December 2002 Newsletter

Progress

We picked up the Shop ’61 Roadster from the painter’s and he did a great job. Show quality! We got it reassembled and off to Autoweave. It will get a red interior to go with the Aetna Blue paint and a tan top. The blue with red combination was not that popular back in the late 50’s-early 60′ but is popular now.

I gave a short presentation to a 356 group in Colorado Springs recently and made some comments about reassembling the Roadster. The point I made was it took two hours to reinstall the exterior door handles and six hours to apply the reproduction side trim.

This is why so few shops do 356 restorations. It is hard to explain to a customer why it costs so much to accomplish so little. At a shop rate of $55 an hour, the two door handles and side trim would cost $440. It’s easier to do insurance work.

I also informed the group that 356s in good condition continue to hold or appreciate in value. A member of the group summarized what I said better than I did. He said if there is still strong interest in the 356 and few shops to restore them, then owners of good quality 356’s should see them continue to appreciate. I agree.

The flip side is there will continue to be a need for quality 356 restoration. If 356RESTORE accepted all the work that has come our way, we would be booked for the next five years.

So that leads us to the need for a book on how to do a 356 restoration. We have finished the second draft of our restoration book and initial feedback is it is informative and entertaining. If the book gets published we would hope to see more 356’s restored.

BJ is just about finished with Gene’s ’62 Cabriolet and this leads to another problem. We will have the Shop ’64 Coupe, Chris’s ’59 Convertible D, Gene’s Cab and the Shop ’57 Carrera ready for paint. So we are looking for an additional painter. If any one out there has some leads, let us know.

I’ve been working on the Shop 57 Carrera. We took it to Blast Tech to have the floor area blasted. There is just no way you can do a repair with dirty metal. There was a lot of brazing on the floor area of the Carrera and I thought I would have to cut it all out. You can’t weld to brazing. It turns out most of the brazing was done over the original seams. Doesn’t hurt, may help, just doesn’t look original. We hope to have a new floor pan and headlight bucket installed shortly. We will not be doing any exterior work except for the passenger door and lockpost which we have completed. The exterior finish on the Carrera is quite good and there is no reason to open a can of worms. The exterior finish has held up for fifteen years and was good enough to have this right hand drive 356 featured on a few book covers.

Ted just dropped off his ’59 Cabriolet and we will be starting on it’s restoration. We had put Ted off for about nine months and finally gave in. Of course this fills us up with thirteen 356’s and one at Autoweave. Ted’s Cab looks like a lot of metal work. When you can see one half inch bondo you know there is a lot of metal to move. Ted’s Cab will be off to Blast Tech next week and we will see what we will see.

Blatant Commercial

Trevor Sewell, the best damn air cooled Porsche mechanic in the country, is now available to work on your 356. For the past few years, Trevor has worked for an employer building and maintaining the employer’s racing Porsches and company equipment. Trevor is now on his own and looks forward to helping you with you 356 mechanical issues. Trevor can be reached at (303) 297-2498 and is on Blake Street near Coors Field. I have used almost every Porsche mechanic in Denver and there is none better than Trevor. Trained in Europe he is knowledgeable and quick. What takes other shops many hours, he takes half the time. Now is the time to schedule your 356 mechanical improvements.

End of commercial.

Plans

BJ will finish Gene’s ’62 and do the disassembly on Ted’s ’59. Trevor will pick up Ted’s engine for an evaluation. I hope to finish the Shop ’57 Carrera and start on parts for the big LA Swap Meet scheduled in early February. The ’64 Shop Coupe should get painted and reassembled. Still have some brake work to do on the Shop ’56 Sunroof Coupe that Bruce bought and then the Shop ’61 Roadster should be back from Autoweave. In the middle of all this, Barb and I will take our annual vacation in Maui, -Aloha! I really look forward to this vacation. We hope you all have the time and place to take a break.

Holiday Greetings

Barb, I, BJ and Pat would like to wish you all Holiday Greetings. Barb is the primary support to 356RESTORE, BJ is keeping the flame and Patrick has given us a world wide exposure via the web site. We would also like to take time to thank those that continue to support us:

Tom Conway at Carquip, Ron Nelson at Autoweave, Gary Nardi at Blast Tech, Les Long at AirPower Racing and Trevor Sewell at Trevor’s.

356RESTORE has been blessed with great support of all our 356 friends. Happy Holidays.

November 2002 Newsletter

Progress

Well, I’ve been goofing off. For years I’ve been told I should write a book on 356 restoration. So I’ve been carrying the idea in my head. Well, the painter has been real careful on the third repaint of the Shop ’61 Roadster so I had some time between projects. I decided to write the book. I developed an outline and put it on my web site for comments. I got quite a few and expanded the outline. I contacted the two publishers that specialize in 356 books and they are both interested. I was told to put the book in the third person, unlike this newsletter which is in the first person and reads like I’m blowing my horn.

So we changed our style and have about eighty hours in the first draft. So far about 130 pages. Barb started the typing but this is bigger than the newsletter so we found a typist-word processor.

Our plan was to include lots of pictures but we have had problems with the digital camera. My son, Patrick-M.S. Computer Science- said we could scan in 35mm pictures and make them work. Lots of software for editing pictures. Well, we have a ten year collection of pictures, so we should have plenty of illustrations.

You can tell we are excited about this project. While we have the Registry’s “Technical and Restoration Guide” and Dr. Brett Johnson’s “A Restorers Guide to Authenticity” we don’t have a step by step restoration reference.

The writing has been easy as we’ve done a lot of 356 restorations. We are including lots of stories with the details. Like the time we saw someone getting the gas out of a 356 gas tank with a wet/dry vacuum.

So the book is underway. If there is a procedure that you want us to cover, call us, send an E-mail or note and we will be sure to cover it.

In the shop BJ has finished the metal work on Gene’s ’62 Cabriolet and is starting on the rough finish. I finished the bottom paint, caulked and undercoated on the Shop ’64 Coupe which will be next to the painter. Chris’s ’59 Convertible D is also ready for paint and will go after the ’64 Coupe.

We spent some time on the Shop ’56 Speedster as we had a guy fly out to evaluate and drive it. While it still needs some sorting out, it was fun to drive. He held off his decision for a few weeks and then decided to pass. One of his concerns was that the Speedster engine had a big bore kit. Hard to understand as most folks want the increased performance. So we have to finish the sorting of the Speedster. Then it will probably be on the market again next Spring.

We did sell the Shop ’56 Sunroof Coupe. It was not yet sorted out and we had not been actively selling it. But Bruce Ungari, RM356PC member, now in California, heard about it and was interested.

We restored his Convertible D years ago and the Coupe is the same color-Aquamarine Blue. So he and Kathy will have a matched pair. Sorting out a 356 after restoration takes time and when we sell a 356 we want it to be ready to go. But Bruce knows how to sort out a 356, so we set the price to reflect that the ’56 needed more work. This way we can get on to other projects. Sorting out means putting at least 150 miles on the 356 and fixing the small problems. At 150 miles you can change the oil, set the valves and be good to go till the next oil change at 2,000 miles. With winter in Colorado it is hard for us to sort out Shop cars.

Besides working on the book, we were able to start the insulation and ceiling installation in the shop. This went well and already the shop noise has been reduced in the upstairs living quarters. There is more to do as we find time.

References

As we were working on the book, we often referred to Brett Johnson’s “Restorers Guide to Authenticity” and to the 356REGISTRY’S “Technical and Restoration Guide”. These would make great gifts for the holidays for your 356 friend. Check out the literature vendors at the 356REGISTRY.org web site to order. Also, the 356 owner should have an owners manual. It would make a great gift too.

Parts

The big swap meet in California is February 2, 2003. 356RESTORE needs more parts. We use them on restorations and to keep these great cars on the road. In the past we have taken parts on consignment for an 80/20 split. This is no longer possible as trying to keep parts separate is difficult. But we still buy parts at a fair price. If you have some 356 parts give us a call. Some of the parts we bought in the past are still on the shelf, but this is not unusual. Parts seem to go in cycles. Right now, we could sell every Blaupunkt radio and luggage rack we can find.

We had a Cabriolet windshield frame that we were going to use on a shop project but then sold the project car. Because of our web site we were able to sell the part to a guy in Israel. If you are in the business of selling, establish a web site and go international. Customer pays for shipping.

Everyone that gets this newsletter should belong to the 356 REGISTRY. Go to their web site to join. The latest magazine was exceptional.

October 2002 Newsletter

Evaluations

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.

Windshields

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!

Progress

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.

Tech Tip

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.

September 2002 Newsletter

Denver Grand Prix

I worked the last Grand Prix in 1991 and had a great time. I even have a piece of tire rubber that Al Unser Jr hit and it hit me in the chest. It’s on the wall in my garage.

This year both BJ and I signed up as volunteers. We worked Fri-Sat-Sun from 6AM till 6 at night. In exchange we got a hat, two t-shirts, a free lunch and some water. We had a ball!

We worked no mans land. The area between the spectator fence and the track fence. The idea was to keep spectators out of this area. We had few problems. On Sunday I had a great assignment out of turn four. Very little problems with spectators and I could be right on the wall as the Champ cars came by at 140 MPH. The work came harder as the crowd grew and it was obvious the spectator bridge couldn’t handle the load. BJ took charge and organized a crowd crossing of the track via radio. He was commended by Race Control. Way to go Beej! Bob Petitt drove the FedX truck on the CART victory lap. He set the fastest time of the day for big trucks.

While the CART Race had little passing, it was exciting to watch the speed, both the TransAm and RMVR race were outstanding. It was great for watching. RMVR got to run twenty cars. CART wanted loud classics.

So it was Corvettes, Camaros, 911, Audis, BMWs and even a 50’s Cadillac as the Pace Car. RMVR put on a great race. There was lots of pre-race commentary, an exciting race (Corvette won). Champagne and a winners tour of the track ended the day.

If you missed the race this year, plan on next as CART has a contract for the next thirteen years.

Porsches and Pastries

This newsletter is a little late as I wanted to cover Porsches and Pastries on Sept. 15th.

We had a great turnout; over 40 356’s and way over a 100 folks. Both a mix of 356er’s and friends and neighbors from Parker. There were new faces, even some 356 folk from out of state who happened to be in the area. My thanks to Jen for the pastries; she made 1,100 and they were all gone. (Also, someone left an Olympus digital camera-we have it in a safe place.)

Barb and I got to show off our remodel project and had lots of complimentary comments. Made us feel good as it was six months of decisions, dirt and design. We gave out some tenth anniversary gifts and if you weren’t here, pick up one next time you are by.

Progress

With cleaning up after the remodel and getting ready for Porsches and Pastries, the shop work was on the back burner. We did get the Shop ’56 Speedster up to Trevor to sort out the shift linkage. When I took it for its first run it was obvious we had a steering problem. It turned out to be a steering coupler failure. We have seen three of these this year. (Have you checked yours lately?) The steering coupler is that rubber doughnut that you can see if you take off the inspection cover in the front compartment. If yours is a forty year old part you may want to replace it. Cost for 356 – 356B is $8 but you C drivers get to pay $140. The VW part changed on the C and due to liability concerns only the Porsche part is sold for C’s.

Joe Leoni helped sort out the electrical problems on the Shop ’56 Sunroof Coupe. It took him thirty hours. Would have taken me four times as long and I would have been very frustrated. Thanks Joe!

What we have learned this year is we over committed. We had three shop cars and three customer cars. The problem with this much work is while you make progress on all you never really finish and don’t get that satisfaction of feeling done.We hope to sell the Shop ’56 Speedster next month; finish and sell the Shop ’56 Sunroof Coupe and hopefully finish the Shop ’61 Roadster. We should also finish Chris’s ’59 Convertible D and do most of the work on Gene’s ’62 Cabriolet. So, the rest of the year will be real busy. While I have been putting off commitments for next year, folks are already lining up. But I do want to finish the Shop ’64 Coupe and of course the Shop ’57 1500GS Carrera. I plan to do a super job on the Carrera as it deserves it but it will take more time. So it looks like only one or two customer projects for next year.

BJ and I also want to make an outlaw out of the Shop ’61 Coupe. We plan to chop the top and put in a Speedster windshield. Maybe section it and put on a rally roof scoop. So if all goes to plan we will exhaust our shop cars and will be looking for more. Let us know if any abandoned project 356 is out there.

Also we always enjoy the L.A. Swap Meet after the first of the year. If you have parts, contact us as we need parts for restorations and inventory.

Events

The RM356PC event in November is a tour of the Warbirds shop in Ft. Collins. Details next month. Also, December 8th is the RM356PC Christmas party. If you are not a member, now is the time to join. Contact us for details.

August 2002 Newsletter

Events

Porsches and Pastries will be Sept 15th from 10-4 at 356RESTORE. This will also be a celebration of the tenth anniversary of 356RESTORE.

There will be great food, beverage and of course Jen’s pastries; also a tech session on 356 Rust and Prevention, plus a drawing for a great door prize and a gift for all. Please plan to attend, you need not RSVP. Lets see how many 356’s show up. Last year we had forty three.

Westfest is soon!-August 25th at 9:00 AM at Ed Carroll Porsche in Fort Collins. There may still be time to join us for dinner the night before at the Big Horn Brewing Company. Call Rich Hagen at 970-353-4867 to see if there is room.

Sunday we start at 9 AM with a brunch, swap meet and Peoples Choice voting. At 10:30 a Tech Session by Joe Leoni on 356 electrics. Awards from 11:30 to 12:30.

By the way I’m in charge of the Swap Meet and am having problems finding vendors. Even if you have only a few spare 356 parts please bring them. The idea is to have parts on 356’s on the road not on the shelf! We can help with fair pricing. Just ask.

Progress

In the last newsletter you may have felt my frustration. We attempted too many projects this year. While we made progress on each one we haven’t come to closure on any. The satisfaction is in a good job done. Hopefully this will happen soon.

The ’61 Shop Roadster is back at the painters for a third re-paint. The Shop ’56 Sunroof Coupe went to Joe Leoni for electrical work (thanks Joe! you know how frustrated I can get with 356 electrics). The last customer commitment of this year is a ’58 Cabriolet which is at Blast Tech. This will be a sweet 356. Major problem is the front end damage due to a tow bar accident (more later).

BJ has just about finished Chris’ ’59 Convertible D and next is metal prep, paint, seam sealer, caulk and undercoat on the bottom and then we wait for the painter.

I’ve started on the Shop’57 1500 GS Carrera. The first issue was the passenger door that was replaced by a later door. Fortunately we had a high striker door in our inventory. But boy was it tough to fit the correct door. It took a full day just to get good seams and we still have to replace the lockpost. Since the 356 had louvers on the rear deck lid they had to be cut out to restore it back to original. (GT Carreras had louvers, GS Carreras did not). This was the first time I had a warpage problem. I used my normal procedure: cut out the louver area with the plasma cutter, made my repair pieces and tacked them in. Then short one inch welds alternating areas and allow the metal to cool. When I was done I had warpage. BJ and I talked it over and we also talked to a PhD. with some experience in material stress. It seems the cutting and pressing at the louvers into the deck really changes the metal. The warpage was inevitable. It took a full day to shrink and repair the deck lid. All is well and we have repaired the original numbered deck lid on the Carrera. Next up will be to replace the floor pan in the ’57 1500 GS Carrera. When I bought it for $750 (sans Carrera engine) twenty years ago I knew the floor pan wasn’t original. Now I get to make it right.

Tow Bar

We have used a tow bar to move a 356 from Minnesota to Denver and from Denver to California. It is a cheap way to tow a 356. The tow bar attaches to the front bumper brackets. However, you cannot back up a 356 on a tow bar!! The damage to the ’58 Cabriolet we will be working on was due to backing up with a tow bar. If you ever need to tow a 356, give us a call and we will loan you our (actually Bill Frey’s) tow bar. Just don’t back up!

Lawsuit

Well, I didn’t have to appear for the lawsuit. The crook never showed up nor did he participate in discovery. So the Judge made a judgment against him for about eighty thousand dollars. The crook’s name is Doug Michalowsky of Aspen. He over charged and did not finish the work contracted for on the New Jersey ’58 Speedster. He also stole and double charged for parts. If any of you out there know how to locate Doug Michalowsky let me know. He has some assets that may cover the judgment..

Vintage Racing

As you know, with the restoration work we have not been able to participate in vintage racing this year. However, I watched the races at Second Creek last week and was surprised to see Jack Knopinski running his 356. Jack really fractured his shoulder in a hang gliding accident three months ago but racing his 356 he considers therapy. Way to go Jack!

What racing a 356 teaches us is maintenance. We are talking about 40-50 year old cars going at high speed. With the 356 “go” and “stop” is paramount. Go depends on constant maintenance, primarily change the oil and maintain the engine-distributor and carbs. Stop is brakes and suspension. All of this applies to your street 356. These are not today cars. You have to read and follow the maintenance schedule in your owners manual. While a 356 is well engineered it needs TLC.

July 2002 Newsletter

Progress

The saga continues. With the paint mismatch problem we returned the shop ’61 Roadster to the painter. I had disassembled the chassis as there were no removable parts to take to the paint supplier to match the doors and lids. We thought we would have to repaint the whole car.

However, the painter had bought a new spray gun and remembered he had shot some test panels with the Roadster Aetna Blue paint. He took these to the supplier and got a match. Boy, was I relieved! He asked me to pick up the chassis while he reshot the doors and lids. The painter has limited room. This was a mistake on my part. While the Roadster was back at my shop I once again reassembled all the parts on the chassis.

A few weeks later the painter called and said the doors and lids were ready and I needed to pick them up as he was leaving on vacation. I picked them up and as soon as I got home I put the rear lid on the chassis. Paint mismatch! Too dark!

So we get to paint the Roadster for the third time. This time I will ensure the chassis, doors, and lids all stay together at the painters. I’ll bring back the shop ’64 Coupe which is at the painters in primer, and taking up space.

BJ finished up all the metal work on Chris’s ’59 Convertible D and we invited Chris out to see the repairs. We like to do this so there is no question of what will be under the filler and paint. Chris was impressed with his new floor pans, closing panels, front struts, and battery floor plus a lot more. BJ has now moved on to the rough finish phase which is using filler to blend the curves and set the gaps. We say rough finish as we only take it down to 80 grit while the painter goes to 1500 grit.

I continue to put parts on the shop ’56 Sunroof Coupe which is taking longer than usual as many parts were missing. Parts missing included seats. I decided to use the seats I had Autoweave do for the Speedster. These were spare Coupe seats I had and had planned to sell as an option in addition to the Speedster seats in the Speedster.

Since these were black they would match the ’56 interior. Then I discovered the seats which came with the Roadster were from a C Coupe. C seats won’t fit on the seat rails of an early B. I checked my inventory and all I had in complete seats was late model seats. Checked with Conway and he was out of early seats. Finally found enough seat backs, seats bottom and hinges to make a set of early seats. I had to order and rivet on the seat bottom rails as they were missing.

OK, all is fine and I go to install the nice Autoweave black seats in the ’56 Coupe. They are both passenger seats! How could I have missed this?

Well I’ll just have to sell the ’56 with this configuration. The only problem is the latch to move the seat back and forth will be on the wrong side for the driver. I had to change the tunnel rail to the one with notches for the latch. The way the last few months have gone I’m glad we aren’t into equities.

Observation

Speaking of equities, the 356 marketplace remains strong. Price reviews in the 356 Registry and on the Internet indicate many folks consider classic cars a better place for their money than equities. While I don’t see speculation or car flippers I do see knowledgeable people buying a vehicle they can enjoy and probably not lose money. The key here is knowledgeable. If you know someone interested in purchasing a 356, please coach them on the peculiarities of our cars; i.e. rust, matching numbers, color, etc.

Remodel

The kitchen cabinets are in. The new hardwood floors are being sanded. Paint and finish work should start soon. The whole house will need a cleaning when it’s done as dust is everywhere. It just doesn’t make sense to try and clean until the project is done.

Lawsuit

Many longtime readers of this newsletter may remember the New Jersey ’58 Speedster. This was the one that had been sent to Aspen for restoration. After four years and $42,000 the Speedster had not been completed and many parts were missing. A lawsuit was initiated and I get to be a witness next week as 356RESTORE finished the project. Details next month.

Vintage Racing

You may have noticed the newsletter has been short on vintage racing activity. With all the restoration activity and problems there hasn’t been time to prep the ’57 Race Car. It takes a lot of work to get a 356 Racer ready for the track. Plus Jennifer is not racing with me due to schedules at Sugar and Spice bakery. We hope to get in one race to keep our license active. If not, we will do Driver’s School next year and hopefully have the ’52 ready for racing

Events

Don’t forget the Rocky Mountain 356 Porsche Club event August 25th at Ed Carroll Porsche in Fort Collins. If you don’t get the RM356PC newsletter; call Rich Haggan at (970) 353-4867 for details. Reservations for dinner and motel need to be made by August 10th.

Since 356RESTORE is in charge of the swap meet call us if you are going to bring parts to sell and let us know your needs. Parts that sell well are options. Everyone likes to upgrade their 356.

June 2002 Newsletter

Remodel

We were surprised by the interest in our remodel project. Basically it’s like a 356 RESTORE project; quality good, lots of mess, on budget but over schedule!

Barb and I are living in the TV room along with the refrigerator/freezer, microwave, toaster oven and a 1′ X 1′ wet bar sink. We do have our bedroom, but it and every other upstairs room has furniture from the rooms being remodeled. The old stove/oven, washer and dryer have been operable which has helped.

Construction is done, drywall finished and hardwood floors going down. So we may be over the major work. Just like a 356 restoration: there are daily decisions and materials to buy. Plus we have to have show and tell for all the sub contractors as they are amazed at the shop in the basement. I’ve taken advantage of having the subs here and have made improvements to the shop. A new work room with doors and fan. New lights and power and a new storage area with window will be great when complete. Plus we added a blasting cabinet. After the remodel we can add a shop ceiling and have the shop I’ve always wanted.

Progress

Well sometimes you take one step forward and two steps back. The painter knew I was in a hurry to complete the Shop ’61 Roadster so he painted the chassis in beautiful Aetna Blue and we picked it up to do assembly while he did the bumpers, door and lids.

This seemed like a good plan as I was able to assemble the dash, exterior and install the engine. This took about a month since we are doing the Roadster as a show car. This means everything has to be perfect. Every wire clean with correct connections. Every bolt, washer and nut correct. All the rubber new and cleaned. Every instrument restored. We got the chassis reassembled; the like new engine installed (in 20 minutes) and were ready for the doors, lids and bumpers. We picked them up and the color didn’t match! This has happened before when the painter gets a second batch of paint and the supplier missed the formula. In this case just a little too much white in the blue. So the whole chassis has to be disassembled and the complete 356 repainted.

So the Roadster is back at the painters.

BJ has almost finished the metal work on Chris’s ’59 Convertible D. I will help out with the tricky top hinge area which is rusted out. If you have a convertible, never put the top down when wet. The water runs down the top creases and collects in the hinge area. We will have Chris come out and review the metal work before we start primer and filler.

The Shop ’56 Sunroof Coupe has been waiting for us to finish the carpet installation. The hard part is the back part of the inner longitudinal. While the upholstery shops use a steamer we have had good success with a spray bottle of hot water. We also use contact cement rather than spray adhesive.

So while we wait for the Roadster to come back I’m working on the rear sheet metal on Roland’s Roadster. The complete inner and outer rear skins had been cut off this 356. I welded them on a year or so ago but they aren’t correct. Fortunately, with Chris’s Convertible D here I can use it for measurements.

So are we still having fun? This month, not as much as we usually enjoy.

Previous Restorations

Ron Maeda brought his ’64 Coupe down to have us install the rocker deco and rear script. We restored this 356 about six years ago and Ron finally has it on the road. No charge for the deco and script installation as Ron has put up with my ribbing about not finishing his 356 for many years.

Also Bruce Ungari took first place in the race car category at the recent North meets South event in California. While we restored this 356 to driver level, Bruce has obviously improved it to win a concours. Bruce has retired from the Forest Service and may be out here for Porsches and Pastries.

Events

Porsches and Pastries will be September 15th. This will also be 356RESTORE’s tenth anniversary. Plenty of exciting events are planned. Mark your calendar now!

And don’t forget Gmund 2002 at the Maybees on July 21st. George Maybee has duplicated the Gmund workshop on his property and all 356’s are invited. You can also see what has happened to the Speedster pulled out of Horsetooth Reservoir. There will also be an Autocross for Porsche tractors, a wash and shine judging and plenty of brats and beer. Contact Rosemarie Lohnert at 303-663-4363 for registration information and directions.

Thank you all for supporting the United Cerebral Palsy Concours on June 9th. Once again we had plenty of 356’s in attendance. The quality of this show keeps getting better. Barb and I served as judges along with Rosemarie and Roland and it sure was tough deciding on our favorite 356.

Upcoming is Westfest on August 25th. This will be at Ed Carroll Porsche in Fort Collins. 356RESTORE will be in charge of the swap meet – so start getting those 356 parts ready to sell and make a list of needed parts to buy.

See you there!

May 2002 Newsletter

Newsletter

If you get this newsletter via E-mail, thank you for helping us lower our distribution costs. However, unlike the Post Office which will give us an address correction for 60 cents, E-mail doesn’t let us know if you change servers. So, if you do, please go to our website 356RESTORE.com for the latest newsletter and E-mail us with your new E-mail address. Our son, Patrick, is our web master and he keeps us updated on changes.

Remodel

Barb and I are having the kitchen, living room, dining room and front entry remodeled. As a result the shop area is interrupted as plumbing and electrical work need access to the shop ceiling. Plus it’s been tough keeping the 356’s clean. However, when this project is done, we will be able to expand the shop, adding more storage shelves and have space for the “dirty work”. (Barb wanted to know just which one of the work was that?!) We have had a contest with the carpenters as to which project, theirs or ours, can make the most noise. BJ and I are winning as not even a rip saw can be louder than a grinder on a 356!

Buying a 356

We get a lot of calls and E-mails to assist in buying a 356. We also receive photographs of 356’s for sale. It is very tough to evaluate a 356 via photos. In fact, it is impossible. We prefer to do a hands on evaluation and do about six each year.

Recently we were contacted to evaluate photos of a 356 Carrera for sale. The potential buyer really wanted a Carrera and had a perfect Pre-A Coupe he would have to sell to do the deal. The photos raised some questions as to whether the Carrera might have been raced and perhaps had some race damage. The buyer let his emotions get in the way. He sold his perfect Pre-A and put a deposit on the Carrera. When he traveled to evaluate the Carrera, it was obvious the photos didn’t tell the story. The 356 was not what he expected and he lost a sizable non-refundable deposit.

We charge $50 plus travel to evaluate a 356. We have helped many buyers know the condition of the 356 they are considering to buy and what it is really worth.

We even evaluated a 356 after it was purchased from a well known East coast restoration shop. The owner insisted and we were honest in our evaluation. The 356 was pretty but needed lots of additional work. Talk about buyers remorse.

Progress

We picked up the Shop ’61 Roadster from the painter. He did a perfect job on the Aetna Blue paint. We still intend to complete this 356 to show car level but no way will we have it ready for the Concours on June 9th. It just takes a lot longer to move from driver level restoration to show car level. Every part has to be cleaned, repaired or replaced. New chrome is a big expense and every piece has to fit perfect. Every nut, bolt, washer has to be like new. Rubber is another issue; it may take multiple attempts to get it perfect.

So work on the Shop ’56 Sunroof Coupe has slowed. I started on the carpet and interior but then moved on to the Roadster.

We took Rob’s ’58 Cabriolet to the painter when we picked up the Roadster. So the Shop ’64 Coupe keeps getting pushed back even though it is in primer and ready for paint.

A goal this year is to sell some shop cars. There is interest in the Shop ’56 Speedster and we spent some time on it, but still need to get it running and checked out on the road. The Shop ’56 Sunroof Coupe should sell this year and also the Shop ’61 Roadster. With what I’ve learned on the Shop ’61 Roadster I intend to restore the Shop ’57 1500 Carrera GS back to its original condition. The Carrera will sell next year and probably to someone in England, New Zealand or Australia as it is right hand drive.

We moved out the Topeka chassis and now have a little more room. Another customer 356 is expected in this summer. Progress will probably be slowed as the remodel is finished and we take time to reconfigure the shop.

BJ has done all the metal work on Chris’s ’59 Convertible D and just welded in the new floor pans. He bought a self darkening welding helmet and says it really helps. I tried it and agree. I’ll have to get one, no more flipping the helmet using neck muscles. These helmets were $500 when they first came out but now are less than $150.

BJ has the front strut area and top hinge area yet to do on Chris’s Convertible D and then we will invite Chris out to see the metal repair before we do bottom paint, caulk and undercoat. We use to take pictures of the metal repair but as mentioned earlier pictures don’t tell the story and we like to have the customer see the metal repairs.

Events

The Nineteenth Annual Exotic Sports Car Show and Concours d’Elegance is Sunday June 9th at Arapahoe Community College. This event benefits Cerebral Palsy of Colorado. Please support this event! Last year we had as many 356’s as 911’s. Contact Chuck Huffman at (303) 948-5915 to register your 356. You can have it judged or just have it displayed. Cutoff for early registration is May 22nd; after that the fee jumps from $25 to $40. Register today!

April 2002 Newsletter

Racing Season

Nostalgia Racing kicked off this years racing season with dinner and a talk by Arie Luyendyk. Arie is the winner of the 1990 and 1997 Indy 500. Although Arie isn’t a full time driver now, he will compete at Indy again this year.

Arie had some great lines. When talking about NASCAR drivers he raced with he said: “Some of those guys race to win and some to sell T-shirts.” He also indicated racing is not his passion, often he will go boating rather than watch a race.

When asked what he thinks when he is about to crash he said, “I close my eyes, I don’t want to think about it.” ¬†On the technical side he stressed race car weight reduction and balance.

In the past Nostalgia Racing has had Bobby Rahal and Brian Redman as season kick off speakers. Nostalgia Racing will be running at Pueblo May 17-19 with a Formula 5000 reunion and Ford vs. Chevy Challenge. They will be at Breckenridge August 23-25 with a concours (perhaps a race next year!), and at Hallett OK October 4-6 for a Multi Club Challenge. For more info contact Nostalgia Racing at 5889 Lamar St. Arvada CO 80003 or call (303) 456-0041.

Gmund 2002

Last year George Maybee hosted Gmund 2001. This inaugural event was to showcase his new shop which is a replica of the Gmund Austria sawmill where the first Porsche 356’s were built. George is a RM356PC member and long time PCA member.

BJ and I missed this event as we were at Lime Rock CT for the Rennsport Reunion (Porsche race cars). Although we missed the event we did trailer our Porsche Junior tractor up beforehand as George has an interest in Porsche tractors.

This year the Gmund 2002 event will be Sunday July 21st. All 356ers are invited and will be featured on the lawn. There will be judging, eating, swap meet, silent auction and even an autocross for Porsche tractors. Registration starts at 10 AM and RSVP for 356’s is appreciated. Contact Susan Bucknam at portia @ipa.net. She will send a form to fill out for window cards. Please support this event. To my knowledge this is the first event where RMR/PCA has actively honored the Porsche 356.

Other Activities

356RESTORE hosted a garage tour on Saturday, March 16th and a suspension and alignment tech session the following Sunday. A dozen member of the Alpine Region/PCA drove up from Colorado Springs to check out the shop and 356s. For the tech session we had forty-five 356 enthusiasts listen to Al Lager explain proper suspension maintenance, tuning and alignment. Al sparked his presentation with comments from when he worked with Al Holbert and Mark Donahue. What was neat was that having two events on the weekend meant BJ and I only had to clean up the shop once!

Since that event Barb and I have been doing some remodeling upstairs and now the shop is a mess. Carpenters, plumbers and electricians have been tearing through the shop ceiling to reconfigure the upstairs kitchen, dining and living rooms. One advantage to this is we will get some more shop space and have a dedicated room for the messy work. Hopefully, less cleaning in the future and less tracking of dirt upstairs (Barb, Yeah!)-(or promises, promises!)

Progress

Al Eastwood drove his ’59 Coupe over after he cranked it up for the driving season. It was good to see this 356 as we restored it three years ago and Al then took it to San Diego. But he is back and hopefully will participate in some events this year.

Rob’s ’58 Cabriolet is waiting on the painter. The painter can only handle two 356s at a time and he has the Shop ’61 Roadster and Shop ’64 Coupe. Hope to pick up the Roadster and slip Rob’s Cab in this week. BJ has started on the metal work on Chris’s ’59 Convertible D and I have been trying to put the Shop ’56 Sunroof Coupe back together. Many parts were missing on the ’56 and while I have them on the shelf, it takes longer to make them fit. The 356s were obviously “Made by Hand” (or whatever was handy, according to Joe Leoni). I did the headliner in the ’56 Sunroof Coupe and it turned out great. While I’ve done dozens of regular Coupe headliners, I had only done one other Sunroof and wasn’t happy with it. So a call to Ron at Autoweave gave me confidence and it turned out fine. One of the major problems on Sunroofs is the sliding panel. If the headliner material is not flat at the corners it will drag, bind and tear.

So progress continues; I’ve even ordered parts for the Shop ’57 Carrera and hope to start its restoration and we have Gene’s ’62 Cabriolet scheduled for this summer.

I also have to move the Topeka chassis to make room in the storage building. The chassis will go to Al Lager as partial payment for a rebuild of the Shop ’64 Coupe engine. Someone ran the engine low on oil and fried the insides. I developed the habit of always checking my oil level before each ride. With the 356 air cooled engine, oil is critical. I also shut off the gas when parking the 356. As a reminder to turn it back on, I turn down the sunvisor. If you forget to turn the gas back on you will only go about a block.

March 2002 Newsletter

Newsletter

Sorry, there wasn’t a newsletter last month. Just not enough time. BJ and I spent the latter part of January cleaning, painting and pricing parts for the big Swap Meet in Anaheim, CA. The Swap Meet was February 10th, and upon our return, Barb and I left for our annual vacation in Maui. There just wasn’t enough time to write the newsletter.

Swap Meet

This event gets bigger each year. Hundreds of vendors and thousands of buyers. It is more than a Swap Meet. It is a Porsche “happening”. Hundreds of 356 Porsches in the car corral. There is always a large selection of Carreras and special exhibits. This year they had a 356 hanging in a tree.

BJ and I loaded the truck. We take out the rear crew seat and pack the area with small parts and of course the travel refrigerator and snacks. We took the northern route this time and did the long haul to Las Vegas. Stayed at the MGM Grand and recovered the money we left there last year.

Arrived in Anaheim Saturday afternoon, washed the truck then went to the site for a buffet and tour of the museum. There was also a roast of racer, Milt Minter. There was a good crowd as many folks go to the Literature and Memorabilia meet at the L.A. Hilton on Saturday. then drive over to Anaheim to get ready for the Sunday Swap Meet.

Sunday was clear and sunny. BJ and I unloaded and started selling at 7:00 AM. Folks were grabbing parts as we unloaded. We were busy all morning and sold over $10,000 of parts. We met buyers who have bought from us before. They are now friends from the Netherlands, Mexico and Australia. One thing I noticed at the Swap Meet was there was very little haggling. While my parts are priced fairly, I sometimes have to dicker. I think this is because prices on E-Bay are so high people’s expectation are higher. Thanks E-Bay! This is the largest 356 event and you should plan to attend. Next year it will be on February 2nd.

Progress

As a result of the Swap Meet preparation and vacation not a lot of shop work got done. We did get the Shop ’61 Roadster to the painter and picked up the Shop ’56 Sunroof Coupe.

The Coupe is in Aquamarine Blue and the new painter did a great job. He has hired a helper as he realized he is taking longer than we hoped. He was working on the Shop ’64 Coupe but I told him to switch to the ’61 Roadster as I want to finish it for the charity concour on June 10th.

We started work on Rob’s ’58 Cabriolet. He has had most of the body work done over the years. We put in a diagonal and did some rocker panel repairs. Most of the work is getting the gaps correct for paint.

We picked up Chris’s ’69 Convertible D. He had done most of the disassembly and we took it to Blast Tech before vacation. We just picked it up and it looks like a straight forward job. A little less than normal rust repair and no collision damage. One neat thing is the hood is a virgin. No rust and no kinks. I think Chris got this 356 from the estate of the original owner. We also evaluated a ’60 Cabriolet in Colorado Springs. The owner had it at a body shop for two years and nothing got done. We hope to get to it this summer.

Observation

Interest in the 356 Porsche continues strong. The 356 Registry now has 7,100 members. There is a daily exchange of 356 information on 356TALK on the Internet.

Prices remain strong. Coupe prices have increased slightly. Restored Coupes are selling for $18,000 – $22,000 depending on engine, type and features. Open car prices remain high with Speedsters still at the top – $40,000 – $60,000 followed by Cabriolets at $35,000 – $45,000 and Roadster/Convertible D’s at $30,000 – $45,000. We have seen no decrease in 356 restoration work in fact, we have work for the next eighteen months. Parts prices remain steady as there are more vendors servicing the market yeilding good competition. I’ve checked with other shops such as Blast Tech, Autoweave, Painters Supply and even the specialty transport services. They all indicate continued strong interest in the classic car hobby.

Grand Prix of Denver

Checking the poster on the garage wall, the first Denver Grand Prix was in 1990. The second Grand Prix is this year; Labor Day weekend, Aug 30-Sept 1. I worked at the first one and have signed up to work the second. This is a CART Race and it looks like CART has been revitalized this year. The first one was fun; this could be better. 300 volunteers are needed. You can sign up for one, two, or three days. Last time we had some nice perks; shirt, caps, meals, beer. Hopefully the same this year. To sign up contact Tamela Cash at (303) 554-7464 or tcash@healthaxis.com or in the Springs, Jerry Cowan (719) 527-9141 or aardvarkgraphics@earthlink. net. You will get a form to receive additional information.

Events

April 20 – Hershey, Pennsylvania 26th Porsche Only Swap Meet info (717) 932-4673.

May 9-12 – Sweden 27th International Porsche 356 meeting. Contact 356RESTORE for info.

September 27th – Drive Your 356 Day – an annual event celebrated all over the world!

January 2002 Newsletter

Tech Tip

When was the last time you checked your transmission oil? It is easy to do. The fill location is about two thirds of the way up the tranny on the passenger side. Remove the fill plug and stick your little finger in. It should come out with some of that sweet smelling 90 weight oil on it. (Actually, tranny oil is foul smelling and the smell won’t come out of your clothes). If it smells a little burnt you could have trouble.

But why just check you oil; let’s change it. The drain plug is on the lowest part of the tranny. About a gallon will come out. It helps to elevate the axle tubes to drain the oil from them. Look closely at the drain plug, it is a magnet and can tell you if you have problems. Now, what to fill with. A good 80/90 weight gear oil will work. You need a gallon. We recommend a gear oil called Sweepco. Hard to find but try Carquip in Boulder. Do not use a synthetic gear oil! The 356 transmission needs friction to work properly. While Sweepco costs more than regular gear oil it gives better performance and will reduce some of the tranny noise the 356 acquires with age.

You need to fill the tranny until the oil comes out the fill plug. The 356 should be level. Ninety weight oil is thick and you can’t easily pour it into the tranny. Buy a pump at an auto parts store that attaches to your gallon container. Replacing your transmission oil is an easy Sunday afternoon job now that the Broncos are done. (Actually, pumping is hard work).

Progress

We were detailing the transmission on the shop ’61 Roadster and when we checked the oil it smelt burnt. When we drained the tranny we found metal strips and some gear teeth. This was surprising as we determined this is a low mileage 356.

So off to Carquip for a replacement transmission. Tom had a nicely detailed and rebuilt transmission. We did a swap and I got credit for some spare tranny parts I had. A rebuilt transmission will cost about $2,500; so check your oil!

The shop ’61 Roadster is almost ready for its Aetna Blue paint. We’ve detailed the underneath and all the compartments. We reconditioned the wheel cylinders and bought a new master cylinder and rubber brake lines. We always get a new master cylinder when doing the brakes due to the single point of failure issue.

We reassembled a ’64 Coupe awhile back that had the front repaired and the body repainted. The reason for the repair; the brakes failed and the owner drove into another car in front. After we reassembled the ’64 I checked the brakes. Firm pedal, no leaks. I suspect air got in the system leading to a intermittent failure. Bleed your brakes! We’ve covered this in the past.

While I worked on the shop ’61 Roadster, BJ has been reassembling Allan’s ’60 Coupe. This was a shop 356 we traded to Allan in exchange for the paint work. We are also using a second painter; a retired guy out in Elizabeth. he has the shop ’56 Sunroof Coupe and a shop ’64 Coupe. Both are coming along nicely and should be back soon.

While we wait we will be cleaning and pricing parts for the February 10th swap meet in Anaheim, California. This is the biggest 356 swap meet in the world and we continue to sell more parts each year. If you have parts to sell on consignment contact us. BJ likes the swap meet as we stop in Las Vegas on the way back. After the swap meet it is Aloha time. I look forward to this break more each year.

Tech Tip

As long as your Bronco Sundays are free, why not detail your battery box compartment? This is the first area to go on a 356 if you don’t use a sealed battery. We highly recommend the sealed Optima battery. The Registry website at 356registry.org has patterns to cover up this different looking battery. Anyhow, remove the battery and clean and dry the battery box area thoroughly. If there is rust, treat with a rust neutralizer like Extend. Spray the area with rubberized undercoat and after it hardens spray with Satin Block paint. All products are available at auto parts stores. Don’t let water sit on the top of your battery like after washing your 356. Can’t you just visualize those little electrons moving from post to post? Battery acid will do the same; another reason for a sealed battery.

Events

There are three 356 Holidays this year:

  • April 11-14 in Charleston, South Carolina
  • August 22-25 in Duluth, Minnesota
  • September 19-22 in Vancouver B.C.

Details are in the 356 Registry magazine or online at 356registry.org.

The Web

The world wide web has changed the way we do business. Due to our website 356restore.com we have had inquiries from numerous places outside the U.S. If you want to contact us via E-mail go to our website. Thanks to those of you receiving this newsletter via E-mail. There are over 40 of your and the savings to 356RESTORE is $15 a month.