Basement Find: 1978 Porsche 911 SC Targa

Back when I was a teenager and late ’70s Porsche 911s were still somewhat affordable, I dreamt of buying a low model Targa or coupe and building it up to Turbo specs (well at least to look like one). Seeing as I was living in Wyoming there weren’t too many 911s around, especially cheap ones, so I never got around to it. I don’t have those kinds of crazy dreams now, chalk it up to maturity and crazy 911 prices! I still love the looks of the Turbo body, so I wouldn’t mind having a base 911 that has already had all the body conversion work done. This 911 started life as a Targa SC. Not only has it been converted to look like a Turbo, but it has also been made into a Cabriolet. After the conversion, it was parked in a basement and forgotten. It’s been pulled out and is now up for grabs here on eBay in Wylie, Texas with a BIN of $19,800.

The job of making a base 911 look like a Turbo really isn’t that big of a deal, it is mostly welding in the wide rear fenders. The Targa to convertible conversion is a bit more involved and probably hurts the value more than it helps. It looks like the conversions were well done, but after sitting in a damp basement, the body has some rust issues that need to be addressed. The seller states the floors and main structure are solid, so that is hopeful.

While I like the exterior work, I’m not loving what was done to the interior. I think it would look a lot better without all the red spray painted interior panels or red seat inserts. Finding all the correct parts won’t be that challenging, but it also won’t be cheap. I’d love to see how the convertible conversion was done and what all went into making it all work.

The engine is looking a bit tired and there is no word as to whether it runs or even turns over. I’m going to guess it is going to need a complete overhaul. The seller isn’t sure if it’s the numbers matching engine and transmission, but they provide all the numbers for further investigation. The engine is a ’78 SC, so chances are it is original. It also looks to be an A/C car, which would make it much more enjoyable to drive during the summer.

Getting this Porsche back on the road is going to be a ton of work. There is rust that needs to be repaired and it’s hard to say what all the engine is going to need, but it sure would be sweet to pull up in a 911 Cabriolet with the Turbo look. I would get rid of the Turbo badges and repaint it in a color other than red. The seller suggests building it into an outlaw, which could be fun too. Any thoughts on what to do with this Turbo wannabe?

Fast Finds


  1. olddavid

    In 1975 I was convinced that I was not only the smartest man in the world, but that I was bulletproof, too. That can be the only conclusion for a man who rode a Norton Commando but also decided he could handle a Porsche. I am actually glad I got this out of my system at an early age and can recognize the current trend for the fad that it is. However, with so many having so much riding on the maintenance of the prices, I doubt that any adjustment is forthcoming. I would be willing to bet that most first time owners will visit a bodyshop within 18 months of delivery. I cannot imagine the problems to expect from a home-made convertible conversion. It isn’t that it cannot be done. It just isn’t likely to be a fully thought out project.

    • wuzjeepnowsaab

      I’m not sure this is a real drop top. From the size of the back window it looks like the Targa frame is under the fabric. Which makes it even more weird

      • J Paul Member

        If you check out some of the interior pix on the auction link, it DOES appear that the targa bar was removed. Agreed on it looking weird, though.

    • JK

      “I would be willing to bet that most first time owners will visit a bodyshop within 18 months of delivery.”

      Millions of people drive these cars, and they never go to a bodyshop. Perhaps you were just a crappy driver.

  2. J Paul Member

    And now I’m curious how expensive (or even possible) it would be to revert this back to a Targa.

  3. John

    Owned By the dealership of Dennis Collins of Gas Monkey fame.

    • Will

      Good catch! Yep.

  4. Steve Visek

    I wonder if the best thing to do here is just disassemble it. In this case the whole is less than the sum of its parts.
    Wonder what kind of money the parts would bring.

  5. SW

    This FrankenPorsche has no market. Disgraceful hackery.

  6. Rich

    Personally I have never liked the look of the Targa, so this is an improvement. The apparent quality of other work does make me question the standard of workmanship though. Is a cheap Porsche a good way to get into ownership, or a money pit?

    • SW

      A cheap Porsche is the most expensive Porsche you’ll ever own.

    • Mark-A

      Until you possibly roll it, then you will be thankful that you got a Targa over a hack job cabriolet? Just my tuppence worth

  7. Sam

    I guess I am the one taking on the challenge to save this baby. Hopefully it will not turn out to be a FrankenBaby. Definitely a different scope that the 964C2 Cab and 993C2 I recently added to my garage. Wish me luck!!

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Congratulations, Sam, and please keep us updated!

    • Brian

      Hi Sam,
      I also own a Frankenstein Cabrio.
      Mine is a ’77 Targa Converted Cabrio also.
      Bought mine @ a reasonable price, but she does need total paint job.
      Wish you luck, would love to see more pics & progress.😁👍

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