This 1953 Porsche 356 Pre-A Coupe is the subject of a full resto-mod by Willhoit Auto Restoration in Long Beach, California, who has been restoring 356’s since 1976. Their goal as an award winning concours restoration shop is to provide each customer with a 356 that is equally as pleasurable to drive as it is to look at, just as Dr. Porsche had originally intended. The owner of this particular Porsche wanted Willhoit to take his mild mannered vintage tub to another level, while retaining a look that remained factory-esque, + a few or so degrees of intensity. They built him an outlaw coupe that included pre-dating the car to body bumpers, early Gmünd type lighting, and an early dash with Veigel gauges. Purists, please avert your eyes. All others, take note on the proper way to create a 356 hot rod the way it should have come straight from Stuttgart in the beginning…
The addition of the front oil cooler screen is a throw back to the Gmünd bodied cars that were raced until the mid 50s. The suspension, engine, trans, brakes, and all technical aspects of the car were updated to 356B type GT specs, including the floor pan and pedal assembly, adjustable front torsion bars, and later upright rear shocks.
The sunroof uses the later, smaller roof section and is electrically operated by an early toggle switch on the dash. This early Coupe’s body was stiffened by using Willhoit’s Cabriolet/Speedster kit, and the rear fenders were widened by 1” on each side allowing the use of 7” wheels on the rear.
Specifications are as follows:
- GT body trim similar to Gmünd race cars with plexiglass windows
- Lightweight interior with GT seats.
- Lightened with no ebrake and no wipers.
- 12V electrical system, WR Dual Circuit Brake Kit.
WR Sport Suspension Kit including:
- 17.5mm front swaybar with special Pre A mounting blocks
- stiffer front and rear torsion bars and stiffer rear spring plate bushings
- Bilstein shocks, 1” lower ride height, decambered front spindles.
- 741 gearbox with BBAB gearing and 7:31 12 bolt R/P with GT torque biasing diff
- Special short throw shifter and the WR 2002cc twin plug engine with Motec EFI, special sport exhaust, (158HP)
An impressive restoration with tasteful modifications, overall a very well thought out Coupe. Maybe it’s owner would entertain the thought of creating it’s twin but in Speedster version next time as a stable mate. If that happens, please let us know, as we would like to follow that build as well. While we are at it, how about some driving impressions too?
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