July 2014 Newsletter

Progress has been slowed as we wait on the construction of the new shop. It turns out that Douglas County won’t even look at the build plans until all the supplemental information is provided. This included the Homeowners Association Approval which we had and provided. Then they wanted a topological survey to decide where the black plastic barriers and hay bales would go. This took three weeks and was finally submitted. So we will have our permits by the next newsletter.

The address next door is 8310 N. Sunburst Trail. Our mailman knows the meaning of the 356 in our current 8356 address and enjoys checking out the cars. He said the post office could switch address. Doubtful, we reminded him that there are legal descriptions of the property based on the address.

The upholsterer was able to get to the Speedster and within ten days had the carpet and red vinyl trim installed. He did not finish the top installation as we had not installed the windshield.
We needed the windshield out to attach the windshield defroster vents which we can’t be done until the dash is covered. So the upholsterer will make a house call to finish the top installation and install the boot.

Meanwhile Jim continues to install parts on the Speedster. The plan is to get parts on the Speedster and then take it to the mechanics for suspension work and linkage adjustments. The engine can’t be installed until its ready and Bill Frey, our friend who built a terrific engine for our ’52 race car, is having some health issues.

Let me explain again about the race engine. Both Bill and Jim drove the ’52 in Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing events. Bill with his prior SCCA racing experience was faster than Jim but the ’52 (one of the oldest Porsches still racing) was still a mid pack car. In the small bore class, mid pack is twentieth out of forty plus race cars. When I stopped racing due to eye issues, Scot Pettit joined us particularly for the annual Enduro which needs two drivers. At the Enduro two years ago Scot had to retire the ’52 late in the race. We didn’t know what the issue was and since it was the last race of the season we just parked the ’52. Then Scot heard that the Sports car Vintage Racing Associates (SVRA) was going to race at the new Formula One track in Austin Texas – Circuit of the Americas.

We’ve reported on the race so won’t do that again. The point is, we needed a faster engine to compete. Bill with his racing experience and knowledge contacted 356 race folks on what today’s technology provided. 356’s have been raced for sixty years and there is a tremendous base of what works and what does not. Of course you have to ask the proper folks. Bill contacted Vic Skirmants, Walt at Competition Engineering, the guys at Elgin Cams and locally Al Lager and Trevor Sewell.

The engine was built and takes time because it has to be right. Street 356s don’t often rev above 6,000 RPM but a race engine will have to do this for an hour as we did at the race in Austin.
So having Bill build the engine for the Speedster was an obvious choice. Bill has one side of the engine assembled and BJ and I will assist for the remaining assembly as Bill is currently in a wheelchair.

BJ still has some metal work on Casper, the Shop ’61 Coupe. When Jim replaced the nose he just loosely fit the headlight buckets. BJ had to weld them in and this means using a headlight and rubber seal to get the headlight bucket positioned and allowing for paint. On a few 3256s we didn’t allow for paint and thick seals and could not install the seals. On Shop 356s this issue did not seem to affect values as the 356s sold at market.

356 Market
The interest in 356s as collector cars continues strong. Recent sales in the Denver area were $51,000 for a nice driver B Coupe and $100,000 for an excellent ’54 Coupe.

We recently sold the Signal Red Shop ’64 Coupe. We deliberately sold it below market. Why? We sold it to a young couple and he had learned a lot about the 356. He was by the shop often and asked the right questions. He went to the vintage races and the big concours. He was familiar with the 356 Registry and its resources. We sold the ’64 below market so they could afford it and enjoy the upside, plus we were following our own advise not to treat the 356 as an asset but as a car to be driven and enjoyed. We know the young couple will enjoy and appreciate the 356 for many years, (She is going to have to learn how to drive a stick).

Grandpa News
Newsletter recipients have told us they enjoy this part of the newsletter. Since 356 restoration news will be slow as we build and move to the new shop we thought we would expand this segment occasionally as both Alex and Sammie receive the hard copy newsletter for their scrapbooks. So we have a few stories directed at them so they will get to know more about Grandpa. We hope others will enjoy the occasional story.

When we first moved to Parker there were only three TV stations with rabbit ears (ask BJ what they were). We could receive the Colorado Springs stations. Grandpa would watch Jeopardy at 5:30 then go upstairs for supper at 6:00 and watch the same show again on the Denver station. For a month, Grandpa had all the correct answers and amazed Barb with his knowledge. Finally he let her in on the secret. So Grandpa does have a sense of humor.