For anyone in the industry whom has ever met or perhaps spoken on the phone to Rod Emory, upon mention of his name, a kind of smile with an accompanying warm feeling washes over their faces. When I let Rod know that I would be down in his neck of the woods earlier this year, he invited me to come and take a look around his shop. What entailed was one of the most incredible Porsche, if not any car, experiences of my entire life.
For those of you unaware of the Emory family, Rod is the current generation Outlaw* (a term fundamentally created by this family) builder, and his shop is in California. They produce, hands down, some of the most incredible 356 builds your mind could even imagine. When I was there, it was the road to SEMA, and Rod showed me their current project which involved putting a 964 driveline under a 356. If that doesn't completely boggle your mind, they had just unveiled their incredible Gmund SL 063 build which was so incredibly detailed they even chose to find a specialist to hand paint the racing numbers, as would have been done in that period.
All of that to say, Emory builds undergo what most enthusiasts would refer to as a complete frame off restoration, only here, every single last part is carefully planned out through its journey back onto the car. Rod took me in that back to show me where they did some real engineering, 3D scanning of original parts and re-designing with todays technologies to be better then the original.
For a kid from a small town in Canada, this place was was Mecca. My Porsche obsession re-sparked around my early 20's, after years of studying mechanical engineering, in a path to follow my passion of cars, a friend took me for a ride in his 356, which later inspired the "Ol' Classic" Tee. After that first day, I wanted to know everything and anything Porsche. Years later it required me to make a phone call to Emory's shop in California, he was one of the first true Porsche people that I spoke to. I had a simple question for him on my Queeny build, which he swiftly answered and went on to speak to me on the phone for another 10 minutes about Porsches, what I was up to, and what he had going in the shop. To say that I have always looked up to both his cars, and his philosophy, would be an understatement.
The reason why I started studying mechanical engineering at school was never with the goal of achieving and becoming an engineer, it was, simply put, the only feasible path to becoming involved in the wonderful automotive world. Flash forward 14 years later and I find myself visiting such incredible people such as Rod Emory, camera in hand. To say that I feel a sincere overwhelming need to share these experiences is obvious.
For the part of me with gasoline running through my blood, this visit was yet another unforgettable experience in the shocking adventure that Werks has taken me on. I sincerely hope you enjoy this little sneak peak behind the doors of one of the most influential and iconic Porsche people today.
The Gmund SL 063.
Proof that cars are meant to be driven, even ones as beautiful as this.
I'd like to take a quick moment and thank Rod for having me, not to mention letting me take his outlaw tracker electric bicycle for a rip around the block. I look forward to our next visit to California.
You can find Rod on instagram here.
All images shot by Peter Reid @p_reid please contact for use. Written by Peter, from Werks Headquarters in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.