December 2011 Newsletter

newheaderTech Tip Correction
Last month we commented on the lawn mower fuel filter possibly restricting the fuel delivery. A newsletter recipient let us know that the carburetor inlet is smaller than the fuel filter restriction. So we stand corrected but still dislike the look of the plastic lawn mower fuel filter. The NAPA fuel filter that we recommended (part number 730-9561) looks Teutonic and correct for the 356.

We completed the disassembly of Viney, the Shop ‘64 Coupe. There were vines all through the suspension and front and rear compartments. We hung one of the vines on the shop wall above all the removed parts. After being stored outside for twenty years there was plenty of rust. Once again, the Kroil saved the day. Kroil is a penetrating solvent that works on the molecular level. The longer you leave it on a fastener the better it works. We first clean the fastener with a wire brush, apply the Kroil, wait and test. If still no go , we wait some more, sometimes over night. It seldom fails to loosen and is a lot better than Liquid Wrench. Kroil is available from As mentioned before, WD-40 is a water displacement solvent not a penetrating solvent. So Viney will soon be off to Blast Tech.

The body work on the Happy Car, the Illinois ‘60 Cabriolet is complete and it will be off to the painter probably when we pick up the Shop ‘58 Cabriolet. Both the Shop ‘60 Silver Cabriolet and Shop ‘64 Dolphin Grey Coupe have been put up for sale and already have created interest.

Market Comment
If you follow the Porsche 356 market, you will see it continues to be strong but the prices are all over the place; particularly high. One thing that is happening is that classic car dealers will contact the owner of a nice 356 and offer to take it on consignment. The owner may not want to sell so he sets a high price. The dealer adds his commission and you see a above market price. A potential buyer may balk at the higher price and the dealer may move them to a lower priced 356 which is probably still above market for its condition. What this means to 356Restore is owners particularly of project 356s see high prices and valve their rust buckets higher than realistic.
The math is basic. You start with the market price for a good restored driver level 356. Say a ‘63 Coupe. Market price may be in the low $40,000.

You subtract disassembly and blasting $2500,
Subtract metal work $5000,
Subtract body work $2500,
Subtract paint $7000,
Subtract parts replacements and interior pieces $5000,
Subtract parts restoration and reassembly $3000,
Expect some mechanical issues, hopefully not an engine rebuild,
So now you know what to offer for a project 356 and make a profit
($31,000 costs)
If you are offering on a open 356, the restoration costs are similar but you can offer more as the restored value will be higher. In many cases we make a small profit on selling shop 356’s. But profit is only part of the value. Enjoyment of the work and continuing to learn about excellent engineering and design of the Porsche 356 continues to provide job satisfaction.

We have mentioned in the newsletter and in our book about eye protection. Well, on Viney there were only a few clips securing the headlight assembly. It would only take a minute to snap them out. You guessed it, I didn’t put on eye protection and the first clip hit my eye; luckily it hit flat and the ends just marked above and below my eye. Dumb, dumb dumb!

Odds and Ends
One of the tools we use in the shop is a hemostat. It is a medical clamp shaped like a scissors to clamp blood vessels. We broke the one we had and got on the computer and Googled hemostat. Sure enough we found a vendor that supplies hemostats to the hobby market. We bought some at about $5 each.

Is the economy improving? One indicator for 356Restore is this newsletter. If you notice, it says “Address Service Requested”. This means the Post Office will let us know when a newsletter recipient moves, for a $.50 fee. Well, for the last two years not one of the 230 folks that get the mailed newsletter (another 60 get it by email) moved. In the last two months, six folks have moved, so maybe the economy is improving.

In the newsletter a while back we mentioned some of the dumb things 356 owners have done to “improve” their 356. We should mention some of the real improvements you can make. One is the electronic turn signal flasher available from Stoddard, Zims and others. It makes your turn signal lights flash brighter and correctly, plus you can hear it. Another improvement is the starter and headlight relay kits developed by Joe Leoni and available from Blocks Books (or from Joe if you are a RM356C member). These relays save your ignition and headlight switches and provide correct function. Since the 356 sits low and the brake lights are hard to see, a third brake light in the rear window or on the engine grille is an improvement. These are LED lights and various kits are available.

No newsletter next month, Aloha!

Grandpa News
As we write this there are four days left of school and Christmas is in 13 days, 12 hours and 15 seconds. A very excited 7 yr old told us. Happy Holidays!!