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Pelican Technical Article:

Targa Top Recovering

Tom Sharpes


3 hours3 hrs






Masking tape, Phillips head screwdriver, duct tape, X-acto knife or razor blade, 3M spray adhesive, contact cement

Applicable Models:

Porsche 911 Carrera (1976-83)
Porsche 911 Carrera Targa (1975, 1984-89)
Porsche 911S Targa (1975-77)
Porsche 911SC Targa (1978-83)
Porsche 930 Turbo Targa (1987-89)

Parts Required:

Targa top recovering kit from Pelican Parts

Performance Gain:

A targa top that's as good as new

Complementary Modification:

Replace your shifter boot

Many things have been written about replacing  the skin or Targa top material. I am one of those guys that look at this type of project and figure I'll give it a try and if everything fails the worst I'm out is about $70. I am lucky in that the hardware in my top is in very good shape compared to some of the stories I have heard on the RennList. None of the webbing was bad and even the foam was in good shape. I ordered a replacement top from Original Fit Interiors that was the domestic type. I like the look of it and it was relatively inexpensive.

It only took  a few hours to remove the hardware and old material and do the initial fit of the skin on the frame. Taking the advise of others about attaching the material to the top while the frame is in the unlock position I was able to secure the sides without to much trouble. A quick check of the top in the locked position revealed some ripples and it felt somewhat like a blister. It looked OK, but when you touched it was very soft and spongy. My solution to this was a beer break - while the top sat in the 85 degree sun for 20 minutes to soften up.

This is the way to go ! When I brought it in I could hardly touch it, but I was able to stretch the material a good inch and a half beyond where I had initially had it secured. When I snapped the frame to the lock position it gave a very reassuring POP and WOW was I impressed with myself !

The top looks great and I still get that great feeling of slaying another Porsche maintenance dragon. Now that you've read the book, now here are the pictures of this project.

[Click on Image to Enlarge]

The old top was torn at the folding points. The seam along the front edge was turned up far enough that it caught the wind and made considerable noise while driving. Here is the skin - patiently awaiting it's turn on the Targa top.  The quality and fit was excellent and there was plenty of extra material to grab on to on the sides to stretch the top.
Removal of the hardware is pretty straight forward. Being anal about these things (and not wanting to find out later that there are specific left and right parts) I used masking tape to identify the parts. When removing the clips you need to be aware of the "floating" nut plate that is behind the panel and not let this drop out. I used a piece of duct tape to secure them to the back side of the panel.

Take care in removing the screws from the seals. The screws are buried in the small holes and the rubber will tear if your too brutal with your screwdriver. After removing the screws pull the seal away from the top and you will see the attachment screws for the rain gutter. The material is attached to the top with this rain gutter rail. Remove the screws from the rain gutter and pull it away from the top. You will now see how the material is "trapped" under the rail. A couple of the screws were in bad shape and were replaced. I don't know if my top had been replaced before, but I found weather striping under the portion of the rail where it meets the  roof - not in the gutter itself. Good idea for sealing out the rain.

You will need to remove the alignment pin from the top. The cover shown is easily removed by carefully prying up from underneath the plastic plug retainer pin. As I pulled back the old material I was careful to keep from destroying the foam that is glued to the edge. Peeling back the top I used a razor to separate the two. Following the same procedure across the top I was able to keep the old foam from tearing and the old material came right off. No glue was used  past the edges. Here is the top with all of the edges peeled back and ready to remove. I later used spray glue to reattach the edges of the foam.

Here is a good view of the foam on the top side of the roof. It is in great shape and I didn't see any need to replace it. The edges just needed a little glue to attach it and keep it from bunching up later during reassembly. Laid out on the table I checked out all of the edges to ensure I had the top centered and that the corners matched up with the hardware on the corners. I kept the arms unlocked during the recovering so that I could achieve a good tight fit. I attached one side first using the rain gutter as shown, then the other side. I locked the arms out to check the fit. It seemed a little puffy so I put the top in the sun for 20 minutes to allow the material to loosen up. After sunbathing on the patio I unlocked the arms and pulled the material as tight as I could while attaching the rain gutters. This gave me a very tight fit when the arms are locked it popped right into shape with no sign of wrinkles.

With the arms locked out I went down the edges applying contact cement and ensuring the seams lines up with the front and rear edges. A quick fit check on the car and your ready to reattach all of the hardware. The completed top !
Not bad for $70.00
Comments and Suggestions:
ed Comments: I'm attempting to install a new vinyl top on my 1982 911sc Targa,
2 questions.
1- do you glue the vinyl to the foam- or does it "float"
2- best glue to use- spray adhesive or licquid brush on adhesive
Thanks for the help
October 30, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I haven't had the pleasure of performing this repair. I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
mitch Comments: there are a few tech articles that mention Original Fit Interiors. Do you have contact info for them? Thanks
November 9, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They might be able to connect you with them. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Donna Comments: I am the proud owner of a 69 911 Targa and am tired of the high costs of any repair. THANKS TOM for providing a great pictorial instruction on how you replaced your Targa top! Although I am far from automotive experience, I will most definitely try it myself. I only would like to know how many yards of material is needed to give sufficient coverage and a little extra, if needed?
January 30, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Well I don't know the exact answer to your question, we do sell a kit in our catalog that contains all of the material that you need to recover your target top. It's not a terribly difficult job, but it requires some discipline and a bit of patience. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
MattMDDC Comments: Has anybody figured out how to remove the 7 little 'glued-in" soft-headed screws that hold down the rain gutter?
November 23, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the heads aren't stripped. Clean the fastener opening thoroughly. Then apply pressure down while unscrewing. if they will not come out, you may have to drill them out.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
pilot73 Comments: Is there an adjustment that sucks the top down in the front the handles are completely locked down but I can still push it down where it is supposed to be with my hand
August 14, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Please see this tech article: - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Rwy69r Comments: I have a Targa top that needs recovering, unfortunately i bought the car that i am restoring with a frame that is uncovered. The aluminium metal plates which the outer two are attached but the inner three are off.
1 Can i cover the outer portion before covering the inner frame?
2 As there is no foam, can i use a soft 3mm thick rubberised sound proofer?
3 Is there anywhere i can get detailed photos of the frame as i uncertain of the fasteners required to attach it all together
April 22, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Please see this tech article: - Nick at Pelican Parts  
J.R. Comments: I've heard it's a crapshoot to reskin the 911 targa tops without an alignment jig and tons of experience, due to the taught vinyl on a top can torque the frame out of shape, if it wasn't held in shape on a jig while the vinyl was installed. Then you get wind noise, leaks, even cracked frame members?? Has anyone else heard this? Looks awefully DIY friendly from these pelican tech articles. I'm tempted to try it.
September 26, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Cher Comments: Thanks for the comments on my flooded car from targa top repair. I took off the top and took it apart. The guy cut the corners of the top to make them fit so only thing between the corner edge and rain was a little adhesive. He also cut around the screws of the rain gutters instead of using an awl to create a hole-result 1/2 inch of cover between edge and rain. Also several screws missing on rain gutter. Let's not forget that he added a whole layer of foam on top of the preexisting one as well. I jury-rigged it all back together, ordered a new top and some screws and I'm going to recover it myself using the forum instructions elsewhere on this site. Guess I went to the wrong place but now I only trust myself to do it right.
April 17, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Cher Comments: I paid $500 to have my top redone last year and since then my car is a lake whenever it rains. I replaced the bar seal a couple weeks ago but with three days of rain, it flooded the same amount. The edges of the targa top above the windows are wet for about 2 inches into the cover - any ideas? I originally took it back to the recover place and he insisted it was due to the seals not the repair. Any ideas or recommendations out there? I think the cover is too tight and exposing edges to rain.
December 22, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: These roofs can be a huge pain. It's very tough to diagnose this over the Internet, but I will give this tip. Take the car when it's dry and sit in it. Then have a friend spray the car with a hose, pointing it at specific sections of the roof to see if you can pinpoint the leaks. You can also use some very wide masking tape to tape up sections of the roof / car gaps to see if those stop leaking with the tape in place. Then you can see if the problem is with the liner or the seals. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Ned Comments: I just had my top reskinned. Now I am experiencing a lot of wind noise from the front. what could be causing this? The material looks good and tight. I had no noticeable wind noise like this before with the original material.
November 6, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There's a gap in there somewhere. Get some blue masking tape and apply it to sections of the roof until you find the area that is making the noise. Then you can take a closer look at the roof and seal and how it mounts in that area. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Pam Comments: Hi Tom, I am covering my husbands 77 targa and all is good except unlike your photos the top I bought hasn't nearly as much extra material. I'm at the point where I will attach a side first then the other I taped it off to see what allowence I had in the fron and back and it looks as though with a few tight pull from both my husband and I I have about 3/4 of an inch that I need. I did notice however in your last picture that the seem is not along the edge of the top like the front show be. I now understand that by having it that way it will fit rahter than if the seem was secured directly along the edge like the front. If you have any suggestions other than putting it out in the sun please pass it on.Thank you
April 26, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would ask this question in our forums: and perhaps someone there has done this recently who can offer up some advice. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Wed 1/17/2018 02:17:28 AM