Welcome to Used Car Face Off, where we find two similar or similarly priced used cars and ask you which one you would buy. Choose wisely!
The car my mother regrets getting rid of the most is the 1964 Porsche 356C she had in the early '80s. She bought a copper-colored coupe from an actor in LA for a few thousand dollars after her Beetle was stolen and says it was a fantastic little car – even though her shoes got wet every time she drove over a puddle and it consumed more oil than the Gulf of Mexico. Those factors may have contributed to her decision to eventually sell it. Since it's Mother's Day, I'll investigate a replacement.
Aside from the 356 being a great car, it's turned out to be a sound investment. The next time you complain about the rise of the cost of stamps, just look at what 356s cost these days. It's tough to find one for couch change and it makes the price of new Porsches look reasonable. But after all, these are roughly 50 year old cars now and they are fully cemented in classic status, so I guess it's unreasonable to expect to pick one up for cheap. Instead, I hunted for some special examples or some that looked like they were at least lovingly owned. And not for six-figure prices.
Kicking things off at $52,500 is this 1965 356SC, in brown, of course. 1965 was the last model year for the 356 and the SC denotes the 95-horsepower beast at the back. Already owned by two owners and both in Alabama, it's a special 356SC. The ad admits to some wear and tear, but I appreciate that it was used like a daily driver. The front bumper looks a little off and there's the questionable steering wheel cover, but in general, it looks to be in good shape.
Okay, brown doesn't appear to be the best color for a 356, unless this is a particularly dull example. And there's the very issue that it's a lot of money for something that's in decent shape but not going to win any awards.
If the contest was all about interesting details, then this 1960 356B Coupe would win the contest. Normally, I'd balk at cars that look like they had just about every dealer-installed accessory bolted on. Here, though, the luggage rack and fog lights add something to set this car apart from other 356Bs. This one is really quite nice, though. Aside from the odd blemish here and there it's a tidy coupe finished in a traditional color with a nice interior.
Still, is it worth almost $42,000? Ouch. Bs are more common than Cs, too. And, personally, the styling changes made to the C benefit the look of the car. It's a bit tougher to make this call.
But if I had to recommend one to my mother, it would be that B with all of its special add-ons. I think it's a cool piece of history that hasn't been restored to be a museum piece just yet. And Mother would approve of stuff like the luggage rack because that's a practical aspect, right?