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KALMAR 7-97 C1 launched – KALMAR Automotive breaks America

11.06.2024 By Richard Lindhorst
KALMAR 7-97 C1 launched – KALMAR Automotive breaks America

KALMAR Automotive is making waves in Porsche circles. The restorer of bespoke sports cars and special purpose built adventure vehicles, has already debuted a full roster of cars. They are designed to tackle everything from sweeping road routes to arid deserts, and everything in between. Now it is set to crack America with a car like no other – The KALMAR 7-97 C1. It is specially built for collector car specialist, Canepa, in California.

Together with Bruce Canepa, Jan Kalmar took the 7-97 concept even further

Led by 50-year old Danish adventurer, racer, passionate engineer and petrolhead Jan Kalmar, KALMAR Automotive is certainly not known for shying away from a challenge. The passion, skill and attention to detail of Jan and his skilled team is evident in everything the outfit releases from its impressive facility, located inside an FIA-grade racetrack in Europe. Therefore, when Jan and legendary car enthusiast, Bruce Canepa, put their heads together to build a 7-97, the results were always going to prove spectacular. 

Designed and engineered to pay tribute to the heritage and style of the iconic Porsche 911 ST of the 1970s, KALMAR Automotive’s 7-97 range combines timeless design with cutting-edge technology – all in entirely bespoke fashion. The C1 is one of the most impressive and uncompromising KALMAR 7-97 builds yet, named after the place it was created for – C for Canepa. It will be sold at Canepa’s Scotts Valley headquarters with further versions of the 7-97 set to follow in its tyre tracks. Now that the 7-97 C1 has landed Stateside, it has one simple mission: to show how a thoroughly engineered bespoke build moves the game on.

KALMAR 7-97 C1: the ultimate version of the car that started it all

Featuring modern-day performance enveloped in the body of a classic icon, the 7-97 is a driver’s car in every sense. Being the starting point for the KALMAR story, the 7-97 remains an important part of the firm’s current model line-up. Walking a fine line, the 7-97 balances the silhouette and romance of the classic air-cooled Porsche 911 with innovative, modern engineering, materials and technology. Entirely customizable, each 7-97 is unique, tailored to its owner, ensuring no two examples are alike. 

The C1 seeks to showcase the utterly bespoke nature of the 7-97. It demonstrates the full range of possibilities available to KALMAR Automotive customers. Based on the 964 or 993 platform, the 7-97 is available in four body styles – Classic, Cabriolet, Targa and RS-R. The 993-based C1 takes advantage of the lightest and stiffest body option ‘Classic’. Its coupé shell benefits from the removal of the donor 911’s rain gutters, affording it a clean, simplified and aerodynamic look. This  subtle, yet functional streamlining allows KALMAR’s 7-97 to achieve higher top speeds and improved stability. 

KALMAR Automotive’s latest 911 Backdate offers extensive aerodynamic updates to enhance performance and stability

The 7-97’s enhanced aerodynamics go further still. At the rear, the C1 has an engineered decklid and ducktail spoiler. Its effects – reducing lift and adding downforce – are proven by Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis. Such testing led to the advent of KALMAR Automotive’s own bonded glass solution. This further reduces drag and wind noise, while also increasing the car’s overall glass area.

Not even the windows remain original. KALMAR Automotive fits bespoke glass to their Porsche 911 Backdates named 7-97.

A significant engineering effort. It is just one of hundreds of improvements, KALMAR applies to each of its builds. The data backs up its efforts too. Compared with the base car, the 7-97 C1 creates 30 per cent more downforce on its front axle while reducing lift at the rear by 20 per cent. KALMAR Automotive’s optional cool ducktail rear spoiler alone offers a reduction in lift of 60 per cent.

Taking the 7-97 concept to its extreme is KALMAR Automotive’s Evergreen concept. This ultra sustainable version benefits from carbon dioxide-reducing bodywork. It’s made from lightweight flax fibre bodywork, the type usually only found on thoroughbred racing cars. It’s further evidence of the lengths KALMAR Automotive takes in the name of advancing the 911 narrative. 

The ‘Triple 4’ engine: 4.0 liter, 401 horsepower, 431 Nm of torque

KALMAR Automotive offers two engine options for the 7-97. The entry level boasts 313 horsepower, meaning there is no such thing as a 7-97 lacking in performance. Thanks to the no-compromise approach of its build sheet, the C1 gets the range-topping ‘Triple 4’ specification. Here the 4.0-litre engine has been engineered to produce 401 horsepower and 431 Nm of torque – 100 bhp per litre.

To achieve this level of performance, KALMAR Automotive joined forces with engine builder, Lorrtec, and exhaust expert, Celeritech. Together they tested different pistons, camshafts, equal length exhaust systems and intake manifolds. In the end, the team arrived at a configuration and calibration that met its target in a static dyno test – the magic ‘Triple 4’.

KALMAR Automotive’s 4.0 liter engine in the 7-97 C1 isn’t just pretty. It offers maximum drivability, a sound to die for and power north of 400 horsepower.

But the mission wasn’t just about hitting numbers. KALMAR’s engine for their 911 Backdate offers a highly drivable power band. It delivers torque at low revs, resulting in a thrilling and responsive driving experience up to its redline. Of course, there are finer technical details, including a 997-generation 911 crankshaft. To enhance responsiveness, KALMAR opted for a dual-mass flywheel, hydraulic lifters and drive-by-wire individual throttle bodies. Everything is controlled by a Motec ECU with OBD-II. To keep the engine in its optimum temperature range, you will find dual oil coolers on the 7-97. Indeed, the list is truly extensive.

Driving thrills are guaranteed with the KALMAR Automotive 7-97 C1’s agile chassis

To make the 7-97 C1 handle as well as it goes, KALMAR Automotive also uses highly innovative kit for the chassis setup. An adaptive active suspension system, lightweight ceramic braking setup, multi-link rear axle and six-speed gearbox transform the drive. In support come 17-inch lightweight three-piece split rims. To keep everything under control, KALMAR’s traction control system with Sport mode is on board as well. These combine to aid drivability while offering significant dynamic benefits on the road.

A technologically advanced electric adaptive power steering system is also included. But importantly this retains the car’s original steering feel, allowing drivers to stay in precise control without interference. A front axle lift system adds further usability. It raises the 7-97’s nose to make it more practical, even with obtrusive traffic calming measures. 

The 7-97 C1 by KALMAR takes Porsche 911 Backdates to a new level. Besides Carbon-Ceramic Brakes it even offers active suspension, which can be adjusted from the cockpit!

The aforementioned lightweight ‘race-like’ braking specification is also worth a note. It is non-assisted, making the car exceptionally responsive and retaining pedal feel. Taking things a stage further, though, the C1 has improved stopping capabilities thanks to its carbon ceramic brakes. These provide ultimate stopping power and remove any unwanted fade. As a cherry on the cake, they are much lighter than a conventional steel setup, reducing unsprung mass significantly. KALMAR Automotive’s Porsche 911 Backdate will therefore take fast road and track driving escapades – from canyon carving through California to taking on Monterey’s challenging Laguna Seca Raceway – in its stride.

Lightweight ethos meets modern convenience – The KALMAR 7-97 C1 interior

The process of “lightweighting” witnessed on the outside of the 7-97 C1, and regarding the mechanical aspects, continues inside. The C1’s cabin is stripped of non-essentials. However, those expecting inners devoid of creative comforts or luxury touch points can think again. A sumptuous full leather interior greets C1 passengers. Supportive Recaro sports seats are joined by a leather-clad trim. The original sound deadening materials have been stripped and replaced with an ultra-modern, lightweight and efficient multi-layer equivalent.

Modern convenience features include an electric air-conditioning unit. Needless to say, it’s housed in an ultra-low weight packaging. There’s also twin airbags and remote central locking. In the unlikely event that drivers should tire of listening to that melodic 4.0-litre flat-six engine, KALMAR got you covered as well. There’s a cleverly concealed Bluetooth audio system with hidden speakers and an active subwoofer and wireless charging. KALMAR even implemented rain sensing wipers which, alongside the modern Bi-LED headlights, make driving at night or in inclement conditions, a breeze.

KALMAR Automotive is fast becoming known for its “no stone left unturned” engineering approach, and a case in point are the buttons to open and close the front luggage compartment. This electronic “frunk” release is just like the one found on the very latest Porsche 911s. Its development story could fill a book by itself.

7-97 C1 – this is just the beginning…

While the C1 has been designed to showcase exactly what the 7-97 is all about, no two examples will be the same. In fact, customers are actively encouraged to let their imaginations run wild when it comes to designing their perfect 7-97. Impressive as the C1 is, the next 7-97 to land Stateside could look very different indeed. Each is offered with a long and extensive list of options, with possibilities including centrelock wheels, an additional carbon fibre package, even more leather inside, and more. When KALMAR Automotive says “anything goes”, it really does mean it!

What does a KALMAR Automotive 7-97 cost? How many will be built?

There’s no denying that the 7-97 is an exclusive beast. KALMAR Automotive builds no more than 12 during the course of a calendar year. They are created for customers all over the world. Given the bespoke nature of every car, prices vary depending on specification. However, pricing for the 7-97 range starts at €450.000 ($490,000 USD).

Canepa Group will act as KALMAR Automotive’s sole representative in North America. They will be part of a growing global network of dealers which stretches across Europe and Asia. For more information on the 7-97 range, and KALMAR Automotive, visit and

© Sergei Zjuganov

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