From Scratch

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“I brought the car to Paul and the project promptly stalled!” says Jerry with a grin before admitting that the problem was his continuing search for parts. Then came a temptation that would change the direction of the project. “Paul called and said he was building a Protomotive Stage 1 en­gine for a track junkie, but that the guy had changed his mind and wanted more power, I don’t know, maybe Stage 4,” recalls Jerry. “Paul said he wanted me to have the Stage 1 motor for my car. He said, ‘We want you to have it — but you have to pay up front!’”

Stage 1 was Protomotive’s entry-level kit and was special because it didn’t require an intercooler. “This is for cars that don’t have a tail,” says Jerry, who felt the deal was too good to pass up. “So everything came to a standstill until I could figure out what was needed to make the whole project go in the direction of a supercar. That’s a project-changing moment: You’re going from a 230-horsepower regular car to a 360-horsepower car with 345 lb-ft of torque. You gotta change everything!”

Eventually, Jerry made up his mind: “I said to myself, ‘You know what? In for a nickel, in for a dime. I want better seats, a better radio, better this and that…” Using his network of Porsche friends built over 40 years, he started to source the goodies he would need.

The next thing Jerry found was a pair of like-new Graphite Gray 993 Turbo seats. He already had a blue canvas roof, so he decided to paint the car dunkelblau (dark blue) so that the 993 seats would be a perfect complement. He farmed the paintwork out to Walo’s Auto Body in Pompton Plains. For around $6,000, they prepped and painted the body and welded in the frame for the canvas soft top.

“So now I had the car back, but still no engine,” says Jerry. I ask if this is when he put the interior in and he shakes his head, chuckling. “Don’t forget, when you have a car with no roof, there’s no structural integrity. So what ProtoSport had to do was strengthen the chassis. [They] weld in double-sidewalls along the laterals. They take thick-gauge metal, bend it along the curves, hammer it, and heat it on the inside, front to back. They TIG-welded that son of a gun in there — strong as iron!”

Once the reinforcements were in place, Jerry began to install the interior. His attention turned to the suspension next: “I had sold — right before my surgery — two sets of Turbo rear bananas. For nothing! So now I had to re-buy them, which cost a fortune. Then I had to have them rebuilt and shipped to Proto­Sport.”

Also from Issue 200

  • Short Test: Panamera GTS
  • Driven: Ruf Rt12R
  • Jerry Seinfeld's 550-03
  • 991 across America
  • Bandido: Hot-rod 356 Speedster
  • Peter Schutz looks back
  • 2011 Rennsport Spyder
  • In aluminum: 356 Abarth GTL replica
  • 362,470-mile, one-owner 912
  • Fairy tale 24: Daytona 2012
  • The Longest Day, 1982
  • Stolen! Is your Porsche safe?
  • Tech Forum: Inside the 911 R
  • Interview: Dennis Aase
  • Smart Buy: 912
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