Porsche has built the most beautiful 911 Targa in a generation, a gorgeous throwback to the 1967 original that opens and closes in a mesmerizing mechanical ballet that took three years to engineer.

Frankly, we weren’t expecting much from the Targa. Although the original was a clever sidestep around impending safety regulations, later models were simply coupes with oversized sunroofs. But the all-new Targa unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show further proves Porsche engineers are among the best in the world. At the press of the button, the entire roof opens like a flower and the top stows itself.

The Targa was born in the mid-1960s when the U.S. Department of Transportation was seriously considering banning convertibles due to concerns they were deathtraps in a rollover. Some automakers responded by developing T-tops. Porsche, being Porsche, went a step further with the Targa, giving the 911 a basket handle and a removable roof. (The name comes from the famed Targa Florio auto race.) It was an elegant solution, one Porsche called a “safe convertible.” The earliest models required the driver to remove the top and stash it in the boot. Over time, Porsche adopted mechanical solutions that grew ever more ungainly and impractical, adding mass and complexity to the car.

via Wired

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