Bring a Trailer Bargain of the Week: 1973 Porsche 911 S Targa

Whether new, used or classic, most Porsche 911s command major coin. But occasionally, examples priced within reach of mere mortals pop up for sale. And I’m not just talking about the 996-gen 911. Sometimes, vintage air-cooled 911s sell at reasonable prices. And one of those bargain-priced cars, a 1973 Porsche 911 S Targa, is up for grabs on Bring a Trailer this week.

A 1972-1973 Porsche 911 S Targa is the ultimate version of the original open-top 911

A rear 3/4 view of a black 1972 Porsche 911 S Targa by the Porsche Design building
1972 Porsche 911 S Targa rear 3/4 | Porsche
1972-1973 Porsche 911 S
Engine2.3-liter fuel-injected flat-six
Horsepower (SAE gross)210 hp
Torque (SAE gross)181 lb-ft
TransmissionFive-speed manual
Curb weight2475 lbs (coupe, Car and Driver)
0-60 mph time6.0 seconds (coupe, Car and Driver)

Saying a classic air-cooled Porsche 911 is desirable in 2022 is like calling water wet. But even amongst this high-dollar crowd, the 1964-1973 models are particularly precious. These are the original 911s, the first-gen ones. And excluding the homologation specials, the Porsche 911 S, especially in 1972-1973 guise, was the sportiest version.

It might not look like it at first glance, but a 1972-1973 911 is considerably different than a 1964 model. The larger-capacity, sportier Porsche 911 S, for example, didn’t exist until 1967. Porsche introduced the first 911 Targa that year, too. And in 1969, all 911s gained longer wheelbases and wider wheels for better stability and handling, Road & Track explains. These 1969-and-later cars also have longer hoods, hence the common term ‘longhood 911,’ and lighter-weight magnesium instead of aluminum crankcases.

By 1972, the first-gen Porsche 911 S was in its final form. Instead of the 1967 car’s 2.0-liter carbureted engine, there’s a 2.3-liter (marked as ‘2.4’) fuel-injected one mounted in the rear. The 1972 model also has a stronger transmission and a right-front-mounted oil tank for better weight distribution. And, naturally, Fuchs wheels.

But even without the repositioned oil tank and stretched wheelbase, a first-gen Porsche 911 S is a magical experience, R&T says. The steering is unfiltered, the flat-six sounds charmingly snarly, and the handling is surprisingly friendly. To paraphrase Jay Leno, it’s just so much fun to drive.

There’s a final-year S Targa available right now on Bring a Trailer

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Compared to a 2022 911, a 1973 Porsche 911 S Targa is fairly spartan. The one currently listed on Bring a Trailer has power windows, four-wheel disc brakes, a cigarette lighter/outlet, and, uh, that’s about it. However, there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Firstly, this 911 S Targa has spent significant time abroad, specifically in Japan. Secondly, it just went through an extensive refurbishment that covered its body, powertrain, and interior. How extensive? Well, buckle up.

Starting on the outside, this 1973 Porsche 911 S Targa has a new hood, front fenders, rear quarter panels, and windshield seal. The seller also ditched its RSR-style widebody conversion and repainted it brown. In addition, this 911 S has rebuilt brake calipers, a new master cylinder, refinished hard brake lines, and stainless-steel brake lines instead of the original ‘soft’ ones. And it has repainted Fuchs wheels as well as a protective underbody coating.

Inside, this 1973 Porsche 911 Targa has new carpets, RS-style door panels, and new VDO gauges. And then there’s the powertrain.

To start, the flat-six engine has refreshed fuel injection and electrical systems. It also has new valve cover gaskets, front and rear main seals, oil and cooler lines, and ignition components. Furthermore, the seller replaced the muffler, clutch, and fuel pump and cleaned the undercarriage hard lines, oil thermostat, cooler, and sump. And they adjusted the valves. Finally, the refreshed transmission has new nose cone and side cover seals.

In short, this is one well-restored vintage Porsche 911 Targa. But it’s not priced like one.

This 1973 Porsche 911 S Targa is a genuine bargain air-cooled 911—no, really

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These days, a well-kept first-gen Porsche 911 Targa usually costs $50,000 on BaT at minimum. And a 911 S in that condition is more like $100,000. But this 1973 example is currently listed at $30,000 with three days left in the auction. No, that’s not a typo.

Admittedly, this longhood 911 is likely priced so low because it doesn’t have things like a certificate of authenticity or extensive service records beyond the refurbishment-specific ones. So, if you want to bid, consider getting a pre-purchase inspection. But this is an honest chance at getting a bargain-priced air-cooled 911.

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RELATED: Bring a Trailer Bargain of the Week: 1975 Porsche 911 S