May 2002 Newsletter


If you get this newsletter via E-mail, thank you for helping us lower our distribution costs. However, unlike the Post Office which will give us an address correction for 60 cents, E-mail doesn’t let us know if you change servers. So, if you do, please go to our website for the latest newsletter and E-mail us with your new E-mail address. Our son, Patrick, is our web master and he keeps us updated on changes.


Barb and I are having the kitchen, living room, dining room and front entry remodeled. As a result the shop area is interrupted as plumbing and electrical work need access to the shop ceiling. Plus it’s been tough keeping the 356’s clean. However, when this project is done, we will be able to expand the shop, adding more storage shelves and have space for the “dirty work”. (Barb wanted to know just which one of the work was that?!) We have had a contest with the carpenters as to which project, theirs or ours, can make the most noise. BJ and I are winning as not even a rip saw can be louder than a grinder on a 356!

Buying a 356

We get a lot of calls and E-mails to assist in buying a 356. We also receive photographs of 356’s for sale. It is very tough to evaluate a 356 via photos. In fact, it is impossible. We prefer to do a hands on evaluation and do about six each year.

Recently we were contacted to evaluate photos of a 356 Carrera for sale. The potential buyer really wanted a Carrera and had a perfect Pre-A Coupe he would have to sell to do the deal. The photos raised some questions as to whether the Carrera might have been raced and perhaps had some race damage. The buyer let his emotions get in the way. He sold his perfect Pre-A and put a deposit on the Carrera. When he traveled to evaluate the Carrera, it was obvious the photos didn’t tell the story. The 356 was not what he expected and he lost a sizable non-refundable deposit.

We charge $50 plus travel to evaluate a 356. We have helped many buyers know the condition of the 356 they are considering to buy and what it is really worth.

We even evaluated a 356 after it was purchased from a well known East coast restoration shop. The owner insisted and we were honest in our evaluation. The 356 was pretty but needed lots of additional work. Talk about buyers remorse.


We picked up the Shop ’61 Roadster from the painter. He did a perfect job on the Aetna Blue paint. We still intend to complete this 356 to show car level but no way will we have it ready for the Concours on June 9th. It just takes a lot longer to move from driver level restoration to show car level. Every part has to be cleaned, repaired or replaced. New chrome is a big expense and every piece has to fit perfect. Every nut, bolt, washer has to be like new. Rubber is another issue; it may take multiple attempts to get it perfect.

So work on the Shop ’56 Sunroof Coupe has slowed. I started on the carpet and interior but then moved on to the Roadster.

We took Rob’s ’58 Cabriolet to the painter when we picked up the Roadster. So the Shop ’64 Coupe keeps getting pushed back even though it is in primer and ready for paint.

A goal this year is to sell some shop cars. There is interest in the Shop ’56 Speedster and we spent some time on it, but still need to get it running and checked out on the road. The Shop ’56 Sunroof Coupe should sell this year and also the Shop ’61 Roadster. With what I’ve learned on the Shop ’61 Roadster I intend to restore the Shop ’57 1500 Carrera GS back to its original condition. The Carrera will sell next year and probably to someone in England, New Zealand or Australia as it is right hand drive.

We moved out the Topeka chassis and now have a little more room. Another customer 356 is expected in this summer. Progress will probably be slowed as the remodel is finished and we take time to reconfigure the shop.

BJ has done all the metal work on Chris’s ’59 Convertible D and just welded in the new floor pans. He bought a self darkening welding helmet and says it really helps. I tried it and agree. I’ll have to get one, no more flipping the helmet using neck muscles. These helmets were $500 when they first came out but now are less than $150.

BJ has the front strut area and top hinge area yet to do on Chris’s Convertible D and then we will invite Chris out to see the metal repair before we do bottom paint, caulk and undercoat. We use to take pictures of the metal repair but as mentioned earlier pictures don’t tell the story and we like to have the customer see the metal repairs.


The Nineteenth Annual Exotic Sports Car Show and Concours d’Elegance is Sunday June 9th at Arapahoe Community College. This event benefits Cerebral Palsy of Colorado. Please support this event! Last year we had as many 356’s as 911’s. Contact Chuck Huffman at (303) 948-5915 to register your 356. You can have it judged or just have it displayed. Cutoff for early registration is May 22nd; after that the fee jumps from $25 to $40. Register today!