We have added some art work to the wall. We have room for a Rennsport 6 poster Sept 27-30 2018 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
25th Anniversary! Its been 25 years since we started 356Restore. It’s time for reflection. Our past newsletters and website allow us to review our progress in getting these great cars back on the road. We have restored one hundred and twenty two 356s. Either a battery box floor or a full restoration and everything in between. Jim had always had a interest in cars. When he got his driver’s license the first thing he did was shave the nose and pin stripe the family ‘52 Chevrolet. He wrote a car column for the San Diego High School newspaper (and dated the editor-see side bar). After the Air Force Jim took a job in software management with Control Data in St. Paul, Minnesota. One of his programmers shared his enjoyment of cars. The programmer bought a ‘57 Coupe and Jim noticed it was right hand drive, had holes in the floor and gas was dripping under the dash. Jim eventually bought the 356 which by then had a flat floor welded in. The 356 turned out to be a Carrera GS with a bent sunroof. It did not have a Carrera engine. Details on this 356 can be found in an article written for the 356 Registry. (Check the magazine archives). After some rough repairs Jim traded the ’57 Carrera for a ’63 Sunroof Coupe. Jim participated in the restoration of this 356 under the tutelage of an experienced 356 restorer. The ’63 is Jim’s daily driver today and will be passed on to his son BJ. Jim enjoyed 356 restoration work and his next project was a ’62 Twin Grille Roadster which became his wife Barbara’s daily driver. Then Control Data began to downsize and eventually went out of business. Jim found a job with a subsidiary in Denver. After five years it too began to downsize. Jim took an early retirement. What to do? Jim had enjoyed restoring and driving the Porsche 356s and decided to start a business-356Restore. After more than twenty five years, we are still learning about these cars. The design was unique and engineering excellent. The factory didn’t plan for these cars to last fifty plus years but that design and engineering speaks for itself. Of the 122 356 we have restored, thirty three were shop cars. These were projects planned to be restored by the owner but never completed. In the seventies you could buy a project 356 for a thousand dollars or less. 356Restore would later buy these projects for two to four thousand dollars and restore them. Finding sheet metal panels in the early days was difficult and we learned to fabricate panels. Most of these project 356s came with extra parts which has contributed to our inventory of parts today. Many of these project owners were “gearheads” and bought lots of engine and mechanical parts. 356Resotre has never done engine rebuilding or painting. These two activities take time and by subbing this work we were able to restore the number of 356s we did in twenty five years. On our website-356Restore.com we have a list of all completed 356s, That is how we determined the following data: · Of the 122 356’s 83 were Coupes · Thirteen of the 83 Coupes were Sunroof Coupes · Of the 83 Coupes, 27 were 1964 models · We restored a 356 from every year from 1952 to 1965 · We restored ten Speedsters but only one Notchback and one Carrera · Seven Roadsters were restored including two Twin Grille Roadsters · Sixteen Cabriolets were restored. The Shop When we started 356Restore we hired a helper. Ryan an Ex Army Ranger in his twenties. He had experience restoring Sunbeam Tigers with his Dad. Ryan made some great contributions even fabricating a Pre-A fender when they were not available. At one time, we moved from our home shop to a bigger facility and had additional part time help. Jim didn’t want to be an owner/manager. He wanted to do hands on 356 restoration, so he moved back to the home shop. BJ moved to Denver in 1999 and joined Jim at 356Restore. BJ learned to weld, fabricate body work and reassembly of 356s. After learning those skills we bought a ‘64 Coupe project and Jim said “It’s all yours”. BJ did all of the disassembly, metal work, bodywork and reassembly. Jim only consulted. When finished BJ had the option to sell. He decided to keep it and it is his daily driver. The biggest shop move was recent when we designed and moved into a new home/shop. A little less room but a new lift, a quiet air compressor and good organization. Vintage Racing Barb and Jim participated in a Canyonlands tour with other sportscars. Sort of a mini Colorado Grand. On the tour was a ’57 356 Coupe painted in the colors of the Mexican flag; cream with green and red stripes. It had raced in the Southwest but had a few problems on the tour. Later when Bill Frey and Jim were at Steamboat Vintage Races we saw the ‘57 was for sale. Bill, who raced in SCCA in the seventies said we could make it into a racecar, which we did. We both joined Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing (RMVR) and went to Drivers School. Bill was the better driver and we both drove at tracks like Second Creek, Mountain View, Stapleton, LaJunta and Pueblo. Bill drove at Steamboat and set the fastest time of the day when he was erroneously black flagged and came in and went out only driving half the course. At Drivers School, Sunday was the first race. Saturday had been follow the leader, practice starts and red flag procedures. Jim was on the grid with five minutes to the start when he heard a noise, he looked to his left and saw a sports racer with a loud exhaust on the right side. Must be the exhaust noise. On the track, we took the green flag. Jim passed two cars and finished the twenty minute race. Pulling off the track Jim heard the noise again; stopping and popping the rear lid you could see the lower pulley moving in and out. Jim had raced for twenty minutes, passed cars and did this with a broken crankshaft! BJ’s wife Jennifer also attended Driver’s School and raced the ‘57 Coupe in the Ladies Group. Most of the ladies drove their husbands or boyfriends cars so you got a mix of cars from Mini Coopers to Corvettes. Previous newsletters have documented how we found the ‘52 Coupe for $800 which was to become our next racecar. Bill Frey and Jim did a great job on this 356. We got the weight down by making Plexiglas windshields and removing extraneous items. We weighted it on the scales at Pueblo and it came in at 1,640 lbs. And of course we built a better race engine. Both Bill and Scot Petitt drove this 356 in some exciting races. Events In the past twenty five years, Barb and Jim have participated in sixteen 356 Holidays. We would usually drive Jim’s ‘63 Sunroof Coupe or Barb’s ‘62 Twin Grille Roadster. A few we flew to or trailered.. The most memorial Holiday was Santa Fe in 2013. Over 200 356s’ and a great venue. BJ and Jim have attended all five Porsche Rennsports and plan to attend number six next September. The most unforgettable Rennsport was number five in Monterey. The factory provided lots of cars, in fact we have possibly seen most of the factory museum cars at Rennsports. We have also attended most of the local charity concours showing many 356s and also judging. One thing we always did was let kids sit in the 356 for pictures; except that kid with the ice cream cone. The most enjoyable and unforgettable 356 related event was the inaugural US. Vintage Racing National Championship at Circuit of the Americas in Austin Texas in 2013. Jim, Bill Frey and Scot Petitt entered Jim’s ‘52 Coupe with a fresh engine by Bill. With Scot driving, we beat Vic Skirmants, and six other 356s plus five 911s and two 914-6s in the Enduro. We detailed this event in our newsletter, but it is worth reading again (check out our website for all the 356Restore newsletters for the past twenty five years). The Book Jim has always enjoyed writing and decided to write a book about what he had learned restoring the Porsche 356. This was a risk as there were many Porsche 356 restorers that could be critical of the book. We had been in the habit of taking pictures of our restorations so we had a good start to illustrating a book. We were also usually working on two 356s at different stages of restoration so we could add illustrations. The book was organized from the start of a project to the first test drive. It was titled “Porsche 356 Guide to Do-It-Yourself Restoration”. The first edition was published in 2004. The cover arranged by the publisher was unique; a picture of a young man sitting behind a project 356 reading the book (a picture within a picture). Many people asked us if the young man was BJ; it wasn’t , just a friend of the photographer. The book was well received; all positive comments , never a criticism. The book is used by both beginning restorers and body shops. The book went out of print and Jim decided to do a second edition in 2009. Writing the first edition Jim got to a point of “Lets just wrap this up and see if it sells”. For the second edition, Jim spent more time on reassembly and the cost of restoration. The book continues to be appreciated and has sold over 4,000 copies. 356 Restoration There is a lot of satisfaction restoring a Porsche 356. The process of disassembly is fun. On an unrestored 356 you can find factory chalk marks, paint brush strokes and different assembly techniques. On project 356s you can find traffic signs and related signs used as floor pans. Not to mention the chicken wire/bondo and expanding foam repairs. Organizing the parts during disassembly and determining which parts can be restored or replaced lets you know that you are moving forward. After media blasting, metal work is also enjoyable. To remove a piece of rusty metal, make a correct patch and do a great job welding the patch is very satisfying. The next phase-body work is demanding and perhaps less enjoyable. Getting the lid and door fit can take time and many repetitions. Then there is the sculpting of the body. You need bright lights and a good eye for this. It is also repetitive. At..
We traded some parts for a battery operated (2 D batteries) for a Distler electromatic 7500. It moves forward and backward. A lot of fun to play with so I have heard.
Looking for a local tow operator that can move some Porsches around Denver. Message me or call if you have someone you trust.
Detail team is finishing up another car
The back side of the business card that was dropped off this weekend. It’s giving me some idea. The first idea is that commas are our friends
1964 Coupe is rolling after a loooong time on the jacks. Red paint and black interior coming soon
North Office is working out well