I closed last month with a request to help a 356 enthusiast finish his car for WestFest. The response was great and George drove his car both to the track and to Ed Carrolls’. Hopefully, those who helped picked up some tips and appreciation for what it takes to finish a 356. We had three people on the front windshield and three on the back windshield installing the new rubber and old deco trim. It took each team over an hour! The tip is to leave your deco in the rubber when you cut out the windshields. After a year of banging around on storage shelves the deco gets bent and takes quite a while to refit to the new rubber and windshield contour.
At the WestFest swap meet 356RESTORE was the largest of three vendors. I sold $100 of parts and bought $50. The net is I lost three days of working on 356’s while I cleaned, painted, packed and unpacked 356 parts. I noticed the major 356 part vendors are no longer attending 356 swap meets. If you need parts, please call (840-2356).
Ron and Marcia’s ’64 Coupe should be in paint when you read this newsletter. We have taken extra time to get this first 356 through the new paint booth to use as a showcase. It will be great but it takes hours and hours of sanding to get ready for paint.
Abby’s 356 still needs the interior but is finished enough that she had driven it to show off to her family. They were impressed! I gave her a bad time when she returned the 356 with bird droppings on the nice new slate gray paint. We knew we had some front suspension damage on Abby’s 356 and since it looked minor and happened 24 year ago thought the alignment process would fix it. Wrong! To fix the problem years ago they heated and bent the front control arms (Wrong!) rather than realigning the axle tubes. The net was we couldn’t get proper camber. We had to have the upper axle tube heated and bent back to specs. Of course all this area was recently painted and undercoated and had to be redone.
So to avoid this problem in the future, we made a transit tool and now before we start on the bottom metal work we check the 356 for square. Although we finished the bottom of the shop ’63 Coupe we checked it with the transit and it is perfect. Whew!
The shop ’63 Coupe will be ready for its original metallic silver paint after Ron and Marcia’s 356. In fact, when I look at the backlog, we have five 356’s to paint this year. So in addition to Andy (recently married, Congrats!) we may add Bobby to the finish/paint team.
356RESTORE is subcontract-ing finish and paint work and believe we have a well trained crew that will do street level finish at half the price of the major restorers. (These young guys work real hard on a contract basis, compared to an hourly rate-of course quality is the key.)
The most recent 356 into the shop has been the famous deer-damaged ’60 T-5 from Kansas. While the right front deer damage is impressive, it turns out a previous left front collision was more significant.
This 356 will sit in the rear of the shop for repair later in the year. It definitely will need hours on the frame machine at Tom’s. However, the previous owner drove this 356 vigorously for years.
356RESTORE’s philosophy includes getting these great cars back on the road in a safe condition. This is why Ryan (shop assistant) drove my 356 coupe on the track at WestFest. Someone who has driven a 356 the way it was intended will be most conscientious when they assemble a 356 for a 356RESTORE customer. (Plus Ryan had a hell of a lot of fun on the track!)
Our present plan seems to be: finish and paint Ron and Marcia’s Coupe, store the ’65 shop car (no license plates), paint the shop ’63 Coupe and reassemble, figure out the approach on Joe’s Speedster, store the shop T-5 deer-damaged Coupe, and repair many doors, gas tanks, and small parts for sale.