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Car Tales: Sportomatic, For The Finest In Motor Sport

‘So sexy is the sound of that name ‘Sportomatic’, isn’t it?
‘You could be in your white dinner-jacket, whizzing around a Caribbean island, on your way to where, in the sultry half-light, a fabulous woman awaits you at an exclusive table on the terrace of a sophisticated restaurant, your rum punch poured and awaiting you.
1973.5 Porsche 911T CIS Targa Sportomatic for sale
‘And then it’s an evening that turns into a night of dreams. Not that you wouldn’t expect that, if you were driving a Porsche 911T CIS Targa. An everyday matter of course, no?

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‘But with the addition of that ‘Sportomatic’ term you’d imagine the real magic would be setting in.
1973.5 Porsche 911T CIS Targa Sportomatic side view
‘The fact that it is a descriptive noun for a fancy piece of gearbox might be unlikely to cross the mind of your tropical dinner-date.
‘From 1967 until 1978 the Sportomatic semi-automatic gearshift system was an option for standard Porsche production models.
‘The Sportomatic – to be exact, the 4-Speed Sportomatic Transaxle – was a clever technological development that is essentially a 4-speed gearbox with a torque converter for fifth gear that is activated as soon as the lever is moved: so you have the exciting shifts of moving gears up and down but without a clutch – which translated into layman’s terms means: no third pedal!
‘In total 1,944 models of the car were produced for the 1973.5 edition of the 911T Targa, and only 96 had the Sportomatic gearbox, which came as an add-on order.
‘But we are blessed at Beverly Hills Car Club to have just such an example right now, an astonishing car that is extremely rare: much of that scarcity indeed derives from the ‘Sportomatic’ factor. Once upon a time a ‘Sporto’ link was such that it might reduce the value of the car.
1973.5 Porsche 911T CIS Targa Sportomatic rear view
‘But now the rarity value – most notable with the Targa Sportomatic and 911S models – has only enhanced the price of these fabulous driving machines.
‘At Beverly Hills Car Club we’ve just had in a stunning 1973.5 Porsche 911T CIS Targa Sportomatic in a beautiful factory color combination of Gold Metallic with a black interior. This 911T comes well-equipped with a Sportomatic transmission, 2.4-liter engine, air conditioning, 4-wheel disc brakes, and Fuchs wheels.
1973.5 Porsche 911T CIS Targa Sportomatic interior
‘As well as a Porsche Certificate of Authenticity copy, an owner’s manual booklet, and service receipt copies dating from 2016 to 2018 for an engine rebuild and other work completed totaling over $42,000. It is an opportunity to experience the car as the factory intended.
‘This was the last long hood body style Porsche built, which gave it that 911 classic profile. The 1973.5 is also the last production outing of Porsche’s 2.4 engine, which was one of the most reliable motors ever from the Stuttgart company.
‘In January 1973 U.S.-spec Porsche 911Ts switched to Bosch CIS fuel injection, thus maintaining the power output of the U.S. version at 140 hp, but with lower emissions, thereby complying with U.S. law; it also gave the car an agreeable fuel economy of 32 mpg. And new camshafts were fitted with reduced valve opening timing. Also models for the U.S. market came with black rubber overrider pads, a consequence of newly strict American safety legislation.
‘There were further modifications, each heralding a practical improvement: gas station attendants had unfortunately regularly poured gas into the rear-of-the-right hand door oil filler – it was dropped. There was a black finish on the light surrounds and horn grilles instead of chrome, as previously. And a rear window wiper was added.
1973.5 Porsche 911T CIS Targa Sportomatic engine
‘Production of the F-series 911 continued until July 1973, hence the somewhat mysterious 1973.5 appellation.
‘What – among other things – was so great about the 1973.5 911 Targa Sportomatic was that it retained the legendary 911 look, one that seemingly can never be replicated. Yet it arrived with significant engine enhancements, not the least of which was the Bosch CIS fuel injection, improving on the former MFI unit. For those who haven’t worked it out, CIS stands for Continuous Injection System.
‘What Porsche has done with the 911 is to periodically – and seemingly effortlessly – manufacture new editions that are a variant on the one it succeeds: each generation has seen a further improved and reengineered generation arrive.
‘The 911T CIS Targa Sportomatic, however, was a real move forward. The effortlessly responsive 2.4 liter engine gave sufficient variation to enhance any driving scenario, making the Porsche 911 CIS Targa Sportomatic an outstanding German automobile.
So when you drive off in your white dinner-jacket from your Caribbean dinner-date, your intended slinked into the passenger seat, you will find that you – and your Porsche 911 CIS Targa Sportomatic – are the classiest act around.
-Alex Manos, Owner
1973.5 Porsche Sportomatic buyer Alex Manos

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