• Porsche Purists Under Siege Again As Tuning Shop Crams Hemi V-8 In a 911

Forget all the known conventions about the Porsche 911 and gaze at this beast with an enormous Hemi V-8 in the trunk

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Here we go again, straying further and further from God’s way. This time, the "sinner" is a yet-to-be-completed creation by a French tuning company called Danton Arts Kustoms based in Vanosc, France. While the guys there are currently working on many wacky projects, the one that caught our eye is an ultra-modified Hemi-powered Porker based on a slashed 997 chassis that is sure to send shivers down the spines of Porsche fans young and old.

I’m not a bona fide tuning fan. While I did enjoy the first few Fast & Furious movies in my youth and thought, just like almost anybody in the early noughties, that flamboyant paint schemes and insane body kits that don’t actually help the car go faster are the business, I’ve never been an advocate of tuning as a whole. Nowadays, I enjoy stuff like Canepa’s 959 that offers modern-day supercar performance while retaining all the visual elements of the original 959, but I also turn my head in a hurry when I see stuff like this much newer Porsche that’s being turned into a front-engined muscle car. To some people, it may seem like this 997.I Carrera 4S Cabriolet is being tormented and is dying a slow death under the weight of that hefty Hemi V-8 but, actually, I’m of the opinion that it’s about to rebirth and, if nothing else, it’ll rival the Half11.

This isn’t what we were picturing when we thought of a front-engine Porsche revival

Porsche built its legacy on the rear-engined 911. The legendary grand tourer has been around since the early ’60s and its design is essentially part of the global pop culture - it’s that emblematic. But the gang at Zuffenhausen also produced mid-engined cars, like the boxy 914 with its cute pop-up headlights, as well as a host of front-engined GTs. From the affordable 924s and 944s, to the more distinguished 928s and 968s, Porsche actually considered at some point axing the rear-engine 911 completely and focus on building cars with the engine in front of the cabin.

Happily, this didn’t happen and, between 1995, when the 968s production run ended, and 2003, when the Cayenne SUV was born, no Porsche came from Stuttgart with the engine in the front.

Now, though, besides the Cayenne, Porsche also makes the front-engined Panamera, a supercar-fast four-door GT but there are no signs of Porsche ever going back to making a front-engined sports car.

This is where Danton Arts Kustoms comes in. Based in France (although they do have a contact Stateside through Frenchy Export LLC.), this shop has specialized in building all kinds of hot rods and rat rods. A few Jeeps also met the electric saw of the guys at Danton Arts Kustoms and ended up low to the ground, with neigh on inexistent ground clearance, and all the other must-have elements of a rat rod.

Now, looking at these ludicrous creations, you may be wondering how the shop switched its attention from Jeeps and pre-War pick-ups and sedans to exotics. Well, it all started a couple of years ago when the French motley crew decided that a mid-’90s Porsche 911 Carrera 2 would be an appropriate base for yet another rat rod-esque build.

As such, the car was lowered, the pillars were cut so that you can't drive it unless you happen to be headless, and some gigantic wheels were mounted that don't even attempt to clear the original wheel wells, they just sit on the outside of the bodywork like on an open-wheel race car.

This, though, is the recipe of a rat rod as envisioned by Danton Arts Kustoms but it’s mind-boggling to see it applied to a Porsche.

A new front end was made for this purple machine, and the engine no longer resided in the back as the team wanted to fit a big-block Ford V-8 and there was no way that behemoth would clear the space underneath the curved lid of a Porsche. So it was positioned where the trunk used to be - which is exactly the fate of the 911 Carrera Cabriolet 4S seen in the renders below. The purple 964 was the subject of a segment filmed by the crew of AB Moteurs, a motoring show on the French channel V6. On the show, founder Alexandre Danton explained how the Porsche fits within the lines of the ’Pur Neo Vintage’ design language that’s the trademark of all of the builds that come out of the shop. The car was first unveiled to the public at the 2017 Monaco International Auto Show.

But this latest build is set to far exceed the strangeness of the 964. That’s because, in the meantime, Danton Arts Kustoms created another unlikely hot rod based (apparently) on a genuine 1970 Lamborghini Espada complete with its V-12 engine. It was created in association with Carrosserie Herve to mark the 50th anniversary of Lamborghini’s last front-engined grand tourer and, well, its appearance is decisively controversial. I’m sure Alexandre Danton hopes his 997 Cabriolet build will turn out to be just as divisive.

I mean, just look at that thing, it’s an actual YasidDesign creation that will be brought to life. In the front, it’s got a bespoke splitter in the front with extra lights, the splitter itself extending to the sides and connecting with the wheel arch extensions that direct air over the exposed semi-slick tires.

On the sides, there are some huge air ducts that extend as far out as the rear wheels do and, again, are probably meant to manage air around the back wheels.

In the rear, the car looks just bonkers in the renders. There’s a huge wing with massive end plats that almost connect to the F1-like diffuser like on some prototypes. The wing itself hangs just above the exposed one-piece taillights that dangle in close proximity of the diffuser with no bodywork left around them. That’s because the bumper was deleted to make room for the two exhaust pipes and a central rain light. The diffuser is connected to the body via some struts.

Danton will keep the open-top appearance of the car although a roll-bar will be added to beef everything up. There will also be louvers in the back behind the seats connected to the rear cross-members of the roll-bar. All the work put into the aerodynamics is, though, all but nullified by the huge Hemi engine that’s placed in front of the cabin and that sticks right up being about as tall as the windshield itself.

Now, you may think this car can only appease to 12 year-olds. I mean, who’d want to get rid of that sweet, water-cooled, naturally aspirated flat-six capable of 355 horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 295 pound-feet of torque at 4,600 rpm? Also, who’d fit in its place an American Hemi V-8? Sure, it’s not the first Porsche to nestle an American engine as another 911 of the 997 generation welcomed a 430 horsepower Chevy LS3 V-8 but that car received almost zero attention on the outside. You’d be surprised, however, to find out that the Miura build is now up for grabs on Craigslist. The asking price? A mere $750,000 - more than double the base MSRP of a Ferrari 812 Superfast and roughly five times the price of your average (unmolested) Series II Espada.

We don’t know particularly what Hemi engine will sit in the 997 Cabriolet but it might just be the 6.4-liter unit good for over 485 horsepower, 475 pound-feet of torque, and a 0-to-60 mph time of under 60 seconds. This supplier mentions that, with this engine strapped in, your build could reach in excess of 182 mph which, frankly, would be harrowingly fast in that Porsche.

Regardless of engine choice, it’s good to remember at the end of the day that many other Porsches sported engines with hemispherical heads before so this, in itself, is in no way a breakthrough. The last hemi-head engine built in-house by Porsche was fitted between 1985 and 1995 in some front-engined models. The 917, too, featured a hemi-head engine as did the Porsche RS Spyder that dominated the LMP2 class in sports car endurance racing in the mid-to-late ’00s. Let’s see if this creation will dominate anything other than the lists that compile the craziest Porsche builds ever.

Further reading

2005 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S (997)
- image 84375

Read our full review on the 2005 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

Michael Fira
Michael Fira
Associate Editor and Motorsport Expert - fira@topspeed.com
Mihai Fira started out writing about long-distance racing like the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. As the years went by, his area of interest grew wider and wider and he ever branched beyond the usual confines of an automotive writer. However, his heart is still close to anything car-related and he's most at home retelling the story of some long-since-forgotten moment from the history of auto racing. He'll also take time to explain why the cars of the '60s and '70s are more fascinating than anything on the road today.  Read full bio
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