It’s honestly incredible how little the Porsche 911 actually changed from 1964 to 1998. Sure, things changed both mechanically and cosmetically, but the core structure of the 911 saw very few changes throughout this time period. So little changed that you could actually take an early car and make it look like one of the final air-cooled 911s built. Just take a look at this 1974 model that has been updated to look just like a 993, which was built from 1994 to 1998. It’s also been converted from a Targa to a convertible, so there’s a lot going on here. You can find this roller here on eBay in Niagara Falls, New York with a current bid of $5,100.
Admittedly, converting an early car to look like a later example, or vice versa, isn’t as simple as just bolting on different bumpers. The biggest issue with a conversion like this is welding on the wider rear fenders, but at one time you could actually order 993 rear fenders directly from Porsche to do the job. The front fenders also had to have been swapped to make the conversion work, the seller notes that this one has fiberglass front fenders. These days, you would probably have to find a donor 993 or go aftermarket to get all the needed parts to do the swap, but two decades or so ago you could have just ordered everything directly from Porsche and had an otherwise OEM conversion. Honestly, I can’t imagine a time when updating your Impact Bumper-era 911 to look like a 993 made financial sense, especially if you were ordering the parts from Porsche. Maybe when the 993 was brand new? Between buying all the parts, doing all the bodywork, updating the head/tail lights, and having the car painted couldn’t have been cheap.
Clearly, someone really wanted this car to look like a newer car. Porsche didn’t produce a soft-top Targa during the 993 generation, so I can only assume that whoever did the conversion decided to go to all the work of making it a Cabriolet rather than leave it a Targa just to make sure no one suspected it wasn’t a newer car. The seller claims the job of making it a convertible is quite easy, but from my research, it doesn’t sound like a simple task. Perhaps they bought some type of aftermarket kit that simplifies the task, but using a factory cabriolet top requires a lot of cutting and welding. It looks to have been done to a very high level, so it seems likely they paid a body shop to do all the work. If that’s the case, it had to have been quite expensive to have all this work done. I don’t know if it would have cost more than just buying a 993 Cabriolet, but it seems like it would have been a lot less work to have skipped the conversion and just bought an actual 993.
I sure would love to know the full story behind this car. Did the seller do the conversion work? How long ago was the work done? Did they buy it just for the engine and are now unloading the rest of the car? The lack of a drivetrain is a huge bummer, as replacements aren’t exactly cheap. A 3.2-liter drivetrain will bolt into this chassis, so technically, you could just embrace the modified nature of this car and lean into the Porsche outlaw scene. Or you could get creative by swapping to a Subaru engine, it sure would save some money! Would it be worth all the work and expense to make this car a driver again?