356Restore is Moving!!
Well not right away but probably in a year. We will move next door to 8310 N. Sunburst Trail. Looking forward to our senior years Barb and I decided that living in a large four level (plus basement shop) home might not work in the future. When the one level home with the unfinished basement next door came on the market we offered and are under contract.
Barb and I both love renovation projects and our new home will be a blank slate. Barb has already designed the main level area and I have designed the new shop and basement. The shop will not be under the living area as it is now but in a three car garage. We will add a two car garage with direct access to the living area. Both Barb and I are looking forward to planning and accomplishments.
Jim’s project is off the frame dolly and on its wheels (for the first time in forty plus years). It was on its’ wheels for the twenty foot move within the shop to BJ’s area where we can finish the metal work underneath (difficult to do on a frame dolly) and do the body work. After seven months of recreating a 356 we have the seams good and the body straight. We are doing this project because it tested our skills and we wanted to save a valuable model 356.
With most of the exterior panels now available from vendors a shop in California is making kits to turn rusty Coupes into Speedsters. We saw this coming and put it in the class of kit cars. We won’t go into the repercussions of the activity but you could guess what it could mean.
When we moved Jim’s project, we moved the Shop ’61 Coupe called Casper and Jim will finish the metal work on this project. This also created space for the Magnuson’s ’59 Sunroof Coupe which has been painted and needs reassembly. The Signal Red Shop ’64 Coupe also needs reassembly but the Magnuson’s ’59 comes first. We also have the Shop ’63 Coupe to start the metal work and the ’58 Cabriolet and Shop ’64 Coupe to road test and sell. With the move and projects it will be a fun year.
We had some visitors after the annual Literature and Swap meet in California. A father and son from Denmark dropped by to check out the shop and buy some parts. The young man had some detailed 356 knowledge and this encourages us that the younger generation will appreciate the 356. But of course it was a family thing, as much of the 356 ownership is, because many 356s are passed down. Another drop by was Mike from Restoration Design in Toronto. He was driving his multicar trailer back from L.A. where he had displayed the 356 panels he reproduces. He is now making A hoods and can even make them out of aluminum (might be neat for the Shop ’52 race car). Both these visits and the attendance at the L.A. 356 events indicates that 356 restoration is hot.
We continue to get calls. A recent one was from a local 356 owner with a ’53 Cabriolet stored for over forty years (sounds familiar?). He was finally getting around to restoration. We told him about Pre-A valuations and costs and he was knowledgeable in this area. We also told him we couldn’t get to his project for a few years. We really like Pre-A projects and we were disappointed we had to put him off. We passed the contact to Tom Scott who knows and appreciates the Pre-A and hopefully this 356 will get back on the road.
Working on the Shop projects we always need good working front hood hinges to correctly set the hood during body work. Most of our inventory was damaged and not working correctly. This is normal for a part used often for fifty years. We learned how to restore 356 hood hinges and document this in our 356 Restoration book. It is not that difficult and does not involve welding new metal or using the grinder. We restored five sets of front hood hinges and will have them available for future projects. While we were sorting through this inventory we decided to count the number of rear lid hinges we have. We have twenty eight rear lid hinges! Why? Well, rear lid hinges and rear lids seldom get damaged. If a 356 gets hit in the rear the rear lid usually flips up and is undamaged as are the hinges. We also have a dozen rear lids and have only sold a few in twenty years. We have never sold a set of rear hinges.
Talking to Tom Conway he said he probably has more rear lid hinges than we do. We have six T-6 gas tanks. These are future projects to restore and sell. We should have done this when reproductions were selling for $1800 but now they sell for $800. Oh well. We also have A thru B T-5 gas tanks. We also didn’t get these restored and now vendors are reproducing these tanks. Another part we have lots of is the B/C steering column. There are no reproductions as nobody needs them. We haven’t sold any in twenty years
Bill Frey recently received the Melanoma Research Foundation 2013 Courage award. Bill has lived with this cancer for over fifteen years and he has not let it affect his positive outlook on life. Our admiration and prayers are with Bill.
Barb and I will have another granddaughter! Alex will go with BJ and Jen to China to meet her new sister in June or July. This adoption has been a long time coming and we are excited! Samantha is two and a half years old and is a darling!