When you look at the perfectly sorted Porsche 911 here, you have to wonder how it could have started as somebody’s beater. Because while most of us idolize the rear-engined sports cars, some people buy an old Porsche simply to putt around in. That was Tom Rittenburg’s original plan for this example, but it didn’t quite turn out that way...
As the general manager of Rennline – a company specializing in accessories for Porsche, BMW and Audi – Tom was once a diehard Audi fan. But soon after joining the famed business, his love for P-cars took over. “After driving a few shop cars, I was sold on a Porsche,” he said. “I wanted a coupe but couldn’t afford one, so I picked up this ’74 Targa.”
The Targa is an enigma. Yes, it’s a 911, but its narrow body and awkward, perpetually leaking roof mean it’s not the first choice for most car enthusiasts. However, they’re cheap and plentiful, which is sufficient incentive for most.
“I bought it to beat around in,” Tom confessed. “I drove it during the summer and fall but there were a few guys around the shop that had done the Targa to coupe conversion. I’ll just say, it didn’t take many beers to convince me!”
Tom acquired the 911 in poor shape, unaware of what was beneath its rough shell. Starting the coupe conversion, he had the car stripped and soda-blasted; soon realizing its widebody panels were fitted in a hack-job fashion.
With every piece of hardware either replaced, zinc-coated, powdercoated or anodized, along with every rubber piece, Tom’s Targa was coming together. The widebody was rebuilt in steel, of course, along with a solid roof. The jack points, washer squirters and badges were then shaved before the exterior was finished with IROC bumpers and a Getty Design Ducktail, followed by a soak in Porsche Arrow Blue paint.
Let’s face it: while this 911 could stop anybody in their tracks, walking the walk is never enough. There’d be no excuse for anything other than a track-oriented chassis restoration, which Tom provided in the form of a ten-point cage and custom camber boxes for Bilstein struts all around.
Tom’s widebody coupe is now firm and rigid, but mostly nimble. Tipping the scales at 2250 lb, this 911 can dance, and comes to an effortless halt with big 993 calipers front and rear.
Tying it all together, Tom sent his 16" rear Fuchs out to be widened to a massive 9.5". They almost appear to have an inside-out barrel, accentuating the girth of the 911’s stout hips.
As for horsepower, sparring in the lightweight division means a ’78 Carrera 3.0-liter with MSD ignition, large bore headers and free-flowing Magnaflow exhaust provides enough punch to slingshot Tom out of any corner.
With the car complete, it serves as a prime example of how to correctly execute the resto-mod thing. Not to mention, the interior is simply Spartan – raw and purposeful, sacrificing creature comforts for brutal ability and utility with a healthy serving of gorgeous Rennline accessories.
Squeeze inside and you’ll see Rennline floor boards, track mats, adjustable pedal set, shift linkage cover and firewall block-off plate. These parts are so much more than their names suggest because Rennline understands Porsche design – simplicity and subtlety with functionality and class. These aftermarket parts come from that school of thought, but with more attitude.
So now that you’re thoroughly convinced this should be your next vehicular endeavor, you’re probably wondering what it would take to complete a build of this caliber? We’ll keep it brief: 1700 hours of labor over 18 months, and at least $25000 in parts alone, not including the cost of the car. And you’d better hope you work in an insanely capable shop as well.
1974 Porsche 911 Targa
3.0-liter six-cylinder with 1 5/8" headers, custom Magnaflow exhaust, MSD Ignition, Clewett plug wires, Rennline alternator strap, stainless engine brace and solid engine mounts
OEM 915 five-speed transmission with magnesium case, rear differential, OEM short-shift, Sachs clutch
993 four-piston calipers f&r, 993 304mm f rotors, 930 304mm r rotors, modified hubs and adapters
Bilstein struts, Turbo tie rods, raised and gusseted front spindles, Sanders 23mm front and 32mm rear torsion bars, Polygraphite torsion bar bushings, Tarett Engineering drop links and sway bars, Rennline rear trailing arm, monoballs and steering rack spacers
Wheels & Tires
16x7" f, 16x9.5" r Fuchs wheels, 235/45 R16 f, 265/45 R16 r Kumho Ecsta XS tires
steel widebody, non-sunroof welded roof, IROC bumpers, Getty ducktail spoiler, shaved jack points, washer nozzles and badge, custom front brake ducts through tub, resprayed Porsche Arrow Blue
Rennline adjustable pedal set, track mats, floorboards, shift knob, e-brake handle, shift linkage cover, quick-disconnect steering wheel, firewall block-off plate, heater motor cover, smuggler box cover, door lock pins, lower dash, flocked upper dash, RS door cards and pulls, Status carbon/kevlar seats, custom brackets, Momo Portotipo steering wheel, OMP steering wheel hub
Jason Arms, Clint Calderwood, Washburns Automotive