Featured Listing – 1989 Porsche 911 Turbo Targa

1989 Porsche 911 Turbo Targa Sold

Update, September 8, 2014: The 930 sold to a wonderful enthusiast and Sports Car Digest reader. Hope you enjoy it!

The 1980s may be remembered for many things, including giant hair and spandex, but an automobile most representative of that era would have to be the sports car that almost everyone who cared anything about cars aspired to own — the “whale tail” turbocharged Porsche 911.

Known internally as the 930, the car was sold as the 911 Turbo to the public. Although a product of the 1970s and Porsche’s development of turbo technology through motorsports, the 911 Turbo was nevertheless of undeniable importance and impact in the 1980s. It would go on to be a tremendous sales success for Porsche, and the image of the whale tail rear spoiler and fat fenders hovering over equally fat, purposeful-looking tires would define the brand for an entire generation of enthusiasts. So powerful was this image that Porsche would even go as far as to sell a version of their “normal” 911 Carrera that would be fitted with the same distinctive bodywork so you could trick people into thinking you drove a 930. A certain “Turbo Culture” even formed in large part thanks to the 930, with simply the word itself taking on all kinds of positive connotations.

As for the 930 itself, it bristled with innovation learned from Porsche’s success in sports car racing, and entered the United States market in 1976 badged as a “Turbo Carrera”. With one turbocharger attached to the exhaust of a modified version of the tried-and-true 3.0-liter flat-six from the Carrera RS 3.0, these first cars would make boost without the use of an intercooler, as sharp-eyed Porschephiles will notice from the shallower tail shared with the Carrera RS 3.0. At a time when Chevrolet’s flagship performance car, the Corvette, was strangled to 165 hp, Porsche was selling a machine that not only made a hundred more horsepower but also accelerated to sixty miles per hour in just over five seconds. Against its direct competition, the 930 was simply in a different league of performance and was a threat to all but the most exotic supercars of the day.

In typical Porsche fashion, the 911 Turbo was a product of gradual, deliberate evolution and it seemed that nearly every year the cars would improve and generally become more usable. After a six-year hiatus from the all-important US market, the car returned to America in 1986 and was an entirely different animal from what had first dropped into the dealerships in 1976. Having grown from a 3.0 liters to 3.3 in 1978, it finally had an intercooler to minimize heat soaking and by 1986 the motor made 278 horsepower, enough to keep the car relevant as the competition had started to catch up over the years. With several other refinements, this new car was also able to stop more effectively with its new 917/RSR-style brakes and its cleaner emissions allowed the 911 Turbo to return for sale in the United States.

The year 1989 spelled the end of the 930, but fortunately for us, the swan song example was gifted a delectable five-speed gearbox. The 930 models previously sold used a four-speed that didn’t always earn high praise from reviewers of the period, but for the last 930s Porsche adapted their slick shifting G50 five-speed, already used in the later Carrera models, for use on the Turbo. It made this 930 a much more tractable car and an even livelier performer.

1989 Porsche 911 Turbo Targa

The example presented here is one that is sure to surprise even the most seasoned Porsche enthusiast, and is something that most have not seen before. In 1987, Porsche began offering a Targa version of the 930, and it would be available right up until 1989. This 1989 model is one of only a precious 141 930 Targas built for the US market during that three-year period, and being a 1989 example, it is fitted with the desirable five-speed manual transmission.

Ordered from Porsche in its rich, Velvet Red Metallic paint seen here, this car shows very well and is a standout example amongst a sea of Guards Red and Black examples. Per the supplied Porsche Certificate of Authenticity, the car was ordered originally with the ‘Linen/Black’ interior, but this was changed at some point to the more common ‘Champagne’ color. This car was also fitted with several desirable options:

  • Limited-Slip Differential
  • Steering Wheel with Raised Hub
  • Shorter Gearshift Lever
  • Sports Seats with Electrical Height Adjustment Left and Right
  • Heated Seats Left and Right
  • Blaupunkt Radio
  • Amplifier System

Having spent a majority of its life in California, it is clear when examining this car that it has enjoyed enthusiastic and careful ownership. The CarFax report supplied does show an accident early in its life, but the several hundred images documenting the professional bare-metal respray done two years ago reveal no damage repair. It would appear, then, that any damage sustained was minor and superficial. In total, the current owner — a respected West Coast-based collector — has spent over $30,000 in restoration work during his more than three years of ownership. The car shows extremely well, as the recent inclusion of the car in a Turbocharged 911 Class at the 2014 Pinehurst Concours clearly reveals.

This Turbo was a recent recipient of a complete, bare-metal refinishing, and the paint, body and panel gaps present very nicely. The original 16” Fuchs lightweight wheels still wear their original anodized lips and show very few blemishes. Most rubber seals and trim were replaced during the aesthetic restoration, to include Targa top seals.

The interior shows reasonably well, given its age. If there is a weak point on the car, it’s the interior. Fortunately, it’s complete, down to the hard-to-find Blaupunkt Reno radio. The desirable Sport seats are in great structural condition, and hit you in all the right places. It’s common to find Targas with evidence of water damage, as water generally enters through the roof when rubber seals begin to fail. Thankfully, this interior shows none of these signs and looks and smells like it should. It should be noted that all interior electrical components, to include air conditioning and heater systems, operate as they should.

With 63,372 miles, this 1989 911 (930) Turbo Targa has benefited from actually being driven and kept running at a high mechanical level. Many of these cars tended to sit around and collect dust, and generally began to deteriorate. This example is in fantastic running order, with tight suspension and steering feel that is communicative, lacking any unwanted movement. Having enjoyed fastidious ownership that is fully documented, the engine and “G50” transaxle both operate without issues. The current owner recently gave the car to a local Porsche Center with the intent to repair anything that may need attention, and $3,000 later the car is ready to be enjoyed. Along with this, it should be noted that the Garrett turbocharger was recently overhauled and performs flawlessly. This 911 Turbo is currently fitted with a stainless-steel performance exhaust system. The original exhaust is included with the sale.

With the demand for early and unusually equipped 930s on the rise, this car represents a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the open-air 911 Turbo experience without the severe loss of torsional rigidity associated with the Cabriolet. With some amount of minor work, the new buyer will have a highly versatile car that could likely be a Concours winner or a perfect candidate for enjoying Porsche Club events. One thing is for certain, you’re not likely to see yourself coming the other way at most any event with this highly unusual 911.

This 1989 911 Turbo Targa is now offered at a reduced $69,000, down from the original asking price of $72,000. This Turbo is available for inspection at our Charlotte, NC garage. Pre-purchase inspections are encouraged. Click Here If Interested.

1989 Porsche 911 Turbo Targa For Sale – Photo Gallery (click image for larger picture)


  1. I never knew they made a 1989 Targa Turbo.

  2. With Porsche, you never know…a “special order” perhaps?

  3. Slim Chance says:

    Pretty but new paint on a car that has even older siblings (by 10-20 years) with original paint? Pass.

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