I’ve evaluated six 356’s this month. Most of these for out of state buyers considering a Colorado 356. This is good news as it means we have a seller’s markets for our classic cars. Many buyers are new to 356’s and probably believe their money is better invested in a classic they can drive than in the stock market.
One of the 356’s I evaluated was a ’62 Cabriolet that had been stored outside in Evergreen, CO for many years. It was not in too bad shape. After the evaluation I asked the new owner what he had paid for it. He sad 14. I said that fourteen thousand was a fair price. He said, no, fourteen dollars. He had bought it from a good friend and they decided he only needed to pay for the title transfer.
Another evaluation was of a ’57 Speedster. This was a great looking 356. Ruby Red with a tan leather interior. The Speedster had no rust, good gaps and bright chrome. The evaluation was going fine until I got to the “original” engine. It had an unnumbered case, small Solex carbs and through the shroud linkage. Obviously from an earlier 356. The owner was asking $49,500 for the Speedster. I had to tell him the lack of the original engine seriously devalued the car.
Another Cabriolet I evaluated was for a potential buyer in Belgium. After he got my report he had other questions and by the time they were resolved the 356 had been sold.
Steering Wheel or Mirror
We had a funny phone call. The young lady wanted a steering wheel or a rearview mirror. Not listening that closely I gave her my knowledge of steering wheels, availability and prices and the problems in finding rearview mirrors. When I finally picked up on the “or”, what she wanted was something from a 356 to make a commemorative gift for a customer. Since we had a T-6 steering wheel without the hub and a horn ring without the base, we were able to put something together for the gift.
We also had a call from a guy looking for a Roadster windshield. We told him what he knew of availability and cautioned him about the fit problem on Roadsters i.e. you have to grind off some of the lower corners or it will crack. He said he would check on availability and call back, and he did. He made a lot of calls and confirmed my comments on the Roadster fit problem and how hard it is to find a good Roadster windshield. He finally had an idea. He went to his Porsche dealer and asked about 356 windshields. Yes, they could order from the factory, which they did and it was Segla and it fit without modification. While he paid over $500 he had an original windshield. We guess that although Segla is not making windshields for retail they must still have an agreement with Porsche.
Speedster Top Fit
The top on the Shop ’56 Speedster didn’t fit well. It was very hard to attach the clip on the driver side and the clip on the passenger side was too loose. I tried shims and bending things and still couldn’t get a fit. Dave Seeland was here and suggested removing the top seal and reglueing the material. This was the only solution that worked; thanks, Dave!
BJ is making good progress on Gene’s ’62 Cabriolet. We found a little more rust damage in the front struts, front closing panel and longitudinal, but the repairs are coming along. He did a real good job on the front end damage due to backing up with a tow bar. We had hoped to use a porta-power on this damage but it wasn’t available so he used the stud gun.
Chris’s ’59 Convertible D is ready for the painter and should go in a few weeks. We will hold the Shop ’64 Coupe which is in primer as we need to finish the bottom paint, caulk and undercoat. The Shop’57 Carrera is on the back burner as other small projects keep popping up. For example, I’ve been road testing the Shop ’56 Speedster and found that the muffler was too close to the rear valance and damaged it. So a little work and some repaint. But boy, did the Speedster drive nice. Lots of pick up and go!
We had a potential buyer fly out from the East Coast to look at the Shop Speedster. I asked if he had ever driven a 356. He said, no but he had driven a VW. So I drove him a few laps around the block, detailing the proper way to drive and shift a 356. Then it was his turn. His first lap was cautious but on his next laps he was flying! Turns out he has driven SCCA, NASCAR and even some GT cars. He set me up but it was fun.
We’ve done it before but lets do it again. Winter storage. When the rocks are on the road and it is time to park your 356, run it till it is hot. Turn off the fuel petcock and let it starve till off. Put Stabil in the gas tank. Change your oil and filter. Tape up your exhaust and put D-con in the car if you have a mouse problem.
An alternative is to run your 356 every few weeks. We don’t favor this approach as you collect moisture in the engine.