This 356 Is Fully Capable Of Hunting Modern Porsches
Photography by Drew Philips / Emory Motorsports
Whenever we speak with Rod Emory, it’s with equal parts admiration and disbelief. “So you’re saying that car spent a lot of its life as a race car?” I asked, flipping back and forth between photos of this 1960 Porsche 356 Roadster. One showed the pristine, concept car-like finished product you see here, the other, a barely-there race car with a roll bar protruding over its aerodynamic headrest.
What began as a skeleton of a car when it arrived in 2002, the car was turned into a vintage race car that competed until 2010, before the transformation into its current form started in 2014. Being a former race car meant this car was deserving of a little more oomph—to the tune of a Fat Performance Porsche 914-based 2.6-liter flat-4 engine. “We take a 2-liter 914 and we bump it up to 265-cc0. Then bigger cam, 911 fan shroud, and 44 IDF carburetors,” Emory says. “Then that gives us an engine that has just over 185 horsepower and about 205 lbs-ft of torque. That’s a lot of power.”
“The car weighs eighteen hundred and fifty pounds…it is so fast. You figure its power to weight ratio starts getting closer to a GT3 or a new twin turbo ” he added.
Naturally, the rest of the car is also fully upgraded to handle the power—and its bodywork is subtly different from any other 356 you’ll see—but is all just standard-looking enough to deflect your gaze from noticing the 901 5-speed transmission, CNC brakes, independent rear suspension, sway bars, disc brakes, and custom 16-inch wheels. Given its singular purpose, it’s no surprise the car has little concession for day-to-day practicality.
“This car is built without any functional top. What we did was decided to reconfigure the car, we put a speedster windshield on it. It has an aluminum hood on it with the gas filler coming through the hood, no bumpers, and then we put the oil cooler grill down at the bottom. Opened up the vents at the bottom next to that grill; put stainless steel mesh in those,” Emory said.
Earlier “beehive” turn signals help keep the car looking streamlined, as does its special, hand-made aluminum tonneau cover and headrest, items made for the car. “In the Petrolicious video that the guys did on me, I think they came into the workshop and I was building this headrest and tonneau cover,” he added, and sure enough, the raw metal makes an appearance at about five minutes in.
As that film—and one of his latest cars—show, it’s all about making Porsches as good as they can be, subtly. “I try to do it as if Porsche would of done it if they had the parts or the technology would of been there at that point. It’s kind of evolving the 356 but keeping everything looking as if Porsche built it originally,” he says.