For almost 50 years, the Porsche 911 has been hailed as the king of the sports cars. But for Hassaan Abdeen, that title held no muster. He wanted performance, but it had to come from in front of the rear axle, not behind.
“I’ve always fancied mid-engine handling,” says the Jordanian resident of Saudi Arabia. “No 911 could come close. So I bought a 2006 Cayman S.”
However, the power delivered by Porsche’s mid-engined little beasty wasn’t enough to satisfy Hassaan’s need for speed. He believes it to be deliberately underpowered by Porsche so as not to tread on the 911’s toes. No, if he was to get the mid-engined Porsche of his dreams, he’d have to build it himself.
The car had been a 37th birthday present to himself in 2009, but after a year of being frustrated by the dearth of horses behind him, Hassaan splashed out on a TPC Racing turbocharging kit for his 38th in 2010. The stage 2 package promised 550bhp, but when it was installed in Riyadh, it didn’t come out as planned.
“[The dealer] did a horrible job and ended up costing me an arm and a leg,” Hassaan remembers. “The car didn’t run right or deliver the promised power.”
A drastic solution was required – Hassaan had the car shipped to TPC in Maryland, USA early in 2011 to fix all the issues with the kit. But while it was there, he also had them rebuild the engine, boring out the flat six to 3.7 litres from the standard 3.4 and fitting machined sleeves and forged pistons and connecting rods. The originally planned mods went on too: a lightweight flywheel and X51 clutch, stainless steel high-flow catted race headers with exhaust insulation, an electronic boost controller (displayed on an LED boost metre inside), and a remapped ECU. In addition, spark plugs from a GT3 Cup car were added, along with a centre radiator kit, upgraded oil exchanger and a TRAKPak air oil separator. TPC also added some of its own anti-roll bars and adjustable toe rods before shipping it back to Saudi.
The result, with boost control enabled, is a Cayman with a massive 620bhp, and 515 at the wheels (which, incidentally, were painted matt grey by Saudi firm By Design). And one very happy owner – even in the hot Arabian winter, when Hassaan switches the boost control off, it still makes 550bhp.
“It drives much more fun, very tail happy of course, even while driving uphill,” Hassaan says. “I call her Balboni after the 2WD Gallardo that’s mad as hell. In first gear it does continuous burnouts under hard acceleration, therefore it’s not my favorite gear. In second gear it does wheel spin under hard acceleration halfway through the gear. My favorite gear is third where it smoked a DB9, 996 GT2 and a Z06 ‘Vette. I can’t wait for the winter to start again to go back to 620 and try it with racing fuel. I have no clue how mad it may get then. The best thing about it is that its rear wheels break loose while its nose stays forward nailed to the pavemen – that’s a mid-engine superiority!”