Greg Cabral graduated college in 1967 and worked non-stop for almost four years. He decided to take some time off, buy a Porsche and tour Europe. In the spring of 1971 he went to the McPeak Porsche/Audi dealership in Walnut Creek, Calif., to order the Porsche of his dreams.
“I changed my mind about the color three or four times,” Cabral says.
Eventually, he settled on a red 1971 911E Targa, which was ordered on a tourist delivery program. This was a large expenditure at $8,117 in addition to an 11 percent German sales tax that boosted the total to $9,009.87. In June, Cabral took delivery of his car at the
Porsche factory in Stuttgart in what was then West Germany.
The vehicle he ordered had a 2.2-liter, six-cylinder, air-cooled engine with mechanical fuel injection with 155 horsepower. Standard equipment on the 911E model included a five-speed manual transmission, 14-inch Fuchs alloy wheels, full 911S instrumentation, aluminum front calipers and a Hydro-pneumatic suspension system. Optional equipment on the 2,248-pound Porsche included: Air conditioning ($516.50), AM/FM Blaupunkt radio ($144.50), Limited-slip differential ($126.50), Tinted glass ($49.50).
The 911E Targa, one of only 985 such models manufactured, was exactly what he wanted. After a tour of the factory he set off on a three-and-a-half month tour of western Europe that took him 9,000 miles through a dozen countries and several exciting — and a few disappointing — adventures.
The Alps were tamed by the nimble 89.3-inch wheelbase and the 137-mph top speed was tested on the German Autobahn. That is where Cabral learned that the 150-mph speedometer was optimistic.
He stopped in Geneva, Switzerland at 1,200 miles for the first scheduled maintenance. After 4,800 miles more Cabral was in Amsterdam and went to a Dutch Porsche dealer for his 6,000-mile service. That is when he was told that the service technicians in Switzerland had put the wrong oil in his transmission.
Before leaving Amsterdam his Porsche was broken into through a front vent window. Once Cabral returned his car to Stuttgart the repairs were made and he once more set off on exploring Europe. Unfortunately, he says, his car was broken into a second time in Heidelberg.
Eventually, Cabral’s Porsche was returned to like-new condition in Stuttgart. As the once-in-a-lifetime tour of Europe drew to a conclusion, Cabral flew home to the U.S. while his Porsche was shipped to sail the Atlantic Ocean, navigate the Panama Canal, and head north up the Pacific Coast to Alameda where Cabral retrieved his car.
As Cabral arrived at the dock his heart almost stopped when he saw a new Porsche 911E with the rear half smashed. The damaged car, however, turned out to be someone else’s problem. Cabral found his undamaged car and was pleasantly surprised that “It started right up.”
In 1978 the original Targa top needed to be replaced. Cabral used the original pattern of the top that folds up behind the seats or in the trunk but substituted superior material. To this day that top reigns supreme. The German auto interior is all-black with what Cabral terms a salt and pepper carpet.
In the years that Cabral has had his Porsche home he has maintained the regularly scheduled service with the most serious problem being the Hydro-pneumatic suspension, which has been replaced.
With the odometer having recorded 93,000 miles Cabral says, “The car has never been restored and is pretty much original including paint, interior and drive train.”
In recent years the Porsche has been relegated to the garage except on special occasions.
“This is my baby,” Cabral says, “that’s for sure.” — Vern Parker
Copyright, Motor Matters, 2010