An Emory Special is still an Emory Outlaw 356. The Special is a chance to evolve the 356 design language in a way that the factory might have done in the context of motorsport.
The signature elements that set this 1959 356A coupe are the aggressive B-pillar modification and the louvered access panels on the rear quarter panels. These access panels give way to the oil cooler and remote oil filter, louvered to create functional air flow across those elements. These access panels are a nod to Porsche’s aluminum-bodied RS-60 from the 1960s.
Perusing the exterior of the car one sees more of Emory’s usual touches like the louvered deck lid and the competition fuel filler through the front hood. More subtle things like body-hugging bumpers are harder to discern, but add to this car’s sleek aesthetic quotient.
Like most Emory Specials, this car wears the “Special” script on the front quarter panels, but other aluminum touches include the bespoke door handles and hood handle. “Eli [the owner] wanted a few unique touches on the outside of the car so we decided to look at items that hadn’t changed much through the years,” said Rod Emory. 356 door handles, originally cast in brass, are bulky in appearance and in weight. The design team took a fresh look and decided that lightening the “bridge” of an aluminum handle while maintaining the original overall look would address both drawbacks.
The hood handle also benefited from a similar treatment while maintaining a substantially lower silhouette than the Pre-A handle on which it is based. “It creates a sharp focal point on the nose that echoes the design language used throughout the car,” said Emory.
The body-color GT driver’s mirror with its bullet-shaped fairing also hints at what’s going on underneath the skin of this Emory Special. Porsche’s “alloy Carrera” cars from the era featured the 140bhp 4-cam competition engine. This car is propelled by the Emory-Rothsport “Outlaw-4” engine derived from 964 powerplant design. The “Super” variant of Emory’s four-cylinder engine design bumps up displacement to 2.6 litres and with proprietary fuel injection over Motec-driven coil-on-plug ignition delivers 260 horsepower.
With a curb weight around 2000 pounds (900kg), a 100bhp/litre engine can push a 356 through canyons like a volcanic lahar. “In anticipation of such torque, we do a lot of engineering to the chassis and suspension to compensate. If we didn’t, the engine would tear itself out of the car and you’d be out of brakes before the first stoplight,” notes Emory.
During the sheet metal restoration phase, Emory’s metalcrafters make key improvements around the tunnel and suspension pick-up points to provide substantially more chassis stiffening the cars didn’t need when they only had 60 horsepower. Once they install their in-house modded early 911 rear trailing arms, sway bar and wider tyres, the performance envelope of the car is significantly improved. Add Emory’s custom rack-and-pinion steering to the front of the car and now it handles like a SWB 911.
Custom billet aluminum disc brakes engineered specifically to hide behind the “faux drum” hubs can bring this car to a stop on the proverbial dime. Just make sure your sunglasses are firmly affixed to your head as well as the car is fixed to the road.
The interior of the car brings the lightweight GT concept to a logical conclusion: Speedster dashboard, Speedster-style seats with Hydes Touch leather, rear-seat delete, oatmeal square-weave carpet, non-dished steering wheel, 2-point competition harnesses and an Outlaw-branded African Padauk shift knob. The spartan appointments help the driver focus on what’s important, driving. Yet this is still a very comfortable touring car with just enough convenience and utility for a long weekend out.