The Porsche Half11 Is The Car You Bring Up When You Want To Make Porsche Purists Go Insane
Can you imagine how a 911 would look like if you cut it in half and glue the rear bit of an old F1 car to it? Imagine no more!by Michael Fira, on
If you’re a lover of anything classic 911, you might want to look away now. That’s because the Half11 (sounds better than 4.511, I guess) is a V-8-engined, tube-framed sports car with the front bodywork of a 911 from the early ’70s and the tail section of an open-wheel racer from about the same period. Oil Stain Lab released a bulk of renders, and it looks insane and what’s even more insane is that it’s almost ready to roll.
Porsche is one of those brands that’s been able to gather a huge fanbase and then grip to it firmly by staying true to its ethos in the sports car department, at least. The 911 essentially follows the same design language drawn up by Ferdinand ’Butzi’ Porsche in the early ’60s, and this is, by and large, quite unique in the automotive world. But while the looks of a 911 haven’t really changed with the passing of time, the technology has and what was once a sportier Beetle is now a benchmark grand tourer that still has its engine hanging behind the rear axle.
Many people have put innumerable hours into updating old 911s and creating what’s known as ’restomods.’ Some are based on period chassis while others are all-new down to the smallest bolt, but the skin resembles that of its elder relatives from the Porsche family. Singer Vehicles is maybe the company that does this the best but the folks at the Oil Stain Lab want to have a stab at it too, but they’re not following the beaten path. Instead, they’re building a mid-engined version of the 911. One that lacks a roof or rear bodywork...
The Half11 is Half 911, Half Madness in its Purest Form
If you’re a car guy, you must’ve at least entertained the idea of starting your own project car. You know the drill: you buy some rustbucket (the state of disrepair depends on the depth of your pockets), and then you spend money, and you shed boatloads of tears, sweat, and, occasionally, blood, to turn it into your dream car. The old cliche says that a project car is never quite done. There’s always something that can be added, something that can be changed or augmented in any way shape or form. And, if, by some miracle, one project car is done, the said miracle-maker quickly jumps to the next God-forsaken derelict vehicle and kicks-off another project.
But I’m quite sure that none of you have attempted something like the Half11 that’s in the works by the Oil Stain Lab.
The crew working there, led by Nikita Bridan, started off with an old 911 chassis they bought for less than $500.
They quickly figured it’s almost beyond saving so the plan they devised was simple - well, not really, but it sounds sort of simple: cut the rear half off, dispose of it, and in its place weld a tube frame that will support an exposed V-8 engine as well as the suspension components, the brakes, and all the other stuff needed. Then mount some huge, dragster-esque tires and bolt a God-almighty wing to top things off and you’ve got the car Porsche would’ve created if the world of sports car racing would’ve been devoided of prototypes.
You might be wondering what are these guys on about. Well, they’ve decided to create a whole story for the Half11, one that takes place in an alternate universe that’s different from ours. You see, in the real world, Porsche realized after racing the 550 Spyder, that mounting the engine in the middle is a much better way to go sports car racing than if the engine almost hangs above the back bumper. That is not to say Professor Porsche himself didn’t know that as he was the advocate of the rear-mid-engine layout in the years prior to the first World War and who created the first Auto Union GP cars, all of which featured an engine placed behind the driver.
So Porsche moved on on two paths: they kept improving the 911 for GT-style racing and built bespoke prototypes for sports car races.
In fact, the 904 was launched in 1964, less than a year after the prototype Porsche 901 (911) was unveiled and, two years later, Porsche came up with the 906. This sports car lineage was complete in the coming years and decades by legends such as the 908 (in various specifications), the 917, the 936, the 956, the 962, and, most recently, the 919 Hybrid.
Now, in Oil Stain Lab’s world, Porsche basically could care less about developing purpose-built sports cars and, instead, their only go-to machine for racing was the 911; for any kind of racing that is. In the real world, it has to be said, Porsche did try that, modifying the 911 in the early ’70s beyond the confines of the GT rulebook and, as a result, entering it in the Group 6 class. This is how we’ve got the Porsche 911 Carrera RSR of 1974, the first turbocharged Porsche to tackle Le Mans and, further down the line, this is how Porsche dominated Group 5 with the 935 that even won the Le Mans race outright in 1979, albeit in the hands of privateers.
Oil Stain Lab looked at all of this and thought: ’hmm, promising.’ And decided to go all guns blazing with the Half11.
It's basically an outrageous - if you're a 911 purist - combo between a manic go-kart (or old-school F1 car before full-on bodywork became a thing) and a 911.
The project isn’t done yet, but we should see the Half11 roll out of the workshop in about six to nine months to scare away everyone who thought the RWB 993s were ludicrous.
Autoweek inquired Bridan about the project and he was upfront about the team’s love of Porsches. "We are huge history buffs, huge fans of brands and finally love to question and pose ’what if’ questions. Nothing is sacred to us and yet everything is ... we try to balance on this design tightrope at all times,” Bridan said of the project. “Also, it is an attempt by us to shake up the world of classic cars, car tuning and culture. We need to try to build bridges between the different segments of car culture instead of hating on each other. We want to celebrate the beauty of all car types and segments," he added.
"The goal is to change Porsche history, perception, and also to showcase our design vision, approach and story-telling ability.” To do this, the Oil Stain Lab Crew has sprinkled on its Instagram feed, among cool renders of the Half11, tongue-in-cheek Photoshopped images of the Half11 in period photos, inducing the idea that it really happened and some Instagrammers bought it! You’ll see the Half11 tentatively follow some 917s through the fast bends at Monza in 1970 or hurtling down the pitlane at the Nurburgring in 1972.
This didn’t happen but what if it did? And what if the Half11 really had the muscle to keep up with a 917 or a 312PB with its F1-derived 3.0-liter V-12 engine?
That's exactly what the Oil Stain Lab wants to create, a potent machine, not just one that will drop hundreds of jaws anywhere it shows up.
“The car also needs to be incredibly capable and able to back up the looks and styling. Everything will be functional; it will not be a SEMA car, built merely for the likes." Ouch!
Bridan also wants to show, through this project, that any doubter is wrong and, maybe, win some future customers along the way too. I mean, the Half11 may not turn into as lucrative a business as Leh Keen’s Safari 911 builds but it doesn’t have to. In fact, if there were too many Half11s out there, it would sort of defeat its purpose in my view.
If you’re interested, you’re probably wondering how far down the road the team actually is, knowing there’s still at least half a year left of work to do. “The car is generally there, the car is cut, the roll cage is somewhat built out, and a lot of the parts have been purchased," said Birdan. "What hasn’t been built yet is being refined in CAD programs. While we are probably about six to nine months away from being able to drive it, it may be done faster or (take) longer, we have no idea.”
We don’t have any spec sheets to hand out to you, but the team is taking into account a variety of engine options. Apparently, the preferred one at the moment is a racing LS crate engine due to its simplicity and flexibility. But they’ve also mentioned the possibility of fitting the 4.8-liter, twin-turbocharged engine from the Panamera (good for 493 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 516 pound-feet of torque between 2,250–4,500 rpm in the first-generation model) or a Judd DB V-8 engine. The most powerful version with a capacity of 4.0-liters puts out 670 horsepower at an ear-splitting 10,000 rpm while the smaller-capacity versions are capable of 540 to 610 horsepower at 10,250 rpm.
If indeed, the Oil Stain Lab goes for a racing Judd engine as seen in this insane hill climb silhouette sports car, it would make the Half11 about as powerful as a 917 Porsche 917 which, I guess, is the team’s target. For the record, the original Carrera RS 2.7 from 1973 featured an air-cooled 2.8-liter boxer unit capable of 296 horsepower. The front end of the Half11 might evoke that legendary homologation special or, maybe, the turbocharged 934 as seen in some other renders. At the end of the day, we don’t know yet how much power the car will make, but we know that: A) it "Needs 600 horsepower minimum" and B) "you don’t cut a 911 in half on a budget," as the team admitted in an Instagram comment. Let’s hope they don’t!
Read our full review on the 1989 - 1994 Porsche 911 Turbo Hoonigan by Rauh-Welt