It's hard to imagine much more bang for your vintage buck than a 1960-1963 B Coupe. The B's cost less than the later C models (1964-1965) yet have many of the durability and driveability improvements over the earlier A models, including bigger brakes, stronger connecting rods, bigger oil pumps, improved steering gearboxes and stronger, better shifting transmissions. Plan on spending $10-$12,000 for a driver, $15,000 for a nice car and up to $20,000 for a superb example.
The 1960-61 T-5 cars have the round front hood and smaller windows of the 356A mated to the higher front fenders of the B/C body. Significant changes came in 1962, when the T-6 body was introduced with a squared-off front hood, the fuel filler moved to the passenger front fender, twin grilles on the engine compartment, and larger front and rear windows. The engines throughout the period are all 1600cc air-cooled horizontally-opposed four cylinder ones in three states of tune: 60 hp (DIN) Normal, a 75 hp Super, and the Super 90 with, you guessed it, 90 hp.
Rust is a serious problem. Look under the car at the floor pans and longitudinals (the long pieces on the outer sides of the floor pans which carry much of the length-wise load), and in the front fenders, doors, and forward portions of the rear quarters. Get an expert to look at the body, as most of the value of the car is in the sheet metal and rust repairs can quickly get out of hand.
With a good rebuild from an experienced 356 mechanic, the engines can be returned to their original level of reliability. But if the engine was slapped back together without careful balancing and correct parts, headaches can and will ensue. There is no full flow oil filter, so frequent oil changes are a must. Valves should be adjusted once a year. Watch for sinking floats and worn throt-tle shafts in the carbs. Plan on rebuilding or replacing the distributor.
A good 356 Coupe still turns heads in almost any part of the world. And while they won't increase in value at double-digit rates, properly bought they should appreciate along with the market.

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