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Rusted Out Porsche 356 In California

As Porsche values have continued to climb, we’ve seen some pretty rusty and rough examples saved from the scrap heap. It’s actually amazing what people will spend on a rough project, but when nice examples are fetching huge amounts of money, it isn’t a surprise that people would want to buy a restoration project. Unfortunately, for the 356 that reader Brad F found, there’s no hope of saving it. It’s wrecked, been torched by wildfires, and incredibly rusty, but it’s definitely an interesting sighting! Brad shared his photos with us in hopes that someone out there might recognize it and know the story of how it ended up in this sad state.

From Brad F – I went to my folk’s house for Easter and took some photos of this car… Obviously, it’s not worth anything, but I’d like to find out the history of it somehow… It’s at the bottom of a tight turn, so I’m pretty sure someone missed the corner and landed it on the bottom of the hill. It has black California plates, so it’s been there for a while. Whatever exposure and the crash didn’t destroy… the recent Ca wild fires took (including melting the transaxle case).

While there’s no hope of saving this Porsche, I’m sure there are a few people out there that would love to have it, even just as yard art! Like Brad, I’d love to hear the story behind how it ended up here and why no one recovered it when it was wrecked. If you happen to know the story, please share it in the comments below! Our thanks to Brad for sharing his sighting with us. And if you have an interesting find you’d like to share with us, please send us the photos and story!


  1. greg

    sell it to Beverly hills auto club. they will try to sell it

    Like 55
    • Frank Sumatra

      The will have to beat Gullible-Wing who are racing to the scene.

      Like 28
      • Mike

        Article states: “there’s no hope of saving it. It’s wrecked, been torched by wildfires, and incredibly rusty”

        “Obviously, it’s not worth anything”

        “there’s no hope of saving this Porsche”

        BHCC: “Hold my beer.”

        Like 17
      • Al

        Crush it into a cube, I will turn it into my back porch.

        Nothing is quite as fancy as a Porsche porch.

        My naybors will drool with envy.

        Like 17
  2. DanaPointJohn

    It obviously has been stripped and dumped in the forest. Curious the plate wasn’t removed. It would be a great conversation piece for someone’s collection.

    Like 6
  3. That Guy

    When I was a very little kid living off Summit Road in the Santa Cruz Mountains in California, I heard my parents talking about a local teen who had driven his Nash Metropolitan off the road near Highway 17. Decades later I stopped in a turnout and for some reason I looked over the edge, and there was the car about thirty feet down. As recently as a few years ago it was still there. It looked more intact than this Porsche.

    Like 24
  4. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Brad may have just struck gold. Great story on the Metropolitan That Guy!

    Like 15
  5. James West

    Please protect our environment and do not dump.
    Than you.

    Like 12
  6. Steve R

    There are more than a few unusual vehicles dumped in rural parts of California. A friend had a cabin in the Sierra Nevada foothills 350 miles north east of Los Angeles. Not far from his place, down an abandoned logging road was a fill size LA city transit bus. He said it had been there for nearly 20 years at that point in time, it’s probably still there.

    Steve R

    Like 11
  7. i8afish

    Registered to Tiger Woods?

    Like 29
    • Ike Onick

      Too soon? We’ll find out.

      Like 5
    • Derek

      …b’dum tishh…!

      Like 1
    • Howie Mueler

      We all know Tiger can putt, but he can not drive.

      Like 13
  8. bobhess bobhess Member

    Was cruising the Nevada desert east of Reno in the ’70s in our ’59 Porsche coupe when we spotted a green 356 looking at us way out in the middle of nothing. We were already on a back road a long way from the main highway so seeing this looking at us got the best of our curiosity. What we found was a completely rust and damage free front half of a ’58 Cabriolet cut just behind the A pillar. Hood and tank were gone but the dash and front suspension were intact and in great condition. We took all of the dash pieces out with the tool kit we had on board and went back out the next weekend in our VW Notchback dune buggy and got all the rest of it. Used those parts for repair and restoration for the next 20 years. Example is the unrestored gauges in this car we finished rebuilding in ’88.

    Like 22
  9. Mark

    Just because it has black plates doesn’t mean its been there for decades!
    Would be interesting to see if the owner’s name could be found based on the license plate……hopefully that had already been done at some point in time. Would hate to think some poor fellow met his demise because of the wreck and was never accounted for, especially if it had indeed been thru a forest fire.
    Seems to me that if the cops had been informed or an insurance company had investigated, the plates would have been removed.

    Like 5
    • Frank Sumatra

      Perry Mason needs to send Paul Drake to Sacramento to do some digging through the records.

      Like 16
    • Steve R

      Plates drop out of the DMV’s system after 7 years, the VIN does too, unless the car was reported stolen, then the information (which might consist only of the VIN number) goes to law enforcement, which doesn’t purge their records. Even if the DMV was inclined to manually search through old records, assuming they still exist, whose going to pay for it?

      Steve R

      Like 3
      • JoeNYWF64

        MANUALLY search – through papers in 2021?!
        I thought most DMVs at least use a
        RCA Spectra 70 computer system or equivalent. lol

        Like 4
      • bobH

        Amazingly, I believe it’s possible to trace old black plates to a long-ago owner. I successfully had this done once, and found the current owner of a car that I sold in 1963. It was a ‘back-door’ deal that a law-enforcement friend pulled off. It took over two months, and I never knew what really transpired to accomplish the search. My point is, I think it’s possible to search the plate, if a person has the ‘right’ connections.

        Like 0
  10. Steve Clinton

    Remember Porsche, that you are rust, and unto rust you shall return.

    Like 8
  11. fran

    LQQK! It a “RUST PLATE” California car!

    Just a question, but being from the hell hole, New York, I thought all California cars were rust free?

    Like 5
    • DonJulio

      It’s not it rust, it’s patina.

      Like 5
      • stu

        All this car needs is a coat of paint!

        Like 0
  12. GDTOKC

    Are you kidding me?
    Does anyone not recognize that is the Porsche James Dean was killed in?

    Like 6
    • stu

      This very Porsche we are all commenting about? Are you sure? It looks like Pee Wee Herman’s!
      Yup, for sure….

      Like 0
  13. Tom

    If you can see a car in in these pictures your eyesight is way better than mine!

    Like 7
  14. Richard Isenberg

    Why would it be on barn finds. I love barn finds but don’t understand putting a car in here that’s already been through the car crusher

    Like 0
  15. Bill

    The tag would look good hanging in garage. I will pay $25.00 plus a reasonable shipping charge.

    Like 0
  16. Mike C

    It’s rather obvious to everyone and the contributor of the photos that the “car” is NOT salvageable! I’m guessing from a lot of the comments that some of you do not even read the article attached. I would too love to hear the back story about the car in question. The writer mentioned a tight turn. Where exactly in Ca. was it? My guess would be Mulholland Dr.

    Like 6
    • Scott Member

      I saw a 356 as bad as this getting rebuilt during Porsche week a few years ago. The jig held the dash and the firewall. Everything else was being fabricated. It was an early bent window, but still it can (and is being) be done with enough desire and funds.

      Like 0
  17. DeeBee

    Yard art.

    Like 0
  18. Rick

    I bet I could find a body shop that tells me, “No problem”. There’s plenty out there to take your money.

    Like 0
  19. Tom

    The VIN # might have value to the unscrupulous among us. Depending on the model, the VIN plates could be attached to another body to create a more valuable 356. Honest? No. Does it happen? Yes.

    Like 3
  20. Jwaltb

    Dropped off a cliff, it looks like.

    Like 0
  21. Johnny C.

    “Ran when parked”

    Like 9
  22. ERIK

    Johnny C stole my thunder above with the omnipresent and overuse of “ran when parked” but I will also say this is also where such a seller would also state “No lowball offers or tire kickers…I know what I have”. Lastly, I swear in the past few years I have actually seen American muscle cars this bad listed for $5k.

    Like 2
  23. T. Mann

    LIAR, LIAR, Nothing rusts in California. I read that on eBay.

    Like 5
  24. Mike Burnett

    I would like to make an offer for it- minus $50K!

    Like 0
  25. John Traylor

    Is this a belated April Fools joke?

    Like 0
  26. Jay Flag

    Bullet holes too!

    Like 0
  27. MG Steve

    Does remind me of the age-old story about the guy who buys a car, sight unseen, from an ad. The ad said “rust free car”. When the guy gets the car, it looks like this Porsche. He calls the seller to loudly complain. The seller stops him, and says the ad was exactly correct. There was no charge for the rust.

    Like 1
  28. Edward

    Is the bidding past $100,000?

    Like 1
  29. gaspumpchas

    Great Article!! Keep’em coming. Everybody here got a chuckle out of this and its cool. Another item that makes Barn Finds such a great stie! Stay safe and good luck!

    Like 7
  30. MotorWinder

    Sad thing … when it’s a nice Porsche, only the Porsche fans comment. When it’s a parts car or as in this case a sad ending to a fine car, everybody gets in on the joke… remember the guy crushing his Mopar, nobody laugh then.

    Again a testament to the North American Big 3 Fan Club … But alas, the market has now been overrun with cars from all over the world!!!!!

    But really, someone on here should have some resources to help Brad F solve the mystery of how the car found its demise.

    Like 3
  31. Dan Murray

    Thanks Brad,

    I knew I parked it somewhere.

    Like 5
  32. Lonnie W Cavenee

    Good God

    Like 0
    • stu

      God will not help this time…..the can crusher will with no regrets!

      Like 0
  33. Artyparty

    How interesting! Funny how nobody has actually identified the model here. Can a Porsche aficionado oblige? Is it a Speedster, as it sort of looks like that from the one decent photo? I note that the bonnet hinges are drilled out for lightening, so maybe this was an ex-race car? So strange that it still had its doors, etc. if it was just dumped.

    Like 0
  34. Fireman DK

    I see James Dean’s was a 550…. sorry , no Golden Ticket with that find……

    Like 0
  35. Guggie 13

    should buff out just fine !!

    Like 0
    • stu


      Like 0
  36. Brad Fields

    Ashes to ashes, rust to rust.
    If you Google “Mines Road” in Livermore Ca, you can see the winding road that’s popular on the weekends with motorcycles and sports cars. There are 3 cars on my dads property that missed a turn on that road (which is above his property). Doesn’t seem like the porsche rolled, so I like to think he (or she) walked away. Either way, wish I found it before the wildfires took whatever was left. Land on his property burned twice in the last three years… no structures (yet).

    Like 1

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