“Now the time has come, the writer of Secret Classics must have hit a certain disease.” “He must have fallen down badly and hit his head.” As a writer, I would certainly understand these and similar thoughts in the face of today’s article topic. However, I can assure you that I’m fine. And yet I write about a vehicle whose mere existence in the eyes of cast-iron classic car enthusiasts and Porsche fans presumably equals to the facts of blaphemy. Yes, Emory Motorsports of McMinnville/Oregan in the US actually used a 1960s Porsche 356 B T5 as the starting point for a unique hotrod. And yes, I personally agree with the result.
Apart from the simple, still strongly reminiscent of the VW Beetle silhouette, there is only little left over of the actual body shell. Emory Motorsports widened the entire vehicle with new hand-molded fenders made of aluminium, which carry further widenings on the wheel arches to accommodate 17-inch wheels. These are specially built Heritage rims by Momo for this vehicle with central locks and Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires. Behind the aluminium doors are new air intakes in the car sides for a better air flow to the engine, which is installed under a removable cover in the rear and exposed in the lower area similar to the 935 from the 1970s. At the front, the standard bonnet was also replaced by a removable component that integrates an air outlet for the underlying oil cooler in front of the bumper. Stainless grill grids keep unwanted debris away from the cooler. Louvers are integrated over the wheels to minimize back pressure in the wheel arches. As a paint color Rod Emory created ‘Meteorite Matte Metallic’. Side windows and rear window are made of Plexiglass. The interior features red Momo bucket seats in the style of the 911 RSR with six-point harnesses, a detachable Momo sports steering wheel, a Porsche 917-inspired balsa wood gear lever and stainless steel pedals, as well as a fully functional, removable roll cage.
If you already think that these changes to the original Porsche 356 are difficult to live with, you may want to stop reading at this point. Because now we turn our attention to the technology and here actually nothing remained original. Under the wide bodywork Emory mounted the chassis of a Porsche 911 (964) Carrera 2 from 1990, whose wheelbase had to be cut by 85 millimeters to fit. In this way, the car also received a non-power rack and pinion steering system and powerful disc brakes. There is also a sports suspension with KW coil springs. These changes compared to the base vehicle are also needed for what lurks in the rear of the particular car. Emory Motorsports teamed up with Rothsport Racing to develop a 2.4-liter four-cylinder boxer engine with components from the 3.6-liter unit of the 964. What’s new, however, are the two Garrett GT28R turbochargers that deliver boost pressure of up to 1.2 bar, depending on the setting of a handwheel in the interior. So there are up to 295 kW/400 hp available. More would have been possible without a doubt, but already with this value in conjunction with only 885 kilograms of curb weight and the manual five-speed gearbox, impressive driving dynamics can be achieved.
If, despite all adversities, you have survived to read to this point of the text, I’ll tell you something else that you probably would hardly suspect at the sight of the 356 RSR: Rod Emory is one of the absolute connoisseurs of all facts and data around the Porsche 356. In his workshop he also carries out normal restorations. A few months ago he restored the very 356 SL with which Porsche participated in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1951 from a car that was only known as an open-top 356 for many decades. Its hidden chassis number and various details had betrayed the exceptional history of the car, of which the owner initially had no idea. Projects such as the RSR are usually also carried out by Emory on behalf of customer requests. This time, however, it was his own inventiveness that drove him. Why not? After all, you don’t always have to take everything seriously. From the first plan to the completion almost four full years passed. From now on, the 356 RSR will serve as a benchmark for what is possible at Emory Motorsports.
Images: Emory Motorsports