Reincarnation Magazine

Reincarnation Magazine
Continuation, Reproduction and Replica Automobiles
Rein Car Nation Cover Spring 2020
						Dimensia B2
Coming or Going

"Dimensia" by Mike Vetter of the Car Factory

Story and Photos by Joe Greeves

Creating a one-of-a-kind ride is a rare event that few enthusiasts ever even attempt, let alone accomplish. Most project cars are created from either a component package or by modifying an existing vehicle, personalized to our taste but with the source vehicle still somewhat recognizable.

Dimensia is anything but that! Inspired by the highly futuristic Lexus driven by a “pre-crime cop” played by Tom Cruise in the movie Minority Report, it is so unique that you can’t quite be sure whether this radical ride is coming or going. That odd visual is one of the things that car builder Mike Vetter liked about the design. He has been active in the replica and specialty car scene for more than two decades. Previously, he has built his share of Italian exotics based on stretched Fieros and other donors. Switching allegiance as the supply of Pontiac’s two-seater began to dwindle, Mike began investigating Porsche as a possible source.

Before long, his high-dollar Carrera GT replicas followed a similar plan, using a stretched Boxster donor chassis underneath those exotic German lines. Coming close to the best of both worlds, the GT combined supercar looks with genuine Porsche-level performance and the suite of Boxster amenities from the factory.

But Dimensia is a distinct departure from the rebodies of the past. Unable to take a mold from an existing car, Mike designed the body from scratch, beginning in 2001. Armed with nothing but photographs and a block of plastic foam for the buck, he set to work, giving his creative impulses free rein. But then reality set in.

The first delay in the construction process began with the amount of room inside. Mike is tall at 6 feet 1 inch, and wanted to ensure that the low-slung two-seater would have adequate headroom. It also meant that his new personal car would have room for his wife or his daughter — but not both. As a result, the project was put on the back burner in favor of other less-complicated designs that had room for the family.

Even so, from time to time Mike would return to the car, making changes, solving problems, and advancing the design. The original body shape went through a series of modifications, cut down the middle to make it wider and lengthened 14 inches to correspond to one of Mike’s stretched chassis, from a 2002 Porsche Boxster. The width of the chassis is stock, but spacers and wider wheels were added to match the new wider body.

All the Porsche amenities were retained, beginning with the DOHC 2.7-liter, 217 hp horizontally opposed six-cylinder Boxer engine and Tiptronic automatic transmission, along with all the standard Porsche safety and comfort features. Blending the two, Mike created a new tubular frame to support the handlaid fiberglass body, reinforced with 1-inch tubular steel and welded to the chassis in 20 locations for extra rigidity.

“I can go over train tracks at 70 miles an hour and there is no shaking or rattling,” Mike says with understandable pride. The car rolls on 20-inch aftermarket wheels found on eBay, deemed radical enough to fit the unique design. (But this is actually the third set of wheels he’s tried so far. Mike keeps adjusting until everything supports his vision for the car.) Looking through the spokes, the huge pizza-sized, 17-inch rotors are Mike’s own creation, and they’re coupled with a modified set of Ferrari 430 brake calipers. Mike cut them in half, stretched them until they were twice the original size, made a mold, and then added his own name in raised letters. The original Porsche discs are still there. They’re just hiding behind the cosmetic versions.

Once the basics were in place and the body was mounted to the chassis, the interior was next on the list. Entering through suicide doors, the driver and passenger perches came from a Honda S2000, modified to fit. On the driver’s side, the floor pan was cut and a well created to provide Mike with the additional headroom he needs.

Although visibility concessions have been made, multiple cameras located on the sides and rear feed twin monitors on the dash, giving the driver a surprisingly clear view of the surroundings. The Porsche air conditioning and entertainment center add to the enjoyment of a road trip.

What's the one comment about the finished car that Mike hears the most? The crazy design lives up to its name, since everyone wonders about which way is front and which way is back. Turns out that it was all intentional.

"I really wanted to create the look that it is going backward," he says with a smile. "It's part of the process of making the car into something completely different."

The sloped windshield and wide A-pillar begin the illusion, along with the unique cutouts on both the front and rear fenders. Mike created his own windshield (breaking a few in the process) and used rear quarter windows from a Chevrolet Cobalt. The suicide doors (another forward/backward confusion element) are actually the rear doors from a Lincoln Town Car.

Mike notes that the rear window was a little pricey, sourced from a late-model Jaguar. In this case, it was easier to shape the car to fit the windshield than the other way around.

Mock solar panels on the roof add to the mystery. Like the original Porshe, Dimensia has a rear spoiler that raises at 72 mph and tucks away at 42 mph. (For those still not certain which way is forward, here's a hint: look for the windshield wiper on the front, and license plate on the rear.)

The finishing touch is the highly unique graphic paint job, straight out of a Tron video game, created first with a rendering, then sprayed by Mike and his friend, Jerzey Dream. It's the perfect out-of-this-world element for this otherworldly ride.

Is this push me/pull you car (recall Dr. Doolittle's fanciful creature, the Pushmi-Pullyu with a head at each end) as much fun drive as it fascinating to look at? The Dimensia actually sits 2 inches lower than a modern Corvette.

"It's a ball to drive, just like a little go-kart, skimming along close to the ground," Mike proclaims. So far, the car is a one-of-one, with no plans to make another, although Mike has considered making a lookalike car — except that the next one would be configured to drive backward!

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