RustyButTrusty On The Street – Porsche, VW, Ford, Toyota

It’s interesting to observe what cars survive on the streets of San Francisco. Some are obvious, like the VW Beetle, which is still an icon associated with the city. Others, like the Porsche 924 and Toyota van, are somewhat unexpected, but if you look at the reasons why, it makes more sense.

You can still find Porsche 924s here and there, being used as daily drivers. Thanks to their well-rust-proofed bodies, they can endure sitting outside, and with their large rear windows they should have good visibility and maneuverability for parking and driving on narrow streets. They’re also powerful enough for the occasional out of town trip, and have decent luggage space should you decide to go away overnight.

Porsche 924

VW Beetles are still about here and there, but many have given way to worn out engines, bodies, and interiors, even if the rust didn’t kill them. Some are fortunate enough to be restored and live on, like this pair. The red sedan appears to be an early 1970s model, while the convertible is a late 1970s car with its curved windshield and large tail lights. Widened wheels and yellow paint actually make it look a little bit sporty, no?

VW Beetle

This 1965 Thunderbird was the first year with the sequential turn signals that were a distinctive feature on this model. It’s actually for sale, for $17,500, which seems indicative of a seller saying “yeah honey, I put the car up for sale but nobody’s interested.” The car is missing all its hubcaps, and has plenty of minor dings and scratches that suggest it would be closer to half that price.

Ford Thunderbird

While they have likely died out everywhere else, all the surviving examples of these 1980s Toyota vans seem to have migrated to San Francisco. The 1980s wedge shape is pretty cool, but the real draw is likely the compact size, which makes these vans an easy-to-park, cheap, reliable solution for small businesses to get the job done. For a long time there were not many new options in this class, although now the Nissan N200 and Ford Transit will start taking its place.

Toyota Van


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