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Teutonic Decay: 1959 Porsche 356A

1959 Porsche 356a Project Front

UPDATE 12/25/11 – Sold for $13,100 with 16 bids. This car is going to be a massive project for the new owner and we wish them the best of luck.

When we first spotted this 1959 Porsche 356A here on eBay, we immediately wondered what were the bidders thinking. They had already pushed the price of this rust bucket up to $12,300 and there were six days still left. Sure 356s are worth a fair amount, but are we the only ones here who think this is crazy money to pay for a project?

1959 Porsche 356a Project Interior

This is a 356A so we will give the bidders a little credit, but still this car is a mess. It had been sitting in storage for thirty years and that time has not kind. The seller does claim that the car is complete aside from the bumpers and that it is a restoration project. We have always thought it was ironic to see one of these car with the seats still intact, but the body all rotted out around them.

1959 Porsche 356a Project Engine

Here is the non-numbers matching engine which is included with the sale. If it was a Carrera engine, we would be jumping on the bidding bandwagon right now too, but it doesn’t look like anything special to us. Well, the Carrera Panamericana car behind the engine actually distracts us each time we look at the photo.

1959 Porsche 356a Project Rear

This project requires some major rust repair. Luckily a few of the floor panels are included with the sale. It is still going to take some serious skill with a welder to get this car back on the road. Anyone here think this one would be worth it? Would the end result justify the cost? The seller has some other interesting stuff parked around the lot so you may be able to pickup something else if this one turns out too far gone…


  1. Gary

    We found one about 19 years ago in a backyard in Maine in worse shape than this one, no drive train, minimal interior. Advertised it and ended up hauling it to Mass. to a guy that payed us STUPID money for it ! And it did not look restorable at all.

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  2. Pete

    If it weren’t for crazy fools with a dream, many of these cars would’ve never been restored…

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  3. sylvain

    you are 100% right the price is ridiculous, it is worth half the actual bid !

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  4. fred hunt

    I had a 58 that I bought in 68 for $500. I sold it in 71 for $550. Bought a new 914. The 356 is the only car I’ve ever sold for more than I paid.

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  5. Bob

    There’s one in Greenfield, MA in that condition. At first I thought it was the same car. But the one in Greenfield has a big dent in the front.Too much work for me.

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  6. fred hunt

    Mine had come down from Alaska on the AlCan highway, which at that time, was all gravel. The then owner had effected a homemade bra that didn’t help much and the nose of the car was thoroughly dinged up. One of the reasons I let the car go was that all the body shop estimates I got to fix it were more than I paid for the car. Still sorry I didn’t keep it….I actually wanted to.

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  7. Bob

    I have learned, recently, not to judge what the market wants. I thought the AM DB Zagato was , well, nevermind, I can learn. Like the news that a proper paint job is any where from $5k-$12K, that a few wrong parts can screw up the value. That even though I would not touch that Porsche, someone else could make a few bucks with it.I actually owned a ’69-’70-ish Manx Dune Buggy that someone had made from a ’66 Porsche.

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  8. Chris H.

    Anything of value can be brought back to life with the right checkbook and a car of value. My shop was responsible for bringing back the Hemi Charger that gets featured ad nauseum on Chop Cut Rebuild. That car was in essence a Charger-shaped pile of rust, and now it sits gleaming in our shop. Same for this car. Even the “stupid” money that will be spent to bring this back, will be recouped in short order.

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  9. Mike

    re – by Bob…my wife’s family lives in Greenfield MA. Would you care to share info about the 356 you mention ? I need a challenge ! thanks, Mike

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  10. Bob

    Mike,I think it’s on Smith Street, between Federal and High. If it’s not Smith it’s one block north or south. Also a Model A there.

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  11. Mike

    thanks Bob, I’ll check into it. Mike

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  12. Seth

    How does one just *stop* taking care of their PORSCHE. I really dont understand how this happened all the time. I realize it was the 70’s, that they couldn’t have foreseen the eventual value of these cars, but STILL. If I had a 15 year old Porsche, I wouldnt just put it on blocks one day in my back yard. Its not some Trans-Am or something! Maybe I dont get it because I’m 25.

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  13. Chris H.

    @seth: It may be a Porsche, but at one time, it was just a used car with expensive to replace parts. Same goes for any other classic iron, at some point the cost to repair it vs. the cost of getting something else led many people to park cars we all covet

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  14. fred hunt

    where are the doors?

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  15. Uriah

    Bingo. When I was growing up in the 80s I loved my muscle cars, but had the european bug as well. It wasn’t that hard to find an old Mercedes, Porsche, MG, Triumph, Alpha or whatever within my budget at the time. Some of these cars back then were hard to source parts for since Western Auto or whatever didn’t usuallly stock a lot of spares. Never see alot of them in the junk yards so you’d have to use places like Hemmings Motor News to find certain parts if you had to have them. Back then before the net they were for the most part weird old expensive to fix cars with questionable reliability, or in the case of most of the British stuff, not questionable, lol. Still fun cars though but I’ve learned over the years you’re money ahead getting the absolute best car you can afford. Period.

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  16. Gary

    I think that one I sold 20 years ago went to the Greenfield MA area…may be my old one…it sure was rough ! I have kept many oddball cars that now are easier to get parts for, and I had a few that got parked due to parts cost/availability. I too have learned the hard way it is better to spend up front for better “iron” than bringing back the long dead and decayed ! Hopefully I will stop my practice of hoarding “crusher saves” and instead just find loving homes for the ones I save from scrap.

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  17. Chris

    At one time the Rochester NY Mercedes Benz dealer would buy the rusted out customer cars for parts stating the cars weren’t worth fixing. I was able to switch out the white plastic interior pieces on my 220S sedan for the black European pieces. Same with the cam cover. I saw so many mechanically good Mercedes, Jags, MGs and even Porsches that the salt worm ate because people wouldn’t or couldn’t put the cars up for the winter. If you could, you bought a salt car like a Chevy II, drove it all winter and scrapped it in the spring.

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  18. Gary

    I STILL find a 4 door “sacrificial lamb” to offer up to the salt gods here in Maine in the winter ! If I am lucky I find something that either has several good “winters” left in it OR a car that I can pull something useful out of it in the spring to use in something else more important ! When you live in the “rust belt” you have to do those things or all your cars end up looking like that Porsche, and a lot quicker now too that they use salt AND chemicals combined on the roads here now. If you care about your car, do NOT drive it in the Northeastern U.S. in the winter !

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  19. Chris

    Here in the rust belt our recent snow storm resulted in tons, yes tons, of salt being dumped on the roads. You would be surprised how many vehicles are held together with creative application of sheet metal held on by pop rivets. Our famly1958 VW convertible broke when my sister put down the top in 1964. Nothing but junk in six years. What salt will do to an XK E is just sickening. But Volvos seem to endure salt better than most.

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  20. Chris H.

    Connecticut uses sand, I wonder why more states haven’t caught on?

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  21. Bob

    I remember reading about a guy that went to an auction in the fall and bought a convertible for nothing. Drove it through the winter and sold it in the spring at a profit.

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  22. Chris

    It actually seemed that cars driven in the salt, then washed and put in garages developed salt rot faster than cars left outside with salt not washed off until spring. I had a $250 Mercury Capri salt car with the rear quarter panels and fender liners completely rotted out. It was a good thing that the gas tank was forward of the rear wheels as I was hit hard from behind and the entire rear of the car disintegrated. If it had been a Pinto there probably would have been a fire. The salt rats have to be beyond fixing, but still safe. Used senior citizen Buicks seemed to work best for me. Regarding salt v. sand, salt is cheaper and driving on it helps it melt ice and snow. Only problem is salt doesn’t work if you get down around zero. The rural towns around me do use sand and gravel on the dirt roads.

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  23. Gary Fogg

    In Maine they use salt mixed with calcium chloride and magnesium sulfide in a pruduct called ‘Ice-be-gone”, it should be called bottom of car be gone. 10 times more caustic than salt, keeps the roads bare well below freezing but destroys cars. I find the senior citizen Buicks to make a great winter beater as well, the wife is in one for this season and I scored a 92 Grand Marquis from Florida for my winter car.

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  24. Chris

    We should have a barn find contest for the best/worst winter rat. I nominate my leaky1994 Volvo 850 5spd with 309K miles. The weird thing about the Buick V6’s is I’ve seen over 25 mpg on my expressway commute.

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  25. Gary Fogg

    Wifeys 93 LeSabre Canoe pulls 25 or more on the hyway, close to 20 around town, the same cannot be said for my 4.6L ford V8, but it fries the hides !

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  26. Bob

    I have this theory about rust. At one point my wife was driving a suburban and I was driving a FWD Dodge van. Both had around 200,000 on them. My car had some rust. Her’s was awful. She has her car washed in a car wash with brushes. I think those brushes leave tiny scratches in the paint which gives the rust a chance to start.I wait a few days after a storm and then wash it myself at one of those coin operated places, paying particular attention to the wheel wells.Now she’s driving a Subaru with 125K on it while mine has 101K on it. Her car is 5 years older than mine, so maybe that’s part of it.But her car has major rust around the rear wheels, while mine has none.

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  27. Gary Fogg

    Ya but Subaru’s rust on the showroom floor, much like Vega’s used to. :)

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