December 1994 Newsletter

Prologue

I hope I haven’t caused you concern. Some feedback I had received lead me to believe that because we have been real busy as chronicled in these newsletters, some folk believe we are not enjoying the work. Nothing could be further from the truth! Being busy means our philosophy of getting these great cars back on the road at reasonable cost is well received. Are we working too hard? No way! The challenge is scheduling 356’s between the blast shop, metal repair, the paint booth, reassembly and storage. Right now we have six 356’s active but under control. Are we still having fun? You bet! Are we continuing to learn about 356’s. Absolutely! We recently had a 1960 Roadster come up from West Texas. The 356 got T-boned in the driver side door with about 20,000 miles on it. The customer’s father bought it for the transaxel and put it out to pasture. The horses were eating hay out of it. It still had the original Royal Blue paint (with rust) and had never been disassembled. It is a Belgium-Delterran 356 and the whole car outside, inside, underneath had been painted Royal Blue. Then the front and rear compartments had been covered with a light undercoat and the bottom with a heavier undercoat. All the seams had been caulked and the caulk is still good, -it didn’t blast off. This was the first 356 I’d seen with factory caulk. I learned a lot about proper assembly of a Roadster and recorded proper bolt and washer combination.

However, some of these may be unique to DeIterran Roadsters. One original thing is that the wire to the T-5, t-6 front turn signal does not to through the middle of the large opening in the pot metal backing plate. It goes under a small notch at the bottom of the plate. I’ve done at least six 356’s wrong in this area. Who knows what wiring was correct? Very few (except for you now). Who cares? I do! So we are busy but still learning. We still quit at 3:56 every afternoon and don’t work evenings or Sundays. We hired a helper, Ted, an NCAA champion gymnast to do grunt work and with the three of us progress has picked up but we are still behind schedule.

Progress

Last month we said Tom’s ’52 Coupe was the first we had seen with no major exterior damage. Well Alan’s ’60 Roadster also had no exterior damage and then Rhone’s ’60 Roadster also got blasted and had no exterior damage except for the driver side T-bone. So three 356’s in a row without clip repair, brazing or bondo. Maybe we are attracting a better class of clientele. We stopped work on Tom’s ’52 Coupe in order to get Alan’s Roadster ready for paint. In two weeks, Alan got tunnel repair, inner longitudinal repair and new floor pan. The 356 also got closing panel repair, a new longitudinal, a repaired longitudinal and new inner door posts. The dash was repaired (I couldn’t live with Hormel Ham cans pop riveted and bondoed over). The passenger door got a new bottom and the battery box a new front bulkhead and floor. Numerous rust holes and weak spots were repaired and the 356 Roadster went off to the paint booth to join Joe’s Speedster which is ready for Silver Metallic paint. We promised Joe his Speedster back for Christmas. So Ryan and Ted will be busy at the paint booth. We moved Rhone’s ’60 Roadster from the blast shop to Boulder fer frame straightening to hopefully correct the T-bone. Then, it will be new pan, longitudinals, thresholds, rocker and fender repair. But the reason to stop on Tom’s Coupe and finish Alan’s Roadster was to make way for John’s Speedster. It was restored fifteen years ago but the restoration shop got into financial trouble and while the bottom of the Speedster seems correct much of the rest of the work is slap-dash i.e. the battery floor was welded with the panel outside rather than inside the battery box. Most of the poor repair was hidden under heavy undercoat. (*We insist customers inspect metal repair prior to paint and undercoat). So Tom’s ’52 Coupe is on the rotisserie, Joe’s Speedster is ready for paint. Alan’s Roadster is ready for finish, Rhone’s Roadster is being straightened and ready for metal work. John’s Speedster is being blasted and will be ready for metal work and up next is Tony’s Coupe which rolled out of the garage and had a relationship with a tree.

Tech Tip Update Update

Mike called from Colo Sprgs to remind me that the C hood latch is fail safe. If the latch wire breaks, the latch fails in the open position. Adjustment of the latch position is done by screwing the latch knob. So, C owners don’t need a safety wire but they really should inspect their hood latch just to marvel at German engineering. Another example of German engineering is the front hood hinges. If you have some out of a 356, play with them and marvel at the design. Also understand that American gas station attendants didn’t appreciate the design.

Tech Tip

When we disassemble a 356 we immediately protect all wires that could be blasted or over sprayed, we cover them with aluminum foil and seal with duct tape. The foil/tape stays on until after the 356 is painted and undercoated. If you have ever used masking/duct tape on wire you know the problem after a few months. The aluminum foil solves the problem.

November 1994 Newsletter

Tech Tip Update

I had a lot of positive feed back on the tech tip to put a safety wire on the hood latch. It’s a fairly easy addition to the A & B hood latch but for the C you will have to remove the latch assembly and drill a hole for your safety wire. The A & B latch assembly has a spare hole which you can use or enlarge. A braided wire is the best solution and you will have to drill “punch” a hole in the battery box side. Just tape the safety wire to the fender brace or rig up a handle.

After writing this tech tip I had a hood lock shut on me. What did I do wrong? Well, I removed the hood latch wire, blew out the crud, greased it and attached it with the proper tension. I adjusted the latch and greased it. I checked the hood piece on the latch before attaching it to the hood. I checked for alignment with a piece of paper. I was careful to remove the spare tire before closing the hood. The hood closed and opened perfectly. Then I drove the 356. After a few hundred miles I had to open the hood. Locked shut! Fortunately, the spare tire was still out, so I could cut into the battery box if I had to. But what had happen was the new hood seal had compressed and the hood part had gone too deep. I was able to pull the hood up a fourth inch and with tape on the paint, I used a metal ruler to knock the hood latch off the latch assembly. Once open, I readjusted the hood latch so it wouldn’t go so deep and everything is perfect.

Progress

Tom’s ’52 Coupe came back from the blast shop and needs a little more work than expected. Once the bondo on the tail piece was blasted off we found about twenty dime size pull holes plus four brazed patches over the taillight area. Plus the front closing panels (no longer available – we will have to fabricate) and inner longitudinals were worse than expected. The ’52 is on the rotisserie and the fun begins. What’s neat about this forty year old 356 is that with the exception of the tail piece, all the exterior panels are virgin. No hits, no dents, no problems; except of course in the front and behind the doors. It’s the first 356 I’ve seen with the original exterior panels.

Allan’s ’60 Roadster also got blasted and once again we discovered the sandwich floor pan. This is where a previous repair was to cut and place new metal over and under the rusted floor pan, pop rivet it into place and cover with tar. This repair was first class, they even fabricated the toe board mounts into the top piece. Anyhow, it all has to come out and be done right.

The Shop ’65 Dolphin Gray Coupe is finally finished! (Geez, putting these cars together takes time). See the For Sale section.

The ’63 Silver Metalic Coupe is also finished (Geez, putting these cars together really takes time!)

Joe’s ’57 Speedster is just about ready for paint. Ryan was working on the right fender which I had done and found some thin cracks in the filler. I had him take it back down to bare metal and we found some problems under Joe’s lead work. I feel bad when the Mig welder has to be taken to the paint booth. It means we have regressed on a project. But Ryan keeps me honest and he won’t paint over poor finish.

We’ve got another ’60 Roadster coming in at Thanksgiving and also another Speedster. So the attention will shift from reassembly (Geez, putting these cars together takes time) to basic metal work. If you are counting, we have four cars in for metal work and the shop only holds three. Drop by some Saturday afternoon and see how we solve this problem.

For Sale

1965 C Coupe S/N 22311. Dolphin Gray with blue interior and gray carpet, Konis, sport muffler, electric tach, Michelin XZX on chrome wheels, disc brakes, Blaupunkt radio, tool kit, even the clock works! A perfect Christmas present for that someone special. Absolutely no rust or poor previous repair. Mechanically excellent as it was previously owned by Jim M. a very good 356 Porsche mechanic. Asking $15,500 with the 356RESTORE guarantee. The 356RESTORE guarantee on all parts, service or restored 356’s is simple “we’re not satisfied unless you are satisfied” 100% money back guaranteed.

Come by and see it or call 840-2356 or 841-6475.

October 1994 Newsletter

Annual Report

The 30th of September closes out my second year in business. Last year at this time I provided an annual report that showed I lost quite a bit due to start up costs. My goal this year was to break even. However, I am going to change my business year to the calendar year to make life easier for taxes. So look for an annual report in January; plus this will give me more time to sell the ’63 and the ’65 Shop cars and hopefully break even for the extended year.

Progress

Well, I published a schedule but as soon as folks knew they had a commitment, the scope of work expanded and we had a few schedule changes. Ron and Marcia’s ’64 Coupe returned from the customer contracted painter and we had a week of rework to do. The painter didn’t use the spray on/wash off protector and then painted the 356 in a down draft paint booth. All the nice bottom paint and undercoat we did on the 356 had to be redone due to overspray. Originally, I had done the 356 bottom on the rotisserie; this rework had to be done on the floor on my back. Anyhow, it got done plus a few extras and Ron and Marcia got their 356 back for final assembly. Then there was a delay in getting Tom’s ’52 Coupe and Allan’s ’60 Roadster into the shop. So the time was spent getting the Shop ’63 Silver Coupe into nice shape and cleaning and painting parts for the Shop ’65 Dolphin Gray Coupe. Anyhow, when you receive this newsletter, the Shop ’63 Silver Coupe will have been to Ron’s for mechanical checkout and engine startup. The Shop ’65 Dolphin gray Coupe will be back from the paint booth and the new headliner, exterior parts and wiring will be in progress. Tom’s ’52 Coupe should be back from the blast shop and on the rotisserie for bottom everything repair. Allan’s ’60 Roadster will have been disassembled, inventoried and ready for blasting and Joe’s ’57 Speedster should be close to exterior finish and ready for paint.

The net of all this is we are about two weeks behind schedule. After living with schedules for twenty-five years in the computer business this bothers me but I know how to fix it. I’m going to reschedule!

Shop Cars

Well, I did it again! I now own seven 356’s I couldn’t pass on a ’58 Cabriolet – rusty, no engine, no top but complete and with plenty of repair panels. The price was right but the ’58 had been dipped so I can’t store it in the barn. So now I have the ’60 T-5 Coupe and ’58 Cabriolet in the back of the shop. The second Shop ’65 Coupe is in the barn but we won’t start on it until we work off the customer schedule.

Mike D has a deposit for first right to buy on the Shop ’63 Silver Coupe. It should sell for between $10K – $12K, depending on how the mechanicals check out. The Shop ’65 Dolphin Gray Coupe should be ready for sale next month. It has a blue interior and of course – no rust! It was previously owned by an excellent Porsche mechanic and Ryan drove it for four months. I will probably price it between $14K – $16K. Its not an SC but it’s strong. I price all the Shop cars below market but there are no surprises. These are not show cars but rust free drivers!

Tech Tip

The 6-volt batteries we can get now don’t fit the factory position – too small. It is important to shim the battery into position with wood scrap for a tight fit. A loose battery will leak acid and possibly crack. I saw one recently that was shorting out against the side of the battery box.

Open Shop

Saturday from noon till four is open shop. Over the last two years we have had folks dropping by just about every Saturday to check out the progress, parts or just kick tires, bench race or have a few beers/pop. We still have some interesting work going on over the winter; please come by!

Parts

We’ve acquired more 356 parts so the inventory is replenished. Please call to check if we have what you need. We get 3-5 calls a week and are able to meet about 50% of the needs. Our prices are the most reasonable around. 840-2356 or 841-6475.

September 1994 Newsletter

PROGRESS

This month was spent on assembly of the Silver Shop ’63 Coupe, (previously, I’ve referred to this as a ’60 Coupe- wrong! I have six 356’s now and sometime get confused). While I worked on ordering cleaning, painting and assembling parts, Ryan started paint on the shop ’65 Coupe. We decided to stay with the original Dolphin Cray color and had PPG match it in their “CONCEPT” paint. This paint is like magic! It flows on real good and has a deep luster. Compared to Silver Metalic it is a snap!

But guess what’s next into the paint booth?! Joe’s ’57 Speedster which will be – you guessed it – Silver Metalic. Joe is going with the blue interior and top. This is going to be one nice Speedster.

SCHEDULE

Having been in the corporate world for twenty-five years prior to doing full time what I enjoy the most; I recognized I had a problem. The problem was I has this blackboard in the shop with customer names and work to be done but no schedule. With the paint booth and assembly area it’s obvious I had to develop a schedule to optimize metal repair, paint and assembly.

This has been done for the next six months and the schedule sent to the eight customers who had a commitment form 356RESTORE. This leaves nine customer projects to be scheduled for next year. Oh yes, I did build into the schedule a week off to celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary in Hawaii. (But of course Tom L is in Hawaii and I can give him a call to talk 356 Porsches!)

PARTS

I had an excellent response to last month’s parts list. I sold about $800 worth of parts. Many of those were in the $10 range so it took at least a dozen trips to UPS. I believe I found today’s price point. After hauling most of these parts to swap meets for the last three years I basically cut my price 25% and got a great response. The item most in demand was the A floor mat for $80. I had six calls on this. Also the luggage racks and 6-12 volt converters were popular. I think I will do this parts thing only once a year as it takes time away from restoring 356’s.

However I am always interested in buying 356 parts or taking them on consignment (80/20).

T-6 OWNERS

There is a cardboard piece that is tacked to the rear seat backs and keeps the carpet from falling in the crack when you lift the rear seats. This was missing on Abby’s car but Warren’s T-6 was in the shop and it had the original piece. So I make a tracing and reproduced it in waterproof fibre board. I’ve used this on the last three carpet sets I’ve installed and it works great. Installation is easy just a hammer and tacks. Call if you need these pieces, $10 a set seems fair.

TECH TIP

Do you have a safety wire on your front hood latch. If you don’t and your 30-40 year old original hood latch wire breaks you are in deep trouble. I have seen quite a few 356’s where a lage hole has been cut into the batterybox to get access to the latch. A tough job with the spare tire in place. Installation of the safety wire is obvious, call if you have questions (840-2356 or 841-6475).

PHILOSOPHY

We’ve added about 24 folk to this newsletter distribution in the last few months, so I should probably restate the 356RESTORE Philosophy.

356RESTORE was established to offer a reasonable alternative to the restoration of 356 Porsches. We encourage owners to do as much as their skill and time allows. We provide advise at all levels of restoration. We concentrate on street level restoration and are not interested in investor cars. We only do 356’s as we understand and appreciate the owner’s attachment to their cars.

PARTS

’58 Engine #80362 with roller crank. Perfect for Speedster restoration $2000.

’63 Engine #G10283 with Solexs – #1750.

Both engines complete and money back guaranteed.

August 1994 Newsletter

Progress

Finally progress! I found a barn nearby to store 356’s. So the shop is not backed up with finished or future cars. The ’54 Speedster, ’65 Shop car and Warren’s finished ’65 rest comfortably where horses used to reside.

The ’61 Shop car is now in beautiful silver metallic paint and the painter working on Ron and Marsha’s 356 moved it to a more convenient location.

Ryan and Bobby really got into doing a great job on one of the most difficult 356 colors to paint. Silver metallic is tough but you must drop by to check out their work. It is beautiful. The best time to check it out is Saturday afternoon during “Open Shop”. The Shop ’65 in barn storage was purchase in Niwot but it hadn’t been running three years. So I bought it at a fair price with some question on mechanicals. We flat towed it to Appleton’s and for the grand sum of $120 Ron got it running. Accelerator pumps dry out, gas and oil get old and the battery needed a charge, but the 356 fired right up and I had a great drive home. The disc brakes were great, the shift nice and notchey and steering excellent. The only problem was the heater was stuck in the on position and ambient temperature was 96 degrees. Anyhow I drive it to the barn and got out 5 pounds lighter.

Back in the shop, the other ’65 Coupe has had some major rust around the left rear strut repaired and the whole bottom cleaned, painted, caulked and undercoated. The metal work on the bottom of this 356 had been done a few years ago and done quite well. The exterior was another problem. The car took a major left front hit last year and after media blasting we discovered lots of previous exterior repair. Some are OK, but most need rework. We also tried something new on the Shop ’65. While the engine ran great (it belonged to a Porsche mechanic), it sure looked tired. I decided to freshen it up with new paint and clean parts without removing the engine from the car. By just removing the generator, oil filler can, coil and oil filter, I was able to clean, mask off and paint the engine sheet metal and shroud. It turned out great! With some new decals and cleaned/painted parts, it looks as good as engines I’ve done outside the car.

So in the shop we are doing the exterior metal on the Shop ’65 and reassembly on the Shop ’61 silver car. When the ’65 metal work is done, its off to the paint booth for Dolphin Gray paint job which will work real nice with the blue interior.

Next into the paint booth will probably be Joe’s Speedster which will also be Silver Metallic. Next into the shop will be Tom’s ’54 Coupe which we will pick up when we drop off Ron and Marsha’s 356. After Tom’s will be Alan’s ’60 Roadster, one of the barn cars or one of yours.

We have fourteen 356’s on our to-do list so now is the time to call and make arrangements. Our objective is to get these great cars back on the road with quality repair. We don’t sit on cars for months or years like some shops.

Tech Tips

I was watching an experienced upholsterer install the panels in a 356 and while he gave me a lot of tips one he didn’t mention but one I observed taught me a lesson. I noticed he only took a small cup of glue inside the car. He filled it from a gallon can outside the car. I wish this observation had sunk in because the next day I kicked over my one third full gallon can of glue inside the 356. I got the glue off the floor and tunnel mats but it took time. To clean up glue residue use mineral spirits or 3M adhesive remover. Just moisten glue and roll into a ball.

Also, after your car is painted, never, never ever use a sharp object near the paint or rubber. If you have to pry, poke, push or position something, use a craft stick (popsicle stick). You can get 500 for around $5.00 at a hobby store. Just whittle into shape you want.

PARTS

Enclosed is the latest parts list. Call anytime during shop hours (8:00 – 3:56) and check out the parts during Saturday Open Shop. All parts are satisfaction guaranteed. If it doesn’t fit or work (including electric) bring it back for full refund. There are some real bargains on the list-can you spot them?

July 1994 Newsletter

UPDATE

Things keep rolling at 356RESTORE. I think we have the roadblock broken at the paint booth. The problem seems to be how perfect do we want the finish. Well, we want the finish and paint as perfect as the owner wants. If the owner wants perfect, we can do it; if the owner want street, we can do it! The problem is there can be a $2000-$3000 difference. I’ve been driving what I consider street finish for the last five years and have had a lot of complements. My 356’s are driven and they have chips and scratches. What I have to do is communicate to the finish guys how much time to spend vs what the owner expects.

OLD BUSINESS

Our thanks and the Red Cross’s thanks for your support of the “Fat Tire Classic”. 356RESTORE raised $135 and Ryan and the biking babes picked up another $500 for the Red Cross. Plus, Ryan and the ladies (my term) had fun and were competitive. (I think I could get 18″ wheels on a 356. Anyone want to sponsor a REAL Fat Tile Classic?)

Other old business. Barb and I had a great time on the Canyonlands 1000. We drove the 356B Sunroof Coupe at speed for 1800 miles and saw some great sights in southern Colorado and Utah. While the weather was hot, we used the 356 air conditioner-a spray bottle and turned in the vent wings. I hate to admit it but we never caught the Ferrari.

FUNNY BUSINESS

356RESTORE doesn’t have an employee’s handbook so we decided to take July 4th off. I guess we will also take future holidays off. Anyhow, Barb and I hadn’t been to Central City to test the slots so we decided to go up early on the 4th. We parked for $5 and got a coupon for $2 back at a certain casino. So we went to the casino and got our $2 plus a $10 roll of quarters. Barb got half. I was playing a slot machine and saw it had an ID plate that was 342. I decided to look for slot machine 356. I found it and was doing real good when Barb came back broke. She took three quarters from my machine and put them in the next machine (#357), pulled the handle and won $1,250! I can’t convince her to buy a lift for the shop so it looks like we get a remodeling for the master bath.

PROGRESS

We did some real nice work on Joe’s Speedster. The seams look good and the body fairly straight. More finish will be required to the level the owner wants. The bottom was stripped, painted, caulked and undercoated and should be good for another ten years (more with maintenance).

Joe will install the suspension and bring the Speedster back for final finish and paint.

We also started on Warren’s ’65 Coupe and finished the nose repair, door lower skin repair and battery box. Door skin repair is one of the most difficult repairs on a 356. I think we did an excellent job. We left the repair in bare metal so Warren can see the repair. If you have repair, you should insist on seeing the bare metal repair. I have seen many many poor repairs that were covered by bondo and didn’t last.

We also picked up Jim’s Pre-A Speedster from storage (thanks Tom Scott) and hope to find new storage as we won’t start this project until next year. (MSgt Jim doesn’t return from Italy till August ’95.)

We also bought another 356 as a shop car. So we have the ’60 T-5 Coupe, ’63 Coupe and two ’65 Coupes which we will finish for sale over the next year. The ’63 Coupe should be done in a few months and Mike has a $500 deposit for first right to buy. After the ’63 is sold we will start on one of the ’65s and it should be done and available for sale at year end. The ’60 Coupe could be a wedding present for our oldest son next spring but it will take lots of work and he and his fiance have to be involved.

PARTS

We recently acquired an additional large inventory of restoration parts. Not much mechanical parts but lots of interior and exterior items. Some nice turn signals at half of retail, lots of switches, seats and interior trim, A gas tanks, Speedster seat hinges, T-6 back up lights, head rests and six Blaupunkt radios. All the radios work! I send them to Wilford Wilkes back east and he is the specialist in 356 radios. If you want first choice call 840-2356.

June 1994 Newsletter

FREIDRICH WEBER’S WORK

It was great to see the work of the man to which this newsletter is dedicated. Bill Jackson showed his 1949 Gmund Coupe at the WestFest event and the UCPA Concours. Bill’s Coupe is the seventeenth 356 Porsche built. Good old Freiderich must have been sober when he had beat the aluminum on this car because it is beautiful. These early cars were the foundation of Porsche as a car company and the beginning of the 356 model we all enjoy. Thanks to Bill and Lynn for sharing this treasure.

PROGRESS

Well I anticipated too early the paint work on Ron and Marcia’s 356 Coupe. It is almost ready for paint. I am concerned that we are spending too much time for final finish work. But this is my problem to solve. We need to get Ron and Marcia’s 356 done 1.) to get paid and 2.) to get the shop ’63 Coupe ready for paint.

So, we have two 356’s at the paint booth and two in the 356RESTORE shop and three in storage awaiting work. The two in the shop are Joe’s ’57 Speedster and Warren’s ’65 Coupe. Joe’s Speedster took a lot of study before I just decided to pick up the plasma cutter and cut apart major panel sections. The problem was the Speedster had been rebuilt on a donor chassis and the fenders, lockposts, cowl, nose and doors just didn’t fit. The hood and deck lid were in good shape so we rebuilt the doors and had enough good metal to reposition the rest of the car. I had to cut into the inner fender to raise the front fenders to meet the hood. I also had to cut and reweld the front fenders as they were too fat i.e. when you sighted down the side of the car, you could see the fenders bulge in front of the doors. I also had to cut and reposition the right rear fender which was pulled down i.e. no bulge, just a deep dip. The best way to check out panel fit problems is to string the car (a Tom Conway tip). You tape strings down the side of the car longitudinally about an inch apart. Your doors should be repaired and in their final position. The strings will shown the high and low spots and also curve breaks. In the case of the Speedster, The strings showed where the fenders had been pulled down too far (dips) or pushed up (bulges). The Speedster is progressing nicely and should be done next month. Warren’s ’65 Coupe is a driver and needs new bottom door skins, a battery box and a nose job. 356RESTORE will do the major rust repair and Warren will do the finish. Here again is another example of 356RESTORE’s philosophy. This 356 is a driver, the owner will do a lot of the work and we will do the difficult skill work at a reasonable price. Speaking of price, I am going to raise the shop rate to $25 an hour (still a bargain). I am hoping to break even in this our second year of having fun restoring 356 Porsches.

Speaking of Warren’s Coupe is another example of not only a driver 356 but of Porsche dependability. I could see the paint blisters on the rear deck and guessed a carb fire. Sure enough, when I opened the lid I could see the fire had fried all the wires to the voltage regulator and did a nice job on the regulator itself. But everything works! The 356 starts right up and while the wiring should be replaced, Porsche dependability is still there.

Another example was Abby’s 356. While there wasn’t metal on the bottom, the engine was worse. The oil was as thick as 90 weight; the carbs had at least a quarter inch of shellac and all the cooling fins were packed with oil/dirt. But the engine ran and even passed emissions. So while I hate to see these great cars abused I do have to admire their dependability.

SHOP HOURS

The shop is open Mon-Fri from 8:00 AM to 3:56PM. On Saturdays from 8:00 AM till Noon. Afternoon on Saturday is still open shop till 3:56 PM. Someone drops by just about every Saturday afternoon to check out the work and shoot the breeze-why don’t you?

During shop hours the phone is 840-2356; after hours 841-6475.

Note:

The shop will be closed June 15-20 while Barb and I take the ’63 Sunroof Coupe on the Canyonlands 1000 tour.

May 1994 Newsletter

UPDATE

I closed last month with a request to help a 356 enthusiast finish his car for WestFest. The response was great and George drove his car both to the track and to Ed Carrolls’. Hopefully, those who helped picked up some tips and appreciation for what it takes to finish a 356. We had three people on the front windshield and three on the back windshield installing the new rubber and old deco trim. It took each team over an hour! The tip is to leave your deco in the rubber when you cut out the windshields. After a year of banging around on storage shelves the deco gets bent and takes quite a while to refit to the new rubber and windshield contour.

At the WestFest swap meet 356RESTORE was the largest of three vendors. I sold $100 of parts and bought $50. The net is I lost three days of working on 356’s while I cleaned, painted, packed and unpacked 356 parts. I noticed the major 356 part vendors are no longer attending 356 swap meets. If you need parts, please call (840-2356).

 

PROGRESS

Ron and Marcia’s ’64 Coupe should be in paint when you read this newsletter. We have taken extra time to get this first 356 through the new paint booth to use as a showcase. It will be great but it takes hours and hours of sanding to get ready for paint.

Abby’s 356 still needs the interior but is finished enough that she had driven it to show off to her family. They were impressed! I gave her a bad time when she returned the 356 with bird droppings on the nice new slate gray paint. We knew we had some front suspension damage on Abby’s 356 and since it looked minor and happened 24 year ago thought the alignment process would fix it. Wrong! To fix the problem years ago they heated and bent the front control arms (Wrong!) rather than realigning the axle tubes. The net was we couldn’t get proper camber. We had to have the upper axle tube heated and bent back to specs. Of course all this area was recently painted and undercoated and had to be redone.

So to avoid this problem in the future, we made a transit tool and now before we start on the bottom metal work we check the 356 for square. Although we finished the bottom of the shop ’63 Coupe we checked it with the transit and it is perfect. Whew!

The shop ’63 Coupe will be ready for its original metallic silver paint after Ron and Marcia’s 356. In fact, when I look at the backlog, we have five 356’s to paint this year. So in addition to Andy (recently married, Congrats!) we may add Bobby to the finish/paint team.

356RESTORE is subcontract-ing finish and paint work and believe we have a well trained crew that will do street level finish at half the price of the major restorers. (These young guys work real hard on a contract basis, compared to an hourly rate-of course quality is the key.)

The most recent 356 into the shop has been the famous deer-damaged ’60 T-5 from Kansas. While the right front deer damage is impressive, it turns out a previous left front collision was more significant.

This 356 will sit in the rear of the shop for repair later in the year. It definitely will need hours on the frame machine at Tom’s. However, the previous owner drove this 356 vigorously for years.

356RESTORE’s philosophy includes getting these great cars back on the road in a safe condition. This is why Ryan (shop assistant) drove my 356 coupe on the track at WestFest. Someone who has driven a 356 the way it was intended will be most conscientious when they assemble a 356 for a 356RESTORE customer. (Plus Ryan had a hell of a lot of fun on the track!)

Our present plan seems to be: finish and paint Ron and Marcia’s Coupe, store the ’65 shop car (no license plates), paint the shop ’63 Coupe and reassemble, figure out the approach on Joe’s Speedster, store the shop T-5 deer-damaged Coupe, and repair many doors, gas tanks, and small parts for sale.

April 1994 Newsletter

INTRODUCTION

I have had a lot of positive comments on this newsletter. Thank you! The newsletter is an advertising expense for 356RESTORE and I take it on my taxes so those of you who offered to pay for a subscription, thanks but it is not necessary. I will keep the newsletter going as long as there is interest is what we learn by working on these great cars every day.

PROGRESS

Ed and his father dropped by the shop to pick up some sheet metal for their ’65 Coupe restoration. Ed’s father had some interesting stories about how they welded in WWII. He and Ed were gas welding the 356 and it sounded like it was going OK except for some warpage. This why we only use MIG and recently switched to an ARGON/CO2 mix. The new mix is better than straight CO2 and I believe it is very close to gas welding and a lot faster (i.e. no warpage).

Ron and Marcia’s ’64 Coupe is just about ready for paint. The new paint booth is working out great although it is not heated and we have to work around the weather.

Abby’s ’63 Coupe is just about done. We installed the carpet and windshields and took the 356 to Ron Appleton’s in Boulder for adjustments and tune up. Ron found a problem with the axle tube due to a previous repair and made it right. I have Ron double check all of 356RESTORE’s mechanical work. The result of our work is meant to be driven and Ron ensures the drive will be safe.

The shop ’63 Coupe received most of the attention this month. We had a visitor from Illinois who gave us a great tip. He concours and races his 356. His only problem was a slight swelling at the factory overlap welds at the front and rear of the rocker panel. So upon his advice, we no longer use the factory overlap, now we butt weld the rocker to the fender.

We are also going to do an additional check on door fit. We talked to a guy who was restoring his 356 Coupe and had it painted and then found that his side window frame didn’t fit the opening. We haven’t had this problem on the dozen of Coupes we’ve done but will now fit the window frame before paint. In fact, we have learned you have to fit everything i.e. doors, lids, bumpers, headlights, taillights, and windows before paint.

We should be starting on Joe’s Speedster next week. Joe’s top wouldn’t fit to the windshield so we tried on from another customer Speedster. It fit! So, we removed the material from Joe’s top and it also fit. What we thought might be a major problem looks minor i.e. only an 1/8″ ¬†adjustment to the right side pivot. Joe said the top had been out in the weather and may have shrunk and he already had a replacement.

We have scheduled the next 356 into the shop. It will be a pre-A Coupe that needs a bottom everything. Since this will be our second pre-A and nothing can be worse than the first, it should be a snap.

Tech Tip

When installing a windshield (you can do it – it’s easy!) you fit the new rubber to the glass, install the deco trim, place the completed windshield in the opening with a cord in the seal slot and pull the cord to set the seal inside the car. The tip is to use duct tape at the outside corners to hold up the outside of the rubber seal so the windshield fits exactly in the opening.

Finish a 356 – April 24th

George White, a RM356PC member has been working the last few years to finish a real nice ’65 Coupe. His goal was to have it done by the ’94 West Fest – May 7 & 8. A few weeks ago, George experienced a ruptured disk and will be out of action for 2-3 months.

If you would like to help finish the 356, we will do it Sunday April 24th. George will provide brats and beer and food all day. We need to install the engine (which runs), linkage, brakes, door assemblies, and as much interior as possible. Call Jim Kellogg (841-6475) if you can help. No experience necessary!

George’s 356 is at 14335 Foothill Rd in Golden (Take I-70 to 32nd, West on 32nd to Eldridge, South on Eldridge to Foothill Road (on the right) to the sixth house. Call Jim so we can assemble teams and plan food. Let’s start at 0800.

March 1994 Newsletter

INTRODUCTION

I made two mistakes in last month’s newsletter. First, I referred to Tom’s ’65 Coupe as the 356 on which he and his father would do the finish welding. Well, it’s true they will do the finish welding but it’s not Tom’s 356, it’s Ed’s. Sorry Ed!

My second mistake was mentioning that we have fourteen 356’s in backlog. As soon as this newsletter hit the street, four more 356 owners called to get in the queue. They were worried that 356RESTORE might not be able to get to their cars in the near future.

So Jim! Why don’t you get a shop in Parker, hire some more help, train them and finish all those 356’s. Well, I thought about this, even checked into leasing space in town. But I’ve decided to stay a home shop for two reasons. One, the physical constraints prevent 356RESTORE from over committing on work to be done. Second, I know a lot about OSHA, workmen’s comp, EPA, insurance, employee turnover and the reasons small businesses fail. Believe me, we are better off the way we are and so are you, as the shop rate remains $22.50/hour.

PROGRESS

Ed’s ’65 Coupe (not Tom’s, Ed’s) was finished to his requirements plus a few extra’s and he picked it up. We will have to make a housecall to weld on a jackspur which was out of stock when needed (no charge Ed, since I referred to you as Tom).

Ron and Marcia’s ’64 Coupe has been sitting waiting for the paint booth to be completed. The paint booth has high intensity lights and will really improve our finish work. It should be ready next week.

Abby’s ’63 coupe is almost done. The engine is in and turns over, the instruments are in, the gas tank is in and so is the headliner. All that remains is the carpet, windshields and final upholstery (and a bunch of small items, like horns, mirrors, etc.) While we wait for the upholstery, we will tow the 356 to Boulder and have Ron make all the adjustments and tune the engine. Then we will take it to Tom’s for alignment. After Don installs the interior, we will give Abby a test on the contents of the owners manual (i.e. what does a green light on the dash mean? And how do you check the oil?). When she passes the test she gets here 356 back. We entered Abby’s 356 in the Concour at West Fest to get feedback on how well we did on this major street restoration. Look for her 356, we think you will like it. She does!

Joe’s Speedster has been sitting waiting for Joe to find some parts so we can check out the top fit. Right now, the top doesn’t quite reach the windshield.

So almost all the welding attention has gone to the shop ’63 Coupe which we pulled out of storage and put on the rotisserie. It needs a bottom everything and so far, we’ve done the lock post, closing panels, longitudinals, thresholds and rockers. We should get the floor pan in this week and then its just headlight buckets, battery floor, engine tray and numerous repairs. This should be a real nice driver 356. We already have a deposit for the first right to buy, so another 356 will hit the ground running soon.

TECH TIPS

Save your old rubber parts to use as patterns. We get our rubber parts from International Mercantile. They have been of consistent high quality but must be trimmed to fit using the originals as patterns. Its also nice to mark your originals as to right and left side but if you forget you can always dry fit the original before trimming the new piece. If you’ve lost your rubber, see 356RESTORE as we have plenty of A-B-C rubber originals to use as patterns.

OPEN SHOP

Saturday open shop from noon till four is still on. Somebody drops by just about every week to check out the 356’s and maybe have a beer or two. It’s best to call though (840-2356) as some Saturdays we are out of the shop.

To get to the shop, find Parker. Go past Main Street on Parker Road to the next stop light at Hilltop. Go east on Hilltop a mile and a half to North Sunburst Trail (the first right off of Hilltop). Go exactly one mile on N. Sunburst Trail to 8356 North Sunburst Tail. We will look for you!

February 1994 Newsletter

Philosophy

I’ve been reflecting on the 356RESTORE philosophy lately. The reason – we have fourteen 356s that need restoration! When I started the shop I expected 2-3 356s a year. I hoped to instruct owners on how to do the metal repair on their 356s and do the more difficult work for them. In the interim I could finish shop cars and sell them at a reasonable profit. I could also buy, restore, and sell 356 parts. Life in early retirement would be relaxed and all would be right with the world. But with fourteen 356s in backlog I have to reflect on what is happening. One, there are a lot more project 356s out there then I ever would have imagined. Two, when 356 owners find a shop that does good work at a reasonable price they jump on it. Three, for most folks, their 356 is an extra car and they don’t mind having it in restoration at someone else’s garage for a long time.

356RESTORE’s problem is we are a home shop and don’t have room for storage. So we prefer to get the metal work done quickly and get the 356 back to the owner to finish. We now realize we can only do one full restoration at a time. (We presently have two!) So we are presently scheduling 356s but we are holding to our philosophy. The 356s that get priority are those that are going to get finished and driven by their owners. Show cars and investment cars get low priority. Hey! but we are still learning and having fun!

Progress

We finished the metal work on Tom’s ’54 Cabriolet and put it in storage awaiting Tom’s decision on the next step. Paint and full restoration? The Cab is stored in a barn in the Black Forest where all good 356s should be stored. Out of the barn came Joe’s Speedster for a little tuning of the metal work done by the owner (a priority 356, as the owner is involved!)

Ron and Marcia’s ’64 Coupe is just about done metal-wise but we have to get it ready for paint. Finish body work takes as long as metal repair and isn’t as much fun. Anybody out there enjoy filler, sanding, and primer – a subcontract is available.

Recognizing, the problem that filler dust and primer smell can cause in a home shop, we are building a paint booth in Ryan’s barn (Barb is very happy!)

Abby’s ’62 Coupe in its beautiful Slate Gray paint is going back together slowly. All the new chrome, rubber, and parts have arrived but you can’t imagine the time it takes to assemble a 356! One hour for the pedal cluster, one and a half hours for the rear quarter window, two hours for the door, etc. But this is the fun and learning part of 356 restoration and why I encourage owners to do the work themselves. Imagine yourself at West Fest and someone says, “Great car, who did the work?” And you say “356RESTORE did the body work but I restored it.”

We just started on Tom’s ’65 Coupe and this 356 matches the 356RESTORE philosophy. Tom and his father plan to do the finish welding, grinding, and paint prep. 356RESTORE will cut out the rust, create the repair, and tack it in place. We will also finish the difficult pieces like lockposts and closing panels. Tom will spend about $1,000 with 356RESTORE when he could have spent $10.000 at a full restoration shop.

Tech Tip

This one has been a secret for years but you want tips, you get the best. Many times you can’t get the welding tip into an area i.e. back of tube in headlight bracket, top of longitudinal, top of closing panel, to lay down a good bead. The tip is to use two part plumbers putty to smooth in an attractive surface. The putty is available in any hardware store. It comes in a tube and you just cut a section off and work the two parts together. It dries as hard as metal but is sandable.

Make sure your surface is clean and shiny. You can also use this product to build up thin metal that you don’t want to cut out and replace. (I don’t do this, but you can until you bring your 356 to 356RESTORE for proper repair).

January 1994 Newsletter

Progress

First a progress report then on to the exciting news! Tom’s ’54 Cabriolet is almost done metal wise. Not only did we have to make a left front fender, but both door skins were weak and had to be partially replaced. Door skins are the toughest repair on a 356. Too much heat and you can chase the bubble all the way across the door. Anyhow, the metal on Tom’s Cab is now probably better than it was 40 (!) years ago.

Abby’s ’62 Coupe came back from the painter in a beautiful Slate Gray and we did the color sanding and buffing. It sure does shine! Abby opted for a burgundy interior and the upholster has started stitching. Abby’s 356 will be placed in a protected part of the shop while we put it together and hopefully not scratch the paint (it would be nice to have a separate shop for painted cars to avoid grinding dust and contact sports).

Ron and Marcia’s ’64 Coupe is just about done metal wise. Only a few surprises, i.e. the left rear inner fender seam was gone and there were a few more holes in the floor. This 356 should be off to the painter within a month.

Next up is Ed’s ’65 Coupe which should go quick as we mostly have to cut out rust, and tack in numerous patches. Ed and his father will do the final welding and finishing.

After Ed’s 356 will be Joe’s Speedster, the Shop ’63 Coupe (first choice to Mike D), Rich’s outlaw 356, and Tom’s T’s Pre-A. Checking the schedule board, there are four other 356’s after these, so the next six (or more) months will be busy.

Exciting News!

Exciting for me, hopefully for you! I decided to take the small profit from the shop in 1993 and spend it all in December. There was no reason to give anything to the IRS. First purchase was a 5-horse, two stage, 60 gallon Ingersoll-Rand compressor. This unit is quieter than my little 2 horse, 20 gallon compressor and is located outside the shop in the garage. I had to run 220 wire and have it plumbed for disconnects and drains but boy is it neat! Now we can drive all the professional air tools (up to 175 psi) and do a better job on finishing. We can still use the small compressor for house calls.

The next investment was new tools. We now have 7 inch air grinders and sanders. But the neatest tool is a stud welder. I had seen these tools at various clinics and what they do is weld a stud into the metal to which you can attach a puller and pull out dents and low spots. I was told they cost about $500 so I was resigned to using a hammer/dolly and slide hammers. But during December, Al West Paint had an entry level stud welder on sale for $240. I bought one and it is the greatest tool! No. more using hammer, dolly, spoons, and pry bars on low spots. Now we lightly sand the 356 exterior with the new air sander, discover the low spots and pull them back into position with the stud welder and puller.

Since there was still some money left, we bought another 356. A mechanically sound ’65 Coupe that needs some exterior work. It should be mechanically sound as it belonged to one of the top 356 mechanics in the area. Since I had no place to store it, it is being driven and garaged by Ryan, the 356RESTORE shop assistant. Imagine, a shop assistant with his own “company car”.

Tech Tip

I was told by one of the recipients of this newsletter that he saved all his copies to reference the tech tips. Now I have to think of one a month! Here’s one: never throw anything away! Rubber and upholstery pieces can be used for trim patterns, rusted metal can be used for weld patterns, old headlights can be used to position new headlight buckets, damaged/dented parts can be used to verify the correctness of repro parts, and even the ugliest rusted out, brazed over, dented part can be hung on your shop wall to remind you of where you started and where you are now.

Another tip! Why use tape and newspaper to mask off suspension parts or wiring from paint or undercoat? Use aluminum foil instead. It’s quick, easy, and while more expensive, it’s reusable. Shop the discount warehouses, there are lots of shop supplies at low prices.