While I was at Estonia’s Audruring race track this winter, I spotted four safari-style Porsches parked outside a pit box-based business.
Before this, I thought that the only place I’d see a rally-spec 911 would be in its spiritual home – on the streets of Los Angeles. Who’d have known there were enthusiasts in Estonia developing these cars track-side…
I contacted Kalmar Automotive, and asked for a small tour around their workshop. The owner and visionary Jan Kalmar wasn’t in the country – he travels back and forth to Denmark – but his friendly mechanics were more than eager to introduce me to their cars and operation.
The Porsches that are built and serviced in this humble facility are real workhorses, designed and engineered to withstand the harsh realities of the wilderness and extreme weather conditions. A typical Kalmar RS 911 is based on an air-cooled 993 or a 964 model and modified with custom heavy-duty suspension, underbody protection, and a refurbished flat-six engine.
The business is driven by Kalmar Automotive’s sister company, Beyond Adventure, which organizes extreme terrain driving trips for a mostly wealthy clientele. Beyond Adventure transports its 911 fleet to Lapland or Andes – or any other remote location – so participants can take part in a real endurance trial, with experienced instructors along for the ride when help is required.
So what started a specialized car rental business has now flourished into something much bigger.
While the cars parked outside were special enough, the black 911 I was introduced to inside is something else. This is Kalmar’s ultimate ‘Safari’ vehicle, featuring carbon fiber doors and roof, a different set of custom bonnet lights, carbon-Kevlar underbody protection, and a number of small and unique ‘outlaw’ Porsche touches.
It’s not just safari-spec machinery either, but before I show you another car in the works, I need to segue to the build that put Kalmar Automotive on the map in the first place. It started four years ago with a phone call: ‘Can you build a Porsche for Tom Kristensen?’. The answer was yes, resulting in Jan and his team working with the nine-time Le Mans winner to bring his vision to life.
Officially it’s called 7-97 #0 (Tom Kristensen’s Le Mans-winning Joest Porsche WSC-95 had the racing number #7, and the win came in 1997). Based on a 964 chassis, this backdate build was influenced by lightweight 911R and 911ST models from the ’60s.
The white car under construction is another 964 from 1990 (just like the #0 car), but this one is in a way a production model with a #1 code in its name. There’s still a long way to go with the build, but I’ll be sure to feature it here once it’s finished. Right now you can only see a glimpse of the level of craft and customization involved with restomodding a 911 the Kalmar way.
Exquisite attention to detail, new parts everywhere, and the magical analog feel of a Porsche flat-six – you really have to try one out to understand the special sensation you get from pushing the gas pedal in a Kalmar RS 911. And this is exactly what I did for an entire weekend. Stand by for that story…