Two years ago we stopped restoring customer 356s so we could restore the ten project 356s we had acquired. Our timing could not have been better as the market for 356s got hot. Even with my eight month time out last year we are doing well selling the restored shop 356s.
We sold an A Coupe last year and recently sold the ’57 Speedster and ’57 Sunroof Coupe. All have been at market prices which are almost double what we saw three years ago.
We still have the ’58 Outlaw Coupe, ’59 Coupe, ’54 Coupe, ’60 Cabriolet, and ’64 Coupe to sell this year. So it should be an excellent year for 356RESTORE.
We are waiting on some upholstery work on the ’59 Coupe and some chrome work on the ’57 Sunroof Coupe; then they should be ready for mechanical checkout and delivery. BJ is moving fast on the ’64 Coupe. The previous owner had disassembled and partially stripped the 356 and BJ and Blast Tech removed the rest of the unattractive, non-original gold paint. BJ was able to save the original floorpans and the rest of the bottom is in good shape. Collision damage to the nose popped back with a few blows with a rubber mallet. This was done by cutting out the front battery box bulkhead which had been damaged.
We are fortunate that reproduction sheet metal pieces are still being manufactured. It would be very difficult to fabricate a 356 battery box front bulkhead. BJ will also replace the battery box floor while in there. (We can’t believe any 356 owner would use a lead acid battery when the sealed Optima battery is available. The old style batteries vent and leak acid. We have probably replaced the battery box floor in every 356 we have restored and that is over seventy 356s.)
With the increased interest in the Porsche 356 as a collectible we are beginning to see parts being out of stock and part prices going up particularly for parts made in Europe. We had needed some rear bumper guards and ordered them but they were out of stock and we backordered them. When they were available we said we still needed them but didn’t ask the price. The price had nearly doubled in six months due to the Euro/dollar relationship.
Also, if you want chrome wheels for your 356, the ones that have been manufactured in Brazil are no longer available. One vendor is rebuilding and chroming 356 wheels but the price is $195 each plus a core charge of $100. We used to pay $70 for chrome Brazilian wheels. But then again, we could have another Porsche model. We saw a recent ad – 356 rear grilles $105, 911 rear grilles $695. (356RESTORE has nineteen 356 rear grilles on the parts shelf. Call us, $60 for coupes, $80 for open 356s. They differ, open 356 rear grilles are more curved than Coupe grilles to fit the rear deck contour).
The racing season has started and while BJ follows NASCAR, I follow sports car racing. It is a kick to watch a race that includes a driver that I raced with in vintage racing. Nick Ham codrives a Mazda in the Grand Am series and I raced with him at Second Creek and Pueblo. He lapped me at both tracks. He is highly skilled and fun to watch.
Our vintage racing will be delayed this year as Bill Frey rebuilds the race engine which had some damage due to a carb fire. It was due for a rebuild anyway. Some racers can get 150 HP out of a fifty year old 356 engine but have to rebuild frequently.
Bill is also checking out the spare 356 engine we have to go in the 356 projects we bought that didn’t come with engines. Out of four checked out on Bill’s test stand, two were OK and two have to be rebuilt. One engine which had never been apart we thought would be OK but there was so much carbon buildup on the pistons that it would not turn over. Bill is doing the engine rebuild and the crankshaft is ok. This is an expensive part to replace.
We mentioned that we were sponsoring a young couple that would drive their 356 in a race around the world. Well they had to withdraw but will race the North American leg of the race. They had their 356 evaluated and while it would be OK for the North American leg, there was too much weak metal to try around the world. Plus, the $100k entry fee was a challenge.
The 25th Anniversary Exotic Sports Car Show and Concours d’Elegance will be June 8th at Arapahoe Community College.
The Porsche 356s have always supported this charity event and let’s do it again. The 356 is always a crowd favorite and this is the 25th! So enter your 356 in either the judged or display division. Registration is only $35 by May 12th (for $50 get the commemorative hat). If you need a registration form, contact Sandy at CP of Colorado 303-691-9339 ext 1162.
Just a reminder, 356RESTORE open shop is still Saturday afternoon (but call 303-840-2356). We recently had some Boy Scouts and we were able to hold their interest for almost an hour. Not bad for 356s and ten year old boys.
We stressed shop safety and proper care of tools. (Care of tools was something I learned in the Boy Scouts and it stayed with me for life.
Alex had a sleepover last weekend and it is always interesting to notice what she wants to do when she is here. When the weather permits, outside in the playhouse is always top on the list. When she and Grammie play inside it is the great pretend game with Grammie being the daughter and Alex the mommy. It is a reality check when the voice of an adult comes back in a three year old!