SOLD ($35K) Smart Buy: ‘73.5 Porsche 911T Targa Sportomatic
This Sepia Brown CIS equipped Porsche 911T Targa is extremely desirable. Prices for early 911s have skyrocketed in recent years and specimens like this have seen stratospheric prices. Pause and look at the interior. It looks phenomenal. The seats look just right and the vulnerable door pockets on both sides are in great shape. Just try to replace one that isn’t ’cause you can’t. So why is the seller asking only $39,900 for it? One word – Sportomatic. The Sporto equipped cars are punished severely by the lack of a 3rd pedal. Yet many engineers and execs at Porsche drove Sportos back in the day. Come to think of it, when I was at Volvo, they always gave us the models that had the least level of demand. I guess that’s why our parking lot was a sea of 780 Bertone Coupes. Here is how a Sporto works and what some buff books thought of it. We’ll focus on that because you already know what you need to know about Porsche 911s. From HowStuffWorks:
Driving with Sportomatic took practice. As R&T explained: “For all normal acceleration from rest, D (2nd gear) is used. The converter lets the engine run up to 2600 rpm immediately and…gets the car moving briskly, but noisily…A direct shift to 4th at some casual speed will be the usual upshift. For…vigorous driving, the Sportomatic is just like the manual 4-speed except that one shifts without the clutch…We found that the best technique was to engage 1st gear, let the clutch in (by taking the hand off the stick), ‘jack up’ the engine against the converter while holding the brakes, and release the brakes to start.”
The technique was a little hard on the transmission but good for 0-60 in 10.3 seconds and a standing quarter-mile of 17.3 seconds at 80 mph. Car and Driver did better: 9.3 seconds to 60 mph and 16.8 seconds at 82 mph in the quarter. “There’s absolutely no trouble in shifting,” the magazine asserted. “Just grab the lever and move it. No matter how fast you do it, it’s impossible to beat the clutch or the synchronizers.”
In effect, Sportomatic was a compromise answer to the penchant of U.S. drivers for lugging along in high gear at low revs, thus fouling plugs and otherwise loading up engines. It was also perhaps a nod to the American preference for easier drivability than previous Porsches offered.
This is what we suggest. Find a really nice early 911, a Coupe preferably. Spend the $80 or $90,000 to get a really super example. Then buy this featured car for when you get your bunion operated on or break your leg. At least you’ll have something wonderful to drive and nobody will even guess it wasn’t a 5-speed. Click here for the eBay Auction.