Many years ago, when I was but a boy, this magazine started a project that apparently has no end. Editor Bidrawn leveraged the power of family and their associated check books to 'team buy' a 1997 Porsche Boxster. The goal was to make the best Boxster in the world. Apparently there's some sibling rivalry within the Bidrawn clan. Being an editor for a car magazine, this was his chance to get something stuck on the proverbial family fridge.

It started out simply enough with some bolt-on power mods from Performance Products. A Dansk performance exhaust, a Powerflow intake and GIAC software netted almost 186 wheel-hp, which was deemed adequate at the time. Suspension was augmented with H&R coilovers that allowed for ride height adjustment and corner balancing. To scrub off speed, Brembo supplied a GT kit that increases not only stopping power but also capacity. All-day canyon running will not show any sign of fade. The giant brakes also look great, the red calipers look factory-correct, while sharp eyes will notice the bigger rotors.

Keeping with the factory-look theme, RH supplied Cup wheels for a slightly more aggressive demeanor. The polished lip has just enough shine to improve the looks while still honoring a classic Porsche design. For better aerodynamics, LL Tek in Montreal provided a Caractre body kit that uses appointments from other Porsche models and applies them to the Boxster for extra downforce, better cooling and, of course, more street presence. Wet Works Garage in Newport Beach did the install and everything was good.

That is, until someone decided more power was necessary. Bidrawn can't leave well enough alone, so a supercharger kit was sourced from Turbo Performance Center. Countless man-hours went into trying to get the kit to function properly. Engine bay was a bugbear, but the biggest problem came when the fuel mixture leaned out under boost and grenaded the engine.

The poor Boxster sat immobile for several years while a suitable fix was devised. As the old adage goes: there's no replacement for displacement. The Boxster left the factory in Finland with a 2.5-liter flat six that provided 201 hp at 6000 rpm. Considering the 911 came with 202 hp way back in 1984, it's no surprise this wasn't satisfactory. So most recently, a 996 3.6-liter X51 engine was sourced straight from Porsche for a swap.

Although this is an easier swap than say, turbine power, it's still significantly more work than swapping a Boxster S engine would have been. The largest problem stems from the fact that the 3.6 has an e-throttle; there's no mechanical link between the throttle pedal and the throttle body-it's all done electronically. The Boxster uses a standard throttle cable. The second problem was that the Boxster originally had single-cam variable valve timing, while the 3.6 utilizes timing control on both bumpsticks. All this combines with the fact that the 3.6 is substantially taller than the 2.5.

By Rob Mullner,
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