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Matching Numbers Basketcase: 1962 Porsche 356

How badly do you want a numbers-matching Porsche 356? Given how many of these cars lost their original drivelines given they were once cheap and disposable, it’s a rare find to discover a standard model the retains its matching components. The seller is a well-known vendor in vintage Porsches, and doesn’t pull any punches when describing just how massive of a project this will be. Find the 356 here on eBay listed at no reserve with bidding over $7K.

Unobtanium Inc. is still tracking down project-grade examples of Porsche’s early cars, and I love the details they provide in each listing. They note that this 356 ended up this way with little in the way of history to account for its decrepit condition. Sold new in New York by Max Hoffman’s dealership, it went to Springfield, MA, and then disappeared, with the seller discovering it rotting away in Florida. Originally Ruby Red with a black interior, it now shows faded traces of that first paint job.

With the engine and gearbox still matching, it begs the question of how this car was maintained. Someone had to have placed an emphasis on maintaining the mechanical bits, but then why let the exterior disintegrate around it? The seller notes this 356 is about as rusty as they can get, and even marvels at how it’s somehow still being held together with hopes and dreams. My guess is this car spent many years in New England before its owner retired to Florida, trading road salt for humidity.

As you can see, floor rot is extensive. Every body panel seemingly has rot-through of some kind, and the rest of the chassis likely suffers from similar levels of corrosion. Amazingly, the interior still comes with seats and a factory radio, further confirming the 356 was never necessarily torn down and partially restored, but rather simply used up until there was near nothing left and parked. Does the matching numbers drivetrain make this a project worth taking on?


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Not much comment on this one…..

    Like 2
  2. redwagon

    Early indication that the Porsche bubble has burst?

    Not likely.

    Like 3
  3. Keith

    Maybe redwagon is right, the bubble may have burst. I say crush it.

    Like 2
  4. Kurt Member

    I say strip it as there are a few usable parts, then bequeath it to a high school metal fabricating class (if they still have such classes somewhere) with a challenge for the kids to use the old body as a guide to make a new one, then plop it on a VW chassis!

    Like 5
  5. 36 Packard

    I say, let the seller fix it up and sell it themselves if it is such a great deal. A fools errand for sure.

    Like 6
    • Adam Wright

      I would love to restore every car that hits the yard, but considering it takes on average about 5 years to restore one of these cars I would need to live to be about 200 years old to restore just what I have in the yard today, not to mention the ones that keep coming. Restoring them is not what we do for the community, we find them, bring them to market so others can restore them. I do restore my own cars, so I know what it takes to restore one of these.
      Adam Wright

      Like 15
      • 36 Packard

        I was at a car show this evening and nice lady drove up in a beautiful Beck speedster. To me, that seems the best way to go. By the time you get through with this, it is going to end up being mostly a copy anyway, why not get a reliable, pristine, brand new Porsche instead? No one around us knew it was a Beck, everyone thought it was real, I asked because it seemed too perfect to be an original. Just my opinion of course, to each his own. If you can wait five years to have one and you enjoy it and can afford the unbelievable expense, then good for you. I myself couldn’t wait that long to experience the joy of motoring.

        Like 6
      • Adam Wright

        For some guys it’s the journey, not the destination, I’ve bought lots of restored cars that guys finish, drive for a year, and want to get going on another project. As far as way drive a new Beck compared to a Porsche, well, never seen a Beck win Le Mans. I’ve had quite a few guys buy real Porsches from me after selling Beck’s and other plastic cars, they all say the same thing, the plastic cars have no soul.

        Like 10
      • Bodyman68

        5 years to restore a car ? Maybe at a snails pace or inexperienced but not in a shop of today’s world . Parts are not hard to find for vw’s and 356’s so this shouldn’t take long at all .

        Like 6
    • Joel G Chamberlain

      Do you have a 36 Packard? I have a 120B,

      Like 0
  6. canadainmarkseh

    I did a search and aftermarket body’s are readily available, some will buy it for the numbers matching part and vin tag. They will rebuild the drive line and stick it in a new body. Of course this only makes sense if you can do it at a cost where you at least break even. In the end you would at least have a decent car. The site I found sells every single part needed to build your own Porsche so again this is a vin tag sale. As for the engine the only piece of value is the engine case with the vin number. Same goes for the transmission. The rest will end up in the crusher. I guess if you still have some original parts you could still call it a restoration not a clone.

    Like 5
  7. 36 Packard

    There something deeply troubling about just selling a VIN. Remember in Woody Allen’s movie Sleeper where the blown up leader was trying to be resurrected and all they had left was his nose? They could build a body around it but it really wasn’t going to be the great leader of old, was it? Then they were going to try and pass on their “leader” as the original to an unsuspecting populous, sound familiar here? Fraud is an ugly word that leaves a bitter post taste on the tongue. It would be better and cheaper just to build a car as you say out of new parts and celebrate it for what it is, a true clone that honors the greatness of old, and maybe with a few modern twists of its own.. Now, if some stupid government regulation makes a car as such have an old VIN to be road driven, that is an exception (and we need to change that law!) but then the seller should make the car available for that reason, be honest upfront, not imply that it is a restore able car in and of itself. Parts of this hobby have gotten awfully sleazy.

    Like 5
    • Steve R

      Parts of the hobby have been awfully sleaze for a long time, it’s nothing new and has been around even when these cars weren’t especially valuable. Thirty plus years ago I was visiting a friend that restores muscle cars, he pointed out how someone had changed the VIN stamping on the engine of a car he was working on. He said he’d come across cars that had their VIN’s swapped. He would refuse to work on these car, he didn’t want to be associated with them and have his work called into question. This was when muscle cars were still plentiful and cheap, in my area many muscle cars were still daily driven, deals were readily available for those willing to work at finding car. He said some of the owners would re-stamp engines just so the car would present better at shows. Many had swapped engines before “matching numbers” was on anyone’s radar. As for VIN swaps, none of the owners he knew had swapped them, they had bought the cars that way. He said most likely the car had been stolen at some point in time and the thief’s were washing the title. It was easy back then, wrecked or non-running cars could be found sitting in driveways for a couple of hundred dollars or less, buy the car, then steal a nice example.

      When it comes to aftermarket bodies, they are never identical to originals. They are close, but there will always be differences, often to the undercarriage or some other location not visible with a cursory inspection. They are not suitable for a high end restoration, someone truly knowledgeable will spot one. They are great for race cars or modified cars.

      Steve R

      Like 7
      • 36 Packard

        Or the modern bodies are also great for Average Joes to drive and love, you forgot that one. Not all of us are in it for the bucks, some of us love cars and driving. Purists are not dead, but our breathing is greatly labored and death is knocking on the door impatiently.

        Like 3
      • Sandy Claws

        I’m with you Packy.

        Like 0
  8. Jack Quantrill

    This must have been fished out of a lake! Let it die in peace.

    Like 3
  9. TimM

    Flintstones meet the flintstones!! Fred and Barney would like this car!!!

    Like 5
  10. BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

    I’m not remembering parts being cheap &/or disposable. Remember needle bearings ? Motors went bad. You cleaned the screen. 100k ? Kaputski !

    Like 0
  11. Bruce Joslen

    The discussions about what constitutes an original car are interesting. I recall years ago, a sports racing car was wrecked. One guy salvaged the chassis, repaired it and built a new body. The other guy salvaged the body, repaired it on a new chassis. Both claimed that they possessed the original car. As for the Porsche, I think to say you had the original car, you would have to patch repair this body so that as much of the original body remained as possible. Can be done. Saw it done on one of these Porsches recently here in New Zealand.

    Like 1
  12. Adam Wright

    As far as the argument on whether or not cars like this can or should be restored, I believe they should all be restored, as do my customers. Here is one great case, guy didn’t have much money, but he had a lot of ambition and time, so he bought the worst car I sold that year and is making lemonade out of lemons! http://forum.porsche356registry.org/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=35582&hilit=buy

    Like 5
  13. Santa Fe Steve

    Mr. Wright is exactly right…..sorry about that. There is someone out there without a boat load of money, perhaps retired, who can restore this car to its former glory. Perhaps we will see it at Rennsport IX at Laguna Seca taking home the big trophy!

    Like 1
  14. Karl

    I am a little short sighted on cars like this and and somewhat blinded by my already full back log of Military trucks that need my attention. What I see here is a once beautiful car that would take up a lot of work space for a very long time, I know that attitude is unfair guys!

    Like 2
  15. Imperialist1960

    There is a butt for every bucket seat.

    There are cars where the seller hides or omits in description. This isn’t one of those.

    This auction tells the truth and the ability to see the front wheel from the C pillar tells the story. We’re all adults here, mostly. Let the buyer and seller do their deal and stop worrying about it so much.

    Like 3
  16. CLP

    There is no shame nor wrong in restoring a car as long as the restorer discloses what work was done. Finding survivor cars that are in excellent condition is fun to talk about but, in reality, few are found.

    I’ll go farther with the idea of restoration. Rebuilding cars can and should a labor of love and pride. Reclaiming the past for something that is no longer built is noble and enjoyable. To consider a car repaired in a workmanlike fashion as less is to say that the car, as originally built, was built under lesser circumstances.

    While it’s true that beautiful survivor cars often bring the most money, it doesn’t mean that properly restored car are poor representations of a marque or valueless. Car shows, gatherings, auction and, indeed, the car hobby as a whole would likely be vanishingly small otherwise. Celebrate the restorer. Look at how thick a Hemmings Magazine, “old technology”, still is even today.

    That were built by hands once and they can be rebuilt by hands again.

    Like 0
  17. Clay Bryant

    Can’t even jack up the radiator cap on this one and slide a new car under it. Love the air conditioning system……….How does something get this far gone?

    Like 0
  18. Timrod

    The picture of the original bill of sale shows it was sold to Curtis Blake. I believe he was one of the founders of the Friendly’s Ice Cream chain. He just died last month at 102. I think his brother Prestley is still alive at 105.

    Like 0
  19. George

    there was a very similar car on main street in bogota, nj like forever and the owner wouldnt sell. maybe this is it.

    Like 0
    • Adam Wright

      Nope, this was has been in a field in FL for decades.

      Like 0
  20. Charles E Ferrell

    About ten years ago I had an opportunity to buy a running and in decent condition 256 coupe for $10K. The wife wouldn’t let me. I still haven’t forgiven her. Probably never will, lol.

    Like 1

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