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[NEWS] Kamm 912c

Kamm 912c

kamm manufaktur 912c 01 front tracking
New Porsche restomod is exceptionally light and, with less than 200bhp, modestly powered. Does it get the blend just right?

Oh, it’s another Porsche restomod only, wait a minute, this isn’t a six-cylinder one like all of the others. Instead of starting with a Porsche 911, Budapest tuner Miklós Kázmér has taken the four-cylinder rear-engined Porsche, the 912, as the basis for this car, which he has called the Kamm 912c.The original 912 was made as a replacement for the 356, and built from 1965 to 1969 as an entry-level alternative to the then-new 911 and, for a time, it even outsold its more expensive six-cylinder sibling. Not only was it cheaper, but shorn of some standard equipment and with two fewer cylinders it was also lighter than contemporary 911s, with less rearward weight bias and a longer cruising range. Porsche made nearly 30,000 of them and it’s a good, although not too good and not too bad, survivor to which Kázmér, under the Kamm Manufacktur brand name, turns his attention.This is the first Kamm 912c and it’s still a prototype, with the final specification intended to be locked down very late this year or early next, and customer cars arriving up to 12 months after that. This should give us an idea of where Kázmér, an engaging bloke with a penchant for old Porsches and Range Rovers, is going with it.Taking even more weight out of the 912 is the starting point. The standard steel shell receives just a little stiffening around the suspension points, and the bonnet, engine cover, front wings and doors are all carbonfibre, with an influx of the stuff inside too. The standard 912 weighs only a little over 950kg but here the claim is 750kg, wet and with optional air conditioning. Kázmér says it could be as little as sub-700kg if he really went to town on emptying the car’s insides.As it is, there are carbonfibre-backed seats, carbonfibre components that you can either leave with visible weave or have clad so it still looks period-authentic, which is what Kázmér says he’d do: he wants it to feel like a 1960s/1970s track/race car. Ditto the exterior panels and, inside and out, they’re all fitted beautifully. At a glance, you wouldn’t know they weren’t original, which is why there aren’t LED headlights or anything like that. Kamm is asking £300,000 including the donor  car and taxes paid at today’s exchange rates, and I’ve seen more asked for less visual quality. You can tell the wheels aren’t quite to original spec but that’s personal choice, and they wear fairly racy Yokohama AD08RS rubber in 195/55 (front) and 205/50 (rear) R15 size, which is the first clue as to what this car is like.The original 912 engine has been modified to take it from 1.6 to 2.0 litres. The engine case and crank are the same but there are bigger bores and overall power is 168bhp at 6800rpm, with a 7200rpm redline, and 159lb ft at 5450rpm. It drives through a five-speed manual gearbox with a dog-leg first and what I’m told is a tight limited-slip differential. There are coilovers at the front and the rear retains the original trailing arm with torsion beam suspension albeit not spring rates and dampers. If the rear suspension were changed to coilovers, Kázmér says, he could move the engine a few centimetres forwards while doing the same with the driver, which would make the weight distribution pretty much even. As it is, it’s around 60% to the rear. There are unassisted Porsche 964-generation 911 brakes.The 2.0-litre size and 170bhp look like relatively modest outputs but ultimately we’re talking a similar power-to-weight ratio to an Alpine A110, a car that feels light on its feet but is a good third heavier. If you’re expecting something delicate and light to the touch here, though, think again. I’m told to treat the 912c like a go-kart and also don’t worry that the bump-stops are quite harsh: the springs are pretty short. Oh, and that the steering is only 1.7 turns lock to lock.It's a really physical car to drive. The seating position is good and pedals great, because they’re an aftermarket Tilton floor-hinged set. All are positive but heavy. The gearshift is quite vague in an old-Beetle way – Kamm is working on improving it – but the steering is anything but. It’s incredibly direct and heavy and urgent, perhaps too much so. Kázmér’s probably going to knock the directness back a bit.There’s more. The engine fires to a positive bark and has a really strong response. Kamm could have sought more power than this but probably has it right for a road car. Response is strong even from the lower mid-range and it makes quite an angry noise that suits the rest of the 912c's character. This is a loud car.The ride’s fine – composed, certainly – and there are roads on which it would be great, but the potholes of Sussex don’t treat it kindly. But take a firm grip of the wheel, wield it left and right, feel the differential hooking up quickly to help the car lock into a direction change and it’s very rewarding. Exceptionally agile. With the looks and spec, I was almost expecting a ‘drive to the theatre’ sort of car, but it’s not. It’s a 'Saturday morning thrash up a mountainside canyon road to a coffee shop' sort of car. Immersive like a Caterham. I’ve not driven an original Porsche 912, so I don’t know how authentic that is. Or whether, actually, that matters: there are a lot of restomods these days, and a lot of restored original cars, and there’s something nice about the fact that the Kamm doesn’t seem to do what other cars do. And in a niche but busy market, that feels important.Kázmér says he’d like to make a few – perhaps 20-30, but there’s no limit. He’s not going to turn people away and the spec is very much open: you want a more relaxed style, he can do it; you want no interior and a rollcage, no problem. Given this one’s still a work in progress, there's no star rating, but I really enjoyed it.

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