Building any car from “scratch” requires a lot of parts. Taking a derelict Targa — just a shell of a car, really — and building it into a tribute to 1989’s 911 Speedster takes a lot of very special, very rare parts.
Porsche built just 2,103 examples of the 1989 911 Speedster, shipping 818 to the U.S. If you wanted one, you had to hustle and you had to have the cash. Dealers regularly asked buyers to pay a premium over the $65,480 sticker. As used cars, they went for even more. That certainly had an affect on used parts availability: As collector cars, 1989 Speedsters aren’t exactly the kind of 911s that end up in wrecking yards on a regular basis. So what about new parts? Well, limited-production cars mean limited-production spare parts.
Jerry Manna isn’t easily discouraged by such obstacles.
“I’ve had my hands on a couple hundred Porsches!” says Jerry, who discovered the joys of Porsches decades ago. Despite his long history with the marque — one that includes owning a multiple-concours-winning 1957 356 Speedster and a PCA Porsche Parade class-winning 930S — he was immediately drawn to the beauty, style, and excitement of the 1989 Speedster.
“I had the passion, but not the money!” says Jerry. But he never let go of the idea of owning one. In the back of his mind, he figured he might even be able to build one himself and maybe, just maybe, somehow go one better than the original.
That’s where parts come in.
Jerry describes himself as a “parts junkie.” He and close friend Pete Bartelli like to haunt Porsche swap meets held at places like Hershey and Mechanicsburg in Pennsylvania. In the early days, he wasn’t buying for any purpose in particular. “I’d buy any parts I could find as long as they were good and reasonable,” he says. “I had a lot of Turbo parts.”
Jerry credits his friend Marcello Nieto for helping to educate him about all things Porsche, and especially for his love of parts. Jerry says Marcello used to tell him, “Save that bolt, Jerry Manna. Someday, you are going to need it!” So, long before he had a firm plan in place to build his own Speedster, Jerry unknowingly started to accumulate some of the parts he’d need.
Then nature intervened: Healthy and energetic all his life, Jerry was diagnosed with severe blockage and needed open heart surgery. “I began to put my life in order.” To relieve his wife of a burden in case the worst happened, he started to sell off his collection of Porsche parts, including very valuable Speedster parts.