RE: Porsche 911 V8 Cabrio (996) | The Brave Pill

RE: Porsche 911 V8 Cabrio (996) | The Brave Pill

Saturday 7th September

Porsche 911 V8 Cabrio (996) | The Brave Pill

Dr. Frankenstein - we have found your sports car



Most of us will love both Porsche 911s and V8 engines. So what could be better than combining the two? Pill has previously featured various tweaked and tuned cars among the merely brave-for-being brave, but this week we enter a new and altogether scarier realm. This definitely isn't a gentle nip-and-tuck, rather a level of surgery which is normally conducted with chainsaws. Behold, the union between an otherwise innocuous 996 Cabrio and a GM LS376 crate engine.

Many will regard such an unlikely heart transplant as desecration, and the very idea of a 911 without a flat-six engine behind its rear axle as sacrilege. But Pill's mission is to celebrate the automotively courageous and this is definitely that. Just imagine the trolling potential of what, GT3 front bumper aside, is a stock-looking middle-aged 911 cabrio with both a big-cube V8 exhaust note and enough performance to blow a 996 911 Turbo into the weeds.

This isn't a new idea, of course, and the vendor of our Pill isn't the first person to have had it. People have been swapping new and unlikely engines into 911s for decades, some even managing to do so before the launch of the water-cooled versions made the plumbing considerably easier.


But now fate - and the unfortunate tendency of both 996 and some 997s to throw expensive engine problems - is creating a steady supply of cars in need of new powerplants. IMS and bore scoring are terms that owners normally only whisper while holding crucifixes, but when they strike they often leave a broken 911 that will cost most of or even more than their value to put right. The seller of our Pill doesn't say that's what has happened here, but given the base car's low mileage it seems likely. (This was also the backstory to the similar turbocharged conversion that PHer Argoose/ DT8R documented doing to a 997 Coupe a couple of years back.)

Our Pill does without turbos, but the rorty tune and 525hp output of the crate engine that was fitted 3000 miles ago means it has nearly twice the output of the original car, indeed more than a 996 GT2. GM's V8 has always offered a huge amount of bang-per-buck in terms of both power-to-weight and power-per-quid; it's actually lighter than the flat-six it replaces, and the engine occupies less space.

Successful engine swaps are about far more than just finding space for the new powerplant. Even motors that have come from somewhere else in a brand often cause problems; I was once asked to drive a GT-R engined 350Z which ran as if it was being fuelled on wasps and had a dashboard lit up like Oxford Street in December. Even a car with the limited electronic sophistication of this early 'noughties 911 is likely to need plenty of fiddling and fettling.


Our seller reports the car is running an aftermarket ECU which is able to talk to the 911's digital dash. They also assure potential buyers that the air-con is still blowing cold. But there is no mention of how the transplant has been integrated with the base 911's traction and stability control systems; the answer could well be "not at all." On the plus side, it's a Carrera 4 so there should be plenty of traction, and has a manual gearbox which will play nicer with the V8 than an OE autobox would.

Beyond the new engine there have been various other changes including freshened suspension, Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, high-performance brake pads and a modern aftermarket infotainment system. It also comes with a hardtop and storage stand for this.

There are a couple of other issues for the next buyer to take into consideration. Firstly, one of the most grizzly-looking MOT fail sheets we've seen in Pill history for the most recent test in June, which seems to have been the first since the V8 was fitted. The tester reported that the car's bonnet wouldn't stay closed - which was probably just a post-rebuild niggle - but the warning "emissions test not completed due to CO and lambda excessively high and vehicle exhaust running red hot" is altogether scarier. The car passed later the same day, so the problem must have been solved relatively easily. Still, not the most reassuring thing to see on the list.


The second problem is one that you've probably spotted already - the price. It's entirely possible the car owes its seller at least the Β£28,995 that is being asked for it given the scale of work that has been carried out, but we all know that isn't the way the market tends to value cars like this. The figure represents a substantial premium over what an original and unmolested version of the base car would cost, and is actually higher than some leggier 996 Turbos. It's a serious ask for something so eccentric, especially as it doesn't seem to include the GT3 front bumper that the car is currently wearing.

But to circle back to the reason we're here, it's certainly brave, although many will likely see it as being more of an over-gilded lily than a double-dose of awesomeness. Whoever does buy it will be getting something close to unique; at least none of your mates are likely to have something similar.


See the original advert here

Search for a Porsche 911 (996) here

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Author
Discussion

Billy_Whizzzz

Original Poster:

1,166 posts

88 months

Saturday 7th September
quotequote all
Yup that’s brave. The price if nothing else.

Venisonpie

411 posts

27 months

Saturday 7th September
quotequote all
If someone asked what's the ultimate 911 spec not to have this would be it.

Nerdherder

1,288 posts

42 months

Saturday 7th September
quotequote all
Pass! Very entertaining read though.

mooseracer

551 posts

115 months

Saturday 7th September
quotequote all
Venisonpie said:
If someone asked what's the ultimate 911 spec not to have this would be it.
Well, at least it is a manual.....

richthebike

485 posts

82 months

Saturday 7th September
quotequote all
Beat me to it! At least it's a manual smile
And some people want silver.
I'm not sure I'd post pictures of the car being thrapped around Spa if I was trying to sell, although that may reassure somebody that it actually works.

Price is fanciful regardless.

Scrump

5,900 posts

103 months

Saturday 7th September
quotequote all
It isn’t a GT3 bumper. It is a Carrera bumper with the extra RS holes cut into it.

Big GT

650 posts

37 months

Saturday 7th September
quotequote all
I've never really took the 911 seriously but with a LS V8 swap its very appealing.

Aside from the bumper I love this. Manual, cab and probably one of the fasted 911's on the market. I love it. Price will require bravery.




kett

44 posts

140 months

Saturday 7th September
quotequote all
The hallucinogenic pill. hippy

ianwayne

2,452 posts

213 months

Saturday 7th September
quotequote all
I've seen this before, linked to by a thread in the Porsche forum area, but damned if I can find it now!

Yacht Broker

2,946 posts

212 months

Saturday 7th September
quotequote all
The car is debatable for sure, but aside from that, surely I cannot be the only one to think it's a bit under the belt for pistonheads to publish an article which very clearly aims to scare people off buying a car which the owner has paid money to pistonheads to advertise. Interesting way to run a business.

Thornaby

392 posts

14 months

Saturday 7th September
quotequote all
That’s about double the price of a 996 cab.

Blue One

178 posts

124 months

Saturday 7th September
quotequote all
For me the biggest question (will read the ad to see if this is covered) is whether the gearbox/transmission can take the extra power. If it is a standard 996 box designed to take 300bhp that could be a nightmare job just waiting around the corner for a new owner.

In addition backend handling with.a heavy old V8 there could also make things interesting

Yacht Broker

2,946 posts

212 months

Saturday 7th September
quotequote all
Blue One said:
For me the biggest question (will read the ad to see if this is covered) is whether the gearbox/transmission can take the extra power. If it is a standard 996 box designed to take 300bhp that could be a nightmare job just waiting around the corner for a new owner.

In addition backend handling with.a heavy old V8 there could also make things interesting
The conversion has been done many times before (mainly in the US) and works well. I believe the 'wet' LS engine is even marginally lighter than the Flat 6.

It's probably one step too far for the conservative UK market, but on paper it makes plenty of sense. Great car, with chocolate engine chucked in the bin and replaced with a super-reliable lump kicking out stacks of power and shed loads of torque.

Big GT

650 posts

37 months

Saturday 7th September
quotequote all
Blue One said:
For me the biggest question (will read the ad to see if this is covered) is whether the gearbox/transmission can take the extra power. If it is a standard 996 box designed to take 300bhp that could be a nightmare job just waiting around the corner for a new owner.

In addition backend handling with.a heavy old V8 there could also make things interesting
I believe (as the article also mentions) the LS V8's are slightly lighter than the Porsche engines.



Gameface

9,684 posts

22 months

Saturday 7th September
quotequote all
Yacht Broker said:
The car is debatable for sure, but aside from that, surely I cannot be the only one to think it's a bit under the belt for pistonheads to publish an article which very clearly aims to scare people off buying a car which the owner has paid money to pistonheads to advertise. Interesting way to run a business.
Yes, rather disingenuous.

I wouldn't be happy if it were mine.

Gameface

9,684 posts

22 months

Saturday 7th September
quotequote all
Blue One said:
In addition backend handling with.a heavy old V8 there could also make things interesting
Didn't read the article did you...

MB140

1,790 posts

48 months

Saturday 7th September
quotequote all
Blue One said:
For me the biggest question (will read the ad to see if this is covered) is whether the gearbox/transmission can take the extra power. If it is a standard 996 box designed to take 300bhp that could be a nightmare job just waiting around the corner for a new owner.

In addition backend handling with.a heavy old V8 there could also make things interesting
The V8 is lighter than the flat 6 it replaces. It would be transmission issues that would worry me with that power hike.

That and the fanciful price tag. Maybe at a push £20k. I’ve already been bitten by Porsche bore scoring. It’s made me very weary of buying another Porsche despite my heart constantly telling me to buy 1.

I would love an early 996 3.4 in great condition but the thought of another borked engine always stops me.

ajprice

16,430 posts

141 months

Saturday 7th September
quotequote all
Is the DT8R 911 V8 turbo from this thread still around? https://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?h=0&...

Mike335i

2,509 posts

47 months

Saturday 7th September
quotequote all
I like the idea, save an old Porsche by giving it a V8. I wouldn't pay £28k mind, but I do like it.

Sandpit Steve

258 posts

19 months

Saturday 7th September
quotequote all
Err, a rare pass on this pill.

It’s not a bad idea as a concept, and I’m sure it’s a complete hoot when it’s running right - as evidenced by the trip to a well known place in Belgium in the advert.

But this is a home made one, way over priced and likely to be a store of some very weird and esoteric issues in the future thanks to the custom electrics and ECUs. That MoT failure especially is a massive red flag, as is the lack of mention of upgrades to the rest of the drivetrain.
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