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Electric Sunroof Option: 1963 Porsche 356

An old message board thread on a Porsche 356 page indicated that the presence of a sunroof added anywhere from $5-$15K to the value of the car, especially if a COA accompanied it and proved the 356 in question was ordered that way from the factory. But it’s a sliding scale, of course, based on how nice the surrounding car is. Use your best guess as to why this 1963 356 here on eBay is listed for a reasonable $27,500 despite being an original electric sunroof car.

Despite the COA verifying that this 356 did roll of the production line in 1962 with the sunroof mechanism installed, time has not been kind to this 356 and extensive rust is the driver behind the low price. The sunroof offers a few different upsides, not the least of which is exclusivity, along with the obvious ventilation benefits and seeing the stars above on a summer night’s drive. Headroom is likely reduced, and in the case of this example, a new headliner will need to be fashioned along with likely rebuilding the sunroof motor.

Annoyingly, the seller merely photographs the extensive chassis and body rot but doesn’t mention it in the listing. Dubbed “…a great restoration project,” it’s clear the crudely applied flat-black paint is the least of its cosmetic worries. The 356 “…has been sitting for many years”, and its original Ruby Red paint has all but disappeared aside from trace elements of it on the edge of the chassis. The question of the sunroof’s value begins to lose meaning when the rest of the car will take so much work to restore, especially being an otherwise run-of-the-mill 356.

The interior is better, but clearly far from original. The COA calls for black leatherette with corduroy inserts, which seems to have gone missing here. The door panels are also likely incorrect for a black-interior car. The dash panel looks decent, but the steering wheel is lacking the original horn button. Overall, for under $30K, this is one of the cheaper 356 projects on the market and the electric sunroof adds some intrigue / possible value. But is that option alone enough to make this one worth saving?


  1. Beatnik Bedouin

    Plan for everything just south of the door handles to require patching/replacement.

    You guys, stateside, can correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m guessing that the cost to restore this 356 coupe is going to be much more than what it’s worth, finished.

    • Mountainwoodie

      Sometimes it seems with 356 Pcars that there is no downsidde no matter what it costs to restore….and admittedly an electric sunroof will add quite a bit imho

  2. Mark S.

    Beatnik is right. What I see here is parts and a pile of rust. Impractical to fix.

    • Peter

      Quite a lot of them part them out and get great prices on ebay etc.

  3. Smokey Member

    Having a sunroof in a 356 coupe means you have a lot less headroom than a standard coupe. It takes up about 1.5 to 2 inches of headroom clearance. Better not be tall for this Porsche.

    • D. King

      Smokey, my husband is 6’2″ and the sunroof in our ’64 SC has never been an issue. He has owned the car for 51 years.

  4. Dolphin Member

    In excellent condition these are worth about $110K.

    With the loss of what looks like half or more of the metal in the pan and a lot of metal in the body, and then needing everything else gone through, rebuilt, or replaced, Beatnick is right: you probably can’t get there from here even if you got it for free.

  5. Billy 007

    The old joke was that to get big bucks, the proverbial turd needed to be polished, well, theses days, maybe not.

  6. Derek

    In spite of all the many 356s I’ve owned over the years including a pair of genuine speedsters and an early “bent window” Carrera coupe that I pulled out of a shed in Northern Maine about 40 years ago, I’ve never been able to figure out what the great appeal is. I always found them to be pretty horrible cars to drive and not all that great looking either.

    • Dolphin Member

      Your comments about air cooled Porsches are interesting to me, and remind me of when I decided to buy one. I test drove about a half dozen air cooled 911s from SCs to Carreras to 964s, and they all reminded me far too much of the VW Beetle I had decades ago when I couldn’t afford anything better. None of them were very satisfying to drive, and some of them were downright awful.

      I gave up on ancient air cooled 2-valve technology and ended up with some front-mid engined, water cooled 4-valve cars that were light years ahead technically, and far more satisfying to drive.

      Of course it all comes down to personal preference, but to me your comments on air cooled Porsches are right on and are a hoot to read. I think Porsche has done a truly masterful job of using racing and expert marketing to build their brand. Unfortunately, for me the air cooled cars don’t match that brand image when you actually get them on the road.

      • BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

        A 57 thru 59 356A with factory sunroof, bench seat with sheepskin cover, gas heater & real knobby tires…in the snow on the back roads,1600 super just fine. Now that’s real livin’ !

  7. Rex Kahrs Member

    Derek, I gotta ask why you owned so many 356s if they were horrible and ugly?

    • Derek

      I was a vintage car dealer for more than 50 years and made a living by pulling stuff out of barns, sheds, basements, fields, and backyards. If I could make a buck with it, I’d buy it.

      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        So, by definition, you were a “flipper”, a curse word in these parts.
        Just kidding, without someone doing the job a “flipper” does, we wouldn’t be able to have the option to see, comment, even buy these cars.
        Plus, last I checked, we all live in an open, capitalistic society.

  8. Peter

    There are some reasonably good 356 driver cars going on ebay at present without all the ‘project’ drama.

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