Porsche 356 Roadster Outlaw

Porsche 356 Roadster Outlaw

Low and lithe, this very special Porsche roadster is a one-off piece of automotive art with a poignant tale to tell.


WORDS BRUCE MCMAHON

IMAGES MANOLO LANGIS


Created from a banged-up Porsche 356 coupe and designed by Colorado’s Al Lager, the car now lives in Sonoma County, California. It was bought by Garrett Loube who sent it straight to San Diego for a re-trim of the spartan cockpit. But Garrett died in early 2021. Before he had a chance to drive his bespoke silver machine.


Porsche 356 Roadster Outlaw

Garrett, says his friend Michael Streichsbier, loved gorgeous-looking things. “This car certainly fit the bill. Garrett was originally a graphic designer hence his appreciation of beautiful form and shapes.”


Porsche 356 Roadster Outlaw

The roadster was created by Porsche 356 guru Al Lager, from a car with a rear end too smashed to rebuild as a coupe. Instead the man set about creating an outlaw funster, a smooth minimalist machine inspired by the likes of the famed RSKs and Speedsters. An all-new, all-aluminium rear, from windscreen to the engine cowl, was crafted on an English wheel with finishing touches by body builders and restorers Tin Element in Loveland, Colorado; a firm well-credentialled with work on classics from the 1958 Scarab Mark II to Ray Keech’s 1929 Indy 500 winning Miller 91.


Porsche 356 Roadster Outlaw - interior

The result steel nose and aluminium rear was a lighter, better-balanced and more aerodynamic car. It’s a smooth body, painted in Polar Silver, with rounded and tapered undersides and the minimal ornamentation left to a small Porsche badge up front. There are no traffic indicators while the latch for the engine compartment is from a 1961 Volkswagen glove box for the smallest button feasible.


Porsche 356 Roadster Outlaw

Headlights are protected by competition-style wire mesh grilles and the roadster sits on Yokohama 195/60Rs on Porsche 356B wheels to suit the 356s finned drum brakes and add extra muscle to the style.


Porsche 356 Roadster Outlaw

Lager’s less-is-more design approach flows through to the dashboard with just three instruments, a handful of switches and no glovebox. Plus no fuel gauge in another shoutout to race track machinery.


Porsche 356 Roadster Outlaw - engine

The 8000rpm tachometer redlined at 6500rpm plus the 250km/h speedometer-came from a Carrera 4 and alongside that pair there’s a combined oil pressure and oil temperature gauge. All with retro style but modern internals. A banjo-style steering wheel, as found in early Porsches, sports a Saint Christopher horn button. Doors are opened with a leather pull.


Porsche 356 Roadster Outlaw

Michael Streichsbier calls it a ‘teeny-weeny’ windscreen of plexiglass, just high enough to keep most wind off a driver’s face. “You have to go fast enough that the bugs don’t hit you,” he laughs.

Powering the silver streak roadster is a Lager-built 1720cc engine Shasta cast iron cylinders with JE pistons with dual Weber carbs and allied to a four-speed transaxle, also built by Al Lager.

A six-volt pump shifts fuel from the custom-made gas tank up front. All engine housings are finished in the body colour. “You can tell it’s a six-volt machine from the start,” Michael says. “It goes whoop, whoop, whoop but when it comes to life it’s just got this great sound.” (The two-pipe, chrome-tipped exhaust is a modified Carrera Abarth muffler.)


Porsche 356 Roadster Outlaw

“It’s a real healthy, strong sound and it’s always a fun car to drive. It feels light and nimble, just likes to run. The feel I get I would say it’s probably over 100 horsepower but I can’t quite tell. It has that feel but it’s also so light I can’t quite tell.”

Garrett Loube sent a friend to Colorado to check out this unique 356 then bought the car just before the Covid pandemic arrived and sent it straight off to Autobahn Interiors in San Diego to civilise the spartan interior a tad. Here the floor-mounted Recaro seats, the rear luggage area and new interior side panels were finished in a dark green leather. Sound deadening material was overlaid with charcoal grey carpet.

And Autobahn also designed a canvas tonneau cover, again in a dark, almost British Racing, green. The detachable tonneau can be fixed to either hide all the Porsche’s cockpit, to uncover both seats or to have the passenger seat covered and driver’s seat uncovered.

But Garrett died before the car was delivered to northern California. His wife Marcia Rodgers has it parked up alongside Garrett’s 2013 convertible Porsche Carrera and that’s where the Lager roadster will stay for now. His friend Michael visits to fire it up every once in a while. “So it’s happy.”

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