March 2009 Newsletter

(An expression I picked up in Minnesota.) Long term readers of these newsletters could see it coming. Jim would use his management skills from the computer industry to manage the restoration of two or three Porsche 356 restorations at a time.

One 356 would be in metal work, one at the painter, another in reassembly and another at Blast Tech or the upholstery shop. And then, it gets to be almost too much fun.

We have six 356 projects going. The Shop ’54 Coupe is back from the painter and needs reassembly. The Shop ’64 Cabriolet was to go to the upholsterers but the order for the carpet which was the only remaining item got lost resulting in a two month delay. George’s ’61 Roadster got painted and needs reassembly. The metal work on the Wyoming Speedster is done and is ready for paint prep but the owner hasn’t communicated his plans. Kit’s ’64 Coupe is at the painter. Jim’s ’61 Sunroof Coupe came back from a painter after five months but may need more work. And, oh yes, Speedster number 13 will probably have finish body work and paint after over a year and be back for extensive reassembly. So what to do? Vacation! Barb and I had a great time in Maui but I picked up a bug (probably on the return flight) and was down and out for over a week. And then what? Road Trip!

LA Lit and Swap Meet
BJ and I had attended the swap meet in Anaheim, CA a few years back. It was always a big even and we sold lots of parts and met folks who have become friends from all over the world.

But then, the great location for the swap meet was lost. They tried for the last three years at smaller venues but attendance was down. Last year they found a location that was bigger and excitement was high but it rained!

There is also a Literature and Memorabilia event held the day before the swap meet and since it is indoors at the LA Airport Hilton it draws big crowds. Folks come from Europe, Australia and all over the U.S. and Canada for this event.

This year BJ and I decided to drive out and attend both the Lit meet and the Swap meet. First we had to pull parts we thought would sell, clean them and price them. This took about a week. We decided to take mostly small parts as we don’t have a topper on the truck to take doors and clips and big parts. What we like about swap meets is if you don’t sell an item it goes back on the shelf, clean, priced and ready to sell or use in a future restoration.

We left on a Wednesday afternoon so we could overnight in Utah and then spend the next afternoon in Las Vegas. (BJ got us suites at the Mandolay Bay for $75 – plush!).

Then off to California and a stop at Willhoit’s in Long Beach to check out high end 356 restorations. The next day was the Lit meet and we saw why it is so popular. Hundreds of vendors selling posters, models, books and rare parts. There were quite a few Colorado folks and over a thousand others. Quite an event! Afterwards we went to European Collectibles which had at least thirty 356s for sale or sold. They weren’t all show cars and the prices were high.

Sunday was the Swap Meet and Porsche car show. We got there early but others had been there two hours earlier.

BJ and I had planned our set up with long tables on sawhorses off the back of the truck for all the parts that were already cleaned and priced. This is the hussle part as people are already looking as we were unpacking.

We did real well in the first hour when the big buyers know the parts, their rarity and the value. Then it would slow down and pick up for the rest of the day. They had to close the gates with two thousand folks admitted when they ran out of room. You never know what will sell. We sold parts that hadn’t sold before and didn’t sell what we were sure would sell. We packed up about two o’clock in the afternoon when things started slowing down as we wanted to head back to Las Vegas that night. Then from Las Vegas it was a twelve hour run back home. We sold over $3,000 in parts – good trip, good weather; no problems.

Back home it was re-shelf the parts and get back on 356 projects. We hadn’t done much 356 restoration work for six weeks with vacation, a cold and the Swap Meet prep.

We heard from the Wyoming Speedster owner and he wants us to do the full restoration and will be sending the parts needed.

Kit decided on Black for her ’64 Coup and it will be Black on Black. Her engine got a preliminary checkout on the test stand and looks good. We were concerned as she had 100,000 miles since the last rebuild. We will have to replace her gas tank as the 356 was stored with almost a full tank which had turned to sludge. We started on George’s ’61 Roadster and it should to back together quickly as we had prepared most of the parts.

We were not happy with the color on Jim’s ’61 Sunroof Coupe and took it to a different painter for a repaint at our expense. We will not be using the painter again that took five months and got the color wrong.

Kit’s ’64 will be painted soon. The Shop ’64 will also be painted soon and Jim’s repaint is due back in two weeks. This means five 356s to reassemble and checkout. This is the fun part of 356 restoration. As we said “too much fun!”

Grandpa News
Alex’s homework assignment was to count 100 of something. Mom tried jelly beans but you know what happened to that idea. Next Granma told her that she could have as many pennies out of Grandpa’s money jar that she could count and when she had 100 they would go to Target to shop the $1.00 bins, which is a favorite activity. She got to 44 with the pennies all lined up and refused to go any higher. She wanted a “real” dollar, not pennies and stubbornly stuck to that; a Kellogg gene.