Despite its high cost — think $30,000+ for an assembled engine — the ultra-trick flat four appealed to Pomares for its weight, packaging, 200-hp potential, and strength. He didn’t have the budget to build a four-cam 356 Carrera engine, and was wary of purchasing a hot VW or custom Type IV powerplant producing more than 175 hp on a crankcase designed to support no more than 100 hp.
After committing to a 2.4-liter Polo flat four with electronic fuel injection, Pomares began his search for a suitable chassis. When he asked Dean Polopolus if he knew of any candidates, he was told, “I know of one that would be perfect.” That 912 was located in Morro Bay, California — about two hours north of where Pomares has a second home in Carpenteria.
When Pomares drove up to look at the car, he found a beautiful Bahama Yellow 1967 912 with mostly original paint. The car had covered just 92,000 miles, and the paint was still shiny. The original owners, Larry and Linda Shepard, had just sold the pretty 912 to Craig Smith, a local Porsche mechanic. There were no signs of rust, and the car still had its five-speed 901 transmission as ordered. Pomares went for the deal.
WHILE POLOPOLUS WORKED ON THE ENGINE, Pomares created a list of what he felt the chassis would need. That list never seemed to shrink over the following two years, this despite the fact that parts were being installed as quickly as the UPS man could deliver them.
“Almost everything is custom-built to have the same look as the era in which this car was originally made,” says Pomares, who readily admits he’s gone overboard this time. “People have asked me my whole life why I do what I do. I’ve never felt the need to fit in. I’ve always asked in return, ‘Why didn’t someone do this before?’”
He proved his need to buck traditional thinking by completely disassembling the bench-like front seats and redesigning them for more support and safety. The side bolsters were reinforced up top for more torso comfort while the sides of the lower cushions were built up for more support.
“Before the seats were modified, I felt like I was sitting on a marshmallow,” says Pomares. He also replaced the 1967 headrest bars with stainless-steel stanchions that attach at four reinforced points, and then designed a much stronger hinge for reclining and folding the seats. He commissioned Auto Weave Upholstery in Denver to rebuild and recover the semi-buckets. To add a European flair to the cabin, a Scottish Buchanan tartan plaid pattern was selected by Martha. New three-point seatbelts finish the seating improvements.
Pomares had North Hollywood Speedometer rebuild the original five-gauge cluster, an option on 912s. The gauge next to the tachometer is now a combo unit with readings for volts, oil temperature, oil pressure, and fuel level. The speedometer has been converted from a top speed of 120 to 150 mph, and there’s an outside temperature gauge at the far left. The tachometer has a red zone starting at 7200 rpm, with a red needle in place of the stock green one.