August 2014 Newsletter

The Market

The last time we commented on the 356 market we indicated that on the 356 Registry website there were about as many wanted to buy as for sale. Today , we looked and there were very few wanted and many for sale at high prices.

’65 SC Cabriolet $225K
’58 Speedster $189K
’59 Cabriolet $155K
’51 Cabriolet $356K
’57 Coupe $135K
’64 Cabriolet $105K
’55 Cabriolet $218K

’63 Coupe $ 46K

That last one did not get the memo. And then two that concern us:

’57 Coupe Project $ 19K
’64 Cabriolet Project $ 80K

Our concern of course is that we buy project 356s. We know what it costs to restore them so we have been buying in the $5,000- $7,000 range. We presently have three projects in storage and will have to buy project 356s in the future but we are not the only buyers. At the present market we will have to pay lots for a project and if the market falls we could take a loss.

We think the market will fall. Those prices we listed can not be maintained. Our opinion. This is the month for the big auctions and events in Monterey, California. We think these prices will be maintained there but then might fall, particularly for the 356s.

Why? The 356 is not an asset it has to be driven to be enjoyed. If the 356 is not driven it is not seen. Something that is not seen can decrease in value. We also except that many project 356s have been bought before the cost of restoration was known. These 356s may come back on the market if the market falls. We will be waiting.


BJ has finished the clean, paint, caulk and undercoat on the Shop ’61 Coupe and it is off to the painters for the original white paint. BJ is working on restoring all the original parts to be used when the 356 comes back from the painter. One last metal work job BJ had was to reconstruct the dash where the previous owner had cut a big rectangular hole for a late model radio.

Fortunately, we had a project 356 on hand with the original radio opening and were able to make a template, cut out a repair piece and weld it in. Like new!
Jim has done some work on the Shop Speedster but has spent most of his time on parts that have to be moved to the new shop. We started with the “soft” parts, parts that only had to be wiped clean, bundled together and put in labeled plastic bins. For example, teardrop taillight plastic lens of which we had over fifty. So enough, that we could throw out cracked, faded or broken lenses.

Then we got to the dirty parts. Parts that needed to be cleaned in solvent. We had to buy solvent as we haven’t used the parts cleaner in years. Just rough clean parts and take them to BlastTech. But now we have oily greasy engine parts. We don’t do engines and have commented in the past how we get these parts (they come with project 356s we buy). Since we don’t do engines we were surprised at how many engine parts we had accumulated.
We had 63 pistons and then remembered we had turned one into a pencil holder. We had to go to the Stoddard catalog to identify some engine parts we didn’t recognize. We had 68 headnuts. Now this is not a simple nut, it is a study two inch heavy piece, but it must have to be replaced when rebuilding a 356 engine. The catalog indicates $34 each. So we have over $2300 worth of used headnuts. Why can’t they be reused? We will have to ask a mechanic.

One part we decide to repair was the 356 A/B rear bump stop. This is a bracket with a rubber cylinder that sits on the rear axle and compresses to hit a metal stop when the 356 bottoms out. We had over thirty of these bump stops but on eleven, the rubber had been removed from the bracket. The rubber is removed easily. We did it once when working on the rear of a 356. It is easy to grab this piece for purchase and it will pop right off. It is difficult to reattach the rubber to the bracket. You have to remove the bracket which is attached by three bolts to the axle and swing arm. Then you see that the rubber is attached to the bracket by a large head bolt with a slot and a nut. So the bolt base has to be removed from the bracket. Sounds easy, but like the brake bleeder valves without caps, this bolt has been sitting in rubber for fifty years with water and dirt falling in the cylinder. So you use penetrating solvent and heat and cheater bars and all of your tricks to get the bolt off. We got off ten and one broke. Now you have to get the bolt into the rubber cylinder. You notice that the access hole in the rubber is smaller than the head of the bolt. It can be forced in with difficulty by tilting and prying and hitting with a hammer. But before inserting the bolt use a tap and die to clean the treads as you only have the slot in the bolt to secure it as you tighten the nut. It was a fun job, we restored ten bump stops and got them in a labeled bin with the rest.

Note: As we get more and more into the remodel of our new home/shop there will be less 356 progress to report. We may go bimonthly on these newsletters until we are relocated.

Grandpa News

“What we did on our summer vacation.”
Summer was filled with a trip to Minnesota to visit Grandma and Grandpa and all of the cousins. When we were at home a lot of bike riding and playing in the backyard happened.
It may still be August but Alex went back to school this week and Samantha goes back in two weeks to preschool.