1959 Porsche 356 Barn Find Is A Southern California Time Capsule

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The 356 put Porsche on the map as a maker of nimble, fun-to-drive sports cars. Highly valuable and sought after today, the chances of finding one lying dormant in an old garage are extremely rare. Even so, they occasionally turn up, which is what makes this barn find uncovered by Carchaeology so fascinating. 

Stashed in a garage in Orange County, California, this 1959 Porsche 356 sat for decades. Surrounded by boxes and covered in dust, the Ivory white coupe is virtually rust-free, thanks to the climate. Even though the garage is dark and the dust filters out some of the light, a percursory glance shows the orange interior is intact and in good shape. 

The 1959 Porsche 356 was the last in the line of the A series, which included a coupe, convertible, and lightweight Speedster. This car appears to be a Super, which means it has a hotter version of the 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine producing 90 horsepower instead of the normal 60. New, it cost around $3,600 but would be worth over $100,000 today in good condition.     

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After airing up the tires, the Porsche rolls out into the sunlight. Inside, it’s a forty-year-old time capsule with old maps and a vintage Polaroid camera. The body is straight, with a few signs of rust repairs in the wheel wells. The Porsche also has dents on the floorplan and damage to a rocker panel and rear bumper. According to Carchaeology, those bumps and bruises are perfectly normal for a well-used Porsche 356.   

The owner bought the car in 1975 and drove it regularly until he retired in 1984. Then he parked it in the garage, where it sat for 39 years. Asked if he has any favorite memories of the Porsche, he smiles and says, “You don’t have enough time to hear them.”

Porsche manufactured over 76,000 cars from 1948 to 1965, starting with a mid-engine prototype before moving the engine to the rear. After the launch of the 911, the automaker phased out the 356, eventually replacing it with the 912, a variant of the 911 that used a four-cylinder engine. 

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