Art Zasadny’s 1974 Porsche 911 Targa

My story begins similarly to another you have read. I have loved Porsche 911’s
since seeing my first drive by my elementary school (Hedke School in Trenton,
MI) some time in the late fall of 1973. It was a ’74 911 Targa. I told my friends
that “one day I’ll have a car just like that”. They thought I was nuts since the
car was obviously a million dollars!

Years go by and life happens. One day we’re deciding what to replace my Ford
Ranger with since the lease was up. We figured that for the amount I would
spend on a lease, we could by a “good used car”. My son, Daniel, suggested a
Mazda Miata. I reminded him that the Miata has no rear seat, so all four of us
could never go for a drive together. That was the end of the Miata.

I happened to do a search on eBay for “1974 Porsche 911”. Amazingly, I found
one that was in Michigan! Not only was it in Michigan, it was on Michigan Ave
not far from my office located in Dearborn, as I work for Ford.

I called the seller. The guy was very nice but sadly didn’t know anything about
the car. It belonged to his brother who had  bought it from a someone who
brought it to Michigan from Irvine, Ca. I could not resist. I drove over to test
drive the car.

As soon as I saw it, I swear I heard angels singing in German (I believe it was a
song by Wagner). I knew I had to have this car. I didn’t get a PPI

(prepurchase inspection) and I had never driven a Porsche before. I really didn’t
know what I was doing, but I knew I had to have that car. I left a deposit and
told the guy that I would be back after the ebay auction to buy the car
assuming I won.

The next day, I won the auction and went immediately to get a cashier’s check
for $6500 from my credit union. It seemed like destiny. It was exactly in the
price range of the lease I was anticipating.

I picked up the car on June 21, 2003. That day there was a huge thunderstorm
with hail, high winds, the works. The seller was driving in from Belleville to
meet me and tell me more about the car. The storm was so bad Telegraph
Road was flooded in many places and it took the seller hours to get to the car at
his brother’s car lot on Michigan Ave. I waited until 5:45pm and the kind lady
at my insurance company stayed late to fax me the proof of insurance as soon
as I sent her the VIN.

The seller didn’t know much more than his brother about the car. He told me
he had owned it for a year, had just moved into a condo in Belleville and
bought aboat. It seems he didn’t need this “toy” any more. Good enough for
me.  I drove the car home.

Despite the terrible weather prior to the sale, the water over the roads had
miraculously dried and the car didn’t even get wet. This was good because
naturally, I had the top off! I drove to Wyandotte and stopped at my
grandfather’s house to show him the car.  There I meet up with my wife and
kids. The power was out, power lines were down all over and the roads had
flooded, but the 911 (I call her “Helga”) never got wet and those German
angels sang to me the whole way home!

My life has not been the same since! I only drive Helga when the weather’s
nice. Although there was that time that my wife, Beth, and I drove through a
tornado in Pinckney in the summer of 2004 during “Porsches to Pinckney”. Even
though I work for Ford, I still  drive the car to work every day I can in the
summer and fall. Nobody gives me a hard time and they know I love that car!  I
took my daughter for a drive in my old neighborhood one summer day. An old
neighbor recognized me and remembered that I had told everyone that I would
own a Porsche 911 one day. He was happy I had  gotten my dream car.

The people we’ve met and the fun times we’ve had make the owning the car a
great experience. I do my own “wrenching” to save money and I enjoy the
feeling of knowing how the car works and keeping her on the road. Our family
enjoys summer evening drives to the local ice cream shop where I guarantee
someone will ask us “what year is that Pooorshe?”. We live downriver, so these
cars aren’t too common. I never mind talking about her.  I may buy other
Porsches, but I’ll always keep Helga!

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