2018 Porsche

This Center Seat Porsche Boxster Is More Than A Little Ridiculous

Just take a gander around the quiet, airy workshop bearing his name, Bisimoto Engineering, and you’ll see the oddest collection of modified cars you can imagine. In the middle, a Honda Odyssey, bagged to the floor with an intercooler jutting like a bad under bite from its front bumper. It makes 1,000 HP. Then there’s a four-cylinder Honda Insight capable of running nine second quarter miles without a turbocharger. In the back there’s a dozen or so 911 shells, like blank canvases for Bisi when he finds a free moment. Unlike the SEMA special Japanese and Korean stuff, those are all his. They’re surrounding, like loyal subjects, the sky blue, 800-horsepower Bisimoto 1976 Carrera I drove for /TUNED. It’s the scariest properly functioning car I’ve ever tested.

A drag racer and chemical engineer at heart, Bisi has made a career out of upending assumptions. For instance, that 1976 Carrera uses a Porsche M96 engine, modified with twin turbochargers and running drive-by-wire CANBUS, like a modern car. If that engine sounds familiar, that’s because it’s from the 996-generation Carrera. Yeah, the one with the IMS Bearing failure issue.

The bearing would seize, the engine would go boom, and your $22,000 used Carrera would require a $20,000 engine replacement. Many Porsche owners aren’t exactly fans. But Bisi wanted to show the potential in the unloved.

I’ve never doubted that this man could build an engine. The ’76, like I said, was terrifying. The Turbo Odyssey would light the front tires up in any gear, at any speed. But Bisi, a lifetime drag racer, wanted to expand his horizons a bit, and learn how to make a car go around corners.

Which brings me to this: a 2000-model year, 986-series Porsche Boxster, a car that certainly fills the “unloved” requirement. These cars are becoming super cheap, well under $10,000 in many cases, in part because they are so expensive to maintain and repair in comparison to their performance. That’s not to say they are bad cars when they are working, but buying a cheap one is truly a roll of the dice.\

This one left the factory with a 217-hp, 2.7L flat-six, a version, not-coincidentally, of the previously mentioned M96. Bisi acquired it with a blown engine for $4,000. He had previously added twin-turbos to his wife, Heidi’s, Cayman road car, good for 480 hp with air conditioning, but called it, “a heavy mess on the track.” He wanted to go lighter. Perfect balance was the goal.

Bisimoto rebuilt the engine with Golden Eagle Sleeves, Bisimoto Rods, Traum Pistons, ARP studs, and twin 52mm Precision ball-bearing turbochargers. It runs an AEM Infinity engine management system with a Rywire harness, a Spearco liquid-to-air intercooler, custom headers, Bisimoto turbo drip tanks, multiple CSF radiators, and a fuel cell full of E85. The power gets to the ground through, believe it or not, the stock five-speed gearbox mated to a Quaife limited-slip differential and upgraded Action clutch and flywheel.

Anthony Bunch Author

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