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Mark's Corner: The 914Rubber Main Targa Seal

Friday, June 4, 2021 2:37 PM

The 914Rubber Main Targa Seal was not always what you see today. In about 2012 the factory depleted their inventory on these and prices started going through the roof. When demand hit an all time high I remember seeing a N.O.S. part sell for over $1000. This month I will share some of the development history behind this crucial seal.



The Main Idea



The original part was anything but a simple extrusion. It consisted of the top section, 2 side sections, and 2 corner blocks which are all bonded together to make up the primary seal for the windscreen.



Initially, I offered only a replacement strip for the top section as I noticed it was the first failure point. You could cut the original seal at the corner blocks and glue the new strip in between them, then glue on a separate clip to make it fit snugly on the metal. It took some skill to install but was a reasonable alternative to a very expensive part.

 


Closeup of the early cut and glue repair seal.


For a few years this was the only option. I decided to take it to the next level and make the corner blocks and molded sides. This iteration was called the 3 Piece Main Targa Seal. I started making these by bonding each piece together after cutting to size by hand. It was a labor-intensive process but it allowed me to provide a complete seal at less than $200 per seal. The bonding process I was using at that time was adequate, but not as pretty as the factory part.

 
I eventually moved to a seal that I could mold together while still using a folded internal clip inside the seal. It allowed for a more factory looking part but it was very difficult to keep the internal clips at the right tolerance to properly hold the seal onto the body.

 
The second iteration of the 3 Piece Main targa seal with a separate metal clip channel.
 
While the previous version was fully functional, I am always looking to make improvements when I can. The folded metal clip was changed to an internal metal clip just like the factory. This is the version of the seal that I am currently producing. I am proud to say we still offer this seal for $179, which is a far cry from the $285 that the factory wanted when these were available in the mid 2000s.

 
The next logical step was to make the lower front targa seal. It’s the one you see from inside the car with the roof on. If you haven’t taken these out before you may think the 2 seals are actually one. Typically, the seal looks like it's still in one piece but it's actually riddled with small cracks that allow water to seep into the car and create rust. It is your interiors second line of defense and I highly recommend replacing both seals at the same time to keep you and your car dry.


Recently, I had a customer tell me he spent all day trying install this seal by pulling the side pieces down the tracks. This will not work and highlights how difficult this seal can be to install if you don’t know what to do. Click on the video below to watch Matt explain how to install the seal using his Bahia Red 1972 914.


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