SLAMMED! PORSCHE 356B
Anyone can restore a classic #Porsche
, but only the bravest of petrol heads have the balls to modify one!
Words & Photos: Paul Knight
At the recent Wanroij event in The Netherlands there was one car that really grabbed our attention. Parked by the side of the lake was this insanely-low #1960 #Porsche-356B
(T5). We had to find out more, hence immediately set about tracking down the owner...
The man in question turned out to be Marco Mulders from Eindhoven – a name we immediately recognised, as Marco is no stranger to the #VW
(or Porsche) scene. Marco is a trained pilot but, when he’s not working (i.e. just recently), he takes time to tinker with ageing VWs. He told us, ‘I built my first VW around 15 years ago and have owned a whole range of Bugs, Buses and 356 replicas... all of them low, of course!’. Marco also produces fibreglass 356 Speedster and coupé body shells (clearly a clever and incredibly busy guy!), and his previous green/white 356 coupé replica with Polizei livery was a very well known car on the show circuit.
But, replicas aside, Marco had long been hankering after a ‘real steel’ #Porsche-356
to turn into something radical hence asked a friend who restores original 356s if he’d keep his eye open for a suitable project. Amazingly, his friend explained that he had a car at his workshop, which might just fit the bill. The car in question was actually an old Dutch racecar with quite a colourful history, so Marco wasted no time and sealed the deal almost immediately!
The car had been standing for some time and was a bit scruffy, but it had an original steel sliding sunroof (a very rare option) and Marco was keen to get involved in some metalwork, hence he sent the thing away to be sandblasted! Marco commented, ‘When it came back, it was perhaps a little worse than I first imagined, and I ended up replacing practically the entire lower 15cm of the car’. This included a complete floor and some modifications, such as a raised section of the rear transmission tunnel and some custom-made transmission mounts. We should explain at this point that Marco was planning to build a real groundscraper, hence he opted to fit a Beetle transmission, which has been raised a little higher than usual and is held in place with some custom-made mounts. You may also have noticed that the transmission shift-rod now runs above the tunnel and terminates at a custom-made shifter box, topped with an Empi trigger shifter.
Next, a set of one-off adjustable spring plates were laser cut and a pair of airadjusted dampers were fitted via custom mounts.
Moving forward, the frontend adjusters (factory-fitted) were modified to provide some additional travel while a pair of king- and link-pin 2.5-in dropped spindles helped to get the front end way down. Once again, a pair of air-equipped dampers were fitted, along with a simple compressor and pressure valve system, which lifts the car just enough to make it driveable at the flick of a switch!
At this point Marco also replaced the rusted-out doors with a better set, but now he had a problem... the finish was not consistent, and it just didn’t quite look how he’d first imagined. The solution? Another trip to the ’blasters! Upon it’s return, Marco carefully painted the floors and underside in gloss black, but then allowed the body to achieve just the right amount of rust before treating it to several coats of clear to seal the surface.
Marco was keen to retain some of the history of the car in the shape of a few scrapes and dings, which it picked up on the race track. He also made a great job of letting-in and blending the fresh steel and repairs, so is proud of the fact that car honestly displays all it’s metalwork and repairs for all to see.
We loved the fact that the sand was still falling out of the box sections and nooks of the body, which led to a small beach forming on the floor of the car! Speaking of the floor, what better way to compliment the gloss black paint than with a pair of Hunts (USA) polished aluminium bomber seats, which were trimmed by a friend with leather Marco rescued from an old couch!
Creature comforts are few and far between, with only an old Nardi steering wheel, the factory gauges and a couple of aluminium door panels inside. Marco explained, ‘Genuine Porsche parts are just so over-priced, hence whenever I was stuck for a part, I’d just turn to what I know best and make a VW part fit the car’. It’s a cool ethos, and we like the fact that Marco simply refused to pay the ‘Porsche-tax’ – clearly a VW guy through and through!
This was the case when it came to sourcing an engine for the project. Porsche 356 motors are out there, but you’re looking at roughly £5k for a halfdecent used motor these days, hence Marco opted for a VW Type 1 motor, instead. The car was originally fitted with a 90hp 1600cc motor, but it now powered by a twin-carb 1914cc Beetle motor, which probably produces at least 90hp... maybe even a little more!
Marco doesn’t know too much about the motor, except that he pulled it from a Porsche 912, which he’d driven and reported that it ‘pulls really well’. It might not be pretty, but thanks to those dual Weber 40DCNF carbs and a modified stainless steel Type 2 exhaust, it sounds great when Marco hits the loud pedal! Marco went on to complete the wiring and plumbing (and airlines!), then fitted up just enough O/E trim to make the car work. The stripped out look and lack of bumpers really suit the non-nonsense styling of the ratty-racer, and there’s no denying that it’s just about as tough as they come.
But, of course, it’s those huge Fuchs replica rims that really set things off. Marco bought the rims already modified and painted in flat black and decided that they’d work well with a custom coat of metallic gold paint.
The rears are regular Type 2 bolt pattern 7x17s but the fronts have been narrowed and now measure 5.5x17. Fitting them to the car involved re-drilling the rear brakes to the Bus 5x112mm PCD and simply fitting up a set of 5x112mm CSP discs to the front spindles.
The end result is one truly gobsmacking outlaw rat-ride!! However, Marco is the kind of guy that loves to build a car, but soon feels the need to fire up the grinder and start a fresh project just as soon as he’s completed the last. Hence, if you’re interested in this car and have a cool €50k to hand, it could be yours.
In closing, Marco stated, ‘I would prefer to give the car away to anyone who can provide me with a full-time pilot-job – and that’s not a joke’... so there you have it, a free car if you can sit Marco in the hot seat of an aircraft!
Left: The rear section of the transmission tunnel has been raised to provide clearance for a ‘Freeway Flyer’ Bug gearbox Below: The gold-painted Fuchs replica wheels measure 5.5x17 up front and 7x17 at the rear. Slammed on the deck, this car looks as hard as nails and drops jaws at 50-paces!
1. The floors have been painted in black to contrast perfectly with the rusty exterior. Note the sand in the footwells, which is left over from the double sandblasting this car has been subjected to!
2. The steel sliding sunroof is a rare option, which makes this T5 body quite desirable amongst Porsche collectors. Fortunately, this sunroof is complete and in working order – very cool indeed!
3. Under the bonnet is a race fuel cell, a sealed battery and an air-compressor (feeding Monroe air-shocks)
4. Aluminium bomber seats were supplied by Hunts in the USA and leather-trimmed by a friend.