A Porsche 912 car, front and side view

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21st-century vintage: a look at the new enhanced Porsche 912

2 May 2024 • Written by Simon de Burton

Simon de Burton takes a look the Porsche 912, elegantly restored and amped up for modern-day driving...

Everyone has their own idea about which car deserves to be dubbed the greatest of all time – but if there was ever such a thing as a global survey of petrolheads, there’s a strong chance that the air-cooled Porsche 911 would climb pretty high up the list, and possibly scramble all the way to the top.

Such is the admiration for the 911 iterations that evolved between 1964 and the arrival of the water-cooled cars in 1999 that there are now numerous specialists around the world who build backdated or restomod examples that combine the cars’ classic appearance with up-to-the-minute mechanicals and interior creature comforts to enable enthusiasts to enjoy old-school looks with modern performance.

With a full carbon fibre body, the KAMM 912 has a much-improved power-to-weight ratio

Perhaps paradoxically, the cost of such cars often far outstrips that of a new 911, with builds by California-based industry leader Singer Vehicle Design costing as much as $2 million (£1.57m).

Back on the other side of the pond in Hungary, a two-year-old business called KAMManufaktur is taking a fresh approach to blending the classic 911 look with 21st-century engineering  by restoring and enhancing the model’s often overlooked sibling, the 912. Far rarer than the 911, the 912 was produced for just four years (from 1965 to 1969) as a no-frills, entry-level alternative to its more expensive brother.

Featuring a 1600cc, four-cylinder engine from the discontinued 356, it cost $4,700 at launch compared with $6,500 for the 911, and, until sales of the latter took off, it was the 912 that kept Porsche in business.

Although the 912 was never as fast, refined or revered as the 911, it’s always been famed for its nimble handling and easy-to-live-with nature. It is these characteristics that KAMManufaktur plays on with its tastefully upgraded offerings.

Since performance is not so much about power as the ratio of power to weight, the latest car is available with bodywork made entirely from carbon fibre, meaning it tips the scales at a nimble 700 kilograms, 50 less than its semi-carbon counterpart and a full 265 kilograms lighter than the original, all-steel car.

The 912’s four-cylinder engine is also highly tuneable, which enables Budapest-based KAMManufaktur to increase its capacity to two litres and to more than double its output to 190 horsepower at a screaming 7,000rpm.

Film-maker and company founder Miki Kazmer’s intention in creating the car was to build something that is a true “driving machine”, but which is also capable of being used for school runs and shopping trips. And, bar a somewhat raucous exhaust note, he appears to have done it.

The interior is also more civilised than that of the original car, with options such as carbon-fibre seats, powerful air conditioning and high-end sound systems all being on the menu for each exclusively bespoke build.

So if you’ve been contemplating a restomod 911 but also believe less is more, a KAMM 912 might be worth a look. You’ll certainly end up with a car few other people own. kammanufaktur.com

Porsche 912 for KAMMANUFAKTUR
Engine: Air-cooled, two-litre, flat four
Power: 190bhp @ 7,200rpm
Torque: 227Nm @ 3,500rpm (approx)
Acceleration: 0-100km/h in six seconds (approx)
Top speed: 201km/h Weight: 699kg (full carbon); 750kg (semi-carbon)
Fuel economy: 9.3km per litre (est)
Price: from €400,000 (full carbon); €360,000 (semi carbon) – both less €40,000 when donor car supplied by customer

First published in the April 2024 issue of BOAT International. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue.

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