The ’60 Coupe from Texas, or “goat car” as BJ calls it, is back from Blast Tech and the rust damage is more extensive now that we can see a naked 356. The owner indicates that they want a Sunday Driver so we have proposed replacing the damaged areas in the rear interior with flat stock as reproduction panels are not available. We informed the owner this would devalue the 356 if they wanted to sell it but the plan is to keep the restoration cost down. This also means we will reuse a lot of parts that were rusty and dirty.
With all the rust and dirt it took longer than usual to disassemble this 356. It took three hours to remove the engine and disassemble the sheet metal. When we did, we discovered a hole in the third piece of the case. From the crusted condition of the rubber seals on the engine piece it appears there had been an engine fire and the chemical fire extinguisher left residue that ate through the third piece. We removed the third piece and had it TIG welded but have now decided to tear down the engine to determine its condition. If a major engine rebuild is require the owner may want to rethink the restoration.
On the other hand, we have the ’62 Twin Grille Roadster from Oklahoma which will be for sale after the restoration. This 356 will receive a nut and bolt detailing in order to achieve a fair market price for this rare Porsche 356. It is one of 249 produced by the Belgian coachbuilder D’Ieteren. We have conferred with the owner and have agreement to restore this 356 to original factory condition. The original colors were black with green interior. We have the original green top boot to match the interior. The 356 was “restored” in Kansas City thirty years ago and painted silver. As mentioned last month the 356 was never assembled. While the metal work was average for that period the body work was very good and the silver paint shows no rust bubbles or paint failures. So we will work around the body work redoing the previous repairs and fixing the very poor door and lid gaps. The metal work thirty years ago was to remove rust damaged areas and tack weld a repair over the area. Of course the welds were not ground down. We also see some pop rivets which will have to be removed. It is obvious the doors and lids were not used to set the correct gaps. The gap at the top of the rear of the passenger door is one half inch. The owner was concerned we would just use filler to fix this. We will strip down to bare metal and using the door as a jig, cut, move and weld new metal to achieve the correct gap.
So, we have two different projects at the same time. One is to restore a family ’60 Coupe to a Sunday driver so the triplet girls can go for a ride. The other is to correctly restore a rare ’60 Twin Grille Roadster to achieve the best market price. The Wyoming Speedster returned home after we had one last enjoyable drive. As far as the Shop 356s, they get second priority to customer work. The Shop ’64 Dolphin Gray Coupe now has all it’s interior complete and it is waiting for the engine rebuild. The Shop ’64 Signal Red Coupe should be back from the painters in a few weeks but will have to wait on the engine teardown, evaluation and rebuild. The Shop ’54 Silver Coupe still awaits resolution of electrical issues and installation and checkout of the rebuilt engine. As for the Shop ’61 Silver Cabriolet, it continues to present challenges. As you may recall, this was the Carbondale Cabriolet. It was stripped and abandoned on private property in Carbondale. When the land became public the town wanted it off their property. The tow truck guy gave it to his brother for the $50 fee charged to verify it wasn’t stolen. Since it was free, the new owner asked us to restore the 356. No doors, lids, interior, engine, gas tank or instruments. It did have the transmission to make it a roller and it had VW brakes. But no bullet holes!
Fortunately, we had some Cabriolet parts at that time and were able to assemble a Cabriolet. We had a driver side door but not a passenger side door. We actually made a Cabriolet door out of a Coupe door. For the early 356s the factory used the same doors but later they differed. We finished the Cabriolet in primer and the owner was going to have a friend paint it and have an engine built. Years later, the owner had to sell and we made an offer; it was not accepted. We realize we had sold the owner a lot of parts and had a profit on them so we increased our offer and it was accepted.
As previously noted, we finally got the non-original top to fit and latch but then the side windows would not seal to the top. After hours of trying to adjust them we decided to have new side windows made. We made a pattern that would seal to the top and had new glass cut and tempered. The driver side fit perfectly but the passenger side was tight and wouldn’t go up. The problem was the Coupe door we had modified. Coupes have a recessed bolt at the back of the door to secure the side window frame, Cabriolets don’t. This bulge kept the Cabriolet frame from being wide enough to allow the glass to move freely We had 1/16th of an inch ground off the glass and the problem was solved.
The rescheduled Concours is August 8th at Arapahoe Community College.
Porsches and Pastries is at 356RESTORE on September 25th.
Alex is in Hawaii and probably spends every day in the pool. We look forward to her return and her story telling of the trip.