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Engineer Laura Kukuk is in demand worldwide as a sports car expert and classic car expert. For the Newsroom, the 27-year-old took a close look at the historical references of the 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition.
Sometimes looks say more than a thousand words. Anyone who drives the new Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition on the roads will know what I'm talking about. People meet you with familiarity and delight, coupled with a spark of astonishment: "What's that?" Understandably so, as many design elements are reminiscent of the purist 550 and the early 356 models, as well as the first Targa of the early 1960s. But we are talking about an ultra-modern Porsche 911 in today's age.
As an expert and classic car expert, I have the great fortune of being able to examine and test very special vehicles on a daily basis. In addition to the technical aspects, the focus of my work is also on checking many small details for their originality. In addition, I do extensive historical research, because it is the history that brings a vehicle to life. Attention to detail is therefore a matter of course and this is exactly where I would like to come in - in detail.
In order to take a closer look at the special elements of the Heritage Design Edition, I used an early 1971 Targa model with a 2.2-litre engine and black/black Pepita seats as a reference. Standing the two cars side by side, many parallels stand out. One of the most striking features is the rims. On one: the traditional Fuchs rim, the world's first forged aluminium wheel. On the other: the modern interpretation of this famous rim, which is now carried over into the 21st century.
Meinerzhagen is not far from our Kukuk Engineering Office, and so we have a special relationship with the forge of Otto Fuchs. Through innovation and skilful craftsmanship, Otto Fuchs managed to establish a new form of rim production, the forging of an aluminium alloy from a single piece. Great weight reductions were the result. Even as a six-year-old I always associated the famous Fuchs rim with the Porsche 911 and was irritated when a Porsche had other wheels fitted. To this day, the wing wheel design is known worldwide as the "Fuchs rim".
For the Heritage Design Edition, the cloverleaf-shaped impeller was taken up again and reinterpreted. Both the black high-gloss elements and the bright aluminium flanks allow the association. To keep it particularly classic, the brake callipers are painted black. They thus blend inconspicuously into the background. The wheel hub is adorned with the traditional Porsche logo from 1963. Tip: The classic Fuchs rim can still be purchased from Porsche Classic.
As an engineer, I am simply impressed by the design of the Targa roof in particular. No, now I'm not talking about the historic Targa bar with a small, manually removable roof and the softwindow to fold it in, which was a milestone at the time. It is true engineering art to develop a mechanism that opens the 13-kilo rear window to the rear, lifts it smoothly over the Targa bar, stows it elegantly - and all that in just 15 seconds.
Back in the driver's seat, you are surrounded by a bi-colour interior, cord seating surfaces and interior door trim, perforated leather in the headliner, and leather trim on the A-pillars and dashboards. Another eye-catching feature is the historic Porsche Crest, which can be found on the steering wheel, the headrests and the centre armrest.
Another detail that I would like to emphasise: the tachometer, which is traditionally analogue at Porsche and also a reference to the early models, is shown, together with the stopwatch, with the typical green numbers of the 1950s. Now that's a love of detail. The Cherry Metallic exterior paint perfectly matches the Bi-Colour interior and harmonises with the corduroy velvet of the seats and interior door trim.
Various decorative elements can be discovered, such as the "Heritage" badge on the engine grille, which was handed out to early Porsche 356 owners after successfully completing the first 100,000 kilometres, as well as the traditional, golden Targa lettering on the rear. A special highlight are the spears mounted on both front CFRP mudguards. This type of paintwork or foiling was used in the early days of motorsport. The long "eyelashes" were chosen in the factory or national colour so that the teams could identify their vehicles on the race track from a distance.
Even before I get in, I notice an element at the top of the windscreen frame. A kind of spoiler (tear-off edge) has been designed by the aerodynamicists, which moves in or out depending on the airflow and speed and provides improved wind flow in the driver's cabin. This reminds me of how in the early days of the Targa, owners would open the windows slightly to reduce the drum noise.
I'm setting off on a tour around Lake Chiemsee - we probably won't get any closer to the Targa Florio. At this point, I would like to talk about the name Targa, which appeals to me personally. The Targa Florio, an endurance race in Sicily, has been on my top 10 list of the world's "must-do" driving events since I was a kid. I still dream of participating. Harald Wagner, Sales Manager 1965: "It was a happy coincidence that Targa means shield in German." This special link to the five-time victories between 1956 and 1965 and the connection to safety, rounds off this successful naming for me.
The Heritage Design Edition manages to ideally combine historical aspects and details and reinterpret them using state-of-the-art technologies - ét voila the 992 Targa with a nod to Porsche's 50s and 60s is born. A great heritage that the 992 cleverly carries into the present. A modern vehicle with plenty of comfort in loving association with the feelings of the early first Targa.
Vehicle technology engineer Laura Kukuk grew up with classic cars and now works in her father's renowned Engineering office Kukuk as an expert for sports and racing cars and as a classic car specialist. She has also been writing as a freelance journalist for various online magazines for several years.
Text: Ing. Laura Kukuk
Photos: Niclas von Glahn