260bhp aquamarine blue metallic Emory Motorsports 1959 Porsche 356 A Special

260bhp aquamarine blue metallic Emory Motorsports 1959 Porsche 356 A Special

A chance meeting at the third Luftgekühlt bash resulted in the construction of this 260bhp Aquamarine Blue Metallic Emory Motorsports 356 Special… Words Dan Furr. Photography Drew Phillips.

TRUE BLUE The latest Emory Motorsports 356 Special



Cast your mind back to the November 2019 issue of 911 & Porsche World and you’ll recall the Darth Vader-aping twin-turbocharged 356 Outlaw fresh from its stay at the Emory Motorsports workshop in McMinnville, Oregon. The home of many of the world’s most impressive 356 restorations, including the aluminium-bodied 356/2- 063 Gmünd SL coupe entered into Porsche’s first outing at Le Mans exactly seventy years ago, Emory Motorsports is widely credited with kickstarting the Porsche Outlaw movement, though not every one of its custom creations is as wild as the 400bhp monster we pointed our cameras at in 2019 — built in partnership with Italian automotive accessories giant, MOMO, and carrying aggressive 935-inspired coachwork, the formerly derelict 356 B T5 is now riding on a 964 Carrera 4 chassis, resulting in the world’s first all-wheel-drive 356 (in turn, setting the blueprint for the Emory Motorsports/Independent Fabrication 356 Carrera 4S platform), whereas the car you see on these pages, though clearly an Outlaw, exercises far more restraint in its state of dress. Not that you should expect this build to be any less impressive.

260bhp aquamarine blue metallic Emory Motorsports 1959 Porsche 356 A Special

“It’s the street weapon its owner always wanted,” company boss, Rod Emory, tells us. “This is one of an elite group of 356 Specials powered by the gnarliest naturally aspirated engine we have at our disposal. Plus, there are subtle body modifications inspired by classic Porsche works race cars and a period-perfect paint job like no other.” We’re certainly struck by the number of ‘double take’ features before us, not least the 718 RSK-style vented rear quarter access panels, but the execution is so perfect and so well considered, that anyone unfamiliar with the 356 is likely to consider them standard specification.


The origins of the project stretch back to the third hosting of Luftgekühlt, the hugely successful air-cooled Porsche gathering co-founded by former works racing driver, Patrick Long, and designer, Howie Idelson. “The event’s auction offered up a Safari-spec 911, with all proceeds going to charity,” recalls Emory. “The winning bid was placed by amateur racing driver, Eli Kogan, who serves as CEO of prestige vehicle storage facility, OTTO, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Clearly, this was a savvy Porsche guy, and after we got chatting, I was struck by his depth of knowledge regarding the manufacturer’s products Pretty soon, the chatter of conversation turned to the possibility of him commissioning a custom 356 build.

His enthusiasm was so great, I knew we would end up creating a custom classic Porsche with eye-opening specification on many different levels.” An Emory Special is still an Emory Outlaw 356, but the Special nameplate indicates the adoption of unique aesthetic features never to be repeated on another project — we’re talking a truly exclusive air-cooled classic. In the world of chronographs, it’s an approach known as piece unique, and for Emory (a veteran of almost two-hundred 356 restorations since establishing Emory Motorsports with his wife, Amy, in 1996) a Special is his chance to evolve 356 design language in keeping with the sensibilities of the period’s factory engineers. Historic racing is the obvious influence, a theme massively inspired by the aforementioned star of Sarthe, a car restored over the course of seven years and featuring classic Porsche competition componentry informing the configuration of many of Emory Motorsport’s recent projects.

Kogan’s car started life as a standard 1959 356 A Coupe, but look closely and you’ll see many awe-inspiring custom features in the present. For a start, there’s the aggressive treatment of the B-pillars, custom rear quarter windows and those vented quarter panels, providing quick access to the oil cooler and remote oil filler. Further perusal of the exterior reveals familiar Emory touches, such as the louvred deck lid, its flip-over stainless hinges, beehive taillights, a competition fuel filler peeking out from the centre of the ‘frunk’ and aluminium door handles. Regarding the latter, Emory’s design team decided lightening the bridge of each handle, whilst maintaining the original ‘envelope’ of the part, would address the oft-derided appearance of the 356’s standard door handles, which were originally manufactured from brass and are bulky in appearance and weight. “With so many custom 356s being assembled, it has become increasingly difficult for one of these cars to stand out in a crowd,” Emory muses.

“With this in mind, I decided to look at standard equipment which hasn’t changed much throughout the years, hence the re-profiled door handles.” The billet aluminium hood handle benefits from the same treatment, maintaining a substantially lower silhouette than the Pre-A handle on which it’s based, and though the body-hugging profile of the bumpers are a little more difficult to detect at first glance, they work in partnership with all other custom body details to contribute to the finished Porsche’s sleek aesthetic quotient.

The colour-coded GT driver’s wing mirror, complete with its bullet-shaped housing, hints at the fact Emory’s work on this air-cooled classic is more than skin deep — the original flat-four has been replaced by the proprietary Emory Motorsports Outlaw-4 engine developed in partnership with Jeff Gamroth, head of Porsche performance specialist, Rothsport Racing. Essentially, this heavily redeveloped four-banger packs 2.6-litres of displacement and is based on the 964’s 3.6-litre flat-six architecture, dropping two cylinders and working with the assistance of a custom fuel injection setup controlled by a MoTeC standalone engine management system and twin coil-on-plug ignition, delivering power in the region of 260bhp. A custom ‘stroker’ crankshaft, application-specific billet camshafts, 993 heads, independent throttle bodies, stainless headers with heater boxes, an eighteen-gallon aluminium fuel cell, a Radium Engineering surge tank and a dry sump oil system with remote filter and coolers have all been added to the mix. An amber fibreglass fan shroud is in keeping with the historic Porsche motorsport vibe and looks fantastic cast against the surrounding Aquamarine Blue Metallic paintwork. Incidentally, the transmission is a four-speed Type 901 unit fully rebuilt and aluminium cased.

With kerb weight of little more than 900kg, a 100bhp-per-litre engine can propel a 356 through California’s canyons like a volcanic lahar. “In anticipation of increased power and torque, we carry out a huge amount of development work for the host 356’s chassis and suspension,” Emory stresses. “If we didn’t, there’s every chance the engine would tear itself from the car and the driver would be out of brakes before the first stoplight!” To this end, during the sheet metal restoration phase of the build, Emory’s fabricators strengthened the transmission tunnel and suspension pick-up points, resulting in substantially more chassis stiffening. 911-derived rear trailing arms, bespoke anti-roll bars, adjustable dampers and Dunlop Signature HP 205/55 tyres fitted to bespoke sixteen-inch alloys boasting six inches of width have been added in order to cope with the significantly improved performance, as has Emory’s custom rack-and-pinion steering system. In many respects, this 356 now handles much like a short-wheelbase 911.

Custom billet aluminium disc brakes were engineered specifically to hide behind ‘faux drum’ hubs and bring the car to a swift halt, while the interior brings the spartan GT concept to a logical conclusion: slip inside the cabin and you’re presented with a blue-painted 356 Speedster dashboard, lashings of oatmeal square-weave carpet, a Derrington wood-rimmed three-spoke steering wheel, an Outlaw-branded African Padauk shift knob, a rear seat delete and a black bolt-in half-roll cage, all from the comfort of Speedster-style seats trimmed in Hydes Touch leather and equipped with two-point competition harnesses. Make no mistake, this is a comfortable touring car, but retains enough convenience and utility for a long weekend away. And now, with more than 2,500 miles covered since being released into the wild, the car continues to exceed expectations. “With brutal power, equally impressive suspension and on-point braking capabilities, this car hasn’t skipped a beat, even when pushed hard,” Emory beams. “Kogan has driven it in all weather and across all surfaces, including in heavy snow and across the desert. The more he drives his Special, the more familiar he becomes with its capabilities, encouraging him to continually explore its performance potential.” As is true of all Emory Specials, this beautiful blue 356 has proved to be an air-cooled classic perfectly suited to its enthusiastic owner. We can’t think of a better kind of Porsche.

Below Beautifully redesigned door and luggage area grab handles prove the devil’s in the detail.

Above Louvres in the 356’s engine cover are typical of Emory’s Outlaw builds.

Below Speedsterthemed interior makes use of enough creature comfort to satisfy stints of long distance cruising.


Above Sixteens in 205/55 rubber look perfectly in proportion to the 356’s curvaceous body shape. Below 260bhp Outlaw-4 engine is based on 964 architecture and was developed in partnership with Rothsport Racing.


Above Vented rear quarter lids are inspired by the classic 718 race car and provide easy access to the oil cooler and remote oil filler. Below Special nameplate indicates an Emory 356 Outlaw build with details never to be repeated on another project.

Article type:
No comments yet. Be the first to add a comment!
Drives TODAY use cookie