December 2016 Newsletter


Phone Calls
As noted previously, since 356Restore sorts out at the top of the 356 Registry vendor list, we get a lot of calls.
Can you hear me? Yes.
I’m calling from Hawaii. Where about? Maui. Great, we vacation there every year. Well, I’ve got some 356 parts. So this guy found us on the vendor list, clicked on 356Restore and got to our website which indicates we buy 356 parts. Turns out he works at Maui Roadsters just down the road from where we stay. They rent plastic Speedsters.
He sent us some pictures by smart phone and he had quite a few parts but no details and he wouldn’t use the internet. We sent him some comments but he never got back to us. His problem is no market for these parts on Maui and the high cost of shipping. We will check out the parts on our next vacation.
The next call was from Michigan. He found a 356 in a barn. He knew nothing about 356s. We asked for a description and by the process of elimination discovered it was a Speedster. We told him it was a great find and about recent values. We told him how to locate the chassis and engine numbers which he did and which confirmed a Speedster. The 356 was disassembled and missing parts. He had made a $10,000 offer and the owner dismissed it. We told him his options, he could buy it and flip it as is or buy it and restore it. We talked about costs and he said he would get back to us. We also cautioned him not to post any barn find pictures on the internet as they are encoded with GPS data. A guy on 356 Talk lost his barn find when someone swooped in and bought the 356. Another call was from Florida and this guy had found a Cabriolet but he was Porsche savvy. He wanted to know how to confirm serial numbers. We talked him through the process.
Another call was from an elderly previously 356 owner who had some Weber carburetors left over for sale. We gave him some idea of value and how to sell them. His problem, he doesn’t have a computer or know how to access the internet and no one to help him. We said we would post an ad for him. The number of calls we get asking us to do a 356 restoration has dropped off significantly. Could be this activity has declined or knowledgeable shops are up to their ears in work.

In a past newsletter we commented on a rusty, crusty Speedster that sold for over $400,000. Our comment was “stupid”! Then at another auction an original Speedster sold for $665,000. It was not restored and showed its age. The buyer was Jerry Seinfield. And the 356 was featured on a recent Jay Leno show. In fact most car shows are making a big deal about original cars. “It’s only original once!” we see the enjoyment in getting an original car to run well and safe. We just don’t to see the high values. But, of course we get enjoyment from doing restorations.

We recently had to order a rubber tunnel mat for one of our projects. We didn’t think about the price as we remember they were about $40. Well the recent price was $160. We can’t fault the vendors for participation in the run up of 356 values but it is causing us to research prices when we sell parts. On the other hand, brake wheel cylinders used to be around $80 and you need six. The prices now are around $40 but there are some fit issues. We have on hand close to 100 356 wheel cylinders and we used to enjoy rebuilding them, now we just order new ones. We will be rebuilding brake master cylinders as they have really gone up in price and we have thirty four on hand.

Well, we finally got over the exhaustion from the move, setting up the shop and hosting our open house/shop and restarted on our projects. First up is the Shop ’56 Speedster. The major issue was windshield fitment. You may remember we did significant metal work in this area and used some reproduction sheet metal. Our major goof was only using the windshield frame when jigging parts, i.e. cowl, dash, windshield frame pockets. After the 356 was painted and the windshield with glass installed, it was obvious the windshield was wrong. Just a 1/16 of an inch at the base will then throw you off at the top. Also, the cowl was to low for the assembled windshield. We tried to work around the problem and finally realized we would have to modify the cowl and windshield frame pockets and repaint the cowl. Off and on we have about forty hours into making this area correct. We must have had the windshield off and on at least fifty times always being careful not to damage the $600 windshield. While we wait to take the Speedster to the painter, we worked on the problem with the fuel tank fitment. Again we used reproduction sheet metal in this area. The problem was that the tank sat too high. We dressed down the area under the tank and got some improvements and then discovered, the opening for the tank to sit in was to tight. We had to cut the sides of the tank opening and move and weld metal. Then the tank fit well but the tank straps had to be modified. Oh the fun of Porsche 356 restoration

Last newsletter we said we would send out this newsletter every other month rather than monthly. We have changed our mind! We will send out a newsletter when we have 356 things to say. This removes a scheduled commitment which at our age is a good thing.

Grandpa News
Both girls are doing great in school. Alex got straight A’s again. Sammie in kindergarten has reading, writing, and Spanish and was advanced and proficient.

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