August 1997 Newsletter


Well I finished Bruce’s Conv-D. It is really pretty. Bruce gets a new windshield out of the deal. The 356 came back from the upholstery shop on a Friday night. The next morning I noticed the windshield was cracked. Since I knew they would have to remove the windshield to install posts for the tonneau cover I asked them to install a new lower windshield seal. The one on the car was not original and wouldn’t accept the lower windshield deco. Doing this work they must have cracked the windshield.

I called the upholstery shop first thing Monday. Ron was on vacation for a week. I was a little nervous as windshields are expensive (over $500). Anyhow, I called Ron a week later and he said yes they cracked the windshield and he would make it right. Tom Conway found a new windshield for me for $350. I installed it and Ron paid for it. However, I had difficulty with the lower seal. I had to build up the base with windshield caulk. It looks OK but something was not right to begin with. This was the third Conv-D/Roadster I’ve worked on with windshield problems.

Jack H almost has his SC Coupe back together but with only one day a week, it takes time. So at present, I spend one day assembling Ron’s Cabriolet and the next disassembling Peter’s Karmann Notchback. I want to get Peter’s 356 ready for media blasting so I can take it to Blast Tech when they finish blasting Steve’s Coupe. This 356 will just be metal work. Steve and a friend tried gas welding repairs and warped a lot of the metal. I’ll redo this work plus some other rust repair and Steve and his friend will do the finish, paint and reassembly.

Peter’s Notchback has never been disassembled. Usually this mean easy disassembly, however, it took me 3 1/2 hours to get gas out of the car. Since I don’t allow any gas in the shop, I ask owners to have little gas in the car when they bring it to the shop. Peter said since his gas gauge didn’t work, he was in the habit of topping off the tank whenever he took a trip. He said the tank might be full!

To drain the gas, I first close the petcock valve. Then remove the rear engine tray, disconnect the line at the fuel pump and connect a plastic host to a gas can. Then I jack up the front of the 356, turn on the petcock to reserve and watch the gas flow out. On Peter’s 356: nothing! Investigation shows a new electric fuel pump installed up front. No problem! I pull the hose to the fuel pump, turn the petcock and watch the fuel flow. It trickles out! So I start disassembly on the doors. Two hours later I only have five gallons. It’s obvious that the tank is clogged and the fuel pump was a solution. So I have to remove the Tank. I actually had to use a crow bar to pop it loose! With the tank out I pour out the gas and it is real dirty with lots of sediment. I’m sure the petcock filter screen is clogged but I can’t tell yet as it was rusted to the tank. I’ll have to push it in and shake it out of the tank.

Storage Building

It’s almost done! It’s painted and we are waiting on the custom sliding doors. Even without doors it now stores nine 356’s. With four in the garage and one in the shop that makes fourteen 356’s at 356RESTORE. Remember when I celebrated having eight 356’s and matching my address (8356 N. Sunburst Trail).

Vintage Races

The first vintage race at the new PPIR track was a huge success. Over 250 vintage race cars. We ran nine race groups. There were three small bore groups. My car was placed in one of the fast groups.

We ran without incident and improved our Saturday to Sunday time by over two seconds. We did discover the electric fuel pump was required when running the high banks. Most of this road course is on the banked oval. The next race is at Steamboat Springs on Labor Day weekend. Hope to see you there.

Speaking of Vintage Racing, Warren H will sell his E-Production Speedster. He has all the parts to return it to vintage racing specs (SCCA E-Production allows fiberglass fenders and other mods). I’ve checked around and this Speedster runs fast! Give me a call for Warren’s phone number if interested. He is thinking $30K and would like 356 trades – any condition.

New Work

Believe it or not, I had three calls last week for 356 restorations. These were folks referred to me by newsletter readers and previous customers. While I appreciate the endorsements, I’m trying to control the workload. I think I’m meeting all my commitments except for Susan’s 356 and Norm’s ’54 race car later this year. Then I have to get started on some of my own project cars. Plus there is a lot of work on the race car to make it more competitive for next year.


Scotty V of Yellow Dog Racing also flys Hot Air Balloons. When he read my last newletter, he called and invited 356 folks to crew, chase and perhaps ride in his balloon at the Albuquerque Balloon Festival. This will be October 11-12. Call Karen Lasch at (303) 688-2580 for more info.

The next RM356PC meeting is at the Brittany Hill restaurant in Thorton on Sept. 3rd. These meetings are a great time to share 356 news – great food too!