A busy month! We now have seven 356’s in the shop. Four in the garage-Barb’s Twin Grille Roadster; my Black ’63 S/R Coupe; Jim’s ’61 S/R Coupe and the shop ’59 S/R Coupe, back from the painter. In the basement we have Abby’s ’62 Coupe, just about ready to come off the rotisserie, Tom’s ’54 Cabriolet, waiting in the proper sheetmetal and Mark’s ’59 Coupe soon to be a S/R Coupe.
To take a break from shop work, we agreed to repair the metal on one of Stormin Norman’s projects in Fort Collins. What should have been a week’s work, took ten days over three weeks. The 356 Coupe had been media blasted and had minimal rust. But boy did it have terrible panel repair. We measured, and the left front fender clip was one inch further forward than the right fender. The left rear fender really looked odd. Ryan guessed they couldn’t get a coupe fender clip and used a fender from an open car. They didn’t even try to blend the fender into the coupe roof. They just filled the gap with bondo up to 1 inches thick! Neither front or rear deck lids fit and there was about 50 pull holes. The car had taken a direct front hit and the hood stayed closed pushing down the cowl.
The first day we were there Ryan bought a sandwich from a drive-by vendor. That evening he got food poisoning, passed out and endo’ed his Jeep three times. He’s ok, just looking for new wheels. The second day my S-10 Blazer blew an intake manifold gasket and put lots of water in the oil. So while waiting for Ryan to recover, I drove the ’62 S/R Coupe to Fort Collins and worked on Norm’s project. It hit the high 90’s every day and I had to quit by 3:00 as it was just too hot to work. Why did we leave our cool basement? Well we have this thing about getting 356’s back on the road. I hope Norm was happy with our work. It wasn’t our best, due to the conditions and available time but 356 sure looked better when we were done. In between trips to Fort Collins, we pulled Jim’s ’61 Coupe from the basement into the garage and started the final body work and plastic. We have to get Jim’s car into primer by the 27th as another 356 arrives then for bottom work.
This one was developed by Ryan and works great. You have that big rust area in the rear fender behind the door. You have already repaired / replaced the lock post and the door fits good. What Ryan does, is he takes a large square of 20 gauge sheetmetal and forms it to the door and fender curve laying it over the rear door seam so it covers the fender rust area and can be tack welded to the door. Then he opens the door and scribes the rear door seam. Then he shuts the door and plasma cuts a vertical line through the cover piece and the rear fender. He then breaks his tack welds and cuts the cover piece on the scribed door line. The resultant repair piece drops right into the hole in the fender!
Here’s one of mine. To get that left rear fender to blend into the roof line on Stormin’ Norman’s project, I used woodworking contour gauges. I drew a level line on the roof above each fender. Since the right rear fender was ok, I then made marks every two inches from the door towards the rear on both sides. Then I fit the contour gauge on the right side mark closet to the door and used the resultant contour to pull up the fender metal in the left side. I worked four to six inches at a time checking contour every two inches. There was forty inches of seam to repair. I was able to get the fender contour almost perfect.
From “Porsche 356-Driving in its Purest Form”; “In March of 1948, Ferry Porsche and his colleagues began the first test drives with the still unbodied 356.001. At about the same time, April 2, 1948 Porsche acquired the service of one Friedrich Weber, a body craftsman who was a capable as he was problematical.”
A memo in the Porsche achieves says: “Weber who is highly skilled and remarkably capable, is also head strong and difficult. He drinks.When thirst strikes him, he leaves his workplace, to return at some later, unpredictable time. In order to build and sell the first Porsche cars it will be necessary to keep Weber in good spirits, often as not, he would have to be ferreted out in Gmund – in the local tavern. The fate of all depends, among others, on him.”