Which year 356 to purchase

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Scott Ramsay
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Which year 356 to purchase

#1 Post by Scott Ramsay » Fri Apr 27, 2018 12:02 pm

Hello, I am relatively new to this forum and the 356 world and am having a blast! I have been looking for a 356 to use as a driver-car 4-5 days a week. I was originally zeroed-in on a 1964 or 1965 because they were the last two years and have disc brakes. Was close to buying a 1965 SC, but the owner realized the car is not quite ready to sell so back to the search! Now I am starting to question myself as to which year. Should I be too concerned about this or not? I will go into this with no knowledge of working on cars, however I am very handy and like to fiddle with things when I have the time. I can and have changed oil, tires, lights and wiring. Should I be considering a 1962 or 1963 to broaden my search slightly? Should I not be concerned at all? Thanks!

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C J Murray
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Re: Which year 356 to purchase

#2 Post by C J Murray » Fri Apr 27, 2018 12:32 pm

The 1959 cars are the best looking cars with most of the best mechanicals of the drum brake cars. 1964/65 have the best mechanicals period with disc brakes and most developed engine and transmission but they were built in bigger numbers and not as unique.

The most important feature of any 356 is the body structure. They were all works of art when they left the factory but now the majority of the existing cars are quite sub-par. Repairing a 356 body typically costs between $50k and $200k depending on how bad it is and how nice you want it to be. The shiny outward appearance of a 356 for sale tells you little about the quality of what lies beneath the surface. Which year car you buy is relatively unimportant to the level of satisfaction the car gives you but the underlying quality of the body structure has everything to do with making the purchase a good one. Be cautious. Get some expert help, someone without a profit motive.
'57 Speedster
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Doug McDonnell
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Re: Which year 356 to purchase

#3 Post by Doug McDonnell » Fri Apr 27, 2018 12:35 pm

Scott's previously stated price range is 60K or so. In my opinion any 60-65 could be a good driver. I like filling gas tank without opening hood so prefer 62-65. I also prefer working on disc brakes. but the braking ability of the drum brake cars is fine for street use. As I alway I say buy the best body you can.
1965 356C There is never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it over.

Edwin Ek
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Re: Which year 356 to purchase

#4 Post by Edwin Ek » Fri Apr 27, 2018 1:07 pm

356 cars underwent 15 years of constant evolution and improvement, large and small. Many consider A cars the most attractive, but they are not the best to drive.

C cars have better brakes, steering, handling, shifting, usability (outward visibility, no need to open the hood to pump gas, heater, etc.), and engines. T-6 B's are much the same except for the brakes.

If I were going to use the car every day, I would wait to find a C or SC. You are most likely going to be living with your choice for several years or longer.
#6386

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Tom Tate
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Re: Which year 356 to purchase

#5 Post by Tom Tate » Fri Apr 27, 2018 2:07 pm

Scott,
If we knew where you are located maybe we could point you to a local car. I have a '63 T6 in Goodyear AZ that is a numbers matching running, driving coupe that is a NV car with no rust issues for $50k if that helps. There are a couple here in Boston too but the prices are over your budget. Back here a decent C (without rust) is easily $75k-$85k. Maybe they're cheaper where you live but most price guides are showing higher prices this year over last year. If you have been looking for a while you already know that you are chasing the prices upward. Best of luck. KTF

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David Jones
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Re: Which year 356 to purchase

#6 Post by David Jones » Fri Apr 27, 2018 2:12 pm

Buy the car that speaks to you after the test drive. I have owned and driven A, B and C cars and enjoyed them all. Each has an edge in some aspects over the others but not enough to sway the deal. Buy the best car you can afford. Restoring a car yourself is great if you are in no rush to enjoy driving it but if you want to just buy one and drive it then search the classifieds and BAT and set yourself a budget. Find the car, ask questions on the forum and join the thousands of 356 owners who will not part with their cars until they are life expired. Kind of like that quote about "prying the keys out of my cold dead fingers".
Here is one that will probably outlast you, though because of provenance and condition is likely to go for more money than one would want to spend for a frequent driver.

https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1964-porsche-356c-8/
If I had known I would live this long I would have pushed the envelope a little harder.
Cymru am byth
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Craig Richter
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Re: Which year 356 to purchase

#7 Post by Craig Richter » Fri Apr 27, 2018 2:18 pm

With the introduction of the B model in 1960, Porsche made two changes that made 356's much more friendly to drive. The headlights were raised so they actually lit up the road. The fenders no longer had quite as beautiful a line, but most people would rather see where they're going. And they fixed the shift linkage, never a bright point with A's, and it gets worse with age. Some people, like J. Liberty, love the early cars, and know how to deal with their peculiarities. The later cars added some fluff and comfort at the expense of sporty feel, but have many fans. Other than that, Cliff's right on.
Scott, you'd best start hanging out with 356 folks and ride/drive as many as you can, otherwise you'll never know what you'll really like. If you buy a cheap beater, we'll end up losing you as a fan.
 

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Greg Scallon
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Re: Which year 356 to purchase

#8 Post by Greg Scallon » Fri Apr 27, 2018 2:23 pm

Where are you located, Scott? You're welcome to come take a ride in my car anytime if you're in Northern Cal. (or if you want to come to Northern Cal. :-)

-Greg
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Scott Ramsay
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Re: Which year 356 to purchase

#9 Post by Scott Ramsay » Fri Apr 27, 2018 2:25 pm

Thank you all! I live in St. Paul, MN. The car currently on BAT I imagine will go for $100k + so that is out (for now). Not looking for a beater, not looking for a show car and that is where I am at right now and would like to spend low-to-mid 60's. Maybe that is unreasonable, but I have found 2 so far that fit the bill. One owner backed out for now and the other is not a color I love. Have been looking for 6 months and nothing has come up for sale here, other than a red one for like $80k. I'll just keep searching and making new friends in the interim!

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Jon Schmid
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Re: Which year 356 to purchase

#10 Post by Jon Schmid » Fri Apr 27, 2018 2:39 pm

Hi Scott,
One important consideration is access to a qualified 356 mechanic. It's one thing to change oil and plugs, adjust valves, set the timing, etc. But having someone nearby who "knows" 356's IMHO is paramount. I do not know the Twin Cities area at all so maybe you have someone available. Good luck with your search--a lot of good advice from some very knowledgeable folks above. I have a B and a C and I will say the C brakes are unbeatable.

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Jim Liberty
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Re: Which year 356 to purchase

#11 Post by Jim Liberty » Fri Apr 27, 2018 2:45 pm

For me, the Pre - A is the most desirable. It is still the essence of the original design without the intervention of US laws changing the bumpers light heights, etc. ....................................Jim.
Jim Liberty

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Jules Dielen
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Re: Which year 356 to purchase

#12 Post by Jules Dielen » Fri Apr 27, 2018 2:57 pm

jim send me a few links to $60k pre-a drivers!
Jules

Air never freezes nor overheats

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Jim Liberty
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Re: Which year 356 to purchase

#13 Post by Jim Liberty » Fri Apr 27, 2018 3:04 pm

Jules, I just sold my Continental at Amelia Island. I am now restoring a '54 Coupe that an owner had for 41 years, and never registered it. It took me a year to fine it, and both cars cost me way more than a new 911, and needing complete restoration.

..................................................Jim.
Jim Liberty

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C J Murray
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Re: Which year 356 to purchase

#14 Post by C J Murray » Fri Apr 27, 2018 5:05 pm

Jim Liberty wrote:For me, the Pre - A is the most desirable. It is still the essence of the original design without the intervention of US laws changing the bumpers light heights, etc. ....................................Jim.
Caution, Jim doesn't mind driving very slow. If you want to exercise your car in a sporting fashion, don't buy a pre-A. As far as value, per a comparable condition, 1960-1963 should be cheapest. For a long time 1960 and 1961 were the bargain cars and I really like the look of those cars, especially when they are done up as GT clones.

Get my friend Tom Tate to send you pictures of his $50k rust free car. If it is truly a dry climate car it could be a winner. I am not endorsing Tom's car which I have never seen. Trust only what you see with your own eyes and take a 356 expert with you or ask one to meet you when you inspect the car. After a few decades with these cars you know what to look for.
'57 Speedster
'59 Sunroof
'60 Devin D Porsche Race Car - Finally Finished!
'63 GS 2133 coupe
'64 Elva Courier mk4T
'67 911 S Original Owner

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Jim Liberty
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Re: Which year 356 to purchase

#15 Post by Jim Liberty » Fri Apr 27, 2018 6:24 pm

I beg your pardon CJ. I had '63 S-90 up to 3500 RPM just last week. ................Jim.
Jim Liberty

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