First Drive: This featherlight Porsche 912 Restmod is a 4-cylinder of pure fury

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The 912 is the original “poor man’s Porsche”. Long before that accusation fell on Porsche’s Boxster and Cayman, and long before the front-engined 924 and mid-engined 914, both joint ventures with Volkswagen, this sports car of the mid-1960s It offered a more affordable alternative to Porsche. But that is certainly not the case with the Cam 912c, a road racer modified from a 912 built in Budapest, Hungary.

Excluding taxes, each Kamm 912c restmod starts at $390,000 and goes up to $350,000 if you provide a donor vehicle. And while each model is customized, the standard kit includes carbon fiber body panels, semi-active coilover suspension, limited-slip diffs and a frenzied 4-pot engine.

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Kamm 912c rest mod.

Kamm 912c rest mod.

4 cylinders? Yes, the 912 swapped out the brothers’ famous flat-six for an air-cooled four-cylinder shared with the Porsche 356 SC. The factory displacement he had was 1.6 liters and the maximum power he had was 90 hp. Here, with the help of Swiss specialists JPS air cooling, the figures ballooned to his 2.0 liters and his 190 hp, more power than the Porsche 911S of the time.

190 horses in 2023 may sound a bit overwhelming, but Cam’s secret weapon is weight. The company makes its own carbon fiber (the “c” in 912c), and the checkered material is everywhere, from the feather-light door skins to the passenger foot brace. Factor in the Lexan polycarbonate windows, thin carpet and almost self-deprecating lack of luxuries (the only concession to comfort being electric air conditioning), and the 912c weighs just 1,650 pounds.

Take a peek inside the Kamm 912c Rest Mod.

Contributing to the minimal weight is the extensive use of carbon fiber, Lexan polycarbonate windows, and the almost masochistic lack of ancillary amenities inside.

By the way, this is half the weight of the 992 Carrera and nearly 1.5 tons lighter than the Taycan. Opting for a full carbon bodyshell (which this hard-working development car I tested didn’t have) brings the 912c’s total weight, including fluids, to just 1,500 pounds. Forget about “light” modern Porsches with RS badges and Weissach packages. It falls short of them.

Happily, despite the radical changes to its surface, the 912c still looks like a classic car. Cam resisted the urge to install glittering LED headlights, extended turbo arches or the default RS ducktail. Instead, the car retains its gutters and subtle chrome trim, with modest 15-inch wheels and a single tailpipe. Beautiful and understated.

The ‘less is more’ theme continues inside, with fixed-back bucket seats trimmed in black leather, a Momo Prototipo steering wheel and a traditional Porsche 5-dial dashboard. The gear lever has been moved back, closer to the driver, and has a carbon fiber shaft instead of a thin metal cane. There’s also his motorsport-spec Tilton pedal box, a switch that adjusts the dampers, and a little lever labeled Drive Me Crazy. More on that later.

Kamm 912c rest mod.

The car retains the gutter and subtle chrome trim of the original Porsche model, and features discreet 15-inch wheels and a single tailpipe.

The 912c’s flat four features a new head, higher compression ratio, stiffened connecting rods and a stainless steel exhaust system, plus individual DBW throttle bodies and electronic fuel injection via the Life Racing ECU. Turn the key and the engine bursts into life with a loud, even angry explosion. I put him in dogleg 1st gear (first gear on the rim, his 2-5 H-pattern racing configuration) and lurched somewhat staggered into the English countryside. and run.

Needless to say, this is not a car you get used to quickly. Unassisted steering is heavy, and his servo-less AP Racing brakes demand a coordinated push. The engine is also quite lumpy at low revs, and like any 911 I’ve driven in this era, it takes time to juggle the gears (and some It also makes a crunchy sound).

190 hp, 2.0 liter flat 4 engine in a Kamm 912c restmod.

At the heart of the Kamm 912c is a 190 hp 2.0 liter flat four engine with electronic fuel injection.

But over time, everything begins to merge. The tuned motor is a blast to rev, and he revs freely to the redline of 7,200 rpm with a ferocious buzzsaw growl. Cacophony is less cultural than the 911’s Flat Six, but equally impactful. I tell myself I hear elements of a Volkswagen Beetle, a Subaru Impreza WRX, and even a Cayman GT4 RS. As a matter of fact, it seems nothing else.

Also used in some 911 restmod houses, such as Theon Design and Paul Stephens AutoArt, the TracTive coilover suspension replaces the stock torsion bar in the 912 and has 5 levels of adjustment from relatively soft to very stiff is possible. This effectively means that you can drive and set up your car in seconds leading up to circuit day.

Close-up view of Porsche's traditional 5-dial dashboard inside the Kamm 912c restmod.

Let’s take a closer look at this vehicle’s traditional Porsche 5-dial dashboard.

Even on the road, the 912c delivers an intense experience. With less engine behind the rear axle and more grip from the semi-slick Yokohama tires, you’ll feel confident going. And when you hit the limit, the car feels so analog and its controls are so finely tuned that you don’t even notice it unknowingly.

Best of all, the 912c simply demands to be driven. You can’t switch to autopilot or just go with the flow. Your brain and body need to be active all the time. Its lightness permeates every input and every reaction to the road. Poor man’s Porsche? Not at all.

I drive a Kamm 912c restmod.

With less engine behind the rear axle and more grip from the semi-slick Yokohama tires, the Kamm 912c keeps you going with confidence.

As for the Drive Me Crazy lever, pulling it changes the ECU map for more acceleration. Now the engine is idling near his 2,000 rpm and feels more erratic as the revs increase. It’s a bit far, but Kamm founder Miki Kazmail uses it all the time. Hats off to him.

Kamm aims to sell four cars per year, and its first customer, a 912c, is already in the manufacturing process and destined for Miami. If the idea of ​​the Restmod 911 seemed a little obvious, this unique alternative would be the talk of the town at your local Cars and Coffee meetup. And the return drive was also very satisfying.

Click here for more photos of the Kamm 912c Rest Mod.

I drive a Kamm 912c restmod.

I drive a Kamm 912c restmod.

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