forgotten porsches found in barns
© Classic & Sports Car
forgotten porsches found in barns
© Adolfo Massari/Classic & Sports Car
forgotten porsches found in barns
© Adolfo Massari/Classic & Sports Car
forgotten porsches found in barns
© Adolfo Massari/Classic & Sports Car
forgotten porsches found in barns
© MB Vintage Cars/Classic & Sports Car
forgotten porsches found in barns
© MB Vintage Cars/Classic & Sports Car
forgotten porsches found in barns
© Classic & Sports Car
forgotten porsches found in barns
© Classic & Sports Car
forgotten porsches found in barns
© Nick Zabrecky/LBI Limited
forgotten porsches found in barns
© Nick Zabrecky/LBI Limited
forgotten porsches found in barns
© Classic & Sports Car
forgotten porsches found in barns
© Classic & Sports Car
forgotten porsches found in barns
© Autofarm/Classic & Sports Car
forgotten porsches found in barns
© Autofarm/Classic & Sports Car
forgotten porsches found in barns
© Classic & Sports Car
forgotten porsches found in barns
© Classic & Sports Car
forgotten porsches found in barns
© Emanuel Borschi/Classic & Sports Car
forgotten porsches found in barns
© Emanuel Borschi/Classic & Sports Car
forgotten porsches found in barns
© Adolfo Massari/Classic & Sports Car
forgotten porsches found in barns
© Adolfo Massari/Classic & Sports Car
forgotten porsches found in barns
© Autofarm
forgotten porsches found in barns
© Autofarm
forgotten porsches found in barns
© Gerald Lettieri/Classic & Sports Car
forgotten porsches found in barns
© Gerald Lettieri/Classic & Sports Car

Stored, rusted and rediscovered

For most people, a Porsche is something to be proud of – and definitely not the kind of car you’d forget you owned.

There is, though, a rare type of person who buys a Porsche, puts it in a barn or field and leaves it there until, some decades later, an unsuspecting rummager makes a magnificent find.

It happens far more frequently than you’d expect – and it happened with each of the Porsches in this list. Read on for their stories.

1968 Porsche 912 spotted in California

Not all barn-finds happen in barns; in fact some happen just outside them. That was the case with this unloved 1968 Porsche 912, which was found sitting in plain sight beneath a tree in a California driveway.

This Irish Green Stuttgart classic was spotted by Adolfo Massari of classic specialist LBI Limited outside a dilapidated house in Monterey in 2018.

“The car has been sitting parked under a tree in plain sight of all who passed by, quite literally five feet from the road,” he told C&SC. “The car had begun to slowly sink into the soft ground underneath it, and onlookers drove by on a daily basis. The house itself was a quite an unnerving sight, with an overgrown lawn and the window shades drawn.”

1968 Porsche 912 spotted in California (cont.)

Unable to resist speaking to the owner, Massari struck luckier still.

“He showed us a stack of sticky notes, business cards and hand-scribbled letters from throughout the years, all enquiring the same thing: was the car for sale?”

“We, too, had to ask the inevitable question and the owner paused for a bit, looked over to the Porsche, and informed us that he had decided that morning that it was time to move on and let the car go!”

1968 Porsche 912 spotted in California (cont.)

Though the engine hadn’t been run for several years, and the original wheels had been replaced by later ‘cookie-cutter’ alloys, the Porsche wasn’t actually in too bad a condition – the dry California climate had been kind to the body and original interior.

Either way, Massari wasn’t complaining about his find. “As luck would have it we were there at exactly the right time,” he said.

Another Porsche 912 found in an Ohio barn

Another 912, this one might just be the rustiest Porsche to have ever survived a barn. Driven daily by an Ohio man between 1967 and 1974, it was subsequently consigned to his barn and left to rust – until it was salvaged in 2018 by Frank Sajjad of MB Vintage Cars in Cleveland.

“The 912 was purchased from the estate sale of a gentleman who passed away, leaving it behind in one of his barns,” said Sajjad.

Another Porsche 912 found in an Ohio barn (cont.)

Whether it was stored as an investment or simply forgotten, in retrospect the barn was not the best place for the poor 912 – what with its lack of climate control and general exposure to the elements.

While all of the 912’s numbers were correct, everything about the machine was seized up and there was no floor on the driver’s side.

Rare 901 returns home from Brandenburg

Porsche’s 911 might have been called the 901 had it not been for a copyright complaint by Peugeot. So it was that the Stuttgart legend became the 911 – but not before 82 were built with 901 designation in 1964.

None were officially sold to the public and they’re so rare that even the Porsche factory didn’t have one in its collection – until it found this rusty example.

Chassis 300.057 was purchased from its first owner by a Porsche enthusiast years ago, before family commitments meant it was sidelined and consigned to the barn.

Rare 901 returns home from Brandenburg (cont.)

When Porsche factory staff heard rumours of a 901 standing at the back of a barn on a former farm in Brandenburg, they hopped to it – and found it in a very poor state, with both front wings missing, a lot of rust damage and a rough interior.

However, many 901-specific details were there, so Porsche purchased the car and, after three years of restoration, it is now featured in the museum as a special exhibit. Apparently one of the most difficult parts to restore was the original ashtray.

Rare 1967 911S unearthed in Philadelphia

The story behind the uncovering of this next Porsche is remarkable. The 911S first broke cover in 1967, carrying magnesium-alloy wheels, special gauges and many interior features that were previously optional – and it remains one of the most sought-after versions of the 911.

A chance conversation lead LBI of Philadelphia in 2015 to a wooden barn in which this particular Porsche 911S resided. The car had been bought in 1972 and used for many years, until it was rear-ended by a Pontiac, at which point it had been put into storage.

Rare 1967 911S unearthed in Philadelphia (cont.)

Nick Zabrecky of LBI recounted: “The Firebird’s distinctive pointed nose left a telltale crease in the rear deck that is still visible.”

The accident damage and the salt-laden roads of the north-eastern United States led to the owner putting it away in the barn some 20 years ago and it had not been driven since.

When discovered, the Porsche was complete and still fitted with many original components, including the rare 41⁄2x15in Fuchs wheels, carpets, seats and gauges. After its retrieval, it went on to be gently restored.

Trio of Porsche 356s rediscovered in Africa

This trio of barn-find Porsche 356s caused a stir in South Africa when they came to light in 2016. A rare pre-A Cabriolet and two coupés (an A and later C variant) were found in a garage in Durban on the east coast, where they’d been stored for the best part of 30 years.

The A and pre-A were both partially stripped, the elderly owner having started restoration work after buying them but never finished the job.

Trio of Porsche 356s rediscovered in Africa (cont.)

All three Porsches needed restoring, but the Cabriolet – by far the most popular of the three – was the most daunting. It had been cut in half at some point because the body was so corroded that it had become difficult to move. Durban’s humid climate hadn’t been kind to the cars, either.

The finder was a Cape Town collector who planned to restore them – though what happened after the Stuttgart classics changed hands isn’t clear.

Storied Caribbean Carrera RS 2.7 found in Trinidad

In 2016, the final right-hand-drive 1973 Porsche Carrera RS 2.7 ever built was discovered in – where else? – Trinidad. Originally sold in the UK, chassis 1576 was one of only 16 Royal Purple examples and was exported in 1978.

After passing through several pairs of hands on the island, it was put into storage in the ’90s and then left to bake in the Caribbean sun for 14 years after its owner was murdered in 2002.

Storied Caribbean Carrera RS 2.7 found in Trinidad (cont.)

After its discovery, the 911 was brought to England by specialist Autofarm. Boss Josh Sadler said that, despite the car having received a number of ’80s-style mods, it was an original model of only 94 UK-market Touring models made by Porsche.

Given the circumstances, the family of the former owner was cautious. They had started to cover the car with old furniture and had dogs patrolling the garden, but eventually a deal was agreed to get the car back to the UK via Florida, where Autofarm started a long restoration process.

Porsche 356 T5 found in Brighton barn

In 2012, enthusiast Simon Harding was looking for a Porsche 356 – Porsche’s first production machine – and took a trip to Brighton to see a 1962 Super 90. However, on reflection he decided the necessary restoration work meant it wasn’t the car for him and turned the car down.

It was at that point that the owner asked: “Would you like to see my other Porsche?”

That other Porsche turned out to be an original 1959 356 with T5-style body, last taxed in 1977. The car was mid-way through a stalled rebuild, started in the early ’80s, with the engine out.

Porsche 356 T5 found in Brighton barn (cont.)

On the 250-mile drive home, the Hardings decided to buy both cars and a deal was done.

The right-hand-drive T5 was originally silver and sold new to a Mr MacDiarmid. The papers suggested that it was run for a time on diplomatic plates then registered 310 JGW.

It stayed in the London area for a while before later moving to the English coast. What happened to it thereafter and, indeed, after the Hardings’ purchase isn’t clear.

Disguised 911S discovered in Italy

Italian Emanuel Borschi used to own a Volkswagen-based Eagle SS kit car, but when he came to sell it in 2013 he inadvertently acquired a replacement.

“The Eagle was wearing nice BBS wheels at the back,” said Borschi. “A potential buyer told me – wrongly – that they were Porsche rims, and mentioned that they were the same as those on a 911 that had been in his workshop since ’94.”

Disguised 911S discovered in Italy (cont.)

Borschi went to investigate and found a part-dismantled 1967 911S that had been stripped for a restoration that never took place. It had been modified during the ’80s, as Borschi explained.

“It had turbo-style flared arches made of glassfibre, plus turbo bumpers, but is complete and will need restoration, which should start soon,” he told C&SC in 2013.

“I am collecting the correct bumpers and wings, but the body needs work because pre-’74 Porsches were not galvanised and they rust easily.”

Lesser-spotted 911L unearthed in Pennsylvania

Here’s another find by Adolfo Massari of LBI, who you might recall from the first Porsche in this list. A phone call in 2014 sent Massari hurrying to the little town of Lititz in Pennsylvania to meet a man who knew of a 1968 Porsche 911L in a barn.

The 911L was made for the American market for just one year and, because it had slightly downgraded power, owners often specified luxury items: this barn-find example had a wooden steering wheel and elephant-hide interior, together with a rare Ossi blue finish. It even had a complete toolkit and all the instruction books.

Lesser-spotted 911L unearthed in Pennsylvania (cont.)

The car’s owner had used it sparingly since the early-’70s until he died in the late ’80s, after which his son had inherited it. He took the car to his home in Colorado, used it for a couple of years and then, in the early ’90s, moved to Pennsylvania, parked it up and never drove it again.

“After a bit of negotiation, we owned this dusty, mice-infested 911L and were absolutely thrilled,” Massari told us. “Leave the dust on it,” he said to the puzzled tow-truck driver.

A few days later a friend and avid Porsche collector fell in love with it and took it away, dust and all.

911S located in County Cork workshop

Another Autofarm discovery, this Signal Yellow 911S was sold by John Sadler’s outfit in 2012 after being found well-preserved in a County Cork workshop.

It spent all but five years of its life in Ireland, having been imported and registered there in 1975. Intriguingly, it was then driven back to Stuttgart for a full service in 1976. Come 1981 it returned again to the factory with 58,000 miles on the clock, before being sold on to its last owner and put into storage.

911S located in County Cork workshop (cont.)

“The 1972 911S is a brilliant specification,” said Sadler, “with more power, the better gearbox, and it was the first road Porsche with a front airdam. This example has covered just 78,000 miles and all of the parts that usually rust are still there. The ‘whale tail’ spoiler is the only significant change, no doubt a fashionable add-on in the 1980s, but fortunately the original aluminium item was with the car.”

The car’s new owner then commissioned Autofarm to oversee a sympathetic restoration to ensure it remained a ‘period-correct’ 911S.

Porsche 356A and 356B in California stash

Way back in 2002, automobile specialist Gerald Lettieri of Connecticut came across a small collection of decaying classics in Ojal, California – some 75 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

Among that collection were two mid-century Porsches – a 356A and a 356B – which were owned by a retired airline pilot. Both appeared to be in sound enough condition, one being the former flyer’s ex-daily transportation, the other a ‘parts car’.

Porsche 356A and 356B in California stash (cont.)

A host of other cars resided on an adjoining property. As Lettieri explained: “The owner rebuilt antique airplane engines and collected all sorts of iron, including these cars.”

Among the pilot’s other motors was an early Giugiaro-styled Fiat 850 Spider, a Renault Dauphine and an NSU Prinz. All seemed to be in fairly reasonable condition although none had moved under its own power for some time. Also on the plot was an ultra-rare Honda Z600 coupé – though it’s the Porsches we’re fondest of.

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