1961 Porsche 356 Roadster

The term “Hot Rod” will likely conjure up thoughts of 1930s and 40s Fords, Chevys and other American iron with altered bodies, big engines and fat tires tearing up Main Street between lights or blasting down the salt flats. While hot rodding may have its roots solidly with American cars, the influx of imported sports cars in the 1950s meant that the practice soon spread to foreign makes as well. Volkswagen and Porsche in particular have traditionally been very popular with the custom car crowd. Their relative mechanical simplicity meant they were easy to work on, and as owners gained experience servicing them, they quickly found ways to make them faster. The VW crowd gravitated toward drag racing while the Porsche set was focused on making their cars faster around a road course or rally stage.

In the late 1980s though, the Porsche 356 was finding new favor with collectors who increasingly performed high-end restorations and trailered their cars from show field to show field. But Emory Motorsports of Oregon revived the Porsche hot-rod scene by slapping on fat wheels, hot engines and lots of period rally parts to then go out drive their cars hard. They were nicknamed “Outlaws” as they flew in the face of the mainstream 356 community and their cars were far from the pampered concours queens that dominated the scene. Since that time, the “outlaw” name stuck and has become synonymous with hot 356 Porsches of all types.

This attractive 356 B hot rod is a fabulous example of this now classic “outlaw” style. It is finished in the very cool and understated shade of Glasurit Stone Grey over black upholstery and features plenty of wonderful period touches. Rather unusually for a customized 356, this build is based on a Roadster body. The Roadster was an evolution of the Speedster brought on by slow sales of the spartan Speedster and customer demands for more comfort. The basic little Speedster was refined with a slightly taller windscreen, proper roll-up windows and a larger, roomier folding top. The Roadster fit nicely between the hardcore Speedster and the more luxurious Cabriolet.

A California car from new, the body on this example is beautifully restored with excellent quality paint and finishing. It has been de-bumpered front and rear for a lean and racy look, and subtle cosmetic tweaks have been added such as the through-hood fuel filler, mesh horn grille screens, Talbot Green-Dot mirrors, rollbar and a louvered engine lid. It rides on a set of RS60 style wheels with alloy rims and steel centers; of course with no hub caps for that classic Porsche racer look and is set up with Koni adjustable shocks. A polished 4 cam “pea shooter” exhaust system rounds out the rear. The cockpit is classic Porsche: Basic, functional and sporty. Our car has been fitted with Speedster style seats with carbon fiber shells upholstered in black by the marque experts at Autos International. Oatmeal squareweave carpets and correct-style rubber mats line the floors, and the dash has been refinished to match the body. A beautiful period style wood rimmed steering wheel has been fitted which feels great in the hands and thanks to its smaller diameter, sharpens steering inputs as well.

Of course, a hot rod is only as good as its engine and thankfully this 356 brings a hot, big-bore 912 engine running on dual Solex carburetors. It features a remote spin-on oil filter conversion and adjustable fuel pressure regulator but retains a subtle, period correct appearance without too much flash. Wiring and finishes are very tidy and the engine is very clean both top and bottom. It has benefited from $5,000 in recent mechanical sorting and is absolutely ready to drive. In the true spirit of the hot-rod Porsche 356, this is a car for driving events, weekend blasts and rallies. It has the added benefit of a well-fitted top and roll up windows should the weather take a turn on you and as beautiful as it is, we’d love to see it getting used regularly. We think this wonderful Roadster’s already fantastic looks will only improve with the addition of a few bug splatters and some good hard miles.

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