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Sheaffer Targa/ 14K Medium/ Matte Black Finish


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18 replies to this topic

#1 ObliqueIntern

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 00:12

This is my first fountain pen review. I wanted to write a review of the Targa after it became my "go-to" pen this summer while studying for the bar exam. I literally wrote hundreds of notecards, and many pages of notes, with this pen.

I read early on to "chase the nib". It's my humble opinion that you definitely want to chase the nib on this pen. Simply put, the nib on this pen is sweet! In addition, the Targa is very comfortable in the hand. Despite the fact that the body of the pen is made of metal, the pen is not too heavy. This review is of the regular-sized Targa, not the "slim", and I find the barrel and section to be comfortable in my small hand. I became interested in the Targa after I purchased a vintage Sheaffer Imperial IV with a 14k, diamond-shaped inlaid nib. I fell in love with the diamond-shaped Sheaffer nib, and decided that I would give Targa a chance. I've heard nothing but amazing reviews about the Targa nib, and I can definitely add my voice to that now, as well.

On first impression, the pen was quite unattractive. The overall design of the pen, particularly the clip, brings back memories of the 80's TV show, "Miami Vice". The clip, and shape of the pen, are just too akin to that long, thin 80's necktie made famous by Crockett & Tubbs. That being said, what the Targa lacks in attractiveness, it makes up for in performance. The nib is soft and smooth, handling all types of paper with ease. It did skip on the notecards I used this summer, but I attribute that to the poor quality of the notecards, and not the pen. What made the Targa so great on the notecards, is that the nib would actually keep writing, quite gracefully, over the notecards, where other pens would "stop" at the junky paper fragments. Thus, the ugly duckling revealed its true nature as a swan.

It's my understanding that the Targa is no longer in production. I purchased mine on ebay for a decent price. I have seen the Targa priced anywhere in the ballpark between $80.00-$150.00 USD. I paid $80, and didn't mind because the nib is 14k. The thing with any ebay sale, is you pay whatever the market will bear on that day for that particular pen. It's somewhat unpredictable. I happened to find a pen for which I was the only bidder; $80 being the minimum bid the seller would accept. I have observed that the "matte black" finish Targas do not command the same attention or price as Targas with prettier finishes. Frankly, I was quite ok with this, since I was chasing the nib and not the finish. I thanked myself for this many times throughout the summer while I was writing those notecards. This pen performed like a champ.

My Targa arrived in its original box, and I suspect that it was never used. It showed no signs of wear; the cartridges that originally came with the pen were unused, and still in the box. The Targa came with its own converter, which I've used since day 1, filing the pen with bottled ink. The Targa is a super-wet writer, and has performed well with various inks. I particularly enjoy it with Sheaffer Turquoise, but I have composed a companion handwritten review with Diamine Evergreen. This wet-writing Targa definitely brings out the depth and complexity of Evergreen, highlighting the dark green, black and slight golden tones very nicely.

In conclusion, the nib is why you want to buy this pen. Fountain pens are funny, because they each have their own personality. Some pens tend to have a bit of a "diva-like" personality. They give you a hard time when you want them to do some hard work, and sweat a little. You will not see that from this pen. The Targa is smooth, and no-fuss; hands-down, this is the least finicky nib I own. I find myself gravitating toward this pen when I have a lot of writing to do, and need a pen that can keep up with continuous, fast writing. I've heard the term "workhorse pen" used frequently at FPN, and this pen really does fit that description. It doesn't mind working hard, and does so gracefully. It's a pleasure to write with.

If I were to rate this pen, I would probably give it an 85/100. I'm still not really sure if that is high marks by FPN standards, but I think it's reasonable. I arrive at that number by taking 10 pts off the top for the dated-80's look. I wish Sheaffer had incorporated more timeless features when they designed the aesthetics of this pen. Then, I deduct another 5 because the barrel tends to unscrew from the section a little bit sometimes when I write or remove the cap; I just find that a little bit annoying. I give the remaining 85 pts to the nib quality and performance, overall quality of pen construction, and comfort in the hand. This pen gives superb value for the money.


Enjoy!

-kp =)


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It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.  - Mark Twain


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#2 JonSzanto

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 00:21

I agree with everything except the looks - I've *always* liked the Targa. One of my three is that exact same pen, and it is, to me, a perfect blend of straight and curved lines. To highlight how individual all this is, you couldn't pay me to use a Parker with it's arrow clip. Such is life.

The are wonderful pens to write with, and I happen to be personally thrilled: my wife just got for me, for a birthday present, a Targa 1006x NOS from Peyton, and it came yesterday. It makes the final of a "Targa Trilogy", and I love writing with it, and holding it.

I think the hidden aspect is that Targas are just now starting to be one of the more collectible pens for the years ahead. Congratulations on a nice pen!

P.S. If you twist the cap to take it off (instead of just pulling), do it clockwise so you aren't loosening the section. Seems obvious, I know... ;)
"When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick; and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."
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#3 ObliqueIntern

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 00:41

I agree with everything except the looks - I've *always* liked the Targa. One of my three is that exact same pen, and it is, to me, a perfect blend of straight and curved lines. To highlight how individual all this is, you couldn't pay me to use a Parker with it's arrow clip. Such is life.

The are wonderful pens to write with, and I happen to be personally thrilled: my wife just got for me, for a birthday present, a Targa 1006x NOS from Peyton, and it came yesterday. It makes the final of a "Targa Trilogy", and I love writing with it, and holding it.

I think the hidden aspect is that Targas are just now starting to be one of the more collectible pens for the years ahead. Congratulations on a nice pen!

P.S. If you twist the cap to take it off (instead of just pulling), do it clockwise so you aren't loosening the section. Seems obvious, I know... ;)




Thank you for the tip about unscrewing the cap. I will have to experiment with that! I really like the Targas currently available at Peyton Street Pens. The sterling silver targas are actually very attractive to me, causing serious pen want, but they're just not in my budget right now. If they were, I would have pulled the trigger on one already. =)

I agree with you. It seems that these really are gaining more visibility as collectors items, which is great to see. I think the Targa deserves a little bit of fanfare. It has certainly earned it.

And, about the Parker arrow...it's not for me either. LOL.

Thank you for reading my review and for your kind remarks! Happy birthday to you, and enjoy your 1006x! I'll be looking, hopefully, for your review on it. Would love to see photos.

It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.  - Mark Twain


#4 777

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 01:12

Great review kp! Not to long, not to short, and you hit on all the important details. I'll be watching for more reviews from you! Posted Image

Is that targa... Matte black? Posted Image

Over the last few weeks, I've gained a dangerous lust for matte black FP's! They just look cool. I'm awaiting the new black matte VP in the mail right now. Should be here on Tuesday or Wednesday! Posted Image

I may have to eventually give this pen a try. I'm not a huge fan of the looks, but it's certainly not ugly. Perhaps just not as elegant as a Pelikan M805. ;) But the writing qualities make it sound like a true work-horse. That's how the Parker 51 is for me. Not ugly, not pretty, but amazingly durable, reliable, and usable.

My only dilemma... c/c filler... I know, I'm so darn hard on this aspect of pens - but I really don't dig c/c fillers. There are so many pens that don't make it into my collection just cause they're c/c fillers...

BTW - what ink are you using in those samples? Looks kinda' nice.

Enjoy your pen, and again, thanks for the review!

Need a pen repaired or a nib re-ground? I'd love to help you out.


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#5 jar

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 01:16

One of my pens I used for size comparison in the Ferrari da Varese Yesterday review was one of my Targas. It is certainly one that Sheaffer produced in more different colors and designs than almost any other.

Of course it's also absolutely true that the straight flat end tie of the 80's was the direct result of the Sheaffer Targa clip. :bunny01:

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#6 ObliqueIntern

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 01:26

Of course it's also absolutely true that the straight flat end tie of the 80's was the direct result of the Sheaffer Targa clip. :bunny01:




LOL!! love it!!


It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.  - Mark Twain


#7 ObliqueIntern

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 01:38

Great review kp! Not to long, not to short, and you hit on all the important details. I'll be watching for more reviews from you! Posted Image

Is that targa... Matte black? Posted Image

Over the last few weeks, I've gained a dangerous lust for matte black FP's! They just look cool. I'm awaiting the new black matte VP in the mail right now. Should be here on Tuesday or Wednesday! Posted Image

I may have to eventually give this pen a try. I'm not a huge fan of the looks, but it's certainly not ugly. Perhaps just not as elegant as a Pelikan M805. ;) But the writing qualities make it sound like a true work-horse. That's how the Parker 51 is for me. Not ugly, not pretty, but amazingly durable, reliable, and usable.

My only dilemma... c/c filler... I know, I'm so darn hard on this aspect of pens - but I really don't dig c/c fillers. There are so many pens that don't make it into my collection just cause they're c/c fillers...

BTW - what ink are you using in those samples? Looks kinda' nice.

Enjoy your pen, and again, thanks for the review!




Tyler, congrats on the matte black VP! nice job! I do like the matte black finish on my Targa. It has a nice look to it. I knew I was going to garner a few raised eyebrows with my "ugly duckling" analogy, but I hope it's obvious that I do love and enjoy this pen, and wanted to give it the honor and respect it deserves. It's my perceptions of the pen that certainly underwent the transformation. As you say, it is amazingly well made, reliable, and durable. It's a keeper. The look of it does grow on me a little more each day, so I don't want to mislead... ;-)

Like you, I got a little tired of c/c fillers too. Don't let that stop you. I like the Targa, because it seems easier to clean, and dries very quickly if I wrap it in paper towels and shake it several times; it's ready to go. It's one of my quickest drying pens.

The ink is Diamine Evergreen which I've been wanting to try for some time, now. I purchased a sample from The Goulet's and I wrote a review that I'll be posting some time in the near future. It was a fun review to write, and it's definitely a must-have ink for me.

Thanks for reading my review, Tyler! =)


It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.  - Mark Twain


#8 PatientType

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 01:52

I have just this pen. I like the pen and agree with most of your review. I find that many of the NOS Sheaffers are spectacular pens for their cost. Given the many features and qualities of pens available I'd rank the Targa lower ... probably 60 out of 100.

Why the much lower rating?

The Targa is:

1) Overly slim for optimal writing comfort.
2) Made with a simple cartridge/converter filling system.
3) Available in only a new nib choices.
4) Not imbued with distinctive styling & design (which your review alludes to).
5) Made with materials of moderate quality - better than inexpensive plastic pens - but not exceptional either.

The Targa is a reliable, solid, daily user kind of pen. It is one that, due to its price, I don't hesitate to stick into my shirt pocket when headed out the door. Every collection should have a representation of practical, decent quality, functional pens. For pens of that classification the Targa is an exceptionally good choice and an excellent value that is overlooked by many fountain pen users.

#9 inky

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 02:25

The Targa is a very addictive pen. My first one was the matte black with gold clip, etc. rather than silver/chrome. Love it, I actually like the style of the pen, classic, classy. My next one was the malachite, very pretty too. And both of them glide over any paper like a hot knife through butter. Also, very true about these being very wet writers; oh, and both of mine are mediums also.

I hope you enjoy yours for many years.
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Twsbi - Noodler's North African Violet-----Lamy Vista - Noodler's Marine Green

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#10 HeartMan

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 03:07

Hi KP! The first "real" fountain pen I purchased was the 1003 Targa with a medium point, back in 81 or 82. I think I paid $47 for it, so $80 now is a bargain. The whole thing fell apart; the metal innards came loose from the matte black cover. I think the one I bought had an M imprinted on the nib's underside, the replacement doesn't. Does your nib have a marking? On the tipping sheet (from the downloads section) shows it to be 60mm, which would match many manufacturer's medium. I really enjoy using this pen, and hope you do too!

#11 acolythe

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 03:17

I have this pen in a fine point. A very wet writer indeed but an amazingly smooth fine nib. I have another Targa witha silver barley corn plate. Its a medium and also lvely. I see why some consider them collectable. I will acquire any I can. And yes the sections ometimes unscrews, I do not consider that worth removing points from a pen that writes so well.
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#12 Koyote

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 13:29

I find my old silver plated Targa to be my prettiest pen.

#13 ObliqueIntern

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 13:36

I find my old silver plated Targa to be my prettiest pen.


I like the silver targas...a lot!! Congratulations. I wish I could afford one. =)

It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.  - Mark Twain


#14 Koyote

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 17:41

I find my old silver plated Targa to be my prettiest pen.


I like the silver targas...a lot!! Congratulations. I wish I could afford one. =)


Thanks. I didn't buy it - was a gift, along with matching BP, for my college graduation - which means that I have been using them for, umm, a few decades.

#15 hari317

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 08:07

I own and use a few Targas in diffrent finishes. The nibs are very well made, excellent round points and very reliable. the squeeze converter holds a lot of ink. I have few slim targas and they are too slim for my taste but the regular Targa is just right for me.

If you have a habit of posting the cap then you should know that it slowly wears that area on the barrel end. the matte finish first wears off and then the coating might chip.

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#16 Morrighan

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 12:41

Aye, the Targa is a venerable pen. Mine have seen decades of service and seldom is one out of my rotation. It's the quarter horse of the fountain pen world.

#17 Townsend

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 18:14

I now have five Targas - a matt black one, the swirly red one and the same in blue, the tortoise shell finish and a silver one. They all write superbly, though one had to be tweaked by the expert in Oxford a couple of years ago.

I just wish that I could find a contemporary pen which writes as smoothly. Anyone have any ideas?

#18 DRP

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 18:39

Thank you for an interesting and informative review.

I've had a Sheaffer Targa for over thirty years. I like it as much -- or more -- than when I first got it. You will buy many more fountain pens during your career, but will inevitably return to the Targa because of its excellent construction and superlative functionality (by the way, I wrote a review a few years ago so you might want to compare your observations with mine and others which appear in the listing of reviews).

I, like you, might prefer a more "timeless" design. On the other hand, you're going to drop it more than a few times during your career and the hard ends don't show dents nearly so much as other designs. At least that has been my experience. I try to be careful but an occasional dive off a table is inevitable.

Welcome to the group of Targa fans. I'm glad you discovered this pen so early in your career. You will never be disappointed with it.


#19 barleycorn

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 19:36

Thank you KP for the review. You did not say whether you write with the pen posted or not. With the metal body pens, they can feel heavy with the cap on the pen. Personally, I have find the targa a suitable size for my large hands. I enjoy some of the older Sheaffers for the writing but they seem too small.
Quality can be measured by the feel or appearance of something and longevity. I have nibs - in different pens - from a Targa and No Nonsense that still see regular use some 30 years later. Also the variety of models means there is likely a finish that appeals to everyone. In terms of modern pens, I have a Lamy Studio that feels similar to the Targa. The nibs are not quite as nice as the inlaid Sheaffer but can be changed without taking the section apart! The only real minus with the Studio is the polished section... but I digress. While there were some 9 different nibs available at the time, most are F or M. As one of the others put a great workhorse pen, perhaps lacking the prestige of a PFM or Balance II. I like the understated classic 1001 stainless steel best but also have a weakness for the brass 1020 model. Looking for a silver or gold finish barleycorn... where does it end??






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