May 2005 Newsletter

Well it looks like we get to finish the Slate Gray Shop ’64 Coupe. The guy that said he was going to add his own engine and reassemble it never sent a check or returned my call.

The other Shop ’64 Coupe in Irish Green sold on Ebay for big bucks. To sell Shop cars I use Jeff, a broker that sold the Shop Speedster and Roadster. He gets to E mail pictures, answer questions and arrange shipping. Jeff said there is an Ebay feature that lets the seller know how many people have an interest in a car for sale. He said normally when he puts a good Porsche or Mercedes on Ebay he gets forty to fifty people expressing interest. For the Irish Green Coupe he had close to 150 people interested.

The classic car market is very hot right now and the people in the business I’ve talked to seem to agree it is due to television. There have been many TV shows in the past few years featuring vehicle restoration, customization and collecting; plus the Barrett-Jackson auction. The Irish Green Coupe sold for $9,000 more than it would have two years ago.

Since I sold the Shop ’64 Coupe you know what I did. I bought a ’57 Speedster project and a ’59 Coupe project. Again because the market is hot, I paid more for these project 356s than I would have two years ago. Let’s hope the market is still hot when we get them restored and ready for sale.

BJ continues with the extensive metal work on Andy’s ’62 Coupe and I continue on the ’57 Carrera. Joe Leoni helped me check out the new wiring harness that went into the Carrera. The unique features are the dash switches for the fuel pump and dual coils. The fuel pump clicks and the engine turns over. Hopefully it will run when we get it outside and put gas in it.

After Andy’s ’62 we only have one other customer commitment and that is Ron’s ’59 Cabriolet. This 356 was dipped fifteen years ago and then painted with an ugly green primer. It is on a dolly since the suspension along with the wiring harness was removed. We took it to Blast Tech so we could have clean metal to start the repairs. It looks about average for rust damage. It also appears to be missing many parts including the hood and decklid. We also have to do the assembly of Scot’s ’55 Coupe which is presently at the painters.

So once we finish Scot’s, Andy’s and Ron’s 356s we can concentrate on Shop cars:
Finish ’57 Carrera
Assemble SlateGray Coupe
Start on ’57 Speedster
Start on ’59 Sunroof Coupe
Start on ’54 Coupe
Turn ’58 race car into street outlaw
Finish customization of ’61 Coupe
Decide what to do with other ’61 Coupe

So it looks like we will be busy for the next few years. Plus, I have indicated I will write a second edition of my 356 Restoration book. For the second edition I will add more detail particularly for those restoring a 356 that some one else has disassembled. We will also detail from start to finish the restoration of the Shop ’59 Sunroof Coupe and comment on the quality of reproduction parts. For those that have read the book I would appreciate input on what else should be covered.

We are updating our web site and putting all the past newsletters on it. I corrected the typos in the newsletter that occurred as we changed from this three column format to a page format on the web site. It was fun reading about the customers and 356s we worked with. I counted all the customer 356s and Shop 356s and we have worked on 98. With the two new shop projects we will reach 100.

356 Registry
The 356 Registry is now a true 356 registry. The 356 Registry web site now has a data base of 356 chassis and engine and transmission serial numbers. It is searchable and easy to add or modify a record. The VIN data base is in the members only section of the web site. You have to be a 356 Registry member to use it. The password is published in each issue of the 356 Registry magazine. Every 356 owner should belong to the 356 Registry. It is only $30 a year and you receive an outstanding bi-monthly magazine. To join send your membership fee to Barbara Skirmants, Membership Services Director, 3359 Kings Mill Rd., North Branch, MI 48461.

The turnout for the tech session at Tom Conway’s Carquip was great. Paulette and Rich provided excellent breakfast burritos (a tradition at Tom’s). Tom and Donny demonstrated the removal of major dents in the nose of a 356. Tom uses the old school techniques of torch, spoons and hammer. These are the techniques used to build and repair the 356. BJ and I use tools such as the stud gun, plasma cutter and MIG welder. One tool Tom used to repair the hood channel on the 356 was a cut down 356 axel. The squared off, flat end of the axel is perfect for moving metal in tight places.

Don’t forget the 22nd Annual Exotic Sports Car Show and Concours D’Elegance on Sunday June 5th at 9:00 AM at ACC and $10 for adults, kids under 12 free. Cerebral Palsy of CO is the beneficiary.