If the trend a few years ago was limitless imagination for SEMA-type builds, maybe it’s time for things to shift towards the execution again…
Hear me out. We were often left stunned by some of the concepts unveiled at shows and events over the last decade, but so often they remained just that, concepts. These were projects that were created for their sheer initial impact, but rarely had the substance or ability to back things up. As most of these projects only existed to raise awareness around a particular brand or product line, once the shows were over, they had served their purpose and more often than not vanished into the ether.
We now live in a very different world when compared to even the last SEMA Show in 2019. Cars have become much more valued, both literally and figuratively, and I don’t think we’re going to see many more instances of cars being cut up for the sake of impact anymore.
As audiences become better informed, they’re now looking beyond the headline details of a build for more information. So you’ve fitted a Lamborghini V12 into the front of a Tesla, but does it work and does it work well? Otherwise, what’s the point?
Projects need to be far better considered from the get go now, with an eye not just on the impact of their unveiling, but of their long-term use, too.
CSF Race are no strangers to building project cars that both garner attention and serve a sustained purpose. From their Evo X Global Time Attack car to owner Ravi Dolwani’s personal 1,000whp 1/2-mile 991 Turbo S, CSF Race have shown before that they can really commit to a project beyond its unveiling.
They don’t rely on shock announcement tactics either, instead preferring to bring their audience along with them from the very start of the journey. There’s no black and white photographs or pixelated areas designed to tease; CSF Race go through every piece of the project in minute detail as the journey progresses, leaving nothing hidden and nowhere for them to hide.
With that, let’s take a closer look at their SEMA 2021 project 1982 Porsche 911. For a company renowned for their performance cooling products, the decision for CSF Race to build a naturally aspirated air-cooled project should race an eyebrow or two.The Journey Begins
The decision to build an air-cooled project was simply down to Ravi developing an interest in them while developing CSF Race’s new line of high performance, OEM+ oil coolers for air-cooled Porsches. In January 2021, work began on taking an accident-free California car back to the bare metal at SV Auto in Ontario, California.
In the capable hands of Simo Veharanta, who is the primary collaborator on this project with CSF Race, the ultimate plan is to create a unique back-dated Porsche 911 that should balance experience and old school aesthetics with new ideas and modern technology in a classic Porsche style.
The exterior has been designed by automotive designer, Jon Sibal, and promises a ’73 RSR style with modern flourishes.
Ten months might seem like a sufficient amount of time, but Simo estimates that something of this scope would typically take two years.
As such, separate parts of the project are being undertaken at the same time with the hope of everything coming together just in time for November’s exhibition in Las Vegas. Rather than the last-minute SEMA rush, CSF Race and SV Auto have started strong in the hopes of avoiding the crunch completely.
It’s an ambitious plan with no time being wasted.
With the car bolted directly to a custom jig, it was taken back to bare metal and sprayed with an etch primer before the real fabrication work began.Powerhouse
By the time March had rolled around, progress was being steadily made. With fabrication taking place quietly in the background, focus was shifted to the literal beating heart of the project.
The story picks up at renowned Porsche engine builder Prato Motorwerks, who have frequently and successfully worked with SV Autos in the past. It cannot be overstated enough how important it is for this project to be consistently put in the right hands, something which can realistically only be achieved with experience. You need to know the right people to trust, and trust is earned over years of working together.
The highlight reel for the finished engine will be impressive. What was once a stock 3.6-litre 993 motor will be taken out to 3.9-litres with approximately 400+ horsepower.
Rather than just being an outright race motor, this engine build needs to consider the car’s usability on the street as well as the race track. It should be docile with violent tendencies, and it’s a fine balance to strike.
In order to achieve this, aside from choosing a knowledgeable engine builder, is to use only the best and proven parts. Fabian Prato explains that they cannot afford to cut corners or else they risk premature component failure.
There’s a fascinating conversation had between all parties present about the evolution of the air-cooled engine and how people continue to evolve them today, along with much more detail that’s best heard from the horse’s mouth.
Naturally, the engine will be cooled by a pair of CSF Race’s new Porsche oil coolers. Their new front right Carrera style oil cooler, as well as a soon-to-be-released RSR-style front center oil cooler which will be mounted in the center of the custom front bumper.The Flex
Realistically, there’s only so much you can do on the exterior of a Porsche before it starts to get weird, but there’s ample opportunity inside the car to express creativity and demonstrate a remarkable attention to detail.
For this part of the project, Ravi turned to Rogelio’s Auto Upholstery, with whom they have worked successfully with before.
The goal here was again to infuse modernity into the classic Porsche DNA. I can’t imagine we have too many fashionistas among us on Speedhunters, but the idea to take actual designer Goyard bags, cut them open and use the iconic handmade pattern to re-trim parts of the interior and the centres of the carbon-backed Sparco SPX seats is inspired.
It was this particular detail that made me aware that isn’t going to be just another 911 backdate. It would have much easier – and not to mention cheaper – to have gone with a semi-stripped interior with some splashes of suede and Alcantara, but I think the chosen direction really shows how committed all involved are about taking this project to the next level.
If you’re willing to cut up $10,000 worth of designer products for your interior, then nobody can really say you’re not taking things seriously.
This episode also offers a look at the now-built and soon-to-be-wired-and-plumbed motor, complete with a custom GT3 plenum, Kinsler ITB fuel injection and a custom exhaust system. It also touches briefly on the drive-by-wire system and MoTeC engine management, all being taken care of by Ryan Basseri at Rywire.
We also get a look at some of the fabrication work so far, including the precision-crafted custom half-cage with a detachable harness bar.The Next Episode
This isn’t the whole story so far, either.
The latest addition to the series formally introduces Ryan and has him explain how he plans to create the full wiring harness for the 3.9-litre engine.
“We have twin-plugs, dual servos as well as dual throttle position sensors, so there’s kind of two of everything cramming a lot of I/O into one small box,” Ryan explains before going into considerably more detail.
There’s also a look at the finished Sparco SPX seats.
Progress has been steady so far and while Ravi, Simo and co. aren’t showing any signs of stress just yet, it’s still going to be a challenge to get the car finished in time for SEMA at the start of November. The challenge has entirely been self imposed, and has only been made more difficult by standards they have set for themselves.
Still, if you want to create something worthwhile, this is the path you must follow.
New episodes of Backdate To The Future premiere on CSF Race’s YouTube channel every Friday.
Photos by Darrien Craven