Photo: Bradley Brownell

It might seem a little hyperbolic to say that driving any car changed my life, but the automobile is such a big part of my life, of all of our lives, that driving a truly great one can be transcendent. Sure, it’s not the same feeling as your wedding day, or the day your child is born, but it’s a memory that sticks to your bones. There is sure to be an experience in every enthusiast’s life that they’ll never forget. I want to hear yours.

A few years ago, when I was still a relatively new automotive writer, I was afforded the opportunity to drive this 987-generation Porsche Cayman on some decent roads outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. I recall that it was a very hot and miserable day, otherwise. That day, though, completely changed my automotive life. It remains the best car I’ve ever driven, and I’ll never forget how it felt.

There is a shop in Las Vegas called Renegade Performance. They took the Carroll Shelby method to heart, popping one of the best American V8s into a lighter and more nimble European chassis. That engine being a near-600 wheel horsepower version of Chevrolet’s LS V8, and that chassis being Porsche’s 987 Cayman. The combination worked as perfectly as the peanut butter/chocolate mashup in a Reese’s cup.

A Cayman is an exquisite chassis, but Porsche is continually hamstringing it in favor of the rear-engine icon 911. That great chassis is never allowed its full potential from the factory. By putting 600 horsepower between the rear quarter panels, Renegade made a Cayman that can’t be beat. The handling isn’t disturbed, because the all-aluminum LS engine doesn’t weight all that much more than a stock flat six. It’s the best of all worlds. You can have your muscle car go-fast mixed with your German sports car handling.

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I won’t ever forget about this Cayman. Which car was written in your memories with indelible ink?