You’ve Done What To A Porsche 356?

Regular readers of Speedhunters will already be well aware of my gravitation towards classic Porsches. And when it comes down to it, the 356 is up there as a personal favourite.

Its form is a masterclass in automotive design, and the 356’s sleek lines paved the way for its successor, the Porsche 911; arguably the most instantly recognisable silhouette in automotive history.

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In my opinion there’s little you can do to improve on a factory 356, so when I heard that there was a 356 Speedster on air suspension in the lobby at last weekend’s Ultimate Dubs show in Telford, I made my way over to where I was told I could find it and prepared myself to tut and shake my head in disapproval and disbelief.

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But upon laying eyes on James Munro’s creation I was actually pleasantly surprised.

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The grey and red colour combination, gold details, subterranean ride height and exterior touches grabbed my attention first, while upon closer inspection the level of workmanship instantly converted me.

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Sitting pretty much on the tiled floor, the Speedster’s low-slung body was towered over by onlookers. In stock form the 356 is already a small car by today’s standards, but with all height taken out of the suspension (and then some) it looks diminutive.

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Aside the aesthetics and build quality fact, I was also won over when I found out that James’ build isn’t based on an original factory 356, but rather a completely custom chassis, built by Speedster Clinic. With prices in the UK now often exceeding a £250,000 for a genuine 356 you’d have to be a special kind of crazy to cut one up and scrape it along the floor.

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Built over the course of three years, utilising the custom frame along with donor parts from a VW Beetle, the Speedster’s fibreglass shell comes from a one-piece mould, with the exception of the doors, hood and bonnet, for obvious reasons. Priority was getting the chassis on the floor, and seeing as there’s not a huge demand for off-the-shelf suspension for the 356, the low-slung Speedster runs a custom air suspension setup. Custom bag mounts were fabricated by Speedster Clinic to mate the air setup to the independant rear suspension, offering James up to 12-inches of vertical travel, sufficient enough to maintain a driveable height and then lay the chassis on the floor at the press of a button.

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James specified Air Lift Performance bags, a Viair compressor and Bag Riders management, which were sourced from the US, while the front 3-inch narrowed beam and air shocks were also imported from Airkewld. The installation and plumbing was handled by independent Porsche specialists Zuffenhaus Porsche.

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Plush Automotive were called upon to complete the neat install of the tanks under the hood, along with the full interior retrim in Italian red leather. The finish is immaculate.

The crimson interior contrasts perfectly with the Porsche’s understated exterior colour; James kept it Porsche with the colour choice, opting for Stone Grey, an optional special colour offered on the 356 in 1957. The car was painted by Lemass Automotive in Buckinghamshire and received a fresh coat of paint just before Ultimate Dubs to ensure it looked its best.

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The Speedster’s fenders all but conceal the sunken 15-inch diameter, 5.5-inch wide satin black Porsche 356 wheels. Things are kept modest under the bonnet too. As you’d expect, there’s an air-cooled VW 1641 engine running twin carbs which is plenty to propel this Speedster along.

It might not have the most insane spec list and won’t be the fastest thing on the road, but I think James has got things just right – he’s built something that turns heads and is one of a kind. This is one cool little Porsche.

Jordan Butters
Instagram: jordanbutters
Facebook: Jordan Butters Photography
jordan@speedhunters.com

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23 comments

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1

It's a Beetle with a replica Porsche plastic top and some badges, not a Porsche. The wheels are and that's about it. You can't even argue "Trigger's Broom" on this one. Still cool, though; excellent workmanship too.

2

what have you ever made? you pour haterade all over this guys hard work. Show us your build.

3

Ah, that old argument. I'm not sure which bit of "Still cool, though; excellent workmanship too" is pouring on the "haterade". I like the car, but it's an issue of semantics. I said it's not a Porsche. Because it isn't one. It's no different to sticking an M badge on a regular BMW and pretending you've got an M3. Or AMG badges on a regular Merc. If my aunt had balls she'd be my uncle. That's all.

Author4

'Trigger's broom' made me laugh. I wonder if that joke translates well overseas? :)

5

All of which I'm glad of. If someone had cut up a 356 to do this, it would be a shame to carve up a piece of history. This though, he can do what he wants with total impunity; and it looks damn good.

Author6

My sentiments exactly. I'm generally not against anything being modified in this way, but the 356 is my one exception! Call it a Beetle, call it what you like but it's still a damn cool build.

7

That's a smooth looking ride. I like it.

But, how about some pics of the van behind it? :)

8

That might be the best thing to happen to one of those. That is super cool

9

I like it!

10

Looks like some one has had a look at the Pouzar boys 356 replica from Sweden...

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11

better wheel and tire choice. those white walls look killer on the slammed 356

12
Gregory J. Liebau

No one did anything with a Porsche 356. It's a replica. Stupid title.

Author13

Congratulations for making it to the end.

14

I met her last year at "Le Mans Classic" !

15

You did what?... Oh yeah you did exactly what every other owner in the Ultimate Dubz articles has done. Get wheels, make low, make shiny. Before you start, I am aware that this applies to most forms of modified car culture...

16

Hasn't this been on speedhunters before? As soon as I saw the article posted I thought 'oh ya, that's that fibreglass body on the custom beetle frame'

17

yeah in the ultimate dubs showcase, this is the spotlight of the car.

18
Jay Soh Tsu Chung

It should not work, but it look just so right!

19
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Hard not to like, really.

20

Do you guys know which color it is? Color code/color name? I'm building a CB750 brat and I would like to paint it that color. The Pouzar boys 356 replica in the comments is another color I think, it looks more green.

Author21

I don't know the code but it's called Porsche 1957 Stone Grey, so I'm told.

22

Thanks Jordan!

23

But real question though : is it a 356 replica kit-car on a VW beetle pan? Cause there are sh*loads of them in Europe.

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