Story and photos by Zach Mayne
New Zealand Porsche enthusiast James Manning’s car destiny was sealed when he was a kid. “My late father was a car collector, having owned a variety of rare and collectible cars,” he tells us. “I grew up learning to drive in a Ford XY GTHO Phase III Falcon, which is one of the most expensive and collectible Australian cars.”
With those kind of formative experiences when he was a child, it’s not surprising that Manning has gone on to become just as much of a gearhead as his father was, even rebuilding his dad's old Falcon after he had passed away. Despite his father’s appreciation of a wide range of vehicles, Manning has had “a love of Porsches from a very early age.” But it wasn’t 2009 that he managed to get his hands on his first Porsche, which was a brand new second generation 997 Carrera S. “In 2007 I tried to buy one, however the Porsche dealer wouldn’t let me take the car for a test drive, so I bought a BMW M3.” Not a bad alternative to the Porsche, but it was still no 911.
“I had turned 25 in 2009, which made a big difference for the insurance categories in Australia,” he explains. His new 997 was a PDK example, equipped with Porsche’s lightning fast paddle shift transmission. “I went with PDK on account of the traffic in Sydney,” he says. “It was a good move and I was instantly in love with it.”
Since acquiring that first Porsche, Manning has carried on his dad’s legacy, in large part by acquiring a stunning collection of Porsches that range from vintage to modern. He’s got a ’73 911 with a 3.6-liter that was built up by Patrick Motorsports, a 3.6-liter powered ’73 914, a 1990 964 that’s being backdated and a 2001 996 GT2.
Rounding out the collection is the car pictured here, a 1978 930 Turbo that has been configured to look like the legendary 911 RSR from 1973, albeit with a few key differences. While the original RSR was powered by a high-strung, mechanically fuel injected 2.8-liter flat-6, Manning’s example benefits from a serious helping of additional performance thanks to a more modern Porsche powerplant. Initially, Manning was going to be overseeing the build in his home country of New Zealand. “I had been asking around on Pelican Parts for some advice,” he recalls. “It was suggested that I look at the short bell housing G50 gearbox that Patrick Motorsports was doing. I spoke with James and he seemed to know what he was on about.” The two decided that Patrick Motorsports would take delivery of the 930 shell that Manning had found in Canada and then ship the shell and the parts to New Zealand where the project would be performed. In the end though it made more sense for Jim Patrick and his team to handle the entire project.
“I wanted something unique, but classic,” says Manning of the project’s overall vision. “I love the Singer Vehicles approach to the 911, but I also love things like the guys at ICON4X4 are doing.” Though they're from opposite ends of the automotive universe, both of those companies turn out extremely high quality products, one focusing on making stunning, hand-crafted retro-style Porsche 911s, the other building some of the most desirable bespoke trucks and 4x4s around.
Regardless of the inspiration, Manning knew the final result had to be perfect in it's execution and, perhaps more importantly, extremely fast. The original 930 Turbo was equipped with a 3.3-liter flat-6 that was good for about 282-hp. Certainly that was an impressive figure in the 930’s heyday, but it was a little lacking for what Manning had in mind: “I wanted a street car, something that I could drive on a regular basis, but I figured a big, single turbo car wouldn’t be ideal in traffic.” To that end, in place of the original motor is a far more powerful 3.8-liter twin turbo engine based on that of a 1996 993 Turbo. Larger Mahle piston and cylinders bumped the displacement up to 3.8-liters. Boost is provided by a pair of 993 GT2 K-24 turbos and incoming air is cooled by a massive custom intercooler. The motor also benefits from 993 GT2 camshafts and an RSR solid rocker arm setup. The exhaust is comprised of stainless steel high flow headers and a custom muffler. Spark, fuel and timing are monitored by a Motec M-600 ECU.
Like the driveline, the Porsche suspension and brakes have been thoroughly overhauled and modernized. The primitive torsion bar setup has been replaced with fully adjustable RSR-style Bilstein coilovers paired with adjustable Tarrett 22-mm front and rear swaybars. There is also a lightweight front suspension cross member and lightweight control arms. A quick-ratio steering rack and strut bar sharpen up steering considerably. Larger 993 Turbo brakes are charged with slowing this missile. In order to accommodate the larger brake calipers 17-inch wheels were a necessity. In this case the solution was a set of Fikse FM-5 wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Sport tires.
Despite the car’s outrageous mechanical spec, which puts its performance on a par with far more modern Porsches, a big part of the build was not getting to extreme with the exterior and interior aesthetics. “A new drivetrain and bigger power was a big part of my journey,” says Manning. “But maintaining a classic look was critical to me.” After agonizing for “far too long” on the exterior approach, it was decided to backdate the 930 to that of a ’73 RSR. The proper early 911 hood was fitted, as were front and rear RSR fiberglass bumpers. A ducktail was used in lieu of the original whaletail 930s were originally equipped with, though even that was customized in order for it to fit over the larger intercooler spanning the engine bay.
With the bodywork completed, the Porsche was rolled into the Patrick Motorsports paint booth, where it was painted in Slate Grey, a period correct color that lacks a metallic finish. As it turns out, the color is Manning’s favorite aspect of the 930. “I spent hours deliberating on the color, and I’m really happy with the outcome.”
The interior of the Porsche was designed with track days in mind, so there are deep and supportive Recaro Pole Position racing seats. The centers have been redone in a striking custom Tartan cloth pattern, harkening back to the colorful interiors that Porsche produced in the 1970s. There is also a lightweight carpet and a grippy, suede-covered MOMO steering wheel. The driver shifts the transplanted 993 6-speed gearbox through a beautiful looking WEVO shifter, while a 4-point rollbar behind the seats emphasizes the track vibe.
We’re not the only ones who find this 911 stunning. When the car was shown shortly after it was completed at the 2013 Phoenix Flight 36, a prestigious and competitive Porsche Club of America concours, it won 1st Place. Then in 2014, the car won Best in Show at the Werks Reunion event held in Carmel Valley, California. Luckily though, this is one Porsche that is not destined to be a garage queen. Manning fully intends to exercise the car regularly at the Highlands Motorsport Park in New Zealand, a private track just 30 minutes from his home.