When Randy Carlson’s phone rang, he was attending an Automobiles & Espresso event in Orange County, California. Look at the sentence, “I might need your help with one thing.”

Just a few hours later, he was turning on one lightbulb in a disorganised garage that was packed with cardboard boxes and paint cans. A 1959 Porsche 356A 1600 Super was there, hidden in the dirt and grime of over forty years. The owner of the tiny upside-down-bathtub Porsche had hidden it away in the 1980s, making it rare and valuable. Carlson and his friend Gary Burg were there to bring it back into the open.

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He explains, “I like to think it really is giving a car another chance. “As a human, you only get one way of life, but in a way, bringing back a car also means bringing back everyone who has ever sat behind the wheel.”

Carlson acquired an interest in vehicles from his father, who once brought home a 1932 Packard on Mother’s Day and then tried to pass it off as a Mother’s Day gift. This tactic did not work. Relationship advice for C/D couples: If you want to buy your partner a car, make sure they asked for it.

However, in this case, finding a lost Porsche wasn’t about adding to the collection; rather, it was about ensuring that the owner received fair market value for his vehicle because vultures had been circling and, as they do, were making extremely low offers to take it off his hands. Although the original owner may have hidden the car, he was nevertheless aware of its advantages. He wanted to think it was a great house, but he didn’t want to sell it. Without considering a compromise, Carlson and Burg just removed the car, after which he uploaded pictures and a video to his Carchaeology YouTube account.

You shouldn’t need to be a Porsche fan to be in awe of the 356’s straight lines and delicious caramel-colored interior. Even Carlson, whose collection won’t really need a second Porsche, couldn’t resist the temptation. However, he kept his composure and concentrated on moving the car out of the garage and into the street. “When something like this hits the floor, there’s no time to wait,” he advises.

Finding a new home in California took the 356A a lot less time than six times. It’s expected that the new owners will fix the mechanical issues, but they’ll probably keep the patina, which Carlson likes.

When a car is too far gone, he says, “there can be a tipping point. But I prefer to put it this way: do you want to spend five years fixing a car, or get it running and spend the next forty years driving it? Just make it seem loving.

You can catch him doing precisely that with another of his finds, a 1940 Mercedes-Benz 320 cabriolet with coachwork by Karosserie Rometsch, dug out of a Midwest barn, if you attend this year’s Monterey Car or Truck Week. He bought the car without fully understanding it after just seeing a few photos of it. It’s great to see it back on the road, despite the corroded areas and faded red paint.

A Porsche 356A is significantly less common than some of the old Volkswagens Carlson has saved over the years, but it provides the greatest picture of SoCal automobile or truck culture in the late 1970s and early 1980s. A decade-old Porsche was then just a quirky, basic German sports car that was well within the means of the average enthusiast. You bought someone secondhand, drove through the canyons, perhaps joined an owners’ club, and found a skilled technician. A little air-cooled joy from a bygone era that appears deceptively simple.

The Porschephiles would converge on this detail if you parked it on a plywood plinth at the forthcoming Luftgekühlt, even with all the dust still on it. You can tell it needs to tell a story.

Carlson says, “I absolutely truly like researching an automobile’s past. In many cases, I kind of adore it more than the car by itself.

In this case, he can wipe his hands clean with impunity because another car has been dragged out of the shadows and thrust back into society. Imagine the 356 as a reminder that they still exist, hiding away in abandoned garages or under a sheet in a barn, waiting to be discovered and brought back to life, as it so often happens in stories like these.

You know I’m going, Carlson says, “when the call comes in.”

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