Garage Find! Real 1956 Porsche 356 Speedster

Porsche Speedsters are some of the most recognizable and replicated historical sports cars in the world. You can buy a kit to make your own 356 using a Volkswagen drivetrain, but real-deal 356’s are exceedingly rare and very valuable. They almost always command six-figures no matter the condition. This one is from 1956 and can be found here on eBay with a current bid over $155,000 and a buy-it-now price of $400,000! Being offered by Dusty Cars in Pleasanton, California, the car spent the last 35 years parked in dry storage in Georgia. It hasn’t been touched since it was pulled out of the garage and looks like a true survivor. Check out this ultra-rare Speedster!

The interior is very crusty and dusty as you would expect from sitting for so long. I’m guessing the car was stored with the top down which contributed to some of the condition issues. Keen-eyed readers will be able to tell if the upholstery is all-original or not. If you can tell by looking, let us know.

According to flatsixes.com, the original 356 from 1947 tested the engineer’s skills.  “It was powered by a modified 1120-cc VW motor fitted with a single Solex carburetor. Raising the compression ratio of the air-cooled engine and enlarging the intake and exhaust valves increased the output from 25 horsepower to a more robust 35-40…its mid-engine layout…required the Porsche engineers to not only flip flop the engine and transaxle but the rear suspension as well. Otherwise, the new car was a brilliant reimagining of basic Volkswagen parts.” This specific car features a 1600cc power plant that hasn’t been started since approximately 1985. The engine and transmission are numbers-matching and the odometer only shows a little over $43K miles! There are also some great photos of the underside of the engine as well. It appears to have a very consistent appearance and looks the part of a long-term garage find.

The seller describes this car as a “time capsule.” It’s hard to argue with that.

Overall, this is a really cool car. The belly pan has a few rust spots but doesn’t look as bad as most survivors. The original factory stampings can be seen in several photos in the ad. I’m not sure if the bidding will get close enough to the reserve for this car to sell on eBay, but it is pretty clear this is a special car. What do you think about this one?

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Comments

  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    That’s what you got for interior in the mid 50s Speedsters. No frills car made to take off the windshield and hub caps and go racing. Quite a find. Makes me feel good I only had to pay $250 for my first one and $1,500 for the second one. Second one came with rust problems but it also came with two engines and a transmission.

    Like 10
    • Randy

      Exactly — my first car in ’63 was a ’55 Speedster, and for a 17 year old it was a stretch to come up with the $800! But I loved it, despite the many discomforts. When it came time to sell 2-years later nobody wanted it — they were just that much ‘unloved’. Finally talked my brother into taking it.

      Like 3
      • Leland

        In 1963 $800 would have bought you a really nice American car, and that would have been easier to sell when the time came. Sure the Speedster was cool, but too many compromises for later resale. No heater for one, only two seats, no room for kids and groceries.

        Like 3
      • Randy

        Reply to Leland — Well, as a kid my brother and I were foreign sports car nuts, so for a 1st car an American product was just not going to do. The only one I really liked was the ’55 Tbird, but they were all more than the Speedster. It did have a marginal heater and (2) small back ‘seats’, but a 17 y-o doesn’t consider those things — along with resale. I probably would have kept the Speedster but love struck again in ’64 in the form of a ’62 Lotus Elite (car #2).

        Like 2
      • Leland

        @Randy, I see your point. Heat huh? One of those little gas fired jobs? Where you were living, how did it work? Can’t deny, they look like a lot of fun, esp for a 17 year old.

        Like 1
      • Randy

        I grew up in Seattle, so there were not any really extremes in the weather. It seems that in rainy conditions those floppy fabric side curtains did not do much to keep the rain out, but when you have a fun transportation car it did not matter. No long trips, just driving back-and-forth to college. Only real drawback was the miserable vision out the sides/back. Good thing was how easy it was to drop that top.

        Like 2
  2. Had Two

    A Normal. Looks like it may have been wacked on a couple corners.
    Good = it seem to be all there, including filler, and has the original drivetrain
    + Bad= everything needs rebuilding, gonna be time consuming and expensive
    ———
    B.I.N. $400,000 (pre-restoration) < GLWT

    Testing the water…anybody so rich and desperate they'd pay $400,000?

    Like 4
  3. Tom c

    Awesome car , for twenty grand .

    Like 11
    • dougie Member

      Tom obviously you’re a little out of touch on 356 prices. Either that, or let me guess. You drive a Corvette.
      Read the article again. It’s already bid up to $155k. It will easily clear 200,000.

      Like 6
  4. Leland

    400K? That is 4 to 5 times more than the average American has saved for retirement. Something wrong here, really wrong. The writer here says you can build your own replica from a kit at a small fraction of the cost. Doesn’t that make more sense? New metal, new engine, new suspension parts, plus you get that sense of accomplishment that doing it your self brings you. That is the car hobby I grew up in, not the one where a big check book gets you immediate gratification. I miss those days. Maybe I just miss being young, or maybe I miss a kinder friendlier world, that seemed to have more common sense.

    Like 31
    • On and On On and On Member

      Leland, I find your comments strikingly true and interesting.

      Like 12
    • A.J.

      I’m confused as to what you think is wrong?

      The price is probably fishing, but are you saying if it was yours you would happily just give it away to some deserving guy that couldn’t afford its real market price?

      Like 3
    • Greg Moore

      Good morning Leland. You are so right! I have had all types of cars from an Audi R8, NSX, new and old Porsche 911’s to Ferrari’s. I found that the more I spend on a vehicle the less satisfaction I get from it… and the higher my stress level – from worrying about getting the car scratched or dinged, to wondering if the money should have been invested in an asset that might be more appropriate…. I found the older Porsche 911’s and 912’s that I had minimal investment in over the years provided me with more joy of ownership. I currently have a 1957 Porsche Speedster “replica” that I would have to say has brought me more joy and fun than any of the more expensive cars I have owned. And, I only paid $19k for it!!!!

      Like 6
      • Leland

        Mr. Moore, I feel many buy a car for, maybe, the wrong reasons. It is not how much a car costs, it is how much joy or use you can get out of it. I guess the amount is a moving target depending on who you are. 400K may be chump change to some, but not for most of us. I recall Sam Walton, even when he hit it big with Walmart, still drove F150s. The man knew what he liked and didn’t have to prove anything to anyone.

        Like 4
    • MGDuece

      You can buy one restored for less than $400K.

      Like 1
    • Andy Anderson

      Imagine the owner of these cars who have owned them since the 60s, 70s, 80s, or 90s. When they go to sell their (since we are talking about the 356 Speedster) Porsche 356 Speedster for which they paid $800.00 in the 60s, $2500 in the 70s, $10,000 in the 80s, $20,000 in the 90s, etc. Imagine their tax liability when they sell their prized car in the 2015-2020s. Many of them have a capital gain of over $200,000 dollars. This is when it gets real for them as to what their perceived return will actually be. Then the person who steps up to buy the $300,000 + Speedster: Is it only me who thinks that $300,000 or more for a Speedster is a lot of cabbage? I sold #80994 in 2001 to Tom Duffy for $71,432.00 done. It resold in Feb 2017 for 393,360 Euro or $420,000. This car was still wearing all of my work when sold. Wonderful for the seller to profit like this. I have no regrets selling this car nor any of the cars I sold. It is amazing to me the perceived values the cars now have, not only the Porsche 356 line.

      • dougie Member

        Andy I had the same thing happen to me. Put any spin on it, it’s still painful. Way worse than the plethora of “the one that got away” boring stories that we’re all stuck with. lol
        Let me verge off topic for a moment if I may. As a painter.
        The most expensive Jackson Pollack (I can hear it now from the uneducated.“My 3 year old could do that”) sold for $140 million. He sold it for $10,000.
        So here’s my soapbox. Why do artists such as singers, writers, actors etc receive royalties every time their work trades hands, but lowly painters, sculptors, architects etc are essentially screwed. Ok. Thanks for indulging me. I’ll step off my soapbox, now. Back to cars.

      • Andy Anderson

        dougie. I am now working as a “project manager” in Ca. for a construction company out of D.C. I am not fond of titles but this is my title. I consider myself equal to all and I don’t mind being considered to be one of the “lowly or simple” essential workers. In my opinion the times are changing and I am sure that the hobbyists, collectors and persons who depend upon these industries for employment and or income (collector cars, art, pro sports, sports racing, collectibles, etc.) will greatly be changed in the next few years, less than <5 in my opinion. I am thankful that I have construction skills. It is us, the painters, electricians, roofers, plumbers, carpenters, mechanics, farmers who will be in great demand. I used to love working on the Porsche 356 line of cars and generally like or liked cars in general. I come from a family whose livelihood depended upon the Auto industry. My Grandfather was Chevy dealer for over 50 years(1944-1995) and my other Grandpa was a VW Porsche manager for over 20 years (1956-1977). All of the cars I built and or owned, I used, including some very rare models. I drove an original paint 63 Carrera 2 to monterey in 1998, I also drove a 1972 Porsche 916 chassis #9142330018 to Monterey this same year. I drove and bought a 1967 Ferrari 275GTB4 for $280,000 in Ukiah in 1997 and it was parked in the garage of our house that was purchased 4 years prior for $130,000. This is when I started to wake up. I have no regrets from selling any of the great cars, antiques, watches, or any of the other things I had bought over the years. I am excited to see what is coming and hope for all to be safe and find their happiness with the simple things that life offers. I hope I didn't ramble too much and I don't have time to proofread what I wrote. All the best.

  5. Bob S

    If anyone is looking for a new substance to get high on, maybe the seller is the man to see! I understand the provenance of this car, but I agree with everything Leland said. Maybe the ultra rich know how to use this as a tax write off? Crazy money that you’d never see back.

    Like 3
    • Leland

      Not sure how you would use this as a tax write off, but who knows? Some pretty smart accountants out there and the Federal budgets to look for fraud have been repeatedly cut since the Reagan years. Amazing the stuff that gets cut while other stuff does not. All I know is that I wish I had the money to be so frivolous. Of course, I think I would spend it more wisely. Funny thing is, I kind of like this cute little car, too bad it has become a commodity.

      Like 5
  6. Maestro1 Member

    Leland, well done. Certainly not at that figure and frankly I never understood the fiscal hysteria regarding these cars and others of the same marque.

    Like 2
  7. Robert May

    I like the buy a house, furniture, clothes, food, and build a replica Speedster plan myself. Might not even add up to $400,000

    Like 3
    • Leland

      Where I live, half of that would do it. Of course, is life really all about wealth? Papa always said, “The measure of a man is not how thick his wallet is, but how large his heart is.” Papa was a man among men, but you will never read about him in print. But, he is imprinted on our hearts, never to be forgotten.

      Like 7
  8. DRV

    There is a very similar ’57 on BaT. It’s highly unusual 2 speedsters would be for sale at the same time in near same condition. Well, this one is not as “nice”.

    Like 1
  9. michael streuly

    Just a glorified vw. Would not waste my money on such a piece of crap.

    Like 7
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      It’s no a VW.

      Like 3
      • Phlathead Phil

        I have a Porsche that IS a VW! It’s called a 914!!!

        Grows money every day.

        To pay a wad of cash phor a rusty car like this is PHOOLISH!

  10. Chas H

    All those things Leland mentioned can still be done. Not with certain cars, but it’s possible with many.

    Like 2
  11. Tracy

    Stop the madness! Clean the damn car up! Nobody is going to drive this car around with barn dust all over it. Present the car as well as it can be presented! Quit being lazy and cheap!

    Like 3
  12. bobhess bobhess Member

    Great candidate for restoration but they need to knock off 100K for the Mexican made wider chrome wheels….

    Like 1
  13. gerardfrederick

    400.000 is clearly over the top. Somebody has some nerve asking that kind of money for this wreck. This is what´s wrong with the world in general — no sense of balance or decency just money grubbing of the worst sort. Some functionally illiterate ball player might buy it.

    Like 3
  14. Tom Lange

    I have only one Speedster story: when I was in college in Michigan in 1970 my computer teacher (COBOL) drove in one day in a Speedster, and told me he just paid $1,500 for it and a second parts Speedster! A few weeks later, when I saw he was driving something else, he replied that he had gotten stopped so often by the Police that he had to sell it. He said, “That Hirth roller crank meant I had to keep the revs at 5,000 all the time, and the cops thought I was always speeding!” He was unhappy it was a Carrera Speedster, but he did say that he was happy to sell them both for $2,000!

    What’s a Carrera Speedster worth today?

    Like 2
    • John

      A lot.

  15. James H Alton

    The clueless seller has the year wrong. It’s a 1955 “pre-A” not a 1956 “A.” Most Porsche 356 enthusiasts would instantly recognize the “pre-A” dashboard. Barring that, one can look up the chassis number.

    Like 1
    • Andy Anderson

      Yes This car is a 1955 model year. It looks like to me that it was updated at the factory to what the new 56 model year cars would have upon their delivery: The addition of 1600cc engine #60130 overriders(possibly added in the states by the owner to update the car to look like a 56 model), 15″ wheels, defroster vents on dash, blower horns on the front engine tin and a few other small things. It is a pre A Speedster 1955 and it has more than the advertised 43,000 miles on it. I built 80994 in 2001. It too was a transition speedster with a 1600 engine #60100 and it also had defroster vents on its dash but it did not have overrider tubes on its bumpers.

  16. kenzo

    I’d rather have a replica that I built or buy one and enjoy it and keep the change for other things.
    Current buy it now @ 350,000
    Current bid @ 210,000.
    What a waste of money.

    Like 2
  17. Russell Ashley

    I recently read where Alex R. paid $1.5 million for an engagement ring for J-LO and she bought him a restored and customized Ford Bronco and he had already bought her some expensive sports car, so the $400K for this Porsche is just play money for some people. The rest of us can just be satisfied with the Speedster replicas, and probably enjoy them more than anyone is going to enjoy this one.

    Like 3
  18. DRV

    It really depends on how much lunch money you have. The value is what it is whether you like it or not, just like any art.

    Like 2
  19. Gtoforever

    I never understood why someone would pay so much for a fancy Volkswagen
    I’ll stick with my American muscle!!
    Lol

    Like 2
  20. Richard

    Can anyone tell me honestly WHY the 356 commands such high prices? I think they are “cute” but seem like a VW with a Porche body! I’m serious. I just don’t understand why someone would already bid $200,000+ for one. I know I must he missing something!

    Like 1
    • Leland

      I think some people think the bubble will never burst. They may be right, there seems to be a lot of extra money laying around, at least for some people.

      Like 3
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      Read up on what makes a Speedster special and you will see it’s not just a Beetle.

      • Phlathead Phil

        Jesse,

        There comes a time when one has to stop dumping cash into a certain car. That’s why many cars get stored in barns, sheds etc.

        My view is the owner’s wallet when flat when this unit got ‘stashed.’

        From that moment, component breakdown begins to occur.

        A Beetle is no Porsche, and visa versa.

        I’ve had 9 Beetles and only ONE Porsche.

        I’d gladly trade the 9 even for the 1 because they are WOORLDS apart!

        However, my BMW 330-I is just as fun to drive as the Porsche and has more creature comforts.

        At the end of the day,
        they are all just 4 wheels.

        I’d rather have ten cars than only one. So I buy right.

        -Respectfully,
        P.P. 🚗🇺🇸

  21. John

    Bought one from a friend for $400, sold it back to him a year later for $400.It was a great deal in the 60s.

  22. Todd Sloan

    Todd Sloan

    Found mine in an airport hanger in 1976 in Eugene Oregon, where I was a student at Uof O. Paid $3000 cash on the spot, and drove it home.

    Like 1
  23. bobhess bobhess Member

    James H… interesting fact on the dashboard. Except for changing the instruments Porsche carried that dashboard through to ’62 on the Convertible D and the twin grill B roadsters. Fact is, if you wanted to cruise you bought the coupes or cabriolets. If you wanted to go racing you bought the Speedster, Convertible D, or B Roadsters. Have owned all three types and used them in the manner described. Had a ball doing it too.

    Like 1
    • James H Alton

      True. I’m NOT looking to trade my comfy cabriolet for a Speedster.

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