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KALMAR Automotive Unveils 7-97 Classic 911 Restomod

  • Jun 15, 2024
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KALMAR Automotive Unveils 7-97 Classic 911 Restomod

Much to the dismay of some of the staunch purists that comprise a portion of the overall Porsche community, 911 restomods have grown incredibly popular in recent years, and it’s now not uncommon to see builds from elite tuners and shops like Singer and Gunther Werx fetch seven-figure sums at auction. And though they were only founded a few years ago, KALMAR Automotive has quickly made a name for itself on the strength of its meticulously-crafted 993 and 964-gen 911 restomods. 

Now, after repeated requests from customers, the company has finally opened up shop on U.S. shores, and has kicked things off on America soil by rolling out a stunning bespoke-built project co-developed by one of America’s most elite Porsche tuners. 

The Inspiration 

First established in 2017, KALMAR Automotive was founded by Danish racer, adventurer, and entrepreneur Jan Kalmar. Known as the 7-97, KALMAR’s inaugural build was a one-off project that would eventually morph into a limited build series done on a bespoke, built-to-order basis. Built over the course of three years, the shop’s first build took inspiration from Porsche’s (original) ‘70s era 911 ST, while also taking ample influence from the Joest Racing team’s 1997 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning Porsche WSC95 open-top prototype (which interestingly almost wasn’t entered into the 24-hour endurance event at all, though that’s a story for another day). 

The Collaboration

Though the shop already produces world-class restomods, KALMAR wanted to do something particularly special for its inaugural entry into the American market. So, Jan Kalmar opted to link up with motorsport legend, retired racer, and Porsche tuner Bruce Canepa. Together, the two developed and built what’s almost certainly KALMAR’s finest project to date, which has been christened the KALMAR 7-97 C1, with the “C” being for “Canepa.” 

The Car

Tipping the scales at just under 2675lbs, the KALMAR Canepa 7-97 C1 is a 993-gen-based one-off that probably has more in common with your average OEM supercar than it does a modified and restored classic. Pretty much the entire vehicle has been completely redeveloped from the ground up in order to optimize every possible area, from its aerodynamics to its powertrain to its componentry to its framework to its interior. Practically no stone was left unturned anyway, and every minute detail was painstakingly considered in an effort to modernize the vehicle’s performance while retaining the character and DNA of Porsche’s air-cooled icon. 

The Engine

While the normal 7-97’s 313-hp engine is nothing to scoff at, KALMAR and Canepa nonetheless opted to step things up when selecting a power plant for the C1-spec. Calling in expert help from exhaust specialist, Celeritech and engine builder, Lorrtec, this multi-way engine collaboration has ultimately resulted in a hand-built 4.0-liter flat-six known as the “Triple 4.” Good for 400hp and 295ft-lbs of torque — all of which is sent to the ground via an advanced all-wheel drive system — the “Triple 4” benefits from upgraded pistons, a new camshaft, an equal-length exhaust and intake manifolds, a dual-mass flywheel, hydraulic lifters, dual oil coolers, and drive-by-wire individual throttle bodies — with the whole thing now being regulated via a new MOTEC ECU. The new engine also comes bolted to a six-speed gearbox. 

The Hardware

KALMAR went to great lengths to ensure the 7-97 C1 would feature modern handling, braking, and cornering capabilities. Paired with a redesigned chassis, the 7-97 C1 boasts an adaptive active suspension system, and an equally top-shelf set of carbon ceramic brakes at all four corners. What’s more, not only has KALMAR’s traction control system, Bi-LED headlights, and a front axle lift system been installed, but the C1-spec 7-97 has also been gifted a custom set of black-finished 17” three-piece split wheels. 

The Bespoke Bodywork

One of the coolest aspects of the entire car is the 7-97 C1’s bodywork. Though it looks remarkably similar to a normal RSR-style 911, it’s actually a highly-modified suite of panels that collectively deliver a markedly better drag coefficient, more downforce, and better stability. This was achieved by making a huge number of minor tweaks all over the 911’s body, in order to improve aerodynamics without hugely altering the car’s classic look. Additionally, a redesigned spoiler has been slapped onto the car’s tail, and now, all told, the vehicle is now 4.3” wider, too. After all the advanced simulations and computer testing was complete, the team took their modified bodywork design in CAD, and had it carefully brought to life, crafting the entire thing from carbon fiber. 

The Interior

Like the exterior of the car, the interior of the 7-97 C1 is a completely reworked piece of automotive art. Spartan and minimalistic yet decidedly luxurious at the same time, the cabin has been trimmed in slightly muted forest green leather upholstery and now features a set of Recaro sport seats, a wooden shift knob, and a matching green leather steering wheel with an Alcantara-wrapped rim set in front of a reskinned classic F-model dashboard. The inside of the restomod also gets modern sound-deadening insulation throughout, custom windows to fit the doors of the new bespoke carbon bodywork, an electric air-conditioning unit, custom machined, knurled aluminum knobs set on backlit panels, twin airbags, remote central locking, wireless charging, leather door sill inserts embossed with KALMAR’s 911 silhouette logo, and a Bluetooth audio system complete with hidden speakers and an active sub. 

What Makes It So Special 

While there’s no shortage of high-end 911 restomods being built, KALMAR and Canepa’s 7-97 C1 arguably does a better job of modernizing a classic 911 while maintaining its original appearance, character, DNA, and analog driving experience than anything else out there right now. What’s more, it also does an exceptional job of staying visually true to the ‘70s era car that inspired it (the 911 ST), by hiding a great many of its contemporary elements, whether that be any modern of its interior’s out-of-sight modern items like its hidden speakers, twin airbags, or remote central locking, or the full suite of custom carbon fiber bodywork that’s concealed beneath the car’s custom paint job. Shops like Singer and Gunther Werx really have set an almost impossibly high bar in the Porsche tuning space, though I’d be lying if I said KALMAR’s new 7-97 C1 didn’t give those elite shops’ restomods a good run for their money. 

Spec Sheet

Shop: KALMAR Automotive
Collaborator: Canepa
Model: 7-97 C1
Engine: 4.0L Flat-Six
Power: 400HP & 295FT-LBs
Body: Carbon Fiber
Suspension: Adaptive
Brakes: Carbon-Ceramic
Weight: 2,675LBs
Production: 12 Units Annually

Pricing & Availability 

Available for purchase in America exclusively through Canepa’s Scotts Valley headquarters, the KALMAR 7-97 C1 can now be ordered by US-based customers, though production is limited to only 12 units per year. While there’s no word on the C1-spec’s pricing, we imagine it will be a bit over the “regular” 7-97’s €450,000 (~ $490,000) starting price. 

KALMAR Automotive 7-97 C1

KALMAR Automotive joins forces with Porsche legend Bruce Canepa to develop the 9-97 C1 — a 400-hp 993-based widebody 911 restomod with adaptive suspension, a bespoke interior, and a custom suite of carbon fiber bodywork.

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