The 356 was the first mass-produced car to bear the Porsche moniker and enjoy the worldwide success that would make way for the introduction of the company’s 911 model in the mid-1960s. Under the leadership of Ferry Porsche, son of the company founder and patriarch, development initially relied on Volkswagen components. Unibody construction was paired with a four-cylinder, horizontally-opposed engine to produce a light, relatively quick, and tremendously enjoyable sports car.
Evolution and sales success came quite quickly. Max Hoffman, importer extraordinaire, exposed the entire American market to the virtues of Porsche performance and engineering, establishing a devoted following for the various 356 iterations, particularly the Speedster, for which he is largely credited. The cars were continually refined, with displacement increasing from 1,086 cc all the way to 1.6-liters and even beyond.
After the end of 356B production in July 1963, the 356C was introduced – the final version before the introduction of the 911, which finally arrived on the U.S. market for the 1965 model year. Besides the revised hubcaps and Dunlop four-wheel disc brakes, however, changes were rather minor. A 2.0-liter Carrera 2 engine was available in addition to the 1600C and SC engines.
The Porsche 356 presented here, however, is far from ordinary. Constructed at great expense to the owner, this car has been heavily modified, rendering it an “Outlaw Custom” through and through. To begin with, the car’s roof was removed and stretched, then subjected to a full three-inch chop reminiscent of the Porsche Speedsters of the 1950s. The Speedster curved one-piece windshield is complemented by Lexan side windows. Additionally, the car benefits from an exaggerated sail panel and rear window sweep. Completely stripped, the floors were replaced, metalwork was refinished and the car was finished in Standox black paint with clearcoat.
A roll bar was securely welded into place, further supporting the power produced by the magnesium-cased Porsche 911 2.2-liter six-cylinder engine. While the 911 was introduced in the mid-sixties with a 2.0-liter engine, the 2.2 followed suit in 1970 with an increase in horsepower and torque. As fitted to this car, the powerplant is mated to a 901 five-speed transmission and further benefits from a high performance exhaust, Solex S cams, MSD ignition, a custom eight-quart baffled oil tank, and 40mm Weber carburetors. The transmission has also been upgraded to include AFMSX gears and a 911 short ratio shifter.
Further improvements include Recaro sport bucket seats, upgraded disc brakes with special racing pads, a 911 dual master cylinder, 911 rear trailing arms and heavy duty torsion tube with transmission mounts. The height of the car was also lowered for improved handling and the electrical system was changed to support a 12-volt system, complete with custom gauges manufactured by North Hollywood Speedometer & Clock Co.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in January of 2009 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona.