Never Seen One: 1958 Zarft

1958-Zarft

We have featured a lot of cars here on BF, but this is one we have never heard of before. It is a 1958 Zarft and it’s claimed to be 1-of-2 cars built. The body is fiberglass and aluminum and the mechanicals are VW/Porsche. The styling is very interesting and we sort of want it. It is listed for sale here on eBay out of Port Angeles, Washington with a starting bid of $200.

1958-Zarft-side

It looks like the offspring of a Porsche 356 and a Volvo p1800. Amazingly, we couldn’t find any information about Zarft online. Anyone here know anything about it? This could have been a home-brew sort of project, but it actually looks well done. It is obviously based on a 356 or a VW, so there has to be some value here even if just for parts. Unfortunately, the engine is long gone.

1958-Zarft-grill

We’re not sure what we  would do with it, but the more we look at it, the more we want to drag it home. It would take a lot of work to get this thing back on the road, but just think of all the curiosity it would generate at any automotive event. Perhaps we need to start collecting funds for a BF project car…

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Comments

  1. scot

    ~ offspring of a Porsche 356 and a Volvo p1800.
    naildit, Jesse!

    Like 1
    • james moir

      It was called Zarft Special Alberta Zarft and son Eric built this car in the garage on Jacklyn Rd.in Langford B.C. I helped to prep it for a car show in 1963 car show Albert won 2st place Billy Foster and crew won 1st for engineering . have more information if interested .

      • edsten

        I know about this car as I was a goodfriend of mr zarfts son art he did wonderful things mechanically

    • James Moir

      Is this car still for sale I am interested contact me at 604 7240219 James Moir

      Like 1
  2. J. Pickett

    What a massive project, but since it may be one of one or two, no point in trying to bring it back to “stock”, What’s stock? Finish it off as you like and put a nice heated up VW or possibly a Corvair engine in it and enjoy.

  3. stigshift

    Interesting that the first thing I thought when I saw the picture was “ZARFT!!! What IS that thing??!!!”.

    • Mark E

      Really? The first thing I thought when I saw those wacky fins was WHAT, another pre-Barris batmobile?!?? ^o^

    • scot

      ~ whada we gonna do tomorrow night, Brain.
      same thing we do every night, Pinky. try to take over the world.

  4. JP

    The doors almost look like they came from a Bel Air…

  5. jim

    found this add from when it was offered for sale for $1000 OBO in 2011.
    http://www.usedvictoria.com/classified-ad/1958-Zarft_14475077

    • Jesse Staff

      Yep, wish we had found it then. I bet it will go for a lot more this time around…

      • jim

        it is now at $5000!!!!

  6. Jim

    Reminds me of a Porsche 959.

  7. Rick

    Too bad the 356 is not included.

  8. Dolphin Member

    What to do with it? Get it running with a 356 engine and take it to the next PCA club meet, lift the engine cover, and tell everyone that it’s a newly discovered prototype of the 356 that never made it into production—–should be fun.

    But seriously….. this was for sale in 2011 some miles North of Victoria on Vancouver Island, and I guess they got a sale. The ask was $1000.

    I don’t know that this was ever anything more than a homebuilt, but if anyone knows anything more I hope they post the info. Looks like maybe a VW pan under the carpets. The ‘glas body reminds me of kit car bodies I have seen in the past, but I can’t remember which one(s). The steering wheel reminds me of J. C. Whitney.

    I don’t see much upside, since there’s a lot of work in it, plus if you want to restore it back to original (!?), whatever that was, you will need a 356 engine that will cost many times the cost of the rest of the car.

    • Dolphin Member

      PS: British Columbia, where the car came from, doesn’t have “titles” as such, but they do have an “ownership” document that serves the same purpose, which sounds like it’s missing on this car. If so, it might be a tad difficult to ever get it on the road.

  9. jim

    i love the idea of a BF project car, but not this car. a barn find to a daily driver, on a preset budget would be very interesting. maybe the two volvos from today would work. but then again something in a 4dr or wagon would work also. let us vote on $ cap.!

    • Jesse Staff

      I have been thinking about this idea for a while Jim. It is fun to discuss all these cars for sale, but it might be even more interesting to involve everyone on an actual project. It would also provide a way to offer some “how to’s” and such.

      • jim

        yes i agree. my goals would be: good enough to be only car, safe enough to put loved ones in. low enough cost on gas, upkeep and insurance, and still interesting enough to turn heads. also not to far upside down when your done.

      • Jesse Staff

        Good goals Jim. I think those would be good goals for a BF project too. Now we just need to find a creative way to fund the whole thing…

      • jim

        another website is doing one with ebay, but it is high $ /limited use car. maybe ebay/insurance companys/ magazine like C&D or R&T would be open to a BF project also.

      • scot

        ~ and with Tom Cotter’s endorsement i foresee great success!

      • jim

        if we could find some more hidden gems like this listing funding a lot of BF project cars would be no problem.

    • Robert J

      I think the Volvo’s would be the deal of the year. Sell one for 4,000 and use that to build the other one. They look striking in person and are sure to appreciate. They also sport the most durable engine ever built. This car wins auto oddity of the century on BarnFinds though.

  10. Dave

    ..Porsche 356 GUAGES…

    the rest is VW drivetrain…not Porsche

  11. DanaPointJohn

    $5,000 for a $15,000+ project that when finished is a curiosity, but what would it be worth? I agree with the previous comments…fix it up to your liking and then drive the heck out of it. Only if it can be had for $500, though.

  12. Mz

    Coachbuilt VW’s seem to all be worth big $$$, so this car is possibly gonna find a very interested audience. It may not be a D&S or the like, but it looks better engineered than a kit car. I think it could be worth a fairly spendy restoration.

  13. gp

    Already up to 5K. I would go all VW/Porsche. Something big, Maybe a 2 Liter from a 914 or a built 2180. I think the styling is great.

  14. rancho bella

    I thought at first, darn, if I didn’t have a garage full of Loti…………but then the bidding is up to 5K……………I’m out anyway.
    I think this is a sweet design. Parts are cheap (mechanical). I can’t get a read on the size of the vehicle. Aaaaa’ doesn’t matter anyway, I think my Plus 2’s would be unhappy if I brought in another sibling.

  15. Your Name

    I agree styling is nice not a wannabee but a has a character of its own

  16. Machiel

    If we can find a number on the gearbox, there’s a probability we can found out what car it was. And then there will be people how have some registrie so we can find the first owner or where it’s been sold.

    I think it’s interesting to know a bit more about the car.

  17. Mark E

    If there are only two of them, you could restore it any way you like. If anybody complains, make them prove that it’s wrong!!

    • Horse Radish

      I have the other one , in mint original condition,
      AND I’LL SHOW You…..!!!
      .
      .
      .
      .:.
      ..

      .
      .
      just kidding.

  18. Machiel

    Does someone know where the car was on the road in the late 50 and who was the owner? If we know that we can also ask the local car club if they know the car.

    What i found is that it have been on vancouver island in 2011.
    http://www.usedvictoria.com/classified-ad/1958-Zarft_14475077#map

    Maybe the car clubs around there can help (VW / Porsche)
    http://www.autofinders.ca/clubs.htm

  19. tom minch

    Are you kidding! Porsche motor this and do it up! Welcome to any car show and be the most memorable in the show! Looks like a fun project to me…

  20. Leo S

    Interesting car but at the price it is now it is NUTS.. Like previously said you will end up with a curiousity but what will be the true value??? Get ready for some extensive fiberglass work too.

    Leo

  21. nik

    looks like this guy in feb of this year was kicking around the idea of crushing it. guido telling him to put it on ebay is going to make him some dough. thanks, guido…
    http://www.arboristsite.com/off-topic-forum/printfriendly198315-1037.htm (ctrl-f ‘zarft’ to skip through the monkey biz)

  22. Mike P

    Just checked, the bidding is up to 5,100 bucks! Somebody wants that thing bad.

  23. SwissDan (Victoria BC)

    I just wanted to look at the car again and auction ended… it went up to $ 5’600… Look a the bidding – it seems strange to me… maybe I don’t understand how Ebay works

  24. rancho bella

    It appears that someone offered him a price he couldn’t refuse. I have purchased many articles on Ebay by contacting the seller directly. It is the seller’s right to end it early if they want. Happens all the time.

    • rancho bella

      One more thing. Someone or ones went to the trouble to make body bucks, do layup and only made two cars?…………….odd. I sure would like to know the story behind this.

      • jim

        yes,so would i. i sent an email to forgotten fiberglass asking if they have any information/history.

  25. Or

    Original Ad from Victoria Canada posted March 28, 2011:
    Only 2 made according to this:

    1958 Zarft

    Zarft – Original. First of only 2 made. Aluminum frame and fiber glass body. Porsche 356 gauges and seats. No motor. Volkswagen transmission, steering and brakes. Dual gas tanks. It was on the road for 3 -4 years in the late 50’s. Good for body man mechanic to get it rolling again. Best offer. 250-749-3086 250-745-3776 Ralph * $1000.00 OBO ** Thanks Ralph.

    From :
    http://porsche356registry.org/356talk/1/33548.html?p=189897

  26. Dolphin Member

    OK, I could be wrong about this, but I have tried lots of searches and have come up empty for a Zarft car.

    Google Germany (google.de) has nothing except recent discussions of this same car on TheSamba (said to have been “posted on the VW abortions, homemade bastards, post em…..thread”), and also on the Porsche356Registry.org site. There’s no information about the car’s history or whether it is ‘real’ on either site, or anywhere else on google.de that I can find. .

    Maybe the car is real, but old, and like old things maybe it hasn’t made it to the internet. So, go to the paper trail….i.e., magazines and books. My best reference for that is Angelo Wallace’s “Automotive Literature Index 1947 – 1976”. If the car is post-WW2, and if it was discussed in any No American car magazine back then, it would be in there.
    Nothing.
    Here’s what IS in there:
    Zaporozhets
    Zhiguli
    Zundapp
    Zwickau

    Zarft is not mentioned.

    If the car has any relation to the Porsche factory it should be mentioned in some of the major Porsche books. Looked in “Porsche, The Road From Zuffenhausen” and a half dozen other major P books…nothing. The one I don’t have handy to check is either edition of Ludvigsen’s “Excellence Was Expected”, so if anyone has either of those editions I would be interested to hear whether Zarft is mentioned.

    Back to the eBay car….
    Bid to $6,100 but all bids cancelled and the auction was ended. Maybe there was an off-eBay sale. If so, the seller did very well selling his $1000 car. I could be wrong, but I think it’s a private build on a VW pan (as Dave pointed out).

  27. Horse Radish

    Car pulled.
    WTF ?
    I hate that,
    Give everybody a fair shot and let it run out, no?
    Or at least hint that outside offers will be considered, or are ‘we’ too cheap to pay E-bay $120 after it went up to 6+ times more than what he paid ?

  28. rusty

    Wow love this…wish it was local to me. Ironically in Aussie we have many production built fibreglass sportscars here that only had as low as 6 or possibly seven made as a full on production car ..I have one, also another I have, they say only 13 or so made…its quite common for 1950’s / 60;s fibreglass production cars to only make low numbers due to financial failure….if this looks professsionally made it may have been a fallen venture rather than a backyard attempt..

    I have quite a few Aussie fibreglass cars, but only had one VW powered one with a replica MGTD body on it, got rid of it as I prefer a body of its own design..thats the beauty of fibreglass a designer can be himself…I think the problem with kit cars and production fibreglass cars, is often people try to replicate a famous car…at least a failed “Original body” designer can starve with a smile on his face knowing he at least went out on a limb for his art and originality…

    did i say I love this car.

    • Robert J

      Rusty;

      It sounds like you would be the perfect candidate for the Barnfinds “What’s in your barn?” feature. Could you send a picture in so that we can all enjoy taking a look at some Aussie fiberglass rarities?

  29. SwissDan

    an easy way would be to call Ralph who had the car for sale in 2011 on Vancouver Island – I think there is a phone number mentioned in his 2011 ad..

  30. John

    Any updates on this barn find yet?

  31. James

    The name of the man who built the car was Zarft
    He was a mechanical engineer from Germany
    and had a registered company called Zarft Motors so it is a one of a kind car
    When I knew him he Lived on Jacklin Rd in Langford BC Canada
    That’s near Victoria BC
    I remember talking to him in the 80s While he was building the second model
    Which looks a lot like a Porsche 911
    He also built a 40 ft all steel sail boat that he was working on when I met him
    I think he was in his 60s or 70s when I met him

    it was a long time ago LOL
    I only found this because I googled his name wondering what ever happened to him

    Like 1
    • James moir

      I was a family friend went to Belmont with Erick Zarft the son of Albert Zarft I helped to prep this car for the 1963 Quarter Milers Car Show in Victoria, Albert received second place for engineering Bill Foster and crew won First place .

  32. christopher

    I owned this car – dragged it off a property at the bottom of an incredibly steep dirt road north of Victoria. It was completely hand-built, body wise. The mechanicals were a mix of Porsche and vw, with cast aluminum drums, plexiglass windshield, and outboard fuel tanks in the rocker-sill area. Body was fibreglass. Never had an engine for it, but the transaxle was there. Don’t remember who I sold it to or for how much, but if it went for $5 K, I guess I sold it for too little…..

  33. rusty

    heres something interesting…

    I thought I saw this car recently [say a year ago or less] for sale in Australia by an importer who constantly advertises in one of our car mags. I particularly remember as I think this is a ripper looking car but am not chasing cars anymore so I didnt delve deeper.. Or was it one of those adverts we often get here..”this car available ex/USA..”…ie yes we can get this for you but its in US awaiting a buyer..sort of thing.

    I know when I saw the advert I fell backwards thinking it was a car from this blog but as it was a while ago I am questioning did see it here or another simliar car vfrom one of the yanky blogs??, if i can find the advert I’ll confirm.

    As this thread has been revisited I thought I would ask this.

    ..can anyone confirm it got shipped to Aussie after this blog came out.

    • James moir

      Yes it is in Australia just talked with the owner

  34. rusty

    double post sorry

  35. jim zarft

    There were three cars built. two of the cars looked like the one pictured. The third car looked like a 911 front and 240 z fastback. I had a 911 vw engine in it. that one went to Edmonton. My grandfather built them in Victoria B.C. I remember riding in them as a kid. I took a look at the car when it was listed on used vic. I thought that it would be too much work to restore.
    Jim Zarft

    Like 1
    • Jesse Staff

      Thanks for commenting Jim! Do you have any photos of the cars? Maybe we could do a follow up story.

      • jim zarft

        i have no pics. There might be some around with some family members. Could take awhile to check. I have heard that the second one is in Victoria. I am not sure who has it. I believe it is in good shape.

        Like 1
    • Greg Stone

      My dad worked for Albert Zarft in the late fifties (early 60’s) building fiberglass boats in a shop on Herald St in Victoria. I saw one of these cars in the early 60’s maybe? If I remember correctly it had a 6 cylinder Franklin engine out of a helicopter? The transmission hand built or partly hand built. Albert Zarft built all kinds of things. I have some pictures of the hovercraft he built being tested on Elk Lake.

      Like 1
      • John b

        I believe the Tucker used the franklin flat 6 engine as well

  36. edsten

    mr. zarft my name is ed sten I live in parksville bc and I know that car as I met mr. zarft be sauce I was a frend of his son art as we worked together on pulp mill repair just wondered aalso about the hovercraft that he built and the boat he was a very smart gent.if you get this massage please contact me if you would thanks

  37. Tricia

    Art Zarft was my father! This car was built by his father, and brother Eric apparently. Dad would be clamouring for this car, he’d have loved to work on it. He was a handy man and loved working in the garage.
    Dad built his own fibreglass body in the 90’s but it was vandalized and he didn’t have the steam to do the whole thing over.

    • James moir

      Tricia I was family friend I went to Belmont with Erick Zarft haven’t seen or heard about Erick for years is he still with us .I knew your Dad very well helped him work on one of his cars in the 1960’s it was a 1958 Buick Road Master .

  38. rusty

    Thanks Tricia

    interesting family story ffor an interesting car.

  39. Christopher

    I owned this car. Got it from Zarfts property on Finlayson arm outside Victoria. Had to haul it up 5 kms of incredibly steep driveway, and had it for a few years til I sold it.

    • Tricia

      Do you have pictures you can share?

      Like 1

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