Targas have been a staple in the Porsche lineup for many years, originating in the late sixties as a flexible design with a removable hard top, a zip-out rear window, and an integrated roll bar. This four-alternative design was quickly replaced with a more practical fixed rear glass model which persisted until the advent of the 993, when the lift-out feature was replaced with a large retractable glass sunroof; variations on this theme persisted through the 996 and 997 models, and were followed in 2014 by the current motorized version which hides the top away rather than stashing it over the rear window when retracted.
The subject of this photographic exercise is a 996 model shown to the press in 2001. Illustrating new-feature variations in a long-running model line like the 911 in an attractive and attention-grabbing way was always an interesting challenge, and, as always, some things just didn’t work out. This particular solution needed some props, and the decorative banners flanking the drive up to the hotel seemed a good prospect if they could just be lined up in such a way as to reflect in that glass roof, making the visual statement that “Hey—this is something different.” Fortunately, there wasn’t a lot of traffic, and I was able to play with the positioning of the car in relation to the flags while verbally fending off some German kibitzers.
Having been able to get dibs on a brightly colored car—always important—I lined it up to reflect the flags. The downward sweep of the Targa roofline provided a useful diagonal sweep to lead the eye up to the glass panel. The resulting image is a good fit for the type of covers we were running. We did use another of the E6 chromes from that shoot for the December 2001 cover, but I’ve done this one in a more aggressive, contemporary style and think that I would prefer it today.