When Richard Seltzer bought his 1987 Porsche 911 Targa in February, 1987, from Sunflower Motors in Topeka, his wife saw how much it cost and said it had better last him 20 years.
More than 25 years later, Seltzer still has the car and a few interesting stories to go along with it.
His 911 Targa has evolved from a daily driver to a track car and back to a daily driver. It has close to 200,000 miles and it still is going strong.
“Porsches are made to be driven,” Seltzer said.
And that is exactly what Seltzer intended to do when he bought it in 1987 for $47,500.
At the time, he was in the Air National Guard in Topeka.
“A lot of the miles were driven between Manhattan and Topeka,” Seltzer said. “I called it my guard car.
“If I made general, I was going to get a new Porsche. I never made general so I kept this Porsche.”
In 2000, Seltzer moved to Washington, D.C. His 911 Targa remained a daily driver. When he retired from an environmental engineering company in 2006, Seltzer had a strong desire to put the car on a race track.
“And then I got hooked up with the Porsche Club in D.C., and started doing driver’s education events,” Seltzer said. “Originally, I was a student. Then you move up and become an instructor.”
Now, this is not driver’s education in the traditional sense of an instructor teaching a teenager how to drive with a sign on the car that says “student driver.”
Driver’s education for Porsche drivers is much different.
The mission of the Porsche Club of America’s Driver’s Education Program is to provide a controlled teaching environment for participants.
They acquire a better understanding of vehicle dynamics and capabilities of high performance automobiles in a controlled, closed-course environment.
“The concept is you have these cars that are made for the track,” Seltzer said. “How many people take them on the track?”
Well, once Seltzer retired he put his car on a race track. It meant changing his car, making it more conducive to racing. He changed the seats, the suspension and the type of tires.
He figures his 911 Targa has been on 15 different tracks, including Daytona a couple of times and Watkins Glen at least 10 times.
“At Daytona I was hitting about 140 miles per hour,” Seltzer said. “That is pretty fast for 1987 911.
“It has been on the race track 250 days. I do 30 to 40 track days a year. It probably has 30,000 track miles on it.”
His Porsche has been on track with other Porsche owners like him, wanting to feel the power of their cars.
“There are 20 to 30 cars in a group,” he said. “The difference between this and racing is that you have to give a passing signal when you pass and you have to let the car pass you.”
Seltzer moved Overland Park in 2013 and decided to turn his 911 Porsche back into a daily driver and use his Porsche GT3 as his track car.
“I took all the race stuff out,” he said. “The suspension is still there. I even had the air-conditioning fixed. I put a new radio in it. The radio hasn’t worked in the last 10 years, but on a track you don’t really need a radio.”
Yes, the 1987 911 Targa is a car Seltzer plans to keep for more years of enjoyment.
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