After 1993, when Gary moved with his family out of Southern California to McMinnville, Oregon, the term “outlaw” became somewhat tainted. Many forgot the true spirit of the thing, which wasn’t to cut cars up willy-nilly; it was to modify them as the factory might have done if it had continued 356 development. Gary’s design language, meanwhile, became more sophisticated, and he was joined in the business by son Rod, the third generation of Emorys to exhibit a flair for design and who himself has evolved the “outlaw” look into a series of modified cars called the Emory Specials.
Flash back to the summer of 2007 at the Portland Historics. Tom Anderson, owner of Emory Special #2 (which Rod and Gary had completed in 2006), walked up to the Emory race transporter and introduced Dennis Kranz to Gary and Rod—and to Special #2. Now, Dennis is no stranger to Porsches—he owns a beautiful red ’58 Speedster and has owned various 911s over the years—but he was stunned by the look and feel of Tom’s Special #2 and immediately commissoned Rod to build one for him. After throwing a few ideas around, Rod began to look for a donor car.
Rod started with a 1958 356 A body, found in Northern California as a bare roller. Once he got it back to the shop, it was stripped and suspended in a rollover rack, where it was media-blasted to see exactly what they had to work with. The body needed all the typical rust repair— panels, floors, battery box, longitudinals etc., but once they got the core of the body back in shape, Rod began to have some fun with it.
He decided to begin the tweaks by removing the drip rails, which is a bit of work because three pieces of sheetmetal are joined together to create the rail. Rod started by cutting the rails off in 6.0-in. sections, leaving a 1.0-in. piece intact every 6.0 in. This keeps everything from separating. (Rod had to use a torch to remove all the lead Porsche used in this area.) Then he tack-welded the seam every inch to keep it tight and removed the remaining 1.0-in. pieces.
Then it was time to start welding. This area was gas-welded for a nice, flexible seam; MIG welding creates a much more brittle result. Welding was followed by some grinding and hand work with a body file.
The next change, to the B pillar, was subtle but drastic. The original was cut out and a new one was built, an inch wide and angled forward with large radii in the corners. Because of the B pillar, Rod ordered new widows cut and tempered. He wanted frameless side windows, so the doors were modified to accept Roadster window tracks (an A Roadster window is also frameless), providing a lot more stability for the window.