Desert Driver: 1979 Porsche 911 Targa

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This 1979 Porsche 911 Targa is an interesting assortment of pieces, and it’s delightfully driver-quality in its condition. It looks like it could be a Euro-spec car but I’m not entirely sure; it has one amber rear turn signal lens and a lower ride height, but it has the standard U.S.-spec bumper overriders and no rear fog light. Regardless, the seller claims it was found in Nevada with the same owner for the last 30 years, and we love the old-school vanity plate still on the car that may tell us a thing or two about the previous caretaker.

“JAMNJEF” is what the license plate spells out, which does make one thing the long-time owner was a musician or a DJ. Regardless, you can see the amber turn signal lens on the passenger side, which is usually an indication of a European market car. The ride height is also set to what looks like European specifications, as those cars were set lower from the factory. However, that’s a standard-issue rear bumper for U.S. models and the driver’s side rear turn signal lens is the same as every other federlized model. That amber lens would be a hard item to find in the states, however, and a very random piece to swap out (you’d likely replace both at the same time, right?), so I suspect this is a Euro car that went though some level of federalization.

This is a driver, through and through, and it’s refreshing to see a 911 still in this sort of condition. It’s not in need of a total restoration but would do well with a modest freshening. Re-do the seats, re-seal the targa top, swap on some Euro bumpers, and call it a day. Living in Nevada likely helped it avoid the pitfalls of rust, but the seller does refer to “minimal rust” on the car which we hope just means some surface corrosion underneath. The good news is the previous owner didn’t let the car sit, apparently, as it is said to run well and have been regularly serviced.

If this 911 is a European-market example, it should have a nice bump in horsepower. 231 horsepower with no cats is how they came in Europe, but again, we’re not sure if this is a European-market car and whether it lost all the goodies when it was imported. The mileage is fairly high at 182,388 but it’s also a good reminder that these 911s were overbuilt and meant to be driven. Yes, you may have to re-seal them from time to time, but that’s it! No exploding IMS bearings, no bore scoring, none of the nonsense that plagues the new cars. This is a terrific car to simply keep driving and enjoying, while bringing it all the way back to full European specifications. Find it here on eBay for $38,500 or best offer.

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  1. bobhess bobhessMember

    Nice car. Ride height is where almost everyone l know put their cars as soon as they could after buying them. You can get any of the taillight lenses from folks like Stoddard in Ohio and many other Porsche specialty shops. The European bumpers are the same as the US versions but without the big rubber units in the rear. European versions are about 1/3 as wide. They also are available here in the States. If this was a European model it would have small side lights on the upper rear of the front fenders. Picture our ’76 before changing out the fat rear “bumperets”.

    Like 4
    • Rob

      Add coil overs and a g50 transmission and it becomes a much better car.

      Like 0
    • David

      231 HP as stated in the text is for the “83 onwards 3.2 Carrera. The EU 3.0 sc came with 188 HP in 1979, from “81 it was 204 HP, and that is when they got the repeaters on the fenders.

      Like 1
  2. PRA4SNW PRA4SNWMember

    So many Targas and T/As, so little BF space.

    I wouldn’t throw either one out of my driveway.

    Like 1
  3. douglas hunt

    right now Im wishing ALL my projects were gone, I would love to grab this car up, it pushes all my buttons

    Like 2

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