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Porsche 911 terminology?

For the kind that look like 911’s, I’ve seen them labeled “Targa”, “Carrera”, etc. What do those terms mean? Is there a fundamental difference between a plain 911 and a Carrera? Are they even the same technology?

The basic 911 is the same. Although the Carrerra may have a higher output engine. The Targa has a convertible top with removable panels, often called a “Targa TOP”.

The 911 is the basic model, and there are therefore some variations.

At the moment, the Carrera is just the standard base 911. It’s nothing more than a trim level. In the past it was a model above the base 911. The Targa is a 911 with a removable roof panel (those are generically known as targa tops.) It’s stiffer and lighter than a full convertible. There hasn’t been one offered in quite a few years but there is supposed to be a new one coming eventually.

They completely redesigned the 911 last year and whenever Porsche does that they take their time introducing all the special versions (like the Turbo and GT3.) That way they get maximum publicity, with magazine covers and big spreads for each variant. They aren’t alone in doing this, but they do generate so many special versions and updates it gets rather silly. They completely redesigned the car last year and I like it better than the older ones (yes, I’m a heretic.) The styling is cleaner and the interior is far nicer. That was a weakness of the older cars.

SC is the 911 from 1978-1983
3.2 Carrera is the 911 from 1984-1989.

Targa is a T-top.
Cabriolet is a convertible.
Coupe is a coupe.

Now that you brought it up, at our hotel in Dresden, they had a Porsche Panemera on display. It looked like it was an electric hybrid. Not bad looking but a little big and bulky. I picked up a brochure which was a hard bound book but its all in German and kind of hard to decipher. The man and woman ordering theirs though in the book look very happy picking out colors, stitch designs, hub caps and so on. Don’t know if they got the bill yet which I think is around 150,000 Euros, but the one part in English is “Porsche Financial Services”. This must be a different model from the 911?

The more recent 911’s have all been Carrera’s with the Targa with a removable roof panel being an option since the late 60’s up until the 964 Models (late 80’s). The last couple generations of Targa’s were just coupes with big opening sunroofs instead of a lift off panel. From what some dealers have learned the next one will have a solid panel that will slide out of the way leaving a look more similar to the late 80’s Targa’s

The base is called simply Carrera, the S has a larger engine, the 4 is awd and the 4s is the AWD version of the S. Then we have the GT3,GT3RS,Turbo,Turbo S

They are usually called 911’s but referred to by model number (964,993,996,997,991) except for the 3.2 Carrera’s and earlier.

@Bing - the Panamera is completely different than the 911. It’s more related to their SUV. The engine is in front.

When was the last year the basic 911 was air cooled? I seem to remember my friend’s 1967 was still air cooled. When did they switch to water cooled? The probably were forced to go to water cool to meet emissions. Probably the switch was in the 1970’s? 1980’s?


they also introduced the boxster which shared the new water cooled flat six in late 1996, the 996 model Porsche 911 had a similar front end. The switch from air cooling was partially for noise and emissions reasons.

The only Porsche 911 terminology that I know is that I can’t afford one…not even a used one. Besides…my wife thinks they are ugly and that’s an obstacle that would be next to impossible to overcome. Sigh…

The Cayman handles better than the 911 and is a lot less expensive. It even looks like the 911. Many car wags would pass on the 911 and buy the Cayman. Or Boxter if you prefer a roadster.

I am shopping for a fun stick shift daily driver and come across a few ~2000 Boxters that are in my price range. But I guess as a daily driver (15K miles a year), they are not the best ($$).

Like marriage, I don’t think the problem is the initial cost but rather the upkeep.

We had a recent discussion on Porsche engine problems. Those 2000-ish Porsches have the problem with the intermediate shaft. I’d avoid them.

If the intermediate shaft was replaced with the model that fixes the problem, it might be worth buying. Of course, you need to see the receipt to make sure it s an updated part.