Tow Yard Find: 1965 Porsche 356

This 1965 Porsche 356 is a serious project and one that began its journey across various backyards and garages when a previous owner couldn’t pay a tow bill after the car has presumably been snagged out of a no parking zone. It’s sad to think that since that fateful day, the 356 has been bounced around, hoping for a forever home. The seller notes he bought it from a woman who kept it in her backyard for 20 years, and now it’s been stuck in his garage for the last eight. Does it have a chance at redemption? Find the Porsche here on eBay with bidding at $7,100 and the reserve unmet.

It’s hard to imagine abandoning your pride and joy in a tow yard, especially since if you manage to make it to the yard within a day or so, the storage bill isn’t too bad. Perhaps the owner had spread himself pretty thin grabbing this iconic sports car as a daily, but going back 30 years ago, it wasn’t particularly valuable. The body has certainly suffered in that time span, with rust blossoming on multiple panels and even puncturing the body at the base of the C-pillar. The bumpers have gone missing as well, but it still retains its old-school California blue plates.

The story is an interesting one, as the seller notes the owner prior to him was a woman who purchased it from the tow yard in hopes of restoring it herself. Instead, it rotted away in her backyard, undoubtedly falling into greater disrepair than when the tow yard found it. The interior bears the scars of long-term exposure to sun, with surfaces burned-free of their upholstery and the backseat practically melted. Surprisingly, the front buckets and door panels don’t look too shabby, and the dash may even still be crack-free – it’s hard to tell for sure.

The seller believes the engine is the original, matching unit, based on his research of the castings. The floors are gone but the longitudinals are noted as being “…pretty solid.” The seller hasn’t made any attempt to turn the engine over, and essentially is waving the white flag as it relates to acknowledging he’s not going to be able to restore it based on the current crazyness in the 356 (and general aircooled) marketplace. The 356 wears several layers of paint, which the seller is at least in the original color. A major project, but one that hopefully finds an owner that wants to bring it back to life.


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  1. IkeyHeyman

    I don’t know what is more goofy, the fact that it has been bid to $7,100 or the fact that the reserve is unmet.

    Like 18
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      All in IkeyHeyman, unreal. Not believing both stories at all. If it ran I would drive her as is for a couple C notes.

      • Steve R

        People exaggerate, but I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the story as completely false. His timeline lines up with somewhere in the 1980’s, these cars weren’t particularly valuable back then, especially if it wasn’t running, had accident damage or rust. Salinas sits on the coast and is down the road from Fort Ord. Lots of military brought their cars with them and had to sell when deployed or transferred, it wasn’t uncommon for them to bring rusty cars with them. I have a friend with a tow yard, he’s told me of some the cars that have crossed his part over the last 10 years since he bought it including a Boss 302 and recently a 5 window 1930 model A that’s been sitting in a garage since the mid-70’s.

        Steve R

        Like 4
    • Drillnfill

      Wait, 7100 dollars? US dollars? Oops, I assumed it was 7100 Himalayan pesos someone bid for this tribute to iron oxide :)

      Truly crazy!

      Like 6
  2. 1980flh1200

    I’m getting in on this right now I’m going to bid $400’000

    Like 4
  3. TimM

    Rusty gold for someone but not for me!!

    Like 2
  4. alan brase

    In 1965, this was at least as sophisticated of an automobile as a 1965 Corvette. Certainly not the raw horsepower of a 365 or 375hp, but more like a 300hp Corvette. To drive it every day when new would certainly be a nicer experience than a Corvette coupe. It would actually out perform the Corvette in lateral acceleration (skid pad) numbers.

    Why all the hate?
    sure, this has some ugly rust. Not nearly as rusty as some seen here! But there are many good shops and good repair panels out there. Comparable work to fixing a rusty Corvette coupe, actually.
    I think it should be worth about the same as a ragged 1965 Corvette coupe would be today.
    About $20k?

    Like 5
    • TimM

      Alan I don’t know if you were referring to me “hating” in your post!! I actually referred to the car as rusty gold!! I like all cars!! I just looked at the amount of rust like around the rear window and the holes coming up through the front fender and the bottom of the door missing on the passenger side!! All this along with the chunks of bondo on the front cowl and fender!! When rust is that extreme in my opinion the rust you can’t see is probably worse!! This could be a great project for someone but as I said before not for me!! Stripping this car down to bare metal and starting to fabricate the panels onto the car would tie up a bay in my garage for a couple of years for sure!! The truth is I would save them all if I could but I can’t!! Buy the car by all means and post some pics of the restoration I’m sure when it’s done it will be a stunner!!!

  5. Howard A Member

    How does a car like this from California rust so badly? Granny liked driving on the beach? I’ll take the bus in the background,,,

    Like 1
    • Alan Brase

      This is rust of a distinct pattern. Salt air from living by the sea. Very often they have fog at night. Poor and working class people parking their cars outside at night. The water runs to the lower edges” the hood, the doors, the bottom grooves of the window openings.
      Such a different rust pattern from my first 1956 Porsche in Iowa: I bought it in 1968… 12 years old and it already had nearly NO LONGITUDINALS! This car the longitudinals are pretty good and the floor pan is still partly there.
      License frame says:”Los Gatos” Near enough the Bay. If it was inland it would be different.
      One of my favorite lines (Joe Walsh, Life’s been good):
      They say I’m crazy but I have a have a good time
      I’m just looking for clues at the scene of the crime
      Life’s been good to me so far.
      Clues. I say SEA AIR.

      Like 3
      • Steve R

        You are right about the ocean air but wrong about the bay, at least in the SF Bay Area. I grew up and live in the Bay Area and have always lived within one to two miles of the bay itself. The only areas subjected to the rust causing fog you describe are along along the coast. The reason for this are the coastal mountains, which run the entire length of the region from Santa Cruz to the north through Marin county and beyond. They form a natural barrier to the ground for. This car was from Salinas, which is south of Santa Cruz where there are no coastal hills.

        The car you mentioned with the Los Gatos license plate frame likely lived on the coast. Los Gatos is the first city you encounter when going east over the Santa Cruz mountains heading inland. That is where someone living on the coast would have bought their Porsche.

        Steve R

        Like 1
      • Alan Brase

        Steve R:
        I’m sure you are right. I only visited there a few weeks and it was 40 years ago. I sold that Iowa rusty 1956 Cabrio and tow barred it out to Hollister. (pulled it with a 911). Yes, I wish I still had it. BUT I bought a 58 Speedster with the money, so that kinda counts.
        My cousin was a VP at UC Santa Cruz and just gave us a key to his apartment.

        Like 1
  6. bobhess bobhess Member

    Dip that body and you are only going to get back 50 percent of the metal. Have rebuilt a couple of roadsters this rusty but when you get to replacing large sections of the upper body you have jumped into a project that’s going to eat up a lot of time and a lot of money. Some of you have seen this picture before but this car took over 200 hours of welding and metal work to save.

    Like 8
  7. Rex Kahrs Member

    I wonder if the seller was shrewd when he bought the car. That is, maybe he never intended to restore the car, but rather just sit on it for 8 years and let it appreciate.

    Like 1
  8. rick

    What, no radio delete!

  9. Ken Jennings

    Who ever buys this and puts good money into it, deserves the financial hardship and eventual grievous financial loss. They are the biggest part of the problem. Only through pain is the world moved forward.

    Like 8
    • triumph1954

      What problem is that?

      Like 2
  10. Terry Nelson

    Considered this Porsche for a few moments and then looked at the price……
    Some one with mucho bucks to spend can have a ball with the restore.
    Good luck my friend…..

  11. Twostroke

    That’s an easy save, every single 356 should be saved no matter the cost or time. Most amazing vehicles ever made in the history of mankind. Just a bunch of foolish amateurs here yet again. Go play with your Chevy chevettes and leave the pros to the real cars.

    Like 3
    • Dusty Stalz

      Did you get your handle because you’re only good for two strokes?

      Like 5
    • Alan Brase

      So true. I got to know Harry Pellow a little and he had really put some miles on them. This would be a pretty decent car with some metal work and a backyard paint job and general sprucing up. Ed Anspach called them 20 footers.
      Thing is, they look pretty great from the driver’s seat.
      I’ve had a few Corvette coupes and this would be a much nicer driver than a similar Corvette.
      Till it gets below 30 degrees F. But the door locks on the Corvettes freeze, so that gets to be a problem.
      Porsches are GREAT in the snow, btw.

      Like 1
  12. Paolo

    “which the seller is at least in the original color”. The color of the owner doesn’t matter. The rust and rot are what unsell me on this Kraut Blister.

    Like 1
  13. Scott

    That is some of the best faux painted on rat rod rust I have ever seen. It looks so real!!

  14. Rex Kahrs Member

    That’s professional rust, Scott. Us rubes out here in realityville don’t know nuthin’ about that.

    Oh sure, I’d like to see my old cars being worked on day in and day out for years, wondering when I’ll ever get to drive them, but here in rube-town, I buy them without rust, fix ’em myself, and git ’em on the road. I ain’t never been good at doin’ right.

    Like 1

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