November 2000 Newsletter

Fall Festival

Barb and I had a good mini Holiday in San Diego. The venue was on Shelter Island. It was also Navy weekend so there were lots of ships on parade. There were 75 356’s in attendance and the concours was held on the grass right at the edge of the bay with the ships and North Island NAS as a backdrop. There was an all original ’64 coupe with 55,000 miles. I spent a lot of time with this 356 confirming what I know of originality (of course what is original on a ’64 may not apply to earlier 356’s). This ’64 had the original paint and I questioned the quality particularly over the leaded areas which was quite rough. The owner said original paint but it is another mystery as I can’t imagine this quality lapse by Porsche (but then they had just acquired Reutter and maybe they had new paint procedures).

I also did my decklid survey and found four out of 75 356’s with the characters stamped on the rear decklids. These are found only on 1958-1960 Coupes. After the event I received some more via e-mail. So the survey so far looks like this (can you break the code?):

  • G, G, G, G
  • K1, K1, KE, K
  • H1, H, H
  • S1, S1
  • EA, E2
  • W, W,
  • B2
  • F
  • J


After last month’s newsletter I was able to hook up some buyers and sellers. I don’t broker these deals just try to help keep 356’s on the road.

I also got a call on a possible shop project. This was a ’58 Cabriolet, complete but needing metal work and restoration. The owner had additional parts and wanted $15K for the package.

BJ and I went for a look. The chassis was stored in a one car garage flat on the floor, no engine, tranny or suspension and covered with a 3 foot high pile of other car and motorcycle parts. The disassembled engine, tranny suspension and other parts were in a garage next door, also mixed in with other car parts. While it was very hard to do an evaluation this is how I approached making an offer:

A driver level restoration of a ’58 Cab should sell for $30,000.

I would have to spend $800 on blasting the chassis and parts; $2,000 on metal work, $5,000 on paint, $5,000 on upholstery (top alone is $2,000), $1,000 on assembly and parts and $5,000 on engine/tranny.

This adds up to $18,800 restoration expense. Since I would like to make a profit on the restoration, I offered $9,500 for the Cab plus $1,000 for the extra parts. The owner passed on the offer saying he would eventually do the project himself. I am still looking for project cars; give me a call if you know of one (303-840-2356).

Vintage Races

The Vintage races at North Island NAS were part of the Fall Festival event. We had special spectator passes and a 356 corral. This was a big event; as big as Monterey. It got lots of advertising as part of Navy week and you could hear the cars practice from many parts of the city. Attendance was huge and there were hundreds of vendors on hand. The 356 racers were all in one group. There were about twelve including an Abarth Carrera. They were mixed in with early Corvettes and Morgans. The 356’s made a good show but it was a Corvette track; long flat straights with few twisty parts. Since I lived in San Diego for twelve years this may become an annual event for us. Barb and I skipped the rally and went and looked at the house and neighborhood I grew up in. It all seemed small and close together. I remembered it as big and adventuresome. Then I was a kid, now I’m older. In fact I just turned 60!

I checked the progress board in the shop and I’ve restored 60 356’s!! Yes, I am doing what I enjoy the most and no, I won’t return to the corporate world or take up golf. As Scotty Knox told me when I said there was not enough time to do all the car projects we want to do- “Jim, there is not enough life”.


BJ’s ’64 Coupe came back from the paint shop, getting a race car level paint job i.e. not as expensive as a restored 356.

I also started on Rhome’s Roadster. This is going to take a lot of work as all the parts were stored outside at some time and are rusty. If you have been by the shop you may have seen pictures of Rhome’s Roadster. Purchased in 1961 it was crashed in 1963. The owner was killed. The car was salvaged for the transmission and stored outside for thirty years. We did the metal work five years ago and now we will finish it. It will be a candidate for the title of “Lazarus” award.