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Hi Guys,

Spent the last month or so building this car...quite a different and unique challenge for me on several fronts. :)

The car is a 2006 Porsche 997 Cabriolet, built up over the past year by the customer into quite a stunning show piece. Among other mods, the car stands out with its two tone Orange and Black color scheme, which is present on both the exterior and the interior in the form of painted panels, trim pieces, and leather upholstery.

Part of the idea was to honor the SF giant's world series win last year by carrying the team's colors, but to me, it also reminds me of the paint scheme available on the GT3 RS...but done a bit more tastefully:



So let us take a look at the exterior of the car first in all her glory:











 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Onto the goals and challenges of the install:

1. To design and build a system that compliments the theme of the car. To me this means a good combination of showiness and wow factor but also somehow reserved, still holding something back. Here we made a decision that would prove to be a challenge during the build:

Instead of using the traditional front trunk to house the majority of the gear, we decided to remove the backseat completely and use that space for the install. This brings with it several advantages, chief among which is the ability to still carry things upfront (backseat is useless anyway), and be able to directly influence the shapes and colors of the interior design…but it does make for a pretty complex design.

2. To create a system that can be audible when driving and moving at highway speeds. Now this may seem a bit strange, but when you consider that there are almost nothing stunting the exhaust gases between the tail pipes and the engine...you may understand what I mean. :) This could perhaps be THE LOUDEST car I have ever worked on.

To help you understand what I mean, I made a little video, first with my ipad sitting in the car as the engine was started and given a few quick revs. And then of the car pulling away under some throttle going down the street:

Loudness measurement of Simplicity In Sound Project 997 Cabrio - YouTube

Basically, the car idles at around 80-82db! and quick revs instantly brings that up to over 90db...on the highway under power, the noise level would be over 100db!...:eek:

3. To build a system that can have pretty good sound quality when you put the top up and turn the engine off. In fact, the car will be at a few upcoming SQ comps...it has its limitations being a convertible...but it should have a respectable showing.

So to sum it up: Showy but clean, backseat delete, can stay undistorted and get VERY loud, and yet still retain good subtle SQ characteristics.

Before I start, I wanna make sure to THANK the following people who helped me out greatly:

• Scott Baughman for once again helping me setup a deal with Focal/Mosconi...and to provide me with support throughout the build.
• Nalaka and Duane from Orca for all their technical and sponsorship support
• Andy Wehmeyer for his advice and tips on setting up the MS-8
• Loi at Euromotorpseed for building an awesome dash mounting kit
• Various installer friends for their insight and experience on working with the 997 Cabrio
• Lars for allowing me the pleasure to work on his prized possession.

Let’s get started with the build.

The signal starts with an Alpine INA-W910 all-in-one navigation headunit, it is installed with a terrific dash kit made by euromotorspeed. I gave the bezel to the customer's painter so he can match it to the rest of his interior pieces, which have been painted orange:



I also installed a Boyo VTL275 license plate frame backup-camera, let me tell ya, running wires through the car to the engine bay is not a lot of fun :) And yeah the Porsche sticker is off set a lil to the left, that’s already been fixed since this pic was taken.



And the view from the inside:



I ran the USB/IPod cable to his glove box, so he can have the option of playing either media formats:

 

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The front stage consists of a set of Focal k2p 165 KRX3 6.5" 3-way component set. We chose this set for a few reasons, but chief among which is its ability to generate a lot of output while still remaining linear. A good choice to cut through all that noise when driving down the road.

The midbass drivers were installed into the stock lower door locations...the doors first received their layer of sound proofing, and new speaker cables were routed into them:



Next two baffles were built out of MDF and then coated with truck bedliner to protect them against the elements:





The baffle was then bolted to the door with original hardware:



The MASSIVE k2p midbass was then wired up:



And installed into the door:



 

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The same procedure was performed on the passenger side:











The 3" midrange and tweeters were molded into the stock A pillars. Here for a change I made the pillars as low profile as possible and generally follow the angle of the OEM piece. To me, facing the k2P tweeter really off axis isn’t a bad idea sometimes, but also, being that this is a show car, I wanted to keep the pod as clean looking as possible. Even with just a full 90 degree off axis configuration and the speakers facing each other, it would have produced a pretty big bulge at the front of the pod - ugly.

The pods were wrapped in the same black leather the interior was done in, and around the two drivers is a plastic trim piece painted the same orange as the rest of the interior...I know it looks darker in the pics but that’s really just the angle of the light:







 

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Pulling back a bit to show the pillars with the rest of the interior:





Here is the build process for the A-pillars:

First, I took apart the mounting pods that the KRX3 set came with, retaining only the top baffle. I then traced and cut out two sets MDF mounting baffles that are 1/8" larger all around (to accommodate the thickness of the leather).

Here you see the MDF pieces in the middle, the plastic mounting baffle from the focal kit to the left, and the complete mounting pod on the right, for reference:



A flush mounting wall was then built up using low heat plastic:



The leather was stripped from the OEM A pillar, holes cut and the mounting baffles secured at identical angles:



Mold cloth was pulled, resin applied, allow to cure, and a duraglass/resin milkshake was poured into the pod making them extremely strong:



The entire thing was then filler-ed and sanded smooth to blend it all in:



 

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Discussion Starter #6
And wrapped with black leather:







Here are the two Focal mounting baffles back from paint also done in orange:



The speakers were wired up and then popped into the baffles:



From here on, it’s simply about mounting these into the A pillars and you end up with what you saw earlier.

I also chose to rewire the OEM 3" center channel to run off the internal amp of the MS8; as I feel that any lil bit of center helps with the ms8's overall imaging:

 

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Next comes a few pics of the wiring bundles as they travel from the front to the back of the car. The power cable comes down the driver side, and all signal/speaker wires are down the passenger side:













Onto the rear speakers. Normally I don't even do rears, or with the ms8, I would just leave the OEM rears in running off the processor. The 997 has a pair of 3" components in the rear side panel; but a 3" replacement set is never going to generate the kind of output we need to overcome the car's extremely loud noise levels. So instead, I decided to mold in some pods for a set of Focal K2P 165 KRC two way coaxials. This way, they can still be quiet when in Logic 7 mode of the MS8, but can be brought to full volume for additional output simply by turning the MS8’s L7 off.

First glass was laid down on the rear panels around the OEM speaker grilles:



Once they were cured, the molds were removed from the panel and trimmed to the desired shape. They generally follow the contour of the OEM panel and its leather/carpet joint line:



Ring baffles with flush mounting rings were made up and everything was test fitted on the OEM panel. I also at this time drilled a bunch of holes through the fiberglass back mold and stock panel:

 

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A bunch of cap bolts were then threaded through the holes in the back mold, and secured with HD epoxy, these will act as mounting points for the pod:



The ring baffles were then attached:



Grille cloth pulled and resined, reinforced from the inside with duraglass/resin mixture and also some modeling clay:



The shapes were then filler-ed and sanded smooth:



And wrapped in the same orange leather as the rest of the interior:



The pods were then secured to the OEM panels with washers and lock nuts:





A bit of sound proofing also went on the back panel:



The passive crossovers tucked away and the wires lead up to their proper locations:



The speaker wired up:

 

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Now, moving onto the main course. As mentioned before, the backseats area was cleared for the amps, subs and processor. Back in the planning stages, I sorta made a rookie mistake when taking measurements and over estimated how much room I had…and was under the impression that I had a few more inches of width than I actually did..until I started laying things out..So everything ended up being VERY tight back there hehe, requiring a lot of precision and do-overs.

So this is what I came up with...the one slight gripe I have is that the customer's upholster, who did a fine job on the rest of the car, to could have done a slightly better job on the stitching of the bottom trim panel...maybe we will redo it in the long run.

As you can see, the two tone black and orange theme carries on, but this time joined by a third color - silver/metallic. My idea was to have nothing but these three colors throughout the build.

Against the back wall is the amp rack, housing 4 Mosconi amps in very close proximity to each other. Starting from the passenger side, a 100.4 sends 100 watts to each mid/tweeter combo upfront and to each rear mounted coaxial, two 100.2s are in the middle sending 500 watts bridged at 2ohms to each subwoofer, and a 200.2 powers the door mounted midbass with 200 watts RMS.

On the floor, two Focal 27V2 11" subwoofers are inverted firing into .5 cubic foot sealed enclosures, while the JBL MS8 processor is in between. Everything carries a flush mounted theme, with slant routs on all the openings. Four ultra bright Orange LED flood lights from oznium.com are molded into the side surfaces of the bottom trim panel, and the display for the MS8 is molded into the front fascia. I also did some orange mesh trim at the front, mirroring the same mesh on the front bumper of the car. I know that a downward/loaded enclosure may get slightly better bass response, but the goal here was always to show case the subs in plain view…not to mention I don’t think we had the space to do a downward firing subbox…but I think inverting them actually does help a lil with the output response of them…as the subbass is quite nice and in fact louder with the top down.

Anyway, enough talk, I will just let the pics to the talking:



















 

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Here I want to take some very close ups of the fit and finish around the amps. This was extremely difficult to get right as things were really really tight. Its one thing for the lines to look good from a few feet away, but I want to show close up of the work...it took me several tries to get it right and I am quite proud of how it came out.





Here is the look with the seats at their normal driving positions:





Now, onto those LED flood lights. The car already has some orange interior accent lights, and the customer wanted some lighting back there. Due to the lack of space, there was no way to do the traditional edge lit Plexiglas design. So I gave it some thought and went with these orange LED floods. And let me tell you, they are BRIGHT!

Here is the view in a darkened garage:













What I really like is that when reflected off the magnet, it turns them into orange colored as well.
 

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Now comes the build pics for the back.

I wanna apologize before hand, in accidentally deleted about a handful of pics of the build process on the sub enclosures...so you may have to just use your imagination on that part :)

First order of the day was to figure out a way to secure the amp rack to the back wall. The OEM carpeted panel was nothing more than a flimsy cardboard concoction. So I made up this panel out of MDF to act as the main anchoring point. The cutouts in the center were purely meant to save some weight:



With all the corresponding holes cut and threaded inserts installed, this panel was then secured to the factory partition panel with epoxy and staples.



Next, I completely removed the rear seat belt mechanisms, and then tapped threaded holes, four to each side, into the heavy duty mounting frames on either side of the car.





Here are the 8 bolts that will be used to secure the foundation board:



I also took time to ground the main cable to the same frame using an OEM bolt:



Next, the foundation piece was bolted in with the 8 bolts and two OEM screws, each bolt was secured with lock washer and washer, along with some threadlocker. Now we have a solid plane to mount the equipment:



 

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Next I build up the mounting baffle for all the amps, with all the holes measured out and tapped, and side supports installed:







Next I secured two pieces of MDF to act as mounting for the K2P passive crossovers. They are angled to match the shape of the floor. I also painted the top portion of the panel black, so that no bare wood color would seep through the Mosconi amp's slatted covers.







This panel was then bolted to the foundational board using about 15 cap bolts, which goes into the threaded inserts I installed earlier into the foundation board:



 

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Next, the two crossovers were installed, wired up. All the barrier strips were also wired up at this time and signal/power cables organized:









To match the silver black and orange theme, I took the Mosconi amps out of their outer casing and painted the cases silver:



And then each amp was reassembled back together:









 

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Next came the fun process of installing the amps and wiring them up. Due to the extremely limited space between all the gear, this task too me almost two full days to figure out...redoing things several times when I realized a better routing method can be had...but here is the final result.

If you look closely, there is some method in all that madness. Every wire is bundled and secured every few inches, and power/signal cables were kept apart as much as possible on the mid/high amps:









This is the trim panel for the amps, before and after being wrapped in orange leather, and the installed into the car:







This is the back top trim panel before and after black leather, and then installed into the car:





 

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Now for the bottom portion of the build.

First a mold was taken of the entire floor section with a dozen layers of cloth:





Once that cured, the mold was carefully trimmed to the desired shape:



A top panel mounting board was made out of 1/8" hardboard with 3/4" spacers, and secured to the bottom mold, making sure that it sits at a precisely level orientation:





Next the mounting platform was secured full into the mold with duraglass and filler:





Next the top mounting baffles for the sub box were built, the edges rabetted slightly:



And bonded to the back mold with strips of MDF spacers. This may look simple but took me the better part of a day to do...as the top baffles HAD to be perfectly flat, at the exact height more or less with each other, and also light up precisely with the opening on the amp rack's cutout...or nothing will look right down the road:



 

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The entire structure was then removed from the car:



Here is where I accidentally deleted a few pics...but basically, mold cloth was pulled, resin applied, allow to harden, and the box reinforced from the inside. Everything was then trimmed and sanded smooth. Mounting hole for the subs cut out, and the top panel wrapped with orange leather.

This is what I ended up with, note the clips for mounting the top trim panel.










This was then loaded into the car, the way it’s shaped, it’s almost impossible to lift out of the car without flexing both side up, the weight of the two boxes squeezes down on the middle, making the entire structure very secure. I added a few strip of HD Velcro anyway at the OEM seat mounting points.

The MS8 was then installed and wired up:





The bottom trim panel also took a lot of time to figure out. First, pieces of 1/2" and 3/8" MDF was oriented in the car at precise angles to match the cutout of the amp rack. Once I was satisfied with all the pieces being at the right dimensions, I made the cutouts for the subs.

Next, I arranged them in the car and quickly glued them together with wood glue and a strip of CA glue on top. Basically praying for no wind and steady hands or it would all crumple before the glue had a change to dry.

Once the bond was strong enough, I took the entire structure out of the car and nailed it all together with 3/4" nails:



 

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Next I secure a front panel to the piece, which follows the contours of the floor, and made the cutouts for the mesh and molded in the opening for the ms8's display. I also made the cut out for the MS8 at this time.







Next, the holes were cut out for the LED floods:





And the mounting rings for the floods secured at proper angles:





Everything was then blended in and ready for leather:



 

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With the complex shape of the panel, I had to get it stitched, so I dropped the piece off at the customer's upholstery shop, and a few days later, I got it back. They secured the leather to the front and top surfaces, while I did all the cutouts and edges. It’s not bad, the folded creases can be a little cleaner at the stitching.







Next the LED floods were mounted to the panel, wires routed, and the MS8's display also figured out:







The orange mesh was then attached:

 
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