowsky and TechArt USA's Ron Mormile worked closely to ensure the car was done perfectly.
Today, Dr. Tauber is enjoying his dream 911 Targa, which is also the first TechArt-enhanced 991 Targa to hit the American streets. The good doctor chose 21-inch TechArt Formula IV wheels with Continental ContiSportContact 5 tires for a blend of performance and comfort until the winter weather hits the Ozarks.
The TechArt body kit is made from a lightweight composite of carbon fiber and polyurethane RIM (Reaction Injection Molding) and is distinguished by high levels of strength and dimensional stability, while maintaining a low weight. Starting at the front, the spoiler is a two-piece system with an integrated splitter to keep the nose planted, as well as give a sporty look. To complement the front splitter, TechArt Aero Wings are integrated into the front air inlets and bumper to create the easily recognizable TechArt design language.
Moving to the side, TechArt side skirts complement the car's profile by giving it the illusion of a lower stance when compared to an untouched 991. When looking at it from the front, the integrated side splitters become apparent, which give the car a more aggressive look while providing a little more high-speed stability as well.
When climbing into the car, it's difficult to keep your hands to yourself. My digits instantly found their way onto the plush TechArt steering wheel. With a mix of supple, perforated leather and soft Alcantara, you're constantly reminded how good life is every second of driving this car.
Having had a chance to both follow and drive this 991, I came to two conclusions. First, the TechArt exhaust system sounds absolutely menacing, and if you dare to keep the integrated valve control in sport mode, you won't go unnoticed, by anyone. In sport mode, it's loud, but not quite obnoxious. The sound from three cars behind at a traffic light drew out a nostalgic "Dad, do you hear that?" feeling of spotting exotics on the road.
My second conclusion is that I absolutely love the graphics on the car. I'll admit, when I first heard of this car sporting graphics, I thought I'd hate it. I'm told the dealer and Dr. Tauber himself weren't initially sure about TechArt's bold announcement regarding the livery they'd be supplying as well. Upon first glance, however, we all had the same conclusion, and this new look gives the car a character that an otherwise plane-ole-white 991 Targa wouldn't have.
When asked how he feels about his daily-driven dream ride, this is what Dr. Tauber had to say: "As a kid growing up in NYC, taking the subway to school, my only outlet was car magazines. And I loved Targas. Now that the opportunity came up to own a newly designed Targa 4S with a cool retro-classic look, it is a dream come true. And having the chance to design and build a unique Targa with the guidance and support of TechArt Germany, TechArt USA, Porsche of Springfield, and Ozark Lake Regions PCA was incredible. Today, each time Debbie and I get in the car with the roof off, we smile like teenagers, and I'm so fortunate she also shares this passion as we travel the beautiful roads of the United States and Europe." Well said, doc.