Entry Level Air Cooled: 1965 Porsche 356

The Porsche 356 bubble appears to have cooled a bit, with truly rough project cars selling for normal money or not selling at all. Perhaps buyers have wisened up to the fact that plenty of these cars were made and that you really can hold out for the best example you can afford without going completely broke, but you may lose some financial security if you spend too much on a rough example like this 1965 model listed here on eBay. If you are willing to take on a trashed example such as this one, then the price either needs to be exceptionally good or the car has to come with some desirable features. Depending on the reserve, this 356 could be both of those things given it has four-wheel disc brakes, which the seller believes makes it a stand out.

The 356 comes without an engine but it does have a transmission; no word on whether it matches the car. The blue paint looks consistent enough to be original, but again, those details don’t make it into the listing. The seller has not provided a certificate of authenticity, which I suppose is fair given how rough the car is. Still, it could be helpful for potential buyers who want to know whether they are picking up a highly-optioned car that has been stripped of its key features. The rust is the bigger concern here, as the body shows signs of being quite rough with no clear photos of the undersides to see how rough the floors are; interestingly, in another photo with the driver’s seat removed, the pans don’t appear to be in all that bad of condition.

The engine bay is empty, like so many other air-cooled Porsches, and the matching numbers mill is nowhere in sight. This is not a surprise, and I wouldn’t ding the seller for not having it given he likely dug this 356 out of a forgotten garage or basement and then chucked it on eBay to see what he could get for it. That’s exactly what I’d do if I found a 356 in this sort of condition, as no amount of staging is going to change the fact that this car is a long way from Pebble Beach. So, in terms of the value, what’s the best thing this 356 has going for it aside from the fact that it doesn’t appear to have been carelessly modified or otherwise cut up when it was just a cheap sports car?

In my opinion, the brakes are an interesting feature but not necessarily a differentiator. Disc brake conversion kits are widely available, so for all we know this 356 was upgraded at some point later in life. This is where spending the money on a CoA could pay dividends for the seller, as knowing its provenance would at least help potential buyers paint a picture of what they’ll end up with for a finished product should they decide to restore this battered 356. Regardless, it’s good to see prices coming back down to Earth for all but the best examples, which hopefully has the related benefit of more cars being restored rather than left to rot.


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  1. greg

    The last series 356 had disk brakes standard

    Like 5
  2. Matthew Middleton

    That thing’s scrap!

    Like 9
  3. wuzjeepnowsaab

    10,000 bucks for a car that would break in three parts if you looked at it wrong. Amazing what these buckets brings

    Like 6
  4. JudoJohn

    Somebody’s high! Let’s see- 10,000 to buy, 150,000 + to restore for a $137,000 value car.

    Like 9
  5. Bob S Member

    As of now, the bidding is at $10,100, but the reserve is not met. Is this just to test the waters? Why not just list it with a BIN, with the option of an OBO? I know these are valuable in restored condition, but jeez, you’ll always be upside down, but, I guess if you have an endless bankroll. If it’s worth $138k, wouldn’t that be for a numbers matching unit?

    Like 2
    • JudoJohn

      Value was according to Hagerty for a condition 2 car. Not concours, but very nice. Depending on the engine installed, numbers matching may or may not be a factor.

  6. Scott m

    That’s near mint for this company! They’re digging into the good stuff now

    Like 2
  7. Mark

    Needs the Monty Python 16 ton treatment……

  8. PDXBryan

    Thank you so much, @Jeff Laver , for stating the obvious thing that’s rarely stated. Like 911s, “plenty of these were made”, yet people act like each one is the last one existing. I wonder how many dozen old Porsches sit in warehouses for each one still being used the way they were meant to be.

    Like 3
  9. angliagt angliagt Member

    Barn Finds staff,

    Could you PLEASE stop featuring these rust bucket 356’s?
    It’s like going to Harrah’s car collection in Reno in the ’60’s,& seeing
    a row of Black Model A’s – after the first one,you just walk by the rest
    of them.

    Like 7
    • Mike

      You could apply the same mind set seeing a bunch of 356 posts. After reading the first one, you just skip by the rest of them.

      Like 2
  10. MKG

    Can someone explain to me why these things are any better than a Volkswagen Bug with a few extra horsepower?

    Like 2
    • Gordo

      Drive a 56 bug then drive a 56 Speedster and you will immediately know the difference.

      Like 6
      • MKG

        Well admittedly, I have never driven a 356, so cannot have a back to back opinion. What I do know is that I don’t care for rear engine rear wheel drive swing axle configuration. It appears to me to be an antiquated poor design. I have driven later Porsche and enjoyed the experience.

        Like 2
  11. Alford Pouse Member

    I’ll stay with paying $25 for a chance of winning a semi restored 356. Comes with a rebuilt 912 engine.

  12. Malcolm Boyes

    First..I dont get that the bubble “has cooled”. Look at Bring a Trailer when a 356 comes up and see what they sell for. They did make a good few 356’s but you dont see many at all. This one needs to have the underside checked and then you could make a play to see what you could get it for. Porsches are very different from VW’s..and I have both. The build quality and mechanicals are very different..though they look similar. If the important stuff is not rusted out and you are good with welding etc. even this car could be a rewardingproject.All parts are readily available. I get a little miffed at the 356 knockers who have never driven and enjoyed one….they were so far ahead of their time.

    Like 6
  13. Steve Clinton

    Entry-level…entry to the scrap yard.

    Like 2
  14. losgatos_dale

    I don’t know whether to groan or yawn

    Like 2
  15. Jack Quantrill

    There’s an ass for every saddle! Saddle up boys! 🐎

    Like 1
  16. Peter Meade

    Ad on eBay says “needs work.” Really?

    Like 1
  17. gaspumpchas

    Been a while since we saw a Rotten Porsche like this on BF, Bring em on and anyone who doesnt like the listing can move on, one way or another. Seeeing the variety of whats out there is one of the great things about BF. You just need to know what wou are buying and the details. Mandatory inspection.
    Good luck and happy motoring.

    Like 1
  18. Troy

    Wow $10,100 and reserve still is not met. Admittedly I don’t know older Porsche values to me this thing looks like scrap metal with a few parts that may be saved guess I’m going to have to start checking some of the older farmers barns around me I might be able to make some money

  19. CRW Member

    Sad to say it’s a parts car & barely that.

  20. Old trips

    I had a 60 Corvette that I drove for years as a toy. I sold it and acquired a 60 356 Cab. I could not believe the difference in the build quality and drive ability of the 356. Drive one if you get the chance. The fact that the car we are talking about is potentially very near the end of 356 production will help the price

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