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Barnfinding: When Porsche 356 Speedsters were borderline worthless

Friday, April 13, 2018

I'm Adam Wright, and my brother Matt and I scour the country for long-lost Porsches. Some of our adventures make great stories, which I will share with you starting with this article for PCA.org. I hope you enjoy it and future tales. And if you have any stories you want to share, please do — I enjoy writing about other people’s escapades far more than my own. Please email me adam@unobtanium-inc.com


Photos courtesy Adam Wright

Remember back in the day when Porsche 356 Speedsters were cheap and disposable? I don’t, but I’m sure some reading this do. This is the story of one such Speedster, which met its end one afternoon decades ago. It was being used more like a pickup truck — an odd purpose for such a valuable Porsche nowadays, but at the time it was just a car.

My friend recalls the day like this:

“This was probably a mile away from the house, on a local road. I took the trash to the dump and loaded up the back of the car with some tree branches to bring back to use for dune erosion control (we’d always bring a few branches back and throw them on the dune between the house and the beach).”

It was on this dutiful trip that the car met another car, head on. Ironically, it was the cargo that caused the injuries.

“I would have escaped without injury if one of the branches hadn’t whacked me on the back of the head, resulting in a concussion,” my friend said.

There was a side benefit to the concussion: He got to meet all kinds of new friends, though the party didn’t last long.

“I spent that evening listening to invisible people out in the yard saying things I couldn’t quite make out,” my friend related. “The next day they were gone.”

The car was hit very hard and wasn’t worth saving, so he salvaged what he could, and the rest of the car was recycled. Perhaps the metal lives on in a washing machine or some other household product.

“[It was] parted out. The front half was recycled (crushed), the back clip sold. The doors and deck lid were okay. The transmission and engine went into my coupe. Neither were original to the Speedster — they were from a Convertible D.”

And before you say what everyone is thinking, he thought of that too.

“Everything that could have been saved was saved,” he said. “I know; some people today would say, ‘Tragic! It could have been saved!’ But in 1970 there were no reproduction panels, no reproduction parts, no shops who would or could do the work. And when you were done you’d have a mutt Speedster with a very checkered history worth maybe $1,500, not $150,000.”

Sad day for a cool car, but at least we have the memories…

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