Auction Dilemma: Which One of These Barnfind Euro Sports Cars Would You Bring Back to Life


Classic European sports cars are an enigma in the enthusiast ethos. They’re spoken about with the reverence and respect of someone recently appointed to sainthood. But not every example is factory fresh like something out of the Vatican archives. Quite a few need some DIY before they’re ready to enjoy. But it’d be pretty hard to pick between this gorgeous but beat-up 1959 MG MGA for sale via Brooklin Auction Gallery in Brookline, New Hampshire, or an equally worse for wear looking 1957 Porsche 356 sports car on auction through Gooding & Company out of Southern California. Which one you’d most like to have sent to a restoration shop near you? Or your own garage, if you’re feeling especially courageous. Let’s break it down by the numbers, shall we? Firstly, this one British and one German automobile are both true to form sports cars in the word’s deepest sense. In the days before huge engines, lightweight and peppy little motors were the m/o for these vehicles. Thus, the choices of engines for the MG and the Porsche make all the sense in the world. It’s a twin-cam 1.6-liter four-pot in for the MG, and well, nothing in the 356 at the moment. The engine bay is as barren and empty as some great metaphorical abyss. Just the bell housing of the transmission is the only indicator that the rest of the drivetrain is present. 356 A model of this era came sporting one form or another of the iconic B4 boxer engine ranging between 1.3 and 1.6 liters in the A-Series model years. Then there’s the problem of how to find an authentic, period-correct engine for a car like the 356. One of the only listings online comes from a later 2.0-liter 1961 B model for sale at £19,990.00 ($27,098.64), sans transmission. The 356 was derived from the ever-polarizing Volkswagen Beetle if all else fails. A shiny refurbished engine can be yours for between $4,000 and $4,500 with free shipping from websites like Heritage Parts Centre. Finding a replacement engine for a German sports car this old is bound to be one eye-watering frustrating task. When you’re used to 350 small-block GM motors raining from the sky like Detroit-style, deep-dish pizza deliveries from the motoring gods, you tend to get a bit spoiled. On the MG’s side, the twin-cam engine is at least still present. The only downside is the thing hasn’t fired up in years, if not decades. All manner of havoc occurs to a car’s body, drivetrain, and suspension components when sitting dormant for that long. Gasoline turns to varnish, leather turns to crack, dried up garbage, and engines find new careers as low-rent apartments for pests and rodents. It’s going to take a team of very skilled technicians to get everything sorted properly. We can’t foresee any lone DIY guru finishing such a project promptly. So then, do you want three licks with a wooden paddle, or would you rather pet a porcupine-like it’s a kitten? That’s what it would be like to pick between which one of these cars you’d most like to restore? Let us know in the comments down below. Whatever price these cars sell for, their owners are in for a real headache. Be sure to check back as we pit Porsche vs. the world during Porsche Month 2022 right here on autoevolution.