If it wasn’t for Harald Wagner there probably would never have been an open-top 911 – now the company is ready to release the latest 992 generation Porsche 911 Cabriolet
There was never meant to be a convertible 911. The only reason they built one in the first place was because enthusiasts had a fit when the elfer was revealed over 50 years ago – as far as the Porschephiles were concerned, a true Zuffenhausen sports car had to be an open-top experience.
Immediately after premiering the 356 successor in the summer of 1963 at the Frankfurt motor show, Porsche’s sales boss Harald Wagner (who is still around and well at 95 years old) had to start coming up with excuses for his dealers. They all cried for a convertible. The truth was the Germans never thought about that at all during development of the 911, and even though Wagner moaned and whined the engineers claimed there would be too much chassis strengthening required should they chop the roof off. What’s more, Americans were in the midst of a safety crusade at the time and some wondered whether convertibles would be outlawed by Congress altogether. It was actually a close run thing.
The compromise was a roll-bar, and Wagner accepted in the interim. He even came up with a name for the new 1966 model: Targa. However customers still wanted the real deal, especially in America, a market that commanded half of all Porsche sales. The 911 Cabriolet would finally appear 20 years after the Frankfurt show car. In 1983 the first 911 Cabriolet was launched, going hot instantly – the open-top version almost sold more than the 911 coupe version.
Nowadays of course, Porsche doesn’t leave a single niche empty. You can have a manual 911, an auto 911, a turbo 911, a naturally-aspirated 911, a rear-drive 911, an all-wheel drive 911, and you get the point . Now that the eight-generation 992 is out, Zuffenhausen is ready to start expanding the range to its usual 20 or so iterations, with the Cab the latest to arrive.
These are the entry level models, so no GTS or Turbo yet, to say less of the electrified models in the pipeline. Porsche has released the 911 Cabriolet in Carrera S and Carrera 4S guises, which means you get 450 horsepower and 530Nm of torque from 2,300rpm. Compared to the old 991 generation that’s 30bhp and 30Nm extra. With the optional Sport Chrono package fitted in the new 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet, you’ll see zero to 100km/h in 3.6 seconds, which remarkably is just one-tenth off the old Turbo drop-top.
Besides all the novelties of the new 992, you also get a new roof that now integrates a proper glass window. What’s more it retracts in just 12 seconds which means it equals the fastest roofs out there such as McLaren’s hard-top and Merc’s soft-top. Who would have thought that BMW’s 15-second roof would seem slow, with Bentley stuck way back there at 19 seconds.
Available to order now, the new rear-drive 911 Carrera S Cab starts from roughy AED500,000 and the 4S version from AED530,000. Happy shopping, and don’t forget a burnout for Wagner.