One of our customers told us of a ‘54 356 Cabriolet at a shop in Sedalia. We called the shop owner and he said that it belonged to a lady in Frisco. He agreed to the restoration as he had done some VW restorations in the past. But his body man/painter took some money did minimal work and disappeared.
We drove to Sedalia and found the 356 outside totally disassembled and sitting on a one axle trailer. Fortunately, all the parts were stored inside. The shop owner said it was a ‘55 but we checked the numbers and it was a ‘60. The shop owner pulled the engine and it needed a rebuild. The body man/painter before he disappeared had fiber glassed the whole rear seat area. He also put in the floor pans but fiber glassed the edges. This 356 was probably the worst condition 356 we have ever evaluated. Every panel needs work. The front compartment was a flat panel with no recess for the gas tank!
We called the owner and she gave us the background on the 356. She wanted us to restore it but this is a huge project and we have put her off. We said we would be interested in buying it as a future project. She said no, she is going to have it restored. She is already out big bucks with negative progress.
Remember our ‘58 race 356, the Coyote? This is the one in the colors of Mexico that Bill Frey and I raced. Well, we had sold it (or traded it) so we could use the parts in the stripped ‘52 Coupe that we got for $800.
We got an E-mail from the new owner in Germany! He had just purchased it at a show in Stuttgart and sent pictures. It still had the cream body color with red and green racing stripes and had been rebuilt as a street outlaw. It looked good.
We E-mailed the new owner the history of the 356 and told him there was a package with lots of documented history. He indicated he is supposed to receive this. We are glad the Coyote was kept in its race livery as it was a fun 356 (but not as fast as our ‘52 race car)
We’ve mentioned before that since 356Restore sorts out at the top of the vendors lists at the 356Registry website, we get lots of calls. We always try to help these folks. We tell them about the 356 resources available and how to learn about the 356 and restoration. Well, we got a call from Melbourne, Australia. The connection was excellent. The guy must have called in the middle of the night to ask us a restoration question. It was how to replace the knob on the dash mounted vent control. Unfortunately this little black knob is expoxeded on and is almost impossible to remove. We’ve done it once and have about six controls that need the knob.
We gave him a few tricks to try and wished him luck. We probably get five or six calls a month on 356 restoration. We got one the other day from a restoration shop here in Denver. While they normally restore American muscle cars, they had a ’65 356 to restore. The owner asked about parts, availability, quality of reproduction parts and restoration techniques. He seemed very knowledgeable about restorations. He thanked us and closed by saying he had our 356 Restoration book and it was great. Our kind of guy!
As we had mentioned previously, we had been putting off customer work until we finish and sell our Shop 356s. One couple in Wyoming we had put off for two years and we had told them to check back occasionally. Well, the last time they called we had space and told them to bring down their ‘58 Sunroof Coupe.
While they had been waiting for us they took it to a body shop in Wyoming. When they checked on the progress they were upset and pulled the 356. The shop started by drilling out all the spot welds and removing the tunnel which was undamaged and the complete right side longitudinal/threshold area. They had drilled out the spot welds on the left longitudinal/threshold but had not yet removed them when the 356 was pulled.
So the 356 arrived completely disassembled flat on the floor of a trailer. It took five people to load it but BJ, I and the owners got it out. We have mounted it on our frame dolly as we want the 356 to be square when we do the extensive repairs. But we can’t start on it until we get the front clip which just arrived on “Viney” the Shop ‘64 Coupe. Waiting for the clip BJ did all the body work on the sides and rear of “Viney” so it will be ready for paint when the front metal and body work is done. We try and stay with the original colors on Shop 356s. So it will be Signal Red.
The Shop ‘64 Dolphin Grey with blue interior that is for sale had a potential buyer ask for the dates on the wheels. We checked and two were original and two replaced. Does this really matter?
We used to sell a lot of parts at the California swap meets. We soon learned that we need parts for restorations so only sell to friends or locally. One time we did real well at a swap meet and BJ was counting over $2000 in small bills as we drove home. If the cops had seen us it looked like a drug deal.
Alex and her two puppies, Boulder and Crystal, have been learning how to sit and walk on the leash. We do not know who is training who.