December 2005 Newsletter

Almost every day we check the 356 information on 356Talk. It is a forum on the 356 Registry website which is Awhile back one of the participants said he was setting up a website to allow a search for 356 engine numbers. This might allow someone to find the original engine for their 356.

At the time we had three engine third pieces. This is the piece at the rear of your engine that has the factory stamped serial number. We put this info on the website thinking it might help someone rebuild an original engine for their 356. Recently we were contacted by a guy in Denmark inquiring about one of the engine serial numbers we had listed. We wrote him that we only had the third piece for the engine. He responded indicating he was buying a Speedster that had an engine with the same serial number. He sent a picture and sure enough, his Speedster had the same engine number.

Which was the real one?

I guessed the one we had was the real one as who would go to the trouble of changing the number on the third piece and then not use it. Anyhow, we told the guy in Denmark he could have the third piece for the cost of shipping. This would end the confusion on which third piece was original as he would have both. We sent the third piece to Denmark.

Along these lines, we recently saw a third piece in a 356 that had no serial number. A serial number had been stamped on the generator stand! A lot easier to fake a 356 engine number on the generator stand than tearing down part of the engine. But an obvious fake. This was another of those misrepresented E bay buys.

We picked up the Shop ’57 Sunroof Coupe at Blast Tech and put it in the shop to start the metal work for the second edition of our 356 restoration book. We have already done the repairs to the rear floor pan.

We also picked up Andy’s ’62 Coupe from the painter and installed the doors and lids. We will mask off the 356 and paint over the Signal Red overspray under the car. This fresh Signal Red color really defines the term “Arrest-me-Red”. Andy will use our trailer to transport his 356 back to his home in Avon where he will finish the assembly and get it ready for the interior work at Autoweave.

BJ will finish Rob’s Cabriolet soon and it will go to the painter for its original Ivory color. Then BJ gets to get the Shop ’57 Speedster ready for paint while I work on the Shop ’57 Sunroof Coupe.

We took the transmission from the Shop ’57 Speedster to Trevor to have it evaluated. While it was still in the back of my truck, Trevor took a quick look and said “you can’t use this one.” I said “what do you mean?” and he pointed to a small crack in the case. Trevor had a replacement case and will rebuild the transmission. We also had Trevor evaluate one of the engines that we were going to use in the Speedster since the engine that came with it was not original and needed work. It was a running 912 engine that was a mix of parts and would need a lot of work so we are having the rest of our spare engines evaluated. We want to avoid a completed engine rebuild if possible, as they are getting pricey-in the $7,000 range.

We also rebuilt the front brakes for the Speedster. The four wheel cylinders were in poor shape but we had some good ones and rebuilt them. We have lots and lots of drum brake parts so call if you need parts. Winter is a good time to inspect and refurbish your brakes; at a minimum a brake fluid change and if it’s been a few years, new rubber hoses.

We finished most of the detail work on the Shop ’57 Carrera and it will go back to Paragon Motorcars for sale. We doubt the Carrera will sell as fast as the Shop Cabriolet as it will be more expensive.

The Market
We can’t figure the 356 market!

356s are selling for way more than they did only two years ago. We have talked to brokers and others involved in the 356 market and haven’t determined what’s going on.

There are way more buyers than sellers and even rough project cars are going for big bucks. We saw one project 356 that really stunk. We mean you opened the door and the odor was overwhelming. It sold for $8,000. We get calls every week from buyers looking for 356’s. The problem is many of these buyers are not 356 knowledgeable and can fall prey to unscrupulous sellers. This can only hurt our hobby.

Please, if you know of someone who wants to buy a 356 insist they have it evaluated by someone who knows 356s.

Barb and I take our vacation in Maui every February. This is when we can see whales breaching from the lanai of our rental unit.

We stay at the Hale Pau Hana Resort and they now have a webcam. After checking e-mails on 356Talk I go to, run the mouse over “Resort” and then click Webcam and then I can see the weather conditions and how many people are on “my” beach!

Grand Pa News
Alex took her first unassisted steps. Right away Barb said we have to get a gate for the stairs! She has a dozen words in her vocabulary but not yet Jim or grandpa.

During the photo shoot for the family picture we put Alex at the wheel of Barb’s Twin Grille Roadster. Even standing, she immediately reached for the gear shift. I think this girl might have potential!