That bigger engine didn't pan out, so the car is currently running a stock engine and gearbox (along with a 9ff single-mass flywheel). "The factory ratios are really nice for street and track," says Pechstein. There is an aftermarket limited-slip differential in the mix at the moment, but Pechstein is unconvinced as to its reliability. "We might remove it and go back to the open rear," he says. "With the Penske shocks and extremely adjustable suspension, it's not too difficult to keep the car flat through the corners. That translates to little or no inside wheel spin."
In the meantime, Pechstein is building a new engine that should be ready for the summer, using the Boxster/Cayman M96 engine as its base. "We will have a custom crankshaft," he says. "Then we can deal with the known issues of the intermediate shaft." By that, he means oil leaks and bearing failures. "It will also have six throttle bodies and Motec ignition." The car already sports a center radiator from a GT3 (under which is an unnamed power steering fluid cooler) and a Porsche oil cooler originally meant for a 3.8-liter engine.
By fitting custom RS-type door panels, it means the car loses some storage space from those large standard pockets, but gains some clearance for the six-point roll cage Vintage Motorsports created and installed. The driver and passenger are held in place by Recaro Profi seats and Schroth Enduro racing harnesses.
If anyone reading this has considered the amount of time and expensive parts put into this car, and had a feeling of impending dread, here's some bad news and some good news. Turning this Cayman into what is essentially a mid-engined 911 (a better layout, some would argue) has cost the best part of $100,000. That's the trouble with being a trail-blazer. And that sum includes the parts that were ultimately left off.
There is some hope, though, for those of us who would like something similar but don't have a well-paid gig at Goldman Sachs. "To do it again to another car would certainly be cheaper," says Pechstein. And unlike a lot of project cars, this one feels complete. "There are no loose ends in the car," says Donohue. "It's really nicely done."
Transverse front engine, front-wheel drive
3.4-liter flat six, dohc, 24-valve
Six-speed manual, 9ff dual-mass flywheel
Hypercoil springs, Penske three-way adjustable dampers
OEM 997 GT3 Cup assemblies, Wrightwood Racing rotors, Pagid pads
Wheels & Tires
BBS alloys, 18-inch
Hoosier R6, 245/35 (f), 275/35 (r)
OEM 997 GT3 Cup front end
Custom six-point roll cage, Recaro Profi seats, Schroth harnesses, custom RS-style door panels