March 2005 Newsletter

Classic Cars
One of our customers, Mathew, has just opened a classic car showroom and maintenance facility. It is called Paragon Motorcars; located at 11211 East Arapahoe Road on the north side of Arapahoe, west of Centennial Airport. BJ and I dropped by and were blown away. A large, very modern facility. Very upper end: Jaguar, Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini; even some American classics.

They are having an invitation only grand opening this week with a couple of drivers from the Cart series and the 1951 J-2 Allard that Carroll Shelby drove.

Mathew has his ’61 Coupe there that we did the metal work on and had painted Silver. It is easy to see why Mathew had to stop restoration work on his ’61 Coupe. The effort he has put into his facility is outstanding. Drop by and meet Mathew and talk classics. Their phone number is 303-706-1234.

BJ has finished the paint prep for Scot’s ’55 Coupe and it should be ready to go to the painter when he finishes the Slate Grey Shop ’64 Coupe.

I have been working on the Shop ’57 Carrera. This project is taking a lot ot time as I want to do it right and sell it for big bucks. One of my best accomplishments was fabricating floor boards as the Carrera had none. Remember this is right hand drive so you just can’t reverse left hand drive floor boards. For example, the headlight dimmer switch and windshield washer pump are located on the tunnel. There are extension rods for the gas pedal and clutch that connect to the rod/cable in the normal tunnel position. I used tar paper for a rough template then a prototype out of plywood. The second plywood piece fit perfect.

One concern I had was where to get a rubber floor mat for right hand drive. When I talked to Terry at International Mercantile (the only place to get rubber parts for your 356) he said “No problem, I’ll make one and not cut out the left hand drive holes”.

I took my fabricated floor boards and laid them on the uncut floor mat and cut the pedal and switch holes. It is perfect! One of the reasons I enjoy restoring these cars.

Usually, on driver level restorations I repair or replace the sound deadening material with thick tar paper. With some undercoat it looks close to original. For the Carrera, I checked into sound deadening kits and found one that is almost a perfect match to the factory material. While it is expensive, it does add value. Of course you don’t see a lot of it as it is covered by mats and carpet-but I know it is there.

Andy came by and approved the estimate for the restoration of his ’62 Coupe. It ranks right up there with Barb’s Twin Grille Roadster, Keith’s Frankenstein Coupe, Ted’s Cabriolet and Mathew’s Coupe. Almost every panel will need repair or replacement on Andy’s 356. We are restoring 356s today that would have been scrapped ten years ago. This is because of the market. Have you been watching? Plain Jane coupes at $30,000, Cabriolets in the fifties and Speedsters close to a hundred. (Is you 356 insured for it’s replacement value?) I think the market will settle down but don’t see a big drop in values unless the economy deep ends. When I talk to my suppliers, everyone is busier than ever.

Barb and I will attend the 356 Holiday in Boerne, Texas and the Banff area of Alberta, Canada. My plan had been to drive the Irish Green Shop ’64 Coupe to break in the engine and resolve driving issues. But we haven’t had time to drive it so we will trailer it and drive it in the events.

Registry Articles
The latest issue of the 356 Registry magazine (you do belong?) has two articles on original unrestored 356s. One is a 1956 Coupe with 15,500 original miles. The other a 1965 Coupe with 6,100 miles. I love these original finds. They prove that a lot of 356 absolutes are not. For example, one absolute was Speedsters never had cigar lighters. Well the one we are storing here has one and I saw six others at the Speedsterfest last year. In the pictures in the Registry magazine we can see that on the ’56 Coupe the door striker screw heads were painted black. There are other “originality” items pictured. My opinion is that many of these absolutes and originality features could have varied by body builder and the technician performing the work. On the ’56 a picture of the hood shows the lower half of the hinge painted body color; not black which I though was an absolute?! So I guess I will have to retire as an originality judge.

356 For Sale
Long time readers of this newsletter may remember Abby’s ’62 Coupe. It was one of our first restorations ten years ago. It was her Dad’s 356 and he drove her Mom in it for Abby’s birth. She learned how to drive in it and had us restore it after her Dad died.

Abby is married now with three sons. She has to sell the 356 to help finance a rebuild of their home damaged in a Denver storm.

Call us for details and contact information.