I feel the momentum picking up! Tony’s C Coupe was delivered; we did some work on Tom’s ’52 and Rhomes ’61. Alan’s Roadster was finished and delivered to the upholstery shop and Jon’s ’59 Sunroof Coupe should be assembled in a few weeks. John’s Speedster is in the body finish phase.
My new approach of taking 356’s to finish and primer and then returning to the owner for reassembly prior to paint appears to benefit both of us.
Dryfitting everything prior to paint allows the owner to ensure he/she has all the parts and they fit well. If a part doesn’t fit and since we are not in final (paint), it is possible to do additional body work to ensure fit. With today’s mix of used original and reproduction parts often we have to compromise for good fit.
As I’ve said before, I enjoy working on these cars because I’m constantly learning. On Jon’s ’59 I installed the side window frames in the door and everything fit well. The windows operated easily and the door shut well with good seams around the window. But when I went to install the chrome wings at the back of the window frames, the screw holes didn’t line up. What happened? Well a quick look at the three finished coupes in the garage indicated I reversed the window frames. When you don’t have vent windows it’s easy to make this mistake but to have them install and operate in the reverse configuration just shows the precision and symmetry of Porsche design.
While I solved this problem, Jon dropped by to do some work on his 356. I assigned him the task of installing and gluing the hood seal. I explained the installation process starting at the factory weld under the passenger side corner piece and pointed out that the mark of a good job is a smooth fit and an almost invisible seam at the comer piece joint. Well Jon is an orthodontist and must enjoy working with rubber and screws and glue because he did a perfect job! Better than factory, better than me. But it took him six hours! It takes me two hours and I still have trouble telling a customer it cost $50 to install a hood seal. Complete assembly of a 356 assuming all parts are available, cleaned, painted, sub-assembled and with the proper hardware available, should take between 80 to 120 hours. At my shop rate this is $2000 to $3000. I have trouble charging this much because I find the task enjoyable and a learning experience. This is why I encourage owners to do their own dry fit and assembly. At some shops you could spend $5000 for assembly and not learn a thing about how well your 356 was designed and assembled.
When installing doors, lids and parts on a painted 356 use painter’s tape wherever there is a chance of parts touching. And if you have to use a drill bit to clean out filler and paint in a hole for a deco or script place the bit in the hole then start the drill, clean the hole, stop the drill and remove the bit. Adhesive tape over the hole will protect from paint chips and inadvertent bit scratches.
In this newsletter, the only person named who makes mistakes is myself. So without naming names, when I saw two 356 owners make the same mistake, it is worth mentioning. On 356’s with teardrop taillights there are two large holes at the rear of the engine compartment. These are access holes to the inner stud/nut on the taillight. These should be covered with large rubber grommots. They are not holes to route wires to the taillights. Wires to the taillights, backup and license light are routed under the engine tray. There should be fold over clips to hold the wires in place and off the muffler.
West Coast Holiday
We have 115 356’s registered for the June 14th – 18th Holiday in Snowmass and Crested Butte. We will probably top out around 150 for the biggest and best Holiday ever. If you haven’t registered or just want to drop by to check out the finest Porsches ever built, call 356RESTORE for the information.
Due to a customer changing their mind on a car color, I have a brand new green carpet set for sale at a great price. I will sell it for $200 or $300 installed. Half Price! I also have a Conv D/Roadster oatmeal carpet set for $250 or $400 installed.
Also if you don’t want to spend the big bucks for rubber floor mats I have used charcoal mats for $50.
At the last swap meet the over 100 folks attending I sold $65 of 356 parts. There must be a message but I will still have good used 356 parts at low prices.