Featured: Meet the Million-Mile Porsche 356 Daily Driver

Meet the Million-Mile Porsche 356 Daily Driver

By Sean Lorentzen
June 10, 2013
18 comments

Photography by Sean Lorentzen

It’s safe to say almost every car enthusiast would be happier if they could drive their classics every day. Unfortunately, the term “daily driver” is tinged with the feeling of compromise for too many of us.

Not so for Guy Newmark of San Pedro, California. Guy lives that gearhead dream of having his classics and driving them too-his 1964 Porsche 356C has been a daily driver for over forty years. His father bought the car from the dealership a month after its release, and it’s been in his family ever since.

This particular 356 stands as a testament to the reliability of Stuttgart’s engineering at the time, having run an indicated 980,000 miles. To put things into perspective, that’s approximately four times the distance from the Earth to the Moon. Over that time, it’s had three engine rebuilds, and not much else. That’s an average of well over 300,000 miles per rebuild! The 356C had its first transmission rebuild at 900,000 miles, and all that was required was to replace three bearings.

Over the course of our short drive, I can say that despite the astronomical mileage, the car still felt as tight as a drum. The interior seemed fresh, it was responsive and grippy through the corners, and the unmistakable air-cooled four’s engine note provided an incredible soundtrack. Newmark himself reports that despite the modest 75-horsepower output, it’s one of the greatest driver’s cars he’s ever had. He still finds joy in the 356 every day, remarking “After 45 years of driving, and over nine hundred thousand miles, I still can’t wait to get behind the wheel.”

The 356C isn’t his only Porsche, however. He also owns a stunning 1962 356B cabriolet which wears the rare factory hardtop, and has had it since 1971. The two of them together constitute a terrific pair, one any gearhead would be proud to own, let alone drive every day.

Tags German/ Porsche
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ronjoy
ronjoy
4 years ago

Way back in the late ’60’s I bought a ’62 normal cabriolet in heron grey from a friend. That car was, at the tender age of 19, my introduction to the concept of quality. For me it wasn’t about trying to impress my friends, rather I wanted to see and feel what the road testers and other owners were talking about in such reverent terms. My Sprite had been fun so how could this car be all that

much better. Over time the answer revealed itself to me and I slowly developed an appreciation for everyday objects that make “honed utility” an art form. It wasn’t especially fast, the heater was marginal, driving fast
certainly required attention. It did everything a car is supposed to do but the
experience was different. The seats made driving for hours a pleasure, the suspension was comfortable though accurate in the extreme, the panel gaps were impossibly accurate, the paint was perfect, there were no exposed seams
in the body, the doors did close like a bank vault. Friends would enter the car and, without prompting, say “wow this car has a nice feel”. A friend
who collected watches said “this car reminds me of my Rolex”. Over time I would drive Healeys or Alfas or Mercedes or anything and immediately know that I’d happily keep my Porsche. Eventually I bought a 912. Within a week I knew this had been a mistake even though I assumed it was a better car. Within a month I found a fellow who agreed to trade his ’65 slate grey coupe for my red 912, I accepted a few dollars from him to avoid his thinking there was a problem with my car. I would happily have paid him to make what most would have considered a rearward move. I’m now driving an ’86 Carrera 3.2. This car reminds me how Porsche listens to its owners and makes changes that address problem areas (like the hvac system). It’s the last of the strictly original spec cars and is just as much a friend as the old 356 was

Abygail Davy
Abygail Davy
6 years ago

totally gutted that this was stolen, but happy it was actually recovered too. The only other car i’ve seen do this kind of mileage was the volvo p1800, but this guy hit the [b]3 million mile mark[/b] i think last year, seen here: http://www.autoblog.com/2013/09/18/irv-gordons-volvo-p1800-has-hit-3-million-miles/
With proper automotive maintenance, and as some said above, “rebuilds”, this thing will go forever. makes me want to buy one now.

Lionel LaCorbiere
Lionel LaCorbiere
6 years ago

Beautiful car dude! I could only dream of having a car like this, but tell me the truth, is it really that awesome?

Abygail Davy
Abygail Davy
6 years ago

Imo, you really need to be a die hard Porsche fan to put up with the maintenance and all the knacks that porsches have associated to owning them.

George McQuinn
George McQuinn
8 years ago

This car was stolen just days after this article came out. Very sad.

Andrew Adamides
Andrew Adamides
8 years ago
Reply to  George McQuinn

Happily, car has now been recovered: http://www.porsche356registry.org/356talk/1/34064.html

Michael Howells
Michael Howells
9 years ago

…245,00 miles per (re)build.

Abygail Davy
Abygail Davy
6 years ago

lol that’s just the sad truth about Porsche’s, rebuilds are necessary! at the end of the day though, keeping costs down of rebuilding your engine every 250k miles is still worth the legacy imo. regardless if you have people with connections at (https://pdxautoworks.com/advance-auto-parts-coupons-promo-codes/ )discount auto parts stores/wholesalers, this kind of rebuild will still be more cost effective than buying/selling it every 10 yrs.

Nils Levine
Nils Levine
9 years ago

I drove my 356 to Richmond when the Iowa was berthed there. I did a double-take when I first read the article!

william noble
william noble
9 years ago

I put 500,000 miles (aprox) on my 356A before I got a car with air conditioning – I say aprox because the odometer would never keep working for more than a few miles before eating it’s brass drive gear – so I used a Hobbs meter and changed oil every 100 hours of engine time – my mileage estimate comes from that. Still have the car, but I haven’t driven it in a long time….maybe I should.

ramblerputz
ramblerputz
9 years ago

Great story and too close to home for me. The anguish I feel for ever selling my 356’s is palpable, here in my office, as I write this. We bought our first one used in 1968, when I was 26. It was a gift for my wife of a year who had quit smoking. We went to look at a 1966 911 an Air Force doctor moving from Vandenberg AFB to Washington State. After the test drive we returned to the parking lot at Letterman Hospital in San Francisco and parked to negotiate. My wife spotted a yellow 356B coupe in the lot and said now that’s the Porsche I would like to have. The doctor said well that one is mine also but it is not for sale but you can drive it if you like. We did and decided we had to have it. He said I won’t take less that $2500 for it. She said we’ll take it and he replied that he had bought both of these cars new in Germany when stationed there and if she wanted it that badly he would keep the 911 and sell it to us.

My wife started smoking the next year and I repossessed it and drove it daily for the next 28 years. It had 288,000 miles on the odometer when we sold it with the original engine and tranny. If you listen you can hear the sound of my foot kicking my butt right now.:(

Kuroneko
Kuroneko
9 years ago

Mine carried me to work every day for many years, then I started to feel bad about subjecting it to the daily grind. Pity! Nothing ever felt as good as getting in after a hard day in the office. By the way, I hope this one only drives around with her trunk unlatched for the photographs! Neko.

Sam Ongaki
Sam Ongaki
9 years ago

I daily drive my w108 280SE 4.5 approx 70 miles a day, and other than “old car quirks” such as tuning etc, I can’t believe this thing…it won’t stop running. It looks great and at the beginning of ownership there was the obvious temptation to keep it looking pristine and wheel it out for special weekend drives, but I saw that Glickenhaus quote, and even though its not a Ferrari, I had to agree…the only thing is the fuel consumption…gulp.

porscheforu
porscheforu
9 years ago

Great story. I have the exact same car in Bali Blue, only with light grey interior. I drive the car nearly every day in central Idaho in the summer, and it always puts a smile on my face. I can relate.
My car was delivered in San Francisco and is all original except for tires and paint. It has 114,000 miles, and the engine has never been out of it.

Enjoy your jewel.

Ned Hamlin

Clubsport
Clubsport
9 years ago

Great pictures and nice story. Something about a classic Porsche and California that just seems so right. Also a bit of food for thought for those of us (myself included) who get obsessed by not putting miles on our cars rather than simply enjoying them.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange
9 years ago
Reply to  Clubsport

Jim Glickenhaus has his signature on Ferrarichat as ‘not driving your Ferrari is like not having s€x with your girlfriend to make her more desirable for the next man’. Think that is very true.

Mat smith
Mat smith
9 years ago

What a great story and lovely car. British weather, heavy traffic and salted roads limit the chances of my 911 ever achieving that mileage. On the basis my car computer records a long term average speed of 25mph it would take me 4.5 years of solid driving plus £350k of petrol.