Well it is official! Alex leaves next week to meet and bring back her sister Samantha from China. BJ and Jen will be accompanying her . The trip includes a three day holiday in Beijing, so Alex can experience her birthplace and bring back a trip report for Grandpa and Grandma. And of course her sister, our new grandchild.
The home purchase next door which will be perfect for us in our latter years is on hold. We have been under contract since late February but the property was part of a mortgage investment package sold by Wall Street which was foreclosed on by Bank of America acting for Deutch Bank which got the property from an investment firm. All that is needed is a Power of Attorney from whoever owns that piece of the investment. We will sit on our contract until it is resolved. Meanwhile Jim has planned the new shop for 356Restore and Barb and the architects are coming up with a single level floor plan that will make for a comfortable latter life.
Well, the electric problems on the Magnuson’s ’59 Sunroof Coupe were resolved with the help of Joe Leoni. The issue with the wiring harness was corrected by checking the Shop ’58 Cabriolet and finding that the harness was twisted. Fortunately, we only had to remove the wiring at the top of the fuse block. With the wires removed, the harness was repositioned, wires connected and good to go.
But go it would not and we had to call in Joe. We could not get the brake lights to work. Since, all the 356 lights go through the headlight and turn signal switches we had to trace each wire and its connections. But all were good! There are six connections between the turn signal switches and harness. Each is color coded. But the turn signal switch vendor doesn’t quite match the harness vendor colors. But after checking and rechecking the colors matched. Joe found the problem; we never would have found it. The turn signal switch looked good to us but Joe could tell by the solder connection it had been repaired and two wires had been misconnected! While the harness and turn signal switch wires were properly connected, two circuits were reversed. With this corrected, all the 356 lights worked. We would never have found this without Joe’s help. Oh the joy of working on fifty year old cars.
Another joy was installing the shift lever in the ’59 Sunroof Coupe. This is difficult on the early 356s as you have to install a pin to connect the shift lever to the shift rod in the tunnel. Our technique is to use some wire to hold the shift rod up to the top of the tunnel. Then with the shift lever inserted thru the base, we attempted to insert the pin thru the shift rod and the shift lever. There is not enough room to insert the pin from above so we lay on our stomach and with the pin secured in a long hemostat we install the pin from inside the tunnel. It took many tries but after about fifteen minutes we got the pin in . We sat up and the shift lever was in backwards! Pointing forward not backward. Oh, the joy of working on fifty year old cars.
So most of the 356 restoration this month was Jim putting parts on the ’59 Sunroof coupe and BJ doing body work on Jim’s project. When we turned over Jim’s project to BJ, the replacement panels were in place but all the gaps needed work. It now looks good and a tremendous improvement over what we started with. Hopefully, this 356 will be ready for the painter shortly. But first we have to dry fit every part on the 356. One major part is the bench seat . While the factory did not keep records on the number of this or other options installed, a good guess would be only around two hundred bench seats and most on early 356s. It is easy to guess that someone used to a bench seat in his 1952 American coupe might want one in his first “furrin” car.
So the Shop ’58 Cabriolet sits waiting for final assembly and test drive. The Shop’ 64 Coupe awaits assembly and the other two Shop 356s await restoration. We did take some time to have the shop trailer blasted and then we primed and painted it to match the colors of the Shop ’52 Coupe race car. The trailer is now silver with red fenders that match the race car silver paint with red numbers. We will replace the fourteen foot 2 x 8 foot planks for the floor which was rotted due to being stored outside.
While the trailer has needed work for years we were motivated by the acceptance of our ’52 Coupe in the U.S. Vintage Racing National Championship Races to be held October 24-27 at the new Circuit of Americas (COTA) in Austin Texas. Bill Frey is rebuilding the race engine and Scot Petitt will drive. Scot is faster than Jim or Bill and we want to be competitive. There are over 550 vintage race cars entered.
Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing (RMVR) will have its race benefiting the Morgan Adams Foundation “Race Against Kid’s Cancer” July 27th and 28th at the High Plaines Raceway. Please plan to attend. $5 at the door is suggested and RMVR has raised a lot of money for this worth while charity. We will be there but BJ will be in China!
West Coast Holiday
It looks like a great turnout of 356s for the West Coast Holiday in Santa Fe, October 9-13. There are 550 folks registered for the Saturday night awards banquet so we expect close to 200 356s for the event.