Porsche 911 Cabriolet buyer’s guide

As the winter rain and snow becomes a distant memory, thoughts can turn to summer, and what better way to enjoy it than from the cabin of a drop-top Neunelfer? Few sports cars blend history, performance and engineering integrity quite like this one, so it seems like the perfect opportunity to explore the genre in more detail. Back in issue 130 we sampled the one-of-a-kind 901 Cabriolet, and although that led to development of the Targa it was ultimately the progenitor of the model that’s been with us more than 35 years and seven generations.

And whether you favour air- or water-cooled cars there’s a model for every preference. It might have become more sophisticated over those years, but the basic principle remained the same, and its first appearance also coincides with the re-birth of the 911 after a period when it seemed that it might disappear for good. So, here is our rundown of both how it developed and how to buy the best Porsche 911 Cabriolet.


SC Cabriolet

After the concept debuted at the 1981 IAA show at Frankfurt – sporting a 3.3-litre Turbo engine and four-wheel drive – Porsche undertook some hasty re-engineering to ready the production car for the 1983 model year. Sharing a basic structure with the Targa, the SC Cabriolet reverted to the regular two-wheel drive layout and was powered by the Coupe’s 3.0-litre, 204bhp flat six. More than 4,000 examples were sold in the first full year of production, proving that there was a significant demand for a 911 that came sans roof. Speaking of which, the hood was a three-layer affair made from polyester and acrylic with a separate, insulating lining, and it was fitted over a lightweight, alloy frame.

Manually operated (electric operation wouldn’t arrive until later) it was fitted with a plastic rear window that Porsche recommended be unzipped before the roof was folded away and tidied up with a neat tonneau cover. Quite expectably this new model wasn’t a cheap option, early cars arriving in the UK carrying a price tag just north of £21,000; choosing the Sport variant with larger wheels and the rear spoiler took this to more than £25,000. But Porsche had made its point, and the 911 Cabriolet has been with us ever since.

For the full article, including expert buying tips for each 911 Cabriolet model, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 167 in shops now or get it delivered directly to your door via here. Alternatively you can download the issue to any Apple or Android device. 

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