Note: This car is no longer with the Ecurie Scalpel Team.

Porsche 356

Having completed our second Winter Challenge in the trusty MGA Coupe (3rd in Class and no mechanical dramas) it became clear that a change of car was necessary. With both the driver and navigator being over 6’ the MG was just too cramped for comfort. All that was fine but what car should it be? It needed to be reliable, fast enough when required but nimble enough for the twisty mountain bits. Obviously it needed to be bigger than the MG. Finally it had to have a touch of class! The list soon became narrowed down to “big and bulky” versus “quick and nimble”. The one car that seemed equally at home in the winter ice of the Alps and the fast sweeps of the summer was a Porsche 356. That decided the question was where to find one.

Finding a good one is not easy!! There are lots of American imports from rust free states (Yes the rust is free!) and many have been restored very badly. Many phone calls led me to Andy Prill – arch enthusiast and 356 engine guru. He agreed to start the search for me and some six months later the car was found in a garden garage in Essex. I am only the third owner from new and the other two had looked after it well. An original right hand drive English 356C with matching numbers was mine. Nothing much was needed in theory but in practice it took nine months before I was driving this little blue number.

The body was sound with minimal rust and a bare metal respray was the first step. Before this of course Steve Monks did the door skins very nicely while Andy took the engine off for his special attention. The suspension was all rebuilt with Koni’s all round and new Avons on the wheels. I re-covered the seats in leather (I know its not original) and some inertial reel harnesses installed. Converting to 12V seemed sensible but of course this meant all the instruments needed conversion. After longer than anticipated (and a bit more money to be honest) the engine was fitted. Full flow oil system and Shasta pistons attached to a fast road cam and new DellOrto carbs promised to produce a nice result – as indeed it did. Everything he said was true and the money definitely worthwhile. A recent trip to the rolling road to balance the carbs produced 98bhp at the wheels – very impressive indeed.

I have now used the car as a daily driver for a year and it has never let me down. But what about the rallies? Well of course work stopped be doing any after the 2001 Winter Challenge so we are planning the Rally of the Tests in November 2002. Steve Monks has agreed to put a half cage in for the event and we will change the seats for one with more lateral support. With a few more safety appendages sorted out we will be ready to go.

Was it a wise choice? Absolutely yes! It is a wonderful little car that just loves to be thrown around B roads. The engine is a gem and revs off the clock (Andy says that is fine by him!) making the best sounds of all. Lets hope we do it justice.


Porsche 356 Picture Gallery

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