Me & My Car: investigating a curvaceous Porsche 356 outlaw
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Tell us about your Porsche.
The car is a 1960 Porsche 356B coupe with a 1600-litre engine and is a four-speed manual. It is silver with a burgundy interior. It has been turned into an “outlaw”, having been slightly lowered, with the bumpers and some trim removed. The term outlaw was used in the US car shows where the Porsche purists would force people with modified Porsche 356s to be “outlawed” to the back of the parking lots.
When did you buy it?
It was brought into New Zealand in 1975 and has had a few owners since. I purchased the car just before Christmas at International Motorsport. Those people know their cars and were awesome to deal with.
Have you done much work on it? Fortunately I picked it up in great condition but there are always things you’d like to do. I’ve just found out that the car is matching numbers (original engine) so I’m trying to decide whether to get it back to original condition.
Why did you choose the 356?
I’ve always liked the 356 curves. Being tall I was dubious about fitting into the car, however being inside it feels roomy and you can’t go past the throaty sound of the Porsche engine. Who needs music! I also have a rear air-cooled VW Fastback and have been fascinated with the engines, so I guess the natural progression was to a classic Porsche.
How often do you drive it?
One of the things I really like about this car is you can tell the previous owners enjoyed driving it as much as I do. I intended for the car to be a weekend driver but I just can’t stop driving it. It’s an absolute pleasure to corner, to feel the wheels on the road and each gear change. The understeer, the oversteer you feel connected.
Who else drives it?
My fiancee. She has a heavier foot than me, and with it being a left-hand drive I find myself in the passenger seat looking for the brake pedal.
How does it fit your personality?
I’ve always loved driving and find it calming, even in Auckland traffic.
Best road trip?
I’ve spent the past four weeks on Waiheke and have absolutely loved driving it. The 356 loves the winding roads. It’s been great summer cruising and visiting vineyards. There’s a lot of people with appreciation of classic cars on the island, who are always keen for a chat.
Officially it was a 1963 Plymouth Belvedere with a push button auto and no power steering — I didn’t need a gym membership. Unofficially it was a Mark 3 Cortina but my parents didn’t know I owned it. I had to park it on the street behind our house and sneak through the neighbour’s property. Dad, if you’re reading this — sorry!
Any other cars in your garage?
In addition to the day car, I have a couple of other classics, a 1972 BMW 2002 and 1970 VW Fastback.
Any cars you have regretted selling?
No regrets, all the cars I’ve owned I have felt ready to sell and to pass on to to someone else who will love them. Most of my previous classics have been larger American cars and though there are a few I would love to have kept, I just don’t have enough garaging.
When did you get your licence?
I was 15 when I got my learners and one of my father’s employees taught me to drive. Thanks for your patience, Murray. My advice to learners would be don’t be afraid to drive a manual, don’t rush, just enjoy the drive and the view.
What car would you next like to buy?
I’m still enjoying the Porsche but I quite like Volvo P1800s.
And as an owner of a classic car, your thoughts on electric and driverless vehicles?
I took a Tesla for a test drive and enjoyed the acceleration but it might take a while to get used to the eerie silence of the electric motor. Driverless vehicles would be a challenge for me as I can get a bit antsy when I’m not the one driving.