Over a 15 year production period at the Porsche Zuffenhausen factory, the 356 evolved from an aluminium bodied coupe with a 1.1L air-cooled flat four engine, into a four-cam 2.0L Carrera available in both coupe and speedster configurations.
The 356 "B" was introduced in 1960 and continued production until 1963 with a host of both cosmetic and mechanical improvements. To comply with US specifications the front and rear bumpers were raised as well as raising the headlight height. Inside a new deep-dish steering wheel could be seen and to improve comfort new deeper front seats were installed. In addition to upgraded brakes, the biggest improvement came with the introduction of the Type 616/7 Super 90 engine. The 1.6L engine was fully revised with a newly designed intake manifold, an uprated Solex 40 carburettor, 9.0-1 compression ratio pistons, stronger valve springs, uprated crankshaft and Carrera air filters.
The original 356 and its timeless appeal was more to do with less. Introduced in 1948, it offered a lightweight, slippery body combatted the low power output. Rear-engined and rear wheel drive, it was the first Porsche production car and started the iconic shape that has stood the test of time, through the 911 to the present day.
Such was the popularity of the 356 - some 76,000 were built - that over the course of the time, they have been a particular focus for owners to fettle, modify and ‘outlaw’ their cars. In fact the very term ‘Outlaw’ was given to Rod’s father Gary during the 1980s as he was first to push the boundaries of what the 356 could be. After joining the family business, the term ‘Special’ was used for only the most bespoke Emory builds. Safe to say there is a fair bit of experience in the family.
Stemming from their Oregon-based workshop, this Special truly celebrates the ethos behind the 356 whilst extensively re-engineering and optimising the car. Introduced to Gary and Rod by his friend Tom Anderson in 2007, the original commissioning owner, the late Dennis Kranz - a serious Porsche collector- first saw Emory Special #2 at the Portland Historics. Taken back by both the looks and quality of the car, he commissioned a car on the spot.
This car started life as 1958 356A rolling body. Relatively clean, works started to remove rust from the original body in all the usual 356 hotspots. Whilst at distance, the shape of the car is very much true to the original 356 form, it’s up close where the attention to detail becomes apparent.
Countless details set this car apart. Emory first started work to remove the drip rails from the roofline, providing a much cleaner aesthetic. A larger piece of work was needed for the changes to the B-pillar. As part of a widening of the car, the B-pillar was re-cut and angled both outwards, and with a softer corners.
Gary’s Outlaw spirit has always been to develop 356s using the ‘best bits’. No truer representation of this can be found than within several elements of this Special. Asked by Kranz to develop frameless side windows, the doors were modified to accept window rails from a later 356 C roadster - a move that meant the glass would be both appropriately supported but also true to the request. Hoping to use the car at his home in Florida, Kranz asked if it were possible to get greater airflow into the car. Whilst the donor car was delivered without a sunroof, this example features an electric item from a later C, positioned two inches further forward than standard. The Emory’s wanted to ensure a true ‘wind in your hair’ experience would be possible.
The car sees a number of other design touches from other important parts of Porsche history. Speaking to Jay Leno, Rod Emory explained that with this car, whilst he wanted to lower the car significantly, he didn’t want it to look slammed. As you’d expect, this was achieved with no half measures. The car runs a 16” two-piece wheel design to help with the offset, which, in partnership with the revised geometry of the 911 rear suspension, and a two-inch cut from the top of the re-shaped wheel arches helps the car to look the part, without compromising on the ride. The side mirrors are bespoke and based on those that would have been fitted to that of a 356 GT or 550 Spyder. Both sides of the car see side vents, echoing the design of the 718 RSK; on this car the right hand side sees the oil cooler, the left hand side covers the installed fire system.
The engine is where this car stands apart from others. In around 1962, Porsche’s chief of engineering Paul Hensler had investigated the feasibility of a 4cylinder 911 engine and the architecture surrounding it, but there were some limitations of the single overhead-camshaft and limited internal dimensions. Whilst Porsche had never progressed with the idea, a number of individuals explored this concept. Chuck Beck had developed a cut-down 911 engine for his replica Speedsters but it wasn’t until the 1990s when Dean Polopolous perfected the 6-into-4 solution with his ‘Polo 4’.
The evolution of this concept is the 2.5 litre engine that powers this Special. Using the architecture from a 3.6 litre that powered the far more modern Porsche 964, everything from the pistons, rods and valve train was carried over. A bespoke crankcase and new crankshaft bring it all together and provide this c.850kg car with a reliable 185hp and 180ft lb of torque. Unlike the 356 originally, this is paired with a 5-speed, close-range, transmission with a short shift. Much like the original, it certainly wakes up in the higher rev ranges making for a truly usable and enjoyable driving experience.
Presented in its commissioned specification of black over dark green leather with black corduroy inserts, it features an updated steering wheel in the style of the 911 R. A fantastic and rare opportunity to acquire one of the finest Emory builds, this Special is ready to be enjoyed by its new owner. Recently residing with its current owner in Italy, this example is UK registered and available to view by appointment only.
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