A Pair of Patina-Clad Porsches

Posted December 03, 2019

By Dean Larson

Photos: Sellers, Craigslist and eBay

Patina is a divisive topic. Some people love it, and some hate it. Some like it in certain styles and instances, and I’m probably one of those people. So when I came across two patina-clad 356s this morning I took note of each, with one being a genuine ’63 coupe showing decades of use, and the other a Speedster replica wearing hand painted “rust” on its fiberglass body. These cars are two completely different machines in two separate price brackets, but in light of the coincidence, I wanted to share a few thoughts on each.

The Genuine Article

Let me first state that I would walk past five perfectly restored 356s to look at this rusty ’63 coupe. My guess is that this car rolled off the line as a 356 B, 1,600 S model, as it appears to have rear drum brakes. The engine has since been upgraded with a 1,750 cc kit, and additional modifications have been otherwise sympathetic, including an upgraded oil cooler, rebuilt original carburetors, distributor, gauges and radio, which now charges your phone and has a auxiliary cord. The car even retains its 6-Volt electrical system.

It’s the character, obviously, that gives this coupe some extra appeal. It’s traveled, been used, loved and seen its fair share of spirited drives. I’ll concede that the car is a little beyond gently worn in, as the rust goes beyond surface level in several locations, but the car is otherwise complete and appears to be a great driver. This statement from the seller’s ad backs the thought as well:

“Car starts immediately and runs great. Still factory 6v system. Last November I drove this car up to Washington, over to Idaho, down into Utah, over to Arizona and Nevada and back over a two month period.”

The sleek roof rack piled with luggage, and shots of the 356 on a mountain pass, bring to mind images of snowy Alpine roads, holiday weekend trips and the feeling of adventure missing from today’s driving. The seller’s photo of the coupe in front of a night club (or whatever sort of club) is reminiscent of a time where this Porsche was just a car — to be used for driving, travel, work or whatever. The photo is almost certainly staged, but it makes you believe that the car is still being driven and enjoyed as it should be today. That, in a way, its patina has freed it to be used as everyone wishes they could use a 356.

Advertised for $55,000 here on Craigslist, it’s fair to say that the seller has been reasonable about the car’s condition and value, and I’d assume it’ll sell. The only question then, is whether its next owner continues to enjoy the car as is, or tackles a full restoration.

Artificially Rusted Replica

Who doesn’t love a good 356 replica? They’re relatively affordable, sporty and charming in any setting. But in a sea of Speedster replicas, things can look a bit monochromatic, and the owner of this Classic Motor Carriages Speedster replica on eBay found a creative way to make his stand out.

Your preconceived opinions on patina will likely dictate whether you dig this Speedster or not, but you have to admit, they’ve done a pretty good job. From a distance, and even close up, the Speedster looks like it has spent many years in a shed or barn, with various paint flaws and corrosion creeping in from every panel gap. But it’s all a clever bit of paintwork that the seller did by hand on the replica's fiberglass body. The artificial aging process continues on to the insides of the doors and hood, and the seller has added plenty of other antiquated items to support the look. A crusty old spare, corroded trim, dust, fingerprints and ripped upholstery deepens the transformation.

Underneath all the faux patina and dress, this is your average fiberglass 356 Speedster replica. It’s powered by an unnamed VW flat-four engine and transaxle with a 12-Volt electrical system and a recent tune-up. The brakes have been upgraded to four-wheel discs with five-lug hubs and wide-five wheels.

With a clean title and registration, the seller assures that the Speedster is in great running order and has no actual rust. With five days remaining in the eBay auction, the current bid is at $10,000 with 34 bids placed. The hammer will likely fall somewhere around $20,000 if we had to guess.

Again, love it or hate it, the Speedster is really unique and surely stands out in a crowd, and I think it even captures a small part of the coupe’s appeal. I bet the faux patina even fools onlookers frequently in person. What’s all that worth? Hard to say, and it’ll take a committed buyer to make the winning bid.

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