Disclosure: This site may receive compensation when you click on some links and make purchases.

As Original as they Come: 1965 Porsche 356C

Original 1965 Porche 356C

We talk about originality and what it means to be original quite often, but we know that many times these claims aren’t completely accurate. A find might be somewhat original, but things are going to wear out on a car that is driven. It isn’t uncommon for a car to have been restored once, even two times before going into storage. Knowing a car is truly original takes a keen eye, lots of knowledge, and some modern technology. Brian P, from Motoring Investments recently sent us a find he discovered hiding in a garage. On closer inspection of this 1965 Porsche 356C, he discovered it was completely original.

Porche 356C

Brian deals with a lot of classics and has learned that when they look this good, it usually means they have been repainted. Checking the paint’s thickness can tell you a lot about the cars history, so he used his electronic paint meter and measured the paint. What he discovered was rather surprising. The paint measured between 3 and 4.5 mils, which means one of two things. Either this Porsche is wearing its original paint or someone stripped it to bare metal before painting it. Given the rest of the cars condition and the fact that the previous owner had it since the 1970’s, it seems likely that it’s all original.

Porche 356C out of the garage

Here is what Brian told us about the car in his own words: “It had sat in a San Diego garage since about 1987 when the clutch cable broke (he kept up the registration until 1992). I had looked at the car 8 years ago but any offer made at that time was “not enough” for the longtime owner (bought it in the early 1970’s). Finally estate planning got the better of them and the neighbor called me up as he had saved my phone number all these years.

Survivor Porsche 356

Proving a car is as original as the day it left the factory is nearly impossible, but there are plenty of things to look for. From what we can see, this one looks original, but it’s impossible to know without inspecting it in person. We are glad that someone will have a chance to get this one cleaned up and running again. Hopefully Brian will keep us updated on what he decides to do with his find!


  1. Jim

    I’ve used several electronic paint thickness gauges many times on the cars I purchased and/or looked at to buy. They are very unreliable and not one has been accurate enough to detect an additional paint layer from sheet metal.

    Like 0
    • rapple

      @Jim, speaking as one whose business is buying cars, I beg to differ. Good professional quality (i.e. expensive) paint meters such as an Elcometer are very accurate and very reliable. Most models these days read on both ferrous and non-ferrous metal surfaces. I use mine on virtually every car I consider for purchase and find it invaluable particularly when inspecting cars in poor weather and light conditions. You would be surprised at the number of vehicles with significant paint work that display a “clean CARFAX”.

      Like 0
  2. Slim Chance

    “Estate Planning caught up with them.” I’ll infer that the owner died and a fire sale ensued.
    Too bad.

    Kink in the hood from a numbskull shutting it before raising to release the checks.

    Like 0
    • paul

      Look closer, the right front headlight, front nose panel, right front top bumper guard & right front quarter buckled in , the hood buckled because the hood was latched closed on impact.

      Like 0
  3. Dolphin Member

    For “estate planning” selling this would definitely make a contribution. I don’t know what the amount would be but I’ll bet it would be more than it was last week. Hey, it’s spring after all.

    Like 0
  4. Slim Chance

    Professional estate planning is done before death. Amateur estate planning brings out the vultures to pick the remains.
    Fire sales are common. It’s not hard to make an estate plan but it can be hard to get people to stop “whistling past the graveyard”.
    A step up in basis would apply for the donee should he or she have chosen to keep it or sell it. The money was obviously more important than the car.

    Like 0
  5. jean lecointe

    A friend of mine started a blasting workshop in Bergerac France, and he was asked to blast a 356 Porshe convertible body. When the body came into his workshop, it was painted black and did not look very bad. He discovered from the interior that the outside and inside did’nt look the same. He discovered that the body had been covered with polyester putty with thicknesses over one centimeter in some areas.
    He completed the blasting job and the bare metal body showed that it will need the work of a professional body worker to get back to its original condition. So, be careful even if the look is good.

    Like 0
  6. DT

    I put “my meter” on it and it said repaint

    Like 0
  7. Sid Cannon Member

    I have an industrial paint thickness gauge and I can confirm that these devices are extremely accurate when measuring any coating that has been applied over a ferrous base. All you have to do is measure the thickness of a few pieces of paper or plastic and then check it over a piece of steel and it is never wrong. I used it make sure manufactures were applying the specified mil thickness on industrial equipment and when you are talking about thousands of gallons of $400/gallon paint both parties want to get it right.
    This tool is great for detecting bondo. You can scan a car in a minute or so.
    (Doesn’t work on my Corvette and won’t work on old Jags.)

    Like 0
  8. paul

    Sid why doesn’t it work on old Jags?

    I never used one of those tools but I am retired auto body shop owner, looking at this car from the pictures, I see a very “wet’ look in the reflection of the finish, this wet look is achieved from a base coat clear coat urethane finish. I am going by 3 pictures so I could be wrong, that said, if memory serves me right they have been using the base coat clear coat finish for about 30 years in California, so say the car was repainted 20 years ago the big thing for me is not seeing rust after all this time, now there is no pictures of the bottom but from what I see it looks to be ok, of course, we don’t know what he paid.

    Like 0
    • Alan

      The “wet look” has the appearance of acrylic enamel to me. Ala’ Earl Scheib?

      Again, 3 photos do not tell the story. Heck of a find, showing that it pays to simply express interest over time. Took me half a year, but I just got a motorcycle that way.

      Like 0
  9. Doug Mullen

    Nice find Brian! I hope you have successful fun with your find!

    Like 0
  10. Rancho Bella

    Nice find Brian

    mike in Point loma

    Like 0
  11. DT

    I think hes refering to the alloy panels,Jaguars have alloy panels.My meter is my eyeballs and I agree the sheen does not look right to me,not positive its a 2 part paint,but it does not look original to me.and the surface under the grills looks like primer with overspray.I have many hours in stripping 356’s with airplane stripper.
    also ,not that unusual for an original California car to look this rustfree.its going to have new paint soon enough,after it goes on the frame straightener

    Like 0
  12. Chris

    But has it still got the original radiator cap & hoses?

    Like 0
  13. jim s

    can it measure the thickness of the pile of money it is going to take to fix this. it will be nice when it is rebuilt which will require a repaint. still a nice find.

    Like 0
  14. DT

    It is a very nice looking car,and Brian looks like a guy that can change a very expensive car into a very,very expensive car,What I like is the Abarth that he owned,the alamano coupe,far from original,but I would not have been able to get rid of that one.German cars and Italian cars are my favorites.And I like a lot of American cars.
    Im a sucker for scarcity, anything unusual.One car I always wanted that I never got was an Amphicar,Rare,German,and dual-purpose

    Like 0
  15. Jim Williamson

    Old Jags don’t have aluminium body panels. You might of got confused with Aston Martins.

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.