The Huan Project – the Targa Top

When you get a Porsche 911 Targa you quickly learn that the Targa top is both the best and perhaps the worst thing about the car. Its great to take the top off, throw it in the boot or back seat and drive. It looks decent on the car and when you are driving with it on – well you sure do “experience” the car…especially if you have a top like mine…or at least you experience the wind noise. What’s the deal with my top and what will I do about it?

Current state of the Top

Even in the initial pics from the PO, I was a bit concerned about the top. Looking closely I could see in pics that the front edge was sitting too high. The rest of the car looked pretty good so I just thought – eh who cares. Well ok last week the car was out in the rain and by the time I got home I had a good inch of water in the back seat pans. Not too good. Here’s a gallery of the pics of my top:

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So looking at that – generally looks pretty dang good.

Reality Sinks In – WTF?

I don’t plan on driving the car in any kind of foul weather, but sometimes you need to. Even in fair weather the way the top is not fitting into the line of the car generates a lot of wind noise and I worry that the top may break away at highway speeds. In addition looking at the back end the gap is too large – I can stick my finger in there. Its almost like the fabric components are mounted about 5-7mm to far forward on the frame.

The car also only came with one wrench and you need two. A pain, but ok no problem. I was looking around for a new one, but I couldn’t seem to find the right one. Oh well…move on.

The car sat out in the rain and I got a lot of water in the back. Ok – that’s bad. Need to get moving. I assumed I had seal issues and I’m sure I do. I’ve ordered a bunch of seals – most importantly the rear rollbar seal that is in really bad shape. However as I was looking more closely at the top things just don’t look right. I sent some emails and got a response from an expert who quickly pointed out that the top I have is not for an ’88. Its a 90-94 top. Ugh…he’s right. I looked at the schematics for both cars and can tell that – he’s right. This is also why I couldn’t get a second wrench that matched…because I was looking for an ’88 and the wrenches are different.

What the heck the PO did with the original top is beyond me. My guess is that he didn’t realize that he replaced the original with the wrong one, but the wrench should have been a major tip off.

So what to do?

Well the top is a complex piece of stuff. There’s like 120 parts and pieces to a top. I need an expert and that’s targa- breakoutwhat I’m going to get.Take a look at he parts breakout – wow.

I’ve found someone willing to exchange my top for the right top and charge me a reasonable amount of money – 1/3 of what a top costs on ebay and they are local to the Philly area. If all things work out I’ll post a full update with his company’s name. He also has the front seals made to the original specs – that’s very hard to find. I shoudl have my new top this week – which would be great because I’m afraid to get my fender work done without a top that does not leak like buckets.

A New Top

So I arranged with to trade my top for a reconditioned top – Dan is the “targa top man” for sure. Nice guy too. It turned out that my top was for a post ’90’s Targa. Once I started to look at the top and look for parts, with the help of Dan at, it became obvious that I didn’t have a top that could fit. Dan agreed to trade tops at a reasonable price so I did.

The results? The new top fits pretty good. It has definitely taken some patience to work the top into the car. I think if it was summer it would be much easier. The sun came out today and I got the top out in it and drove the car around quite a bit and the fit is getting much better. I drove the car around a bit and wind noise is much reduced. Here’s some shots of the new top:

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The main issue I have is that even with this, I still get terrible leaking at the corners. The rear seal is crap and needs to be replaced I fear – by rear seal I mean the front seal on the Targa bar. It has several tears in it near the pins and the sides along the windows are in difficult condition.


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