What sort of person puts a VW engine in a 50 year old Porsche 356? Many of us have no doubt day-dreamed of adding Porsche power to our Beetle, but the other way around? The owner of this 1956 Porsche 356 Outlaw has gone with VW power, but as the accompanying pictures highlight, this is not an ordinary Porsche, and it’s not an ordinary VW engine either.
The car was a bit rough when first bought, and after sandblasting a lot of stuff was cut out and replaced with new floors, longitudinals, battery box; basically the entire underside was replaced. Some body panels were imported from the US to complete the body work.
At this stage Marc decided to go ‘Outlaw’ with the car, and started by welding the bumper holes up for the smooth look. Going a step further, he also had steel panels fluted and welded them into the car where the rear pop outs usually sit. At the same time the roof was de-seamed, basically removing the drain channels. The overall effect of the flutes and de-seaming is stunning.
Once the body was in shape it was painted in a GMH colour called Martin Mica Grey. Once painted, the slow task of putting it all together began. Marc’s intention was to create a slick looking “Outlaw” but without moving too far from the Porsche’s heritage.
Initially the engine choice was simple; the original motor came with the car and it also happened to be the matching engine for the chassis so it was always the intention to simply rebuild it and put it back in. That was the plan until one night with a few mates and a few drinks later Marc was the proud owner of a US import engine. It produces around 155 kW from its 2.4 litre capacity, aided by Weber 48 carbies and a host of other internal enhancements. Marc’s reasoning for going with a VW engine rather than a vintage Porsche engine is simply that you just can’t get the same horsepower for the same money.
The gearbox too is custom built. It’s a CV joint Beetle box running the 356 axle tubes with 1st and 2nd gear close ratio; heavy duty side plate, etc. The gear shifter is custom made from stainless steel, and solid mounted to the gear box running through a linear bearing mount with a modified VW shifter and lock out plate. A custom tuned length stainless exhaust which tucks up under the car exposing only two small drop pipes was then installed and sounds beautiful – it might not be strictly road worthy but it sounds great anyway.
Assembly continued with multiple wheel and tyre size packages considered. Finally the decision was made to fit some satin black custom satin black offset 15s with 195 Yokohama C Drives, which was perfect for the aggressive stance that Marc was looking for. The hub cap clips were filed off as the wheels were always going to run without caps regardless of the wheel size and colour.
Once happy with the stance, Marc’s attention moved on to the interior. With the side flutes it meant that trimming was going to be a custom job so the beautiful one off headliner for the car was created, incorporating the air duct funnels. These funnels force air into an alloy air box mounted on the inside of the rear fire wall which feeds an oil cooler mounted in the engine bay and is cooled by a thermo fan run in reverse, all mounted behind a custom built shroud to hide it all neatly in the engine bay.
Seats are from a Porsche 968CS retrimmed in black leather to match in the rest of the car. The seats themselves were all custom fitted to the car starting with genuine Porsche slider, and custom fabricated seat stands were made to fit the seat into the tiny 356 cabin.
The gauges are all new after market gauges. Marc had the original set restored but decided to use the VDO gauges that are commonly used in Speedster replicas. It made it easy to fully rewire the car with the new 12 volt engine and gauge package. The wiring was pulled back to the bare loom, excess wire removed and then rewired for all the after market goodies.
A huge amount of effort has gone into creating this Porsche 356 Outlaw and Marc and all his team are to be congratulated.
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