A Porsche with Mercedes cues, all done by Dean Jeffries

Once upon a time, it was frowned upon within the Porsche community to even own an ’Outlaw’ Porsche. Purists hated these modified examples that had strayed far from the beaten path but that all changed with people such as Magnus Walker breathing new life into the movement and showing the world just how awesome an Outlaw Porsche could be.

The movement, however, dates back decades and this is probably where it all started: Dean Jeffries’ 356A Carrera, which he thoroughly modified taking design cues from the Mercedes 300 SL. Happily, it doesn’t have butterfly doors!

The 356 Carrera with added fizz

Check Out This Porsche 356 Outlaw - The First of Its Kind
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If you’ve looked up the history of James Dean’s infamous Porsche 550 Spyder you’ll know that one Dean Jeffries added the finishing touches to the car’s livery by writing ’Little Bastard’ on its tail.

Jeffries was known for his painting and pinstriping skills even finding employment in the '50s with Mobil Oil that saw him paint many of the roadsters that ran the Brickyard in those days.

Come the ’60s, he began building custom cars after establishing his own shop, Dean Jeffries Automotive Styling. Some of his wildest creations were featured in big-name Hollywood productions including the Monkeemobile, the Black Beauty (that starred in the original ’Green Hornet’ movie), the Landmaster from ’Damnation Alley’, and even the buggy seen in James Bond: Diamonds Are Forever’. But, before he became a household name, Jeffries had a go at customizing one of the most famous shapes of the automotive industry, that of the Porsche 356.

Porsche introduced the 356A/1500GS Carrera Coupe in 1955. The name, taken from La Carrera Panamericana, a race held yearly in Mexico down the famous Pan-American Highway that Porsche had conquered with the 550 Spyder, was also given to the engine powering the 356A/1500 GS. That engine, the Type 547/1 unit, was effectively the same as the one powering the 550s.

Conceived by Dr. Ernst Fuhrmann in 1952, the engine featured dual overhead cams, twin ignition, two twin-throat carburetors, and dry-sump lubrication. The Carrera was first seen at the ’55 Frankfurt Auto Show and, while shoving a race engine in the back of a road-oriented sports coupe must’ve caused quite a stir, only 225 Coupes were built during the initial production run.

Check Out This Porsche 356 Outlaw - The First of Its Kind
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One of those cars ended up in Jeffries’ hands in about 1957 (the current owner says in the video that Jeffries had it already by ’56 but the Bonhams listing for the car contradicts him) and, wanting to be known as more than just a painter and pinstriper, he got to work modifying the 356’s body.

He removed the original US-spec bumpers, fitted a European-style bumper, and extended the nose section while also custom fabricating fender extensions that 'Frenched' the headlights. This means the headlights are basically nestled within empty cavities in the fenders.
Check Out This Porsche 356 Outlaw - The First of Its Kind
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As Jefferies was working out of George Barris’ shop at the time, it seems that Barris’ men chimed in and somewhere along the way the car ended up with a unique rear scoop with a custom grille, and handmade taillights and roof vents meant to mimic those on the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. According to Bonhams, "the car was painted in pearlescent silver and used aircraft clear as a topcoat and [Jeffries] also applied silver leaf to the dashboard." After completion, the car began gathering acclaim on the Southern California scene winning dozens of awards at car shows and being featured in many of the magazines including on the cover of ’Rod & Custom’ in 1959.

Less than three years later, Jeffries sold his Carrera, now painted gold, to Albert Nussbaum who was wanted by the FBI at the time after committing a series of bank heists. The current owner claims in the video that this precise car was used in a subsequent robbery in Florida but that’s not not been verified although it is likely that the car did get impounded by the federal authorities once Nussbaum was finally apprehended.

Check Out This Porsche 356 Outlaw - The First of Its Kind
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Sometime in 1966, the car appeared on the market once again and Randy Toole purchased it. With the original Carrera engine in bad shape, Toole proceeded to take it out and swap it with a much less peppy pushrod engine. The current owner claims that Margaret Daole, who bought the car in 1970 from its fourth owner, Sandy Hunter, paid $11,000 for it, some $2,000 than Nussbaum had paid in 1962. For reference, $11,000 in 1970 equates to about $72,687 today - more than $25,000 less than the MSRP of a bog-standard 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera.

Daole kept the car for only one year, just like Hunter did before her, and the Carrera was sold on in 1971 to the owner that would ultimately sell it via Bonhams in 2018. It was him that installed a genuine 550 Spyder engine in the back of the car, breathing new life into it, before it was discovered that the engine actually belonged to #550-0022 that raced at Sebring in 1955. Soon after, a swap was organized and the Carrera ended up with a freshly rebuilt 1.6-liter quad-cam plain bearing engine from a 1959 model. The car was brought back to its original late ’50s specification after a painstaking three-year-long restoration process that lasted between 2008 and 2011.

Check Out This Porsche 356 Outlaw - The First of Its Kind
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Dean Jeffries himself took part in the process after the Glasurit Corporation was persuaded by Bill Warner to donate the materials to the restoration and Glasurit had Jeffries personally select a match for the original silver paint job. Now, all these decades later, Outlaw Porsches seem to be popping up everywhere with people not even knowing what the term means anymore but, if we are to establish a starting point for this whole movement, we might as well say it is this Carrera. After all, it was owned by a legitimate outlaw, right?

Michael Fira
Associate Editor and Motorsport Expert - fira@topspeed.com
Mihai Fira started out writing about long-distance racing like the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. As the years went by, his area of interest grew wider and wider and he ever branched beyond the usual confines of an automotive writer. However, his heart is still close to anything car-related and he's most at home retelling the story of some long-since-forgotten moment from the history of auto racing. He'll also take time to explain why the cars of the '60s and '70s are more fascinating than anything on the road today.  Read More
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