Friday, July 10, 2015

Flat-12 Powered: Custom Porsche 917/10 Can-Am Tribute

Here are the three most important facts you need to know about this hand-built, Subaru-powered Porsche 917 tribute : 1. It isn't a Laser. 2. It isn't complete. 3. It has "two Subaru Tribeca engines bolted together to make a 12 cylinder boxer." The project lit up the internet when it first listed on eBay last August for $40,000. Today, it's just looking for an offer. Find this custom Porsche 917/10 Can-Am replica for sale in Hartford, CT for "best offer" via craigslist.

On paper, this project probably looked pretty good. Its Porsche credentials include 911 RSR taillights, a 914 steering rack, a 91-inch wheelbase (true to the original), and of course the flat-12 engine consisting of two Subaru Tribeca six-cylinder boxer engines bolted together at the crankshaft. Its stacked performance credentials are just as stacked: 250 horsepower per engine bolted to a tube-frame chassis with Corvette-sourced suspension. Subaru's five-speed auto sends power to the fat rear tires. So far, so good, right?

The seller, from another source: "I have the front engine set at TDC on cylinder one and the rear engine set on TDC for cylinder 6. I have the injector and coil wires spliced so both cylinders will fire at the same time." Running two engines from one engine management system is bound to result in creative problem solving and questionable engineering. Further digging into the seller's situation reveals an honest cry for help (and more information and pictures) on a WRX forum. Faced with the daunting task of mating two sophisticated engines with Active Valve Control Systems and Variable Valve Lift, our intrepid builder reached out to multiple sources of help before finally throwing in the towel. 

From the forum: "I'm burned out but still trying to finish all these cars so I can go live on an old boat or in a van. I'm 64 and getting tired of this." It's not right to criticize someone's self-efficacy as it relates to a project like this, so let's talk about this as a money management lesson. This individual built his first homemade car from scratch with minimal past automotive experience because he "couldn't afford to buy a kit." With that one still incomplete, he started, and subsequently surrendered to, two additional cars, both of which are also for sale. Maybe the plan is to fund an additional project (note the Jaguar MkX in the pictures). Maybe it's isolationism retirement. You can determine for yourself by watching his three YouTube videos, here, here, and here, or when you call him up to discuss a purchase price. Hey, all it needs is the wiring harness plugged in and you've got a 500-horsepower Porsche tribute!

See a better proposition for a high-po tribute? Email

PhiLOL actually likes the tuna here, but abhors structural rust. Save the manuals.


  1. wow this man was very enthusiastic and had a lot of patience and energy to attempt a project which almost killed Porsche when they first introduced the 917 and it flew and was a pig to handle and finally tame! 12 cylinder engines are very difficult and expensive to tune. As Jaguar, BMW and Mercedes owners have found out, especially when using multiple ECM's for each 6 and keep them in balance. I am amazed that he got this far....

    1. 9/18/16 Looks like Motec will be running these engines with their M800 computer firing one cylinder in each engine at the same time. The auto transaxle is being switched for a manual as a shifter cable system is now available. This engines/trans combo was way ahead of it's time.

  2. Someone go offer 10k for it then just put a LS or a proper porsche drivetrain in it. That auto kills the whole point of this thing.


  3. Subaru engines seem a little complicated for a project like this, and trying to adapt the original engine management system by splicing two together seems way harder than starting from scratch.

    I wonder why nobody has started a business selling kits to adapt various V12 engines to run without the manufacturer's computer controls. It seems like there are an awful lot of cheap BMW V12 engines out there that would be useful if they were converted to megasquirt EFI or carbs.

    1. Hugh-

      There are several way to control V!2 w/ standalone electronics- Megasquirt has the MS3Pro that will do sequential Fuel injection and 12 Coil on plug via wasted spark. However- it's one of least expensive pieces at $1300.

      Another problem is the few and far between transmission options to run - as most are automatics requiring ANOTHER $1K to control it

      I've converted a BMW V12 w/ ITBs and Tremec TKO 5 Speed- doing all the machine work myself- and wiring it was still not inexpensive or easy....

      [url=][img][/img][/url][url=]DSCN5168[/url] by [url=]Richard Hayes[/url], on Flickr

    2. The 917 had a 12 cylinder boxer engine. There was no way I was going to put a Porsche 6 or V12 in it like others are doing. The Subaru engines were designed in conjunction with Porsche. I chose the auto box because the shifter was on the right as was my shift lever. Now that a cable shifter is available, I am switching to manual. The Subaru engines are very short and allow a wheelbase that is only 1" longer than the 917's. Porsche engines are much longer not to mention 4 times the cost. Motec is programming a computer to run the engines as I have designed.


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