"A rare find"

By:Lee Hamilton 

I have owned Porsches for years and I have frequently wished for the cars that grab lots of attention. I've been a motorhead since I was a kid, 
but never had the means to own a real showstopper. I'm also a Carolinas PCA member. 

Last year, I found a dream car that I was able to afford at a nearby Hyundai dealership. The former owner had traded it in on a new Hyundai Santa Fe. 

When I saw the car advertised, I knew immediately that I had seen it before. As a matter of fact, I had looked at it every day for the last couple of years. That's because a diecast model of it produced by UT / Paul's Model Art had been sitting on my desk. I called the dealer, convinced my wife and immediately headed to the dealership for a test drive. 

The dealer proceeded to sell the car to someone else via the internet while I was on my way there. As soon as I saw it, I realized this was the car that I had to have. The purchaser paid a deposit and the dealer shipped the car to Texas. Upon arrival, he attempted to take delivery without paying the balance - a trick that didn't work on the shipper. He promised to return with the check, but after a few days without contact the dealer realized he had been scammed. He would have to pay to get the car back. Around this time, he called me to see if I was still looking. My wife and I immediately went to the dealership and found the least experienced salesman. He was thrilled to sell us the car, even though it wasn't arriving until the following week. While we were shaking hands, the sales manager returned from the Porsche dealership with an offer to buy the car. It seems they also knew its value. 

So, what is this great find? I believe it is the first glasstop 911 targa produced. It is a 1996 model with a 5/95 build date. According to the Porsche Redbook, the VIN identifies it as the first US-spec targa. There are several unique features. First of all, the car has almost every option, including the rare IR alarm and Nokia digital sound processor. Almost every piece of the interior is covered with custom-color supple leather - an option group that added at least $10K to the price of an already-expensive car. It's also a unique color - Iridian Blue. Perhaps the most unusual item is that the car has no dealer delivery code. Instead of the usual four 
digit code assigned to later Porsches by the selling dealer, this car's code is a simple "9." According to PCA, this indicates that the car was not sold by a US dealer. Even though it's a US-spec car, it has the Euro rear foglamps, safety triangles, first aid kit and trip computer. Import papers that I found indicate that it was brought into the US from Germany in 2003. 

The mileage is 16,696 and according to the CARFAX there has only been one owner. 

I have begun showing the car and do occasionally drive it. Last month, I drove it a whole 50 miles! 

Lee Hamilton