I like to think that a lot of us have had and even idealized the concept this car represents… even the most inexpensive specimen of a relatively humble vehicle can turn into something spectacular with the right application of elbow grease, and an irresponsible initial investment. Major conversion cars like Dave’s hold an allure to a lot of us but oftentimes wind up on hold when we run out of money, talent, significant other’s patience and understanding, family that understands we haven’t lost our minds, or a myriad of reasons. Dave’s car, however, is the exception to that rule. Under the guise of a relatively unassuming, high mileage Porsche Cayman, Dave’s car is hiding a relatively impressive party trick; namely, a 4.2 liter bored-up version of the 3.8 liter motor from the 997.1 911S, built to within an inch of its life.

Now, a sleeper is no fun when everyone knows it really isn’t a sleeper, and this car suffers a bit from that conundrum. I like to think Dave puts the “Casual” in casualty, as the majority of our readers likely know him as “Dave the Insurance Guy”. That’s Correct … if you didn’t previously know him or the car’s striking flat grey and red livery didn’t tip you off, Dave is in the insurance field, and Dave and the car regularly visit events all over the Denver and Castle Rock area, if they’re not the host of the show itself. Dave is a laid-back guy who often offers advice on insurance situations to the readers of Colorado car pages on Facebook, and also a Founder of Mayhem Racing Charities, an organization that puts on events in the name of raising money for Colorado-based charitable causes through responsible automobile enthusiast events, including car shows, rallies, and ill-advised chicken wing eating contests (pro tip: Skip the last one, if you don’t like your poultry by the pound). The car, therefore, serves as a poster child for the cause, and if the 2007 Cayman it was a relatively attractive car before, the car is eye-searingly conspicuous with the application of a livery wrap by DECO tint in Arvada. Adding to the car’s overall presentation are 19″ wheels, and a modest drop accomplished with a set of H&R Coilovers.

The car’s stance looks quite good, while maintaining street ability nor being too low to use every day. How this all connects to the introduction comes back in a roundabout way. When Dave started to assemble his project, he went out looking for the highest mileage Cayman coupe he could find, eventually landing on a car with over 182,000 miles, and some fairly concerning troubles. The car was taken immediately from its old home to one of Dave’s friends, and the transplant was completed before the car was rehomed to Denver in 2018. I also said Dave is casual before, and I mean that. Dave handed us the keys to his car, and suggested we think of Christmas. It wasn’t immediately clear, until we lowered ourselves into the car’s GT3 bucket seats, and slotted the key into the ignition, and were greeted with a Christmas miracle of a light display, typical of even well-executed swaps. Much like any Christmas over the age of 12, the light show was easily forgotten when I started to drive the car. The car is low, and speed bumps are to be navigated with diplomacy. 

The brakes are still stock, and judgment is suggested in deciding when to get into the car’s loud-pedal, which is floor-hinged and maintains the peculiar Porsche feel that always comes with floor-hinged pedals. Once you do bury it, however, the car responds uniquely. In the lower RPMs, the car is still somewhat lackadaisical, almost sedate. Continue to hold the revs until the mid 3000’s, however, and the car delivers a ton of torque, and the car takes off like a scalded animal. That’s a tired reference, but oh yeah… we’re shovin’ now. The extra displacement makes itself known, in a non-subtle way, and I can’t help but imagine what this would be like on a track, kept within its powerband, and with the freedom (if not responsibility) to open the tap all the way. The car maintains all of the qualities that made the first generation of the Cayman great, including nimble predictable handling in a lightweight 2-seat package. It’s undeniably fun to drive! Dave uses the car for events, but also regularly for daily duty, including groceries and even allegedly date nights with his wife, in spite of the significant amount of missing interior. Importantly, this car shows what a well-executed swap car can be like. It shows both the glamorous and unglamorous side of swap cars; the highs of that motor barking out staccato notes over the Denver Tech Center on a warm July evening, offset by needing to set a calendar invite to use the brakes, or the rough edges in integrating with the car’s systems that result in warning light Christ m as. The car isn’t perfect, no, but in chasing perfection, Dave has still wound up with something uniquely fun and endearing.