1981 PORSCHE 911 SC Targa

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1981 PORSCHE 911 SC Targa


The Porsche 911 first broke cover in 1963, morphing over the years from the svelte, elfin Audrey Hepburn of the sportscar world into the current swollen-hipped, muscular Serena Williams-esque ballistic bruiser beloved of city traders, nouveau riche entrepreneurs, and mid-life crisis divorcees.

While the early cars were slow and fragile – and the later cars very fast and almost indestructible – many enthusiasts think the 3.0-litre and 3.2-litre 911 SC (for ‘Super Carrera’) from the late seventies and eighties is the purest evocation and the one that best balances classic looks with decent performance and better-than-average reliability – and a well fettled 911 is a very quick and reliable car indeed.

And you can forget the car’s notoriety for spitting drivers off the road backwards because while the flat-six, air-cooled (actually oil-cooled, but who’s quibbling?) aluminium engine might hang ponderously behind the rear axle line, the handling is surprisingly benign - as long as you don’t do anything really silly, obviously…

It’s also impressively quick, with 60mph coming up in well under seven seconds on the way to a top speed of 145mph.

This incarnation of the 911 is a real lightweight and so gets away with delicate, almost skinny front tyres for better balanced handling and sublime steering feedback, plus vented disc brakes all round for serious stopping power. It sounds amazing too; the lack of a water jacket means that the raw, almost unsilenced engine blares directly behind you, accompanied, of course, by one of the world’s great exhaust notes.

The interior is practically bombproof, which means you can forgive its sometimes-wayward ergonomics. It’s comfortable too, with supportive seats and one of the best driving positions in the business. It even offers four-up motoring, although the rear seat is best occupied by pre-teen children rather than fully fledged adults.

The Vehicle

First registered on the 1st of March 1981 and wearing an ageless registration number, it is also showing fewer than 80,000 miles on the clock and just three owners from new - and the second owner kept it in her possession for 20 years - meaning this Porsche 911 Targa really is special.

It was bought as a present for the vendor by her husband in 2017. He sadly passed away shortly after and she has, understandably, found it hard to drive the car since. This means it’s been in professional storage for the past four years, something she knows isn’t doing it any favours. So, reluctantly, she’s come to accept that it’s time to let go of her beloved Porsche.

Being offered with a very sensible reserve, this is your chance to take over the curation of a much-loved, and very special, 911 Targa.

On the Outside

Doesn’t midnight blue suit the 911? Not a colour we’ve seen much of over the years but whenever they do pop up we’re reminded how good that colour looks on that classic shape.

Mind you, colour aside, this one is very good anyway. With good panel alignment and shutlines, there is a remarkable absence of ripples and dinks, to and it presents beautifully, even up close.

Of course, the doors close with the sort of ‘thunk’ that demonstrates why German engineering was a byword for quality back in the day, and the door handles unlatch with a very satisfying click; the 911 is a delicate car, and way more tactile than you might think given its undeserved reputation for brutish performance and wayward handling.

The paint has a good gloss to it and the black bits are as black as they should be rather than a patchwork of sun-faded grey. The obligatory rear ‘whaletail’ spoiler looks terrific, and is balanced by a subtle chin spoiler at the front.

The light lens are clean and undamaged, as is the glazing.

The targa top fits snugly and comes on and off as it should. It’s a great arrangement that gives the best of both worlds and we’re pleased to see the market is finally realizing what great cars the Targa's are. That said, the seals at the rear could do with replacing but once done the headlining should also stay in place a bit better (#124 and #126).

The Fuchs alloy wheels are undamaged. Finished in a two-tone colour scheme, they’re shod with matching Avon Turbospeed CR228 tyres. Wonderfully narrow and high-profiled by modern standards (205/55R16 on the front axle and 225/50R16 on the rear) all have good tread.

You might be bored of hearing it but experience shows that matching high-quality tyres are an infallible sign of a caring and mechanically sympathetic owner who is prepared to spend the appropriate amount in maintaining their car properly. Their presence does not, of course, preclude the need for a thorough inspection - something the vendor would welcome, by the way – but it does perhaps give you a shortcut into their attitude towards maintenance.

Apart from the usual stonechips and minor marks all cars collect over the years, there are a few small rust bubbles that will need taking care of. Slides #110, #120, #184 and #186 show the main areas.

The windscreen is also starting to delaminate (#93) but this shouldn’t be an issue for a long, long time.

On the Inside

The factory high-back sports seats have fared well, shrugging off their four decades with impressive aplomb. It helps, of course, that they’ve only had 80,000 miles of buttock rubbing but even so, their condition goes to the heart of how well built these cars are.

The rest of the interior is to the same standard being lightly patinated but no more.

The top of the dashboard and the upper edge of the door cards have been covered in suede. We don’t think this is a factory finish although the quality would have you believe it is. Either way, it looks terrific and helps cut down on glare reflected from the dashboard, so that’s a win/win.

The only items of note are the outside panel of the driver’s seat, which is showing some colour loss (#21). There is also some corrosion on the lower edges on the bezels of the main dials (#5) and the vinyl on the side trims alongside the rear seats and the parcel shelf are a bit baggy (#189 and #191).

The frunk is untidy but remedying that would be a straightforward and satisfying job. There is a small patch of rust there (#284) but that looks to be pretty minor and shouldn’t be an issue if it’s caught quickly.


The owner’s first task was to consign it to a specialist garage to have them check it over in February 2017. This saw the 911 treated to an oil service plus new boot lid struts, an oil hose and some chassis welding by MBS of Exeter. It also had the doors better aligned with the targa roof and it hasn’t really been used since then as it’s been in a professional classic car storage facility for the past four years.

However, there’s a lot of paperwork prior to that for servicing and maintenance; please take a look at the attached.

As you can see in the video, it starts well and settles into the typically gruff 911 tickover. It revs well too, and shows good oil pressure. The owner reports that 5th gear can sometimes be recalcitrant; you can change cleanly once you’re used to it but she wanted to be up-front and honest about all her car’s faults.

The engine bay is pretty good. It could do with detailing but it’s a solid base to start from and there’s nothing in there that couldn’t be remedied quickly and cheaply.

The underside has been repaired and undersealed as we mentioned. The work looks to have been done well and we can’t spot anything under there that would worry us.

The car also has an immobiliser and tracking system.

History Highlights

The MOT, which is valid until September 2022, was gained without any advisories, which should give you an idea of its condition.

The car comes with a current V5 registration document that confirms it has had just two previous owners. It also has its full book pack and a thick wad of old invoices and documents to corroborate its history.

What We Think

If you’re going to buy a classic sportscar then you really ought to get the granddaddy of ‘em all - and they don’t come any better than a 911SC Targa. After years in the doldrums when everyone wanted the Coupé, the Targa’s time has most definitely arrived.

The owner describes this as “a project to bring it back up to perfection” but we think she is being a bit harsh; there is a small amount of work to do for sure but it’s a lovely example and well worth the guide price.

And how much is that? Well, we think it will sell for somewhere between £25,000 to £35,000, which should give you plenty of headroom to fix the few small niggles it presents, even at the upper end.

Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; we are open weekdays 9am-5pm, to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

Bidders MUST ensure they are aware of the registration situation of a car in auction, and whether it will be possible to export/register a vehicle in their country BEFORE they bid.

All vehicles MUST BE COLLECTED WITHIN 7-DAYS of the auction end. Storage fees of £180 + VAT apply (per week) thereafter without exception.

If needed, Footman James classic car insurance and Classic Concierge offer storage can offer you options, plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping both domestic and international.  

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we always encourage bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using basic cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen (Caveat Emptor) and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, a return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

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  • Location: The Market HQ, Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom
  • Seller Type: Private
  • Odometer Reading: 80500
  • Chassis Number: WP0ZZZ91ZBS140987
  • Engine: 2993
  • Gearbox: manual
  • Steering position: RHD
  • Colour: Blue
  • Interior: Black
  • Estimated Price: £25,000 - £35,000

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