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The Junk Yard Carrera

The Junkyard Tale VIN# 58367
We have all dreamed of the story I am about to tell. It is about the $75 Carrera at the junkyard. This story is not fiction, but the real deal. Louis Rio saw a pretty ragged out Porsche 356 Carrera sitting out front of a Barstow, CA junkyard. The owner was happy to see it go.
“My father found this car in 1968 in the small desert town of Barstow, CA,” says Justin, Louis’ son and current caretaker of the Carrera. “It’s a small stop-over between LA and Las Vegas. It was sitting by the front gate at a local wrecking yard. Then called Lloyd’s Auto Wrecking. A friend of mine, Greg Parker, who has been a 40-year resident of Barstow, remembers seeing it there as well.
Acquiring the car was a very easy matter. It had apparently been there for quite sometime and Lloyd wanted the space. My father asked him how much and Lloyd said just give me $75 and get it out of here.”

We can all wonder how the car made it to Lloyd’s. While there is no known history before the junkyard, Justin and his dad did find some peculiarities that might shed some light on why the car was abandoned. Justin explains,
“When I restored it in 1987, I realized someone had welded a bogus VIN # plate over the top of the original. The funny thing was that original ID plate by the tank and the one on the hinge cover were intact. I cut through the two welds holding this plate and the original number was underneath. I looked at the old pink slip and it was registered under the phony VIN #. (oops) We then lien saled it under the correct number and everything came back clean. All I can assume is that it was probably stolen at some point maybe out of LA. Even the wiring harness at the ignition switch looked like it had been tampered with. Maybe this explains the quick green paint job.”
Hmmmmm….Makes you wonder.
The car had been what we in the South call “molested”, but some stuff was left intact. People do some strange things to cars. Justin describes the condition of the car when bought.
“The car at that point looked well used. It was faded British racing green with large gray primer spots on the fenders; with silver door jams and dashboard. Bumpers and over rider tubes were gone. The rear was set-up on cinder blocks since the motor and trans were missing as well. Parts of the transmission tunnel and the rear bulkhead were hacked out to make way for a Corvair drive train as my father was later told. Original red leather had been covered over in black vinyl. Original steering wheel was butchered for the hub to fit a cheap after market hot rod type wheel. All gauges were there. A complete car otherwise. “
Once Louis acquired the car he did some driving in it, but none that was on the level of what a Carrera should be driven. In the years since him and Justin have starting bringing the car back to its former glory.
“In the last 37 years in has mostly just sat around”, says Justin. “After buying it, my father put a stock VW motor and trans in it and drove daily to work. It ran for a couple of years until the motor quit. He car-pooled one day and parked it at the base of a hill in a residential area. A woman at the top of the hill left the parking brake off of her station wagon. It rolled down the hill and wiped out the passenger side fender, knocking it into the middle of the street. She had 6 children and no money. From 1970-1980 it sat. He bought another 40-horse VW motor and got it running again. It ran for 8 months until the crank broke. It sat some more until l987 when I turned 16 and the car was given to me. My father and I worked on the car together for 3 years and was about 80% restored in l990. I left for school 1991 and the car was put in storage. I got interest in it again 1998 and decided I wanted it original. I stripped it back down again and it is in process of restoration to this day. I started another 356 project so it is on the back burner again. I want to finish the restoration of this car. Hopefully before my father passes.”
The real question with this car and most Carrera’s is does it still have the 4-cam motor. In the case of Justin’s car, the answer is no. But the story on the motor is still interesting stuff.
“I was told by my friend Greg that in the early 1970s the family that owned the Idle Spurs Steakhouse in Barstow was running a four-cam Porsche motor in their Manx-Bodied dune buggy,” recalls Justin. “They soon had problems with it, and contacted a guy in LA named Andre Weir(?) who at the time is said to have shared a shop with Al Cattrobe(?). He gave them a great deal on a rebuilt 1600 VW motor in trade for this four-cam motor. I’m sure it was the motor out of our car. How many four-cams could there have been in Barstow?”
Once again we have a story of right place and right time, at least if you are looking for a Carrera. We can all wait and see how the restoration unfolds.

Current Update from Justin Rio:
The pic of it on my rotisserie is how it looks today. I’m doing a GT theme on it. Silver/red (kardex) with the underside just as nice as body with no undercoating. I have original alloy GT seats, GT tank w/904 cas cap, Full set of front and rear GT brakes, RSK 5.5 alloy/steel wheels for the rear and the 4.5 carrera Alloy/steel for the front. Original carrera bumper trim. I’m working with Dean Populous on a 2.5 4 cylinder 911 engine in place of the 4-cam motor which I cannot afford! I’ve got the 4-cam oil tank which I’ll use with his engine. I got the car for nothing but am into the parts plenty deep!!

—Adam

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