HomeThe MarketMusic icon John Oates, builder Rod Emory unveil custom 1960 Porsche 356

Music icon John Oates, builder Rod Emory unveil custom 1960 Porsche 356


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It may not be a maneater, but this custom-built 1960 Porsche 356 unveiled by guitarist John Oates and builder Rod Emory is certainly a pavement-chewer not meant for private eyes.

The build began life as a 356B Cabriolet with a removable hard top. From there, Emory and Oates set out to create a cool-yet-understated take on a classic Porsche.

“When people hear custom, their minds tend to go to the outrageous, but our work is all about restraint,” Emory, known for his Emory Special and Emory Outlaw builds, said.

It may be understated, but Oates' 356 is simply gorgeous. | Emory Motorsports photo
It may be understated, but Oates’ 356 is simply gorgeous. | Emory Motorsports photo

Emory deployed a range of techniques pioneered by his grandfather in the late 1940s, along with some of the actual tools used at the time. The goal was to change the profile of the 356 while still keeping its design and proportions.

“We replaced the car’s damaged nose with 356A-style bodywork, but leaned it back for a sleeker appearance. We also modified the windshield frame the same way. The removable hard top was tailored to create a more streamlined roof profile, and we integrated body-hugging 356A-style bumpers. Everything is presented in the same way a new 356 would be rolling off the line. The key difference is the subtle changes Emory Motorsports makes to the original design.”

The 356 is powered by an Emory-Rothsport Outlaw-4, an engine designed by Emory and Jeff Gamroth, a Porsche GT racing crew chief. Based on the dry-sump Porsche 3.6-liter Type 964 engine, the air-cooled, 2.-6-liter, 4-cylinder Outlaw engine has custom cam housings, camshafts, crankshafts, headers and other tweaks. The powerplant is capable of making 200 horsepower and is mated with a 5-speed transmission from an early Porsche 911.

The Outlaw engine will easily propel the 1,850-pound car. | Emory Motorsports photo
The Outlaw engine will easily propel the 1,850-pound car. | Emory Motorsports photo

The chassis was modernized and an independent rear suspension with narrowed trailing arms was added. Koni shocks control the ride and swaybars were installed. Emory also put in his proprietary brake system.

On the outside, the car wears a Graphite Grey Metallic RM paint. A roll bar can be removed in favor of either a soft or hard top, both of which were designed by Emory. A few other touches — a hood-handle delete, body-hugging bumpers, body-mounted driving lights and a reverse-louvered deck lid — were made.

Oates worked directly with Emory on the bespoke interior. Draped in Hydes cognac leather, the 356 has Speedster-style seats with basketweave inserts and two-point competition harnesses.

John Oates, Music icon John Oates, builder Rod Emory unveil custom 1960 Porsche 356, ClassicCars.com Journal
The interior oozes class. | Emory Motorsports photo

Also added was a mid-1960s Porsche 904-style triple gauge, a Derrington steering wheel, an Emory Outlaw shift knob and a radio delete.

One thing is for certain: This car gives a whole new meaning to making Oates’ dreams come true.

Carter Nacke
Carter Nacke
Carter Nacke is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He began his career at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix, the largest news radio station in Arizona, where he specialized in breaking news and politics. A burgeoning interest in classic cars took him to the Journal in 2018. He's still on the hunt for his dad's old 1969 Camaro.



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