The Porsche 356 is an automotive icon, symbolizing the beginning era of an automaker we know as one of the world’s leading performance car brands today. Not many have dared to modify an original 356 through the years but the Valkyrie Racing team doesn’t really seem to care much about authenticity, as long as the vehicle serves its purpose. And in its case, that mission is raising awareness of victims of human trafficking.
Meet Renée Brinkerhoff, the woman behind the Project 356 World Rally Tour, an expedition and humanitarian effort, who recently visited The International Concours of Elegance (The ICE) at St. Moritz in Switzerland where she lapped the ice track with her heavily modified car. At a glance, a 356 doesn’t sound like the perfect choice for an ice race, though this particular one has exactly what it takes to conquer way more powerful machines – snow tracks.
The vehicle was modified by Kieron Bradley, who has been the senior chassis design engineer at Lotus since September 2019. It took him more than 18 months to transform the vintage sports car into a fully operational snowmobile, as Motor Trends reports, with the most obvious modification being the snow tracks which replaced the rear wheels. Also notable is the pair of skis at the front, which help the driver navigate through snowy terrains. A video with the car lapping The ICE’s track can be seen at the top of this page.
The so-called Polar Porsche relies on a modified suspension system with a single-arm and coilover setup at the back. A roll-cage, four-ton air lifting jack, and 12-volt low-temperature air compressor are among the features not usually found in a 356 but this one has them in order to keep running smoothly at negative temperatures. And with its impressive off-road angles – a 30-degree approach and 45-degree departure angles – it can conquer any snow bank. The speed at which there’s competent durability isn’t particularly impressive, though – just 25 miles per hour.