June 2012 Newsletter

newheaderPorsches and Pastries, Saturday September 22, 2012
We will be celebrating the Twentieth Anniversary of 356Restore. BJ’s cousin, now award winning barbeque competitor, has confirmed he will be back. We still remember his delicious ribs and brisket from the last Porsches and Pastries. And of course, Jen will out do herself with the pastries. All we need is your 356 Porsche.

The Porsche 356 Speedster has become an icon. We called the interest in the Speedster “The James Dean Effect” because he drove and raced one before his death in his 550 Spyder.
As many of you know, Max Hoffman the Porsche importer was selling the Porsche 356s in the early 1950s. The price of a 356 at around $2,900 was comparable to a Cadillac. He needed a lower price point and had convinced Porsche to build the Speedster which would have a lower windshield, a thin top with side curtains, no roll up windows or radio or other options. Max committed to 200 speedsters and these were made by modifying the Cabriolet chassis.

With the reduced weight of the Speedster and the growing interest in sports car racing. The Speedster was quite competitive. Porsche produced 4822 Speedster between 1954 and 1958, about 6% of the total 356 productions. Because of its styling and competiveness the Speedster quickly became a high value car and was at the top of the 356 model values. Then about ten years ago its values began to increase. This may have been due to foreign purchases and the exchange rate, we are not certain. What was once a $50,000-$70,000 356 was then pushing $150,000. We were fortunate at the time and sold one for $140,000.

The Speedster market has settled down and you see few for sale and those that are for sale are at very high prices; probably late comers to the market or investors.

All of this Speedster information is because we recently bought a 1956 Speedster as a project. We received an E-mail from a guy who said he bought a 1956 Speedster in the mid 70’s and stored it. He wanted to know its value as he saw the high auction prices but his Speedster was in poor condition stored in Ohio under a tarp. Since 356Restore is the first listing at the 356 Registry vendor page we get many of these enquiries.

We told the guy that project 356 prices had gone up and the last project Speedster we bought we paid $18,000. We estimated the project Speedster market at $22,000 to $26,000. He responded that someone in California offered $10,000 sight unseen and he was doing more research. He said “not bad for a $400 investment”.
We told him to put it on the market and stand back. What he did was posted an enquiry on 356 Talk titled “What is My 1956 Speedster Worth?”

He had sixty hits in the first two hours.

He E-mailed us and said it was crazy; many cash offers. We responded we would be interested and hoped for consideration as we were the first contact. We made a firm offer at $24,000 based on a few pictures. But then he posted a picture on 356 Talk of the bench seat. This really got discussion going. We laid back and when things calmed down we asked where we stood. He said we were at the top of the list. We thanked him and said our offer was firm and we did not participate in bidding contests. He continued to get enquires and offers and some of them made him upset. When the dust settled, he said we got the Speedster. We quickly sent a deposit and a sales agreement. We also had four tires sent to him and he put the 356 in a shop to make it a roller for transport. We should have it at 356Restore next month.

We took Kirk and Kelli’s ‘60 Cabriolet to the top shop and when it comes back we will take it to the mechanics for engine installation and checkout. We feel like all we have been doing is trailering 356’s. Two to the upholstery and back, one to the top shop, the race car to Pueblo for racing and then to the Exotic Sports Car show and Concours D’Elegance.

At the Councours, cars from Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing were invited and since our ‘52 Coupe is the oldest car racing in RMVR we took it for display. We allow children to sit in our 356 at car shows. We estimate BJ had two hundred kids sit in the ‘52. He would explain the seat belts, what tachometer was and show them how to grip the steering wheel while Mom and Dad took pictures. The large bunch of kids ranged from toddlers to pre-teens.

BJ resolved the last major body work issue on the Shop ‘64 Coupe “Viney” and he will paint and undercoat the bottom and it will be off to the painter.

I had little to do so I spent time in the gardens. They were the best we have seen in twenty five years and then the hail came.

We will attend the Councours in California at Dana Point next month and BJ and I got tickets for the Formula One race in Austin Texas in November. We have followed Formula One for years and this will be only their second trip to the US.

Grandpa News
June is the month were Alex has all of her summer day camps. From Mon-Fri, 9 to 5 Alex will be in Zoo camp at the Denver Zoo then the Denver Dumb Friends League Pet camp then Bible school. After that she starts her vacations to Hawaii and Minnesota then the third grade starts the first week of August.

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