September 2008 Newsletter

356 Market
We continue to be surprised by the 356 market. Yes, they are unique in appearance and fun to drive. The German engineering has proven to be exceptional and the racing heritage continues to this day.

But at the recent auctions in Monterey:

356C Coupe $139,000;
T-5 Roadster $191,800;
’56 A Coupe $61,600;
’58 Speedster $258,500
’59 Convertible D $170,500
’65 C Cabriolet $143,000.

We’ve talked to folks that have followed the sports car market for a long time and the consensus is auctions are not the real market but have an influence on the market. Many, maybe most of these high auction prices are buyers showing off. Many do not understand the 356 and often sell the car at a loss when they learn of the real market.

But the real market is that 356s are selling at higher prices than they did three to five years ago. The real market is a buyer (hopefully knowledgeable) and a seller agreeing on a price for a specific 356. The fact that a ’56 A coupe sold at auction for $61,600 has nothing to do with the value of your ’56 A Coupe.

For the past few years we have received calls from people wanting to buy a 356. Now we are getting more calls from sellers and people wanting to improve their 356s for possible sale. The smart 356 owners are the ones that continue to improve and maintain their 356. Their 356 will maintain value in any market. And yes, a 356 has to be driven to be maintained. Comments welcome!

The Internet
While we spent thirty five years in the computer industry, we spend less than an hour a day on the computer today. Mostly to monitor 356Talk which occasionally provides a new insight or technical information. Others know how to use the internet to search for information. We recently got an E-mail from a previous owner of Speedster 80013 which we are restoring. He did a search on 80013 and found one of our newsletters where we talked about this project. He had owned 80013 from 1968 to 1992 and paid $500 for it (similar to my ’57 Carrera story). In his E-mail he was basically saying “Don’t blame me!” as 80013 was really rough when he got it, but he kept it running for twenty four years. We put him in touch with the present owner of 80013 and they have shared a lot of information.

80013 came back from the painters and we are glad we had it back in primer so we could fit parts prior to paint. The windshield took some work which involved trimming the post to fit flush and moving the chrome cowl strip to meet the post. If the Speedster had been in paint this would have been a risky procedure. 80013 will go back to the painter for some finish body work and Signal Red paint. Then it will probably be off to California for upholstery.

We took the Shop ’60 Cabriolet in for paint and it will be painted Silver just like the Shop ’54 Coupe. The ’61 Sunroof Coupe went to a second painter and will be painted its original Slate Gray. As we have mentioned before we are out of sync; we like to have one at Blast Tech or in metal work, one at the painters and one being reassembled.

We pulled the engine on the Shop ’59 Irish Green Coupe and found the turkey had been there. No washers on the head bolts allowed the blow-by that damaged two cylinders and caused the erratic idle. One pushrod tube had been pushed out and mushroomed and a spun rod bearing had been replaced but not the rod that was damaged. So, it’s new P&Cs, rebuilt heads and new rods.

As mentioned before, the work we had done on the ’61 Sunroof Coupe fifteen years ago had stood the test of time. We spent a few days getting the gaps perfect and then it was off to the painters. We had the engine sheet metal for both the ’61 Sunroof Coupe and the ’60 Roadster media blasted and will paint the parts so the engines can be tested. We do not media blast the oil canister or oil filler as media can be trapped in these parts, get in the oil and destroy an engine. We hand strip these parts.

We repaired the battery box on the ’60 Roadster and made repairs to the body. The door bottoms had the most damage. They had metal brazed over the rust and then bondoed. We replace the bottom door skin. We also repaired rust damage in front of the doors and on the front closing panels. There is more metal work needed underneath the Roadster but we interrupted this work to work on Speedster 80013. BJ has just about finished the body work on the Shop ’64 Coupe and I will finish up the ’60 Roadster. Then both will go to the painter. Its possible we will be reassembling five 356s at the same time (or trying to). Right now we have the disassembled parts from these 356s located in the shop, in the garage and in the storage building. We consider reassembly one of the fun parts of 356 restoration; so we are in for a lot of fun.

We were invited to display Barb’s 1962 Twin Grill Roadster at the Morgan Adams Concours d’Elegance. This is an invitational only Concours for both interesting automobiles and aircraft. It will be held at Centennial Airport on October 4, 2008. Ticket prices are $125 and proceeds go to benefit pediatric cancer research. At the five previous Concours over $850,000 has been raised. Contact the Morgan Adams Foundation at 303-758-2130.

Grandpa News
She is now four and that entailed having three parties; one here with just family; one at preschool which had to be delayed on her true special day because she was sick and missed being line leader (!) and one more with her Chinese playgroup for a teddy bear tea.