Unrestored T-2 Body: 1958 Porsche 356 A

I was reminded of a great extraction story locally in this month’s issue of Classic Motorsports wherein the owner of German Motors in Providence, Rhode Island, removed a bent-window Porsche 356 coupe from a cluster of trees in the northern part of the state. This later 1958 356A coupe is free and clear of the forest, but definitely spent time in the sun. Find it here on eBay listed for $69,500 by Beverly Hills Car Club. 

First of all, what I love the most about this early 356 is the completeness, from the chrome bumpers and overriders to the engine lid-mounted luggage rack. The original steel wheels, too, are a nice touch and speak to a car that hasn’t been messed with aside from losing all of its paint. I’d love to know how this 356 achieved such a consistently-aged finish, and sure hope it wasn’t done intentionally by some patina-lovin’ freak who created this surface coat by stripping the paint and throwing salt water and vinegar at it. (Yes, the Volkswagen guys still do this.)

Inside, we’re treated to a very original-looking interior with gorgeous red leather seating surfaces and an attractive steering wheel with seemingly good cosmetics. The “A” series 356s of this style were known as “T-2”-body cars, which is discernible by a few visual clues out back: first, the taillamps changed to teardrop-style designs; the license plate lights now shone upwards; and the exhaust tips exited via cut-outs in the rear bumper. Small tweaks for sure, but an important detail if you’re hunting for a specific bodystyle of an earlier model 356.

The seller notes the engine is numbers-matching but that the transmission has been swapped out. Among the parts not appearing in the photos of the car but included elsewhere in the listing are the glasses for the rear and sides of the car, and the side windows are the correct ones for the era as they do not include the vent window – they are one-piece fixtures. While I do still believe the 356 market is softening a little, I suspect earlier models like this one will still enjoy a strong following as restoration projects become harder to find.


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  1. Mark S.

    Looking at the pics from underneath she looks surprisingly good considering how much she had to sit out in the weather to lose all her paint like that. I would poke around w/ a screwdriver carefully tho.

    • grant

      Yes, you’ve said that…

      • Mark S.

        Tried an edit, it just reposted.

  2. OA5599

    Anything from BHCC… buyer beware.

  3. Mark S.

    Looking at the pics from underneath she looks surprisingly good considering how much she had to sit out in the weather to lose all her paint like that (acid rain?). I would poke around w/ a screwdriver carefully tho.

  4. Fred w.

    Interior and engine shot don’t match the outside. My guess is that they stripped the body of paint and didn’t bother to primer it right away. With no paint, it could look like this in a few weeks if left outside. Going to be hard to get rid of all the pockmarks from the surface rust.

  5. SAM61

    Salt and vinegar also makes for some tasty fish ‘n chips!

    Here’s something tucked away in the basement of the Studebaker museum…a prototype Porsche rear engined Lark.

    Somehow this Porsche looks a little too nice for BHCC.

  6. SAM61

    Sorry, forgot the picture…

    • Bill McCoskey

      I would love to see what the emblem on the back panel looked like: Was it a Lark IV instead of a Lark VI or VIII?

  7. SAM61

    Another picture

  8. Metoo

    Did the original owner pay extra for the special rust colored paint job?

  9. Rex Rice

    I bought a ’58 Normal in KC MO in 1964. With new set of Michelins and Koni shocks, I had to lay out $1000 plus my ’56 VW with a noisy engine. Since my kids were under pre-school age, they fit nicely into the rear seats. According to the Manual, the seats were adequate for children up to to 12 years old. These many years later, I have to settle for a Fiat Spyder due to the outrageous money a 356 sells for. Sad…

    • Mark S.

      The Fiat is a fun compromise though.

      Like 1
    • Beatnik Bedouin

      I could think of worse alternatives, Rex… Enjoy your 124!

      $69K for a rough 356A with what’s probably a 1500 N, out back..??? Either I’ve been away from working on 356s too long or someone’s smoking something interesting.

  10. Al

    I have noticed in my travels that many North American cities purchased and installed “self painting” street lamps and this goes back to the very early 1970’s.

    Self painting… yes sure thing, try self rusting. It was a con job in the first place against the various cities citizens. With that in mind, the owner of this rust bucket, must have thought the same thing.

    So caveat emptor , and – that said – let me try once more to sell you my Porche.

  11. Billy 007

    Boys, for what this will cost (not to mention the horrific cost to restore) you can buy a mighty fine complete replica that no one will know is not real. Laugh all the way to the bank and still impress your future trophy wife.

    • Billy 007

      Not to reply to myself, oh wait, I just did, didn’t I? I missed the ask on this, 70K? Now, that is WAAAAAYYY off from common sense. For that price, you can get a metal 356 replica AND a Speedster replica. Will they go up in price? Prob. not, but you will not be afraid to drive them, plus with the money you save not having to restore this former eye sore, you can invest properly and I bet you come out way ahead in the long run. How long before this bubble bursts anyway? When she pops, plenty of rich boys will be shrugging their shoulders, but it really won’t mean much to them, ya know, easy come easy go. Time to get the speculators out of the market, that would leave more opportunity for us car lovers.

  12. Paul Cheshire

    What the H happened! A side from the asking price,this is about the most restorable car BHCC ever listed. Wonder how that happened!

  13. Brakeservo

    I hereby move that no more listings by Beverly Hills Hair Club be shown here again. How many second this motion? The Ayes have it – bye bye Beverly Hills Hair Club forever!

  14. SSPBill

    I’m calling shenanigans too. What’s up with the inner door sills and drip rails. Why does the rust just stop? Nature doesn’t work that way. I think its laziness on someone’s part to do this rather then spend the time and money to properly preserve or restore.

    We have to face facts barn finds are just so cool now they are being manufactured. Imitation they say…

  15. Adam Wright

    I’ve bought cars like this, someone didn’t pay their bill at the body shop. I bought a 71S one time, same patina. Car was blasted and left outside when the guy didn’t pay his bill. Ironically, it was a matching numbers S.

    • Pete

      I am with you Adam I think this is a stalled resto or repaint project that the customer didn’t have funds to complete and the shop ended up with the car in a mechanics lean or the orginal owner went broke buying it back from the shop and had to just sell it like it is. Shame it just sat like this though. I agree that this is probably the nicest thing to show up at the BHCC in a long time. I have the feeling that they are liquidating a few collections and listing the crappiest stuff first and moving up slowly to the better stuff and we will see some really nice cars in a couple of years. LOL.

  16. Danton J A Cardoso

    That rust was done intentionally with the vinegar trick. The interior is too mint to correlate with the rust. Effen ridiculous.

  17. JimmyJ

    Sounds like everybody hates BHCC maybe we shouldn’t give them free advertising.
    Being on this website is just making them money and they’re loving it!

  18. George

    Had a 1955 due the late 70’s in NY. Was overjoyed to sell it after I did the restoration after de-rusting the underneath every 6 months.

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