The 356 exists within a very special chapter of Porsche’s history, being the company’s first production model. These lightweight rear-engined sports cars represent the genesis of the brand, and their reputation is solid thanks to endless successes in motorsport as well as an ingrained and enduring desirability.
Supremely stylish motor cars, and their appeal is way more than skin-deep: these pretty coupes are wonderfully tactile, thrilling to drive, and offer a complete package of style, cachet, performance and engineering integrity.
Running from 1948 right up to 1965, the model saw a number of evolutions which can be broadly grouped into four distinct eras – the retroactively dubbed ‘Pre-A’ from 1948-55, the 356 A from 1955-59, the 356 B from 1960-63, and the 356 C from 1964-65. The example we have here today is a 1962 model, which makes it a 356 B – and there’s an exciting twist, as this one’s been modified in an ‘Outlaw’ style. You might have heard this term thrown around in the oeuvre of old-school Porsches; it all dates back to a legendary Porsche tuner in Los Angeles by the name of Rod Emory, who coined the phrase in the 1990s to refer to 356s that had been hot-rodded.
Over time the term has been embraced by the air-cooled community, and today it essentially denotes a Porsche that’s been restomodded to feature a keen focus on performance, uprated suspension and brakes, wider wheels, and a slinky road-racer aesthetic. If you’re a regular show-goer and/or involved in the retro scene, you may well have seen 866 UYF out and about – it was on display at the Bicester Scramble last October, and we’ve also spotted it at the Goodwood Revival, Silverstone Classic, Kop Hillclimb and the Ace Café.
Built to be used and enjoyed, this 356 was imported from Florida in 2014; we can see from the paperwork that it was fastidiously maintained by specialists, and it arrived in the UK as an impressively solid and complete example. Its subsequent reinvention as an Outlaw has been considered and sympathetic, ensuring little has been carried out that isn’t reversible.
This is a beautifully put-together 356 that’s a joy to drive.
The History and Paperwork
Porsche Certificate of Authenticity
Period books and manuals
Prepared to compete in HRCA rally events such as the Scottish Malts rally and the HRCA Old Stager History rally championship in Argyle
2014 – importation documents from Florida
2015 – invoice for £236 – flywheel
2014 – invoice for £1,095 – pair of new Zenith carburettors, 6-volt coil
2012 – invoice for $3,693 – attention to electrics, fusebox service, attention to gear linkage, new door window glass, brake overhaul, new wheel cylinders, etc
Assorted other invoices for servicing and maintenance
Original push-button radio
The interior of this 356 is a glorious place to be. The dark red leather seats are in lovely condition, with the fronts titling correctly to aid access to those in the rear, which also fold flat to create a handy luggage space. Aside from one very small tear (approx. 1”) at the top of the rear backrest, it’s all in great order.
The headlining is black (which is unusual, they’re generally lighter shades) and is in good condition, its inky hue allowing the cabin to pleasantly cocoon the occupants. The current owner has recently employed the expertise of a Belgian specialist to provide a fresh new set of carpets, which are attractive as well as hard-wearing and have edging trim colour-matched to the car’s original seats, doorcards and dash.
A tasteful Moto-Lita steering wheel has been fitted, and all of the gauges are in correct working order. It’s worth noting that the original push-button radio is not only present, but working correctly. A pair of rally stopwatches have been fitted to the glovebox lid. Inside the front boot it’s dry and extremely tidy, with a good spare wheel and tyre and a fully-stocked tool roll.
Sympathetic Outlaw upgrades
‘Wide-five’ steels with Michelins
Superb trim and details
Resplendent in an eye-catching clubsport aesthetic, this Outlaw 356 really is splendid to behold. The paintwork appears uniformly good across the body, and we just love the racing stripe; the panels are all in decent condition with even panel gaps and no evidence of bumps, dings or scrapes. It all looks to be pleasingly solid up top and underneath, and the light lenses and window glass are good. (We know that the windscreen and door glass have been replaced within the last decade.)
The aesthetic makeover has been sympathetic, so that a future owner could easily return it to standard spec if they so desired: the bumpers, for example, have been removed as that’s a key part of the Outlaw vibe, but the holes for the bumper irons haven’t been plated over and welded up; instead they’ve been cunningly repurposed, with spotlights at the front and a tow hook at the rear.
The car wears period-style 15” ‘wide-five’ steel wheels, tastefully finished in gloss black for that menacing road-racer look, and they’re shod in matching white-lettered Michelins with plenty of tread.
This twin-carb 1600 flat-four has been properly looked after and runs very sweetly indeed, whether it’s pottering around the city or embarking upon lengthy motorway road trips. It fires up readily and idles evenly, and makes some truly wonderful noises.
A new pair of Zenith 32 NDIX carburettors were fitted in 2014 – a period-correct choice, as this is what Porsche fitted to the 1600N and 1600S engines from 1957-65. The engine also benefits from electronic ignition by the revered specialists at 123ignition. The overall setup is robust and dependable, as well as thoroughly enjoyable.
The gearbox is as smooth and precise as it ought to be, and a new clutch has recently been fitted. Our test-drive highlighted no issues with the steering, brakes or suspension; indeed, it rides beautifully, the brakes are impressively strong, and it really does feel like a tight and solid car with no undue squeaks or rattles.
The 356 B is a highly desirable model today. It neatly harks back to the very genesis of the marque, and this one is particularly attractive for two key reasons: firstly, it’s got a robust history from both sides of the Atlantic which backs up the impressive quality and completeness that’s evident throughout the car. And secondly – well, just look at it. Stunning, isn’t it?
This is a very decent car that’s been built right by people who care, and crucially it’s been engineered to be used. The fact that it’s such a regular sight on the retro show scene is testament to its eagerness to get out and about. There’s no to-do list to fret about here, this is quite simply a fabulous 356 that’s ready to enjoy. And trust us, you really will enjoy it!
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1962 Porsche 356 B ‘Outlaw’ (LHD)
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