While we were gone BJ continued with the metal work on the Shop ‘ 61 Coupe “Casper”. Remember, this was the 356 owned for forty years and driven summer and winter in Denver. The older gentleman sold it to us when his mechanic said it was structurally unsafe to drive.
So what metal work was needed?
Inner Longitudinal repaired
Tunnel edges repaired
Floor bulkhead replaced
Front and Rear Floor pans replaced
Battery Floor and upper and lower bulkhead replaced
Right and Left Front Struts replaced
Right and Left Longitudinal replaced
Front Closing panels repaired
Rear Closing panels replaced
Rear Strut repaired
Still to do are repairs to the lock posts and front fenders in front of the doors. But hey! The rear and engine compartment were undamaged. This metal work is more than we have seen in the past but is expected when the number of 356s available for restoration has declined. What we are seeing is “rust buckets” that nobody else wants to or can afford to restore. If we did not enjoy restoring these great little Porsches they would get parted out and crushed.
We paid $7,000 for “Casper” which is the highest we’ve paid for a project 356 Coupe. We have paid more for project open 356’s i.e. Cabriolets, Roadsters and Speedsters. Which leads us to values which we will discuss later.
The Shop ’64 Coupe “Viney” is mostly assembled. This is the Signal Red Coupe we bought here in Denver covered in vines and the engine needing a rebuild. The headliner is in and the glass and carpet are yet to be installed and the seats taken to the upholsterer. We should wrap up “Viney” in the next few months when the rebuilt engine is available.
The Magnuson’s ’59 Sunroof Coupe should be completed shortly. The front suspension needed a complete rebuild and there were a lot of issues with the replacement 912 engine.
The Shop ’56 Speedster is at the painters and is close to paint. Before Thom paints it , we will go over and recheck the gaps and fit. We will also check all the holes required for emblems and exterior trim. Usually, holes for emblems can be covered up by bodywork and we understand how this can happen so we try to find and open the holes or redrill them if required.
While we are not accepting customer cars for restoration ( we still get two or three calls a month), we will do repair work for friends and local owners. We expect a Twin Grille Roadster in for a hood repair. This 356 was raised on a lift with the hood up. Ouch! We have repaired doors that were left open when a 356 was backed out of the garage but never a open hood.
While BJ is doing the metal work on “Casper”, I started cleaning and repairing the parts. You cannot believe the amount of grease and dirt on the front suspension. It took days to get the front suspension arms and stub axles cleaned and painted. The front backing plates were not too bad and the brake components were reusable. This was the first time we were able to disassemble the wheel cylinders with out using a grease gun. On 356s which have not been driven in a long time the wheel cylinders are frozen solid. But this 356 had been recently driven and all the brake parts were reusable. We always replace rubber brake hoses.
We have had dozens of wheel cylinders with sheared off bleeder valves. We have mentioned before that these bleeder valves pointed up are open at the top. If water gets inside, they can rust solid and the valve will shear off upon removal.
That is why you must have the rubber cap installed. We use Kroil and heat and have about a seventy percent success rate on removing stuck bleeder valves. But what to do with wheel cylinders with sheared off bleeder valves that are other wise reusable? Well Martin Willis at the Machine Shop in Colorado Springs made a jig where he can drill and tap a bleeder valve hole on the other side of the wheel cylinder and it is useable in the reversed location. Ingenious!
Ok now to 356 values. We are uncomfortable with this subject and by no means expert. We consider the Porsche 356 a well designed and engineered car which is very enjoyable to drive. We have a hard time considering a 356 an asset. Yes, values have gone up in the past years. The Haggerty Insurance web site has 356 values based on auction results. High values yield higher premiums and they sell insurance.
A better way to follow values is the 356 Registry classifieds. There are usually 30-40 356s for sale. You can monitor the asking prices and assume some negotiation factor. The Registry classified are fairly accurate as to condition descriptions. There is no room for misrepresentative found often on E-Bay as 356 Registry folks are very knowledgeable when it comes to condition.
So, you have a 356 Coupe that you enjoy driving and while it could use some improvement, it has doubled in value in the last few years. What to do? Yes, increase your insurance but continues to drive and maintain your 356. An undriven 356 will develop problems. If you decide to sell a 356, sell it to someone 356 knowledgeable who will drive it and maintain it. And sell it at a fair price.
Sam fell and broke her arm. She has a cast on but is still happy and cheerful. Alex got straight As again last quarter.