In 1980s Hungary, the best way to make your Lada, Skoda or Moskvitch go faster was to bolt on the turbocharger from a tractor. Kamm founder Miki Kázmér embraced this make-do-and-mend car culture, turning his talents to Volkswagen Beetles after Communism crumbled in 1989.
Kázmér then travelled to America, set up a film production agency and bought his first Porsche. The bug had bitten and, back in Budapest, he began work on the Kamm 912c.
Like the Hungarian hot-rods of his youth, this underdog Porsche does more with less – not least because, well, it isn’t actually a 911.
Seeing the light
Produced from 1965-1969, the 912 was the Cayman of its day: a cheaper alternative to the 911 with four cylinders instead of six. Its original 1.6-litre engine – borrowed from the Porsche 356 SC – mustered a modest 90hp. Here, Swiss specialist JPS Aircooled stretches it to 2.0 litres, adding individual DBW throttle bodies, electronic fuel injection and a custom stainless steel exhaust. The result is 190hp in a car that weighs just 750kg.
Key to the Porsche’s minimal mass is carbon fibre: the ‘c’ in 912c. Made in-house by Kamm, it’s used for everything from the bullet-shaped door mirrors to the beautifully sculpted engine shroud. You can even specify a full carbon body shell, which slashes kerb weight (with fluids) to a mere 680kg. For context, a new 992 Carrera tips the scales at 1,505kg.
To rein in the 912’s added performance, Kamm fits a Porsche competition clutch, ZF limited-slip differential and AP Racing disc brakes, along with a rally-style hydraulic handbrake. The stock torsion bar suspension is swapped for Tractive adjustable coilovers, with five levels of adjustment via a dial on the dashboard. Image split-rim alloys and semi-slick Yokohama tyres complete the road-racer setup.
Bring the noise
Unlike some Porsche restomods, the Kamm keeps a pleasingly low profile. Peel off the stickers from this first production prototype and it could be any classic, short-wheelbase 911. Sorry, 912. It doesn’t even have a ducktail.
That all changes when you fire up the flat-four, which bristles with urgent energy. The 912c doesn’t have a stereo, although you’d struggle to hear one anyway. It’s a different sound to an air-cooled 911 – less polished, more rambunctious – with an irate snarl of induction that ambushes your senses beyond 5,000rpm.
Refinement isn’t the Kamm’s strong suit, then – electric air conditioning and a USB socket in the glovebox are the only nods to modernity – but your focus will be elsewhere. With unassisted steering, unservoed brakes and a short-shift manual gearbox, this is an unapologetically analogue experience that demands mental and physical effort. The rewards are worth it, though, the combination of light weight and lack of inertia delivering a virtuous circle of driving fun.
Drive Me Crazy
Best of all, it really works on British B-roads. Passing SUVs on country lanes is a sensor-squawking, buttock-clenching ordeal in most modern supercars, but the slim-hipped Porsche (nearly 400mm narrower than a Cayman) rarely needs to slow down. Wind off the adaptive dampers and it’s relatively supple as well, holding its line and responding to the smallest inputs through the lovely Momo Prototipo wheel.
There’s also a toggle behind the wheel to tweak the Life Racing ECU, bringing idle speed up to a fretful 2,000rpm and making the zesty engine feel even more intense. It’s labelled ‘Drive Me Crazy’, and perhaps the 912c would if you drove it every day.
However, as a weekend warrior, it makes for a bespoke, very beguiling alternative to, say, a new 992 GT3 RS. Not bad for a car that isn’t actually a 911.
Tim Pitt writes for Motoring Research
TORQUE: 168lb ft
0-62MPH: 4.5sec (est.)
FUEL ECONOMY: N/A
KERB WEIGHT: 750kg