August 2000 Newsletter


I spent most of the month turning sheetmetal into a Roadster for Roland. BJ finished his ‘64 Coupe project and the Basalt ‘59 Coupe finally came back from the painter.

Roland’s ‘60 Roadster had just the rear bulkhead and engine tray attached. The other sheetmetal panels were a mix of replacement panels and original skins. The rear fenders had been heavily brazed and warped. Plus Roland had obtained a rare A-model twin grille deck lid.

The first job was to build the inner engine compartment using the deck lid as a jig. I tack welded the pieces until it looked OK. But when I put the outer skins on, it was off. So, I ground out the tack welds and redid it.

To position the outer sheetmetal I used the deck lid and the lock posts. But you can’t get Roadster lockposts so I had to modify Coupe lockposts. I used the doors as a jig. The hinge plates for the soft top are right behind the lockposts. So I used the top as a jig to position the rear sheetmetal and the doors to position the lockposts at the same time.

This is one big jigsaw puzzle but it all came together. Once everything was tack welded I cut out the warped metal at the fender seams one small section at a time. I hand shaped the fender curves and checked with a carpenter’s contour gauge. Fortunately I had Rhome’s ‘61 Roadster here to serve as a reference library for measurements and curves.

Once the rear was together I repaired some poor work on the front fenders. Someone missed the right side wheel opening connection to the rocker panel by one inch. One way to fix this would be to cut loose the whole front outer skin and drop it down to get the proper opening curve to the rocker panel. This appeared as if it would create more problems so I just cut enough metal on the fender to get the opening to match to the rocker. Not a perfect solution but hey, 356’s were made by hand!

We will return Roland’s Roadster to him so we can finish the Basalt ‘59 Coupe. Roland can work on the mechanicals and bring it back for finish work. BJ’s 64 Coupe will go to the painters so we both can work on the Basalt Coupe. It is a very pretty and rare color—Auratium Green. When I first saw it I didn’t think it was a 356 color. But it is. At the 1998 West Coast Holiday where we had close to 400 356’s there was only one other car painted Auratium Green.

The owner wanted the wheels painted body color which we did. I use to think this was only done up to 1955, but talked to an owner of a ‘64 Coupe that had body colored wheels which was documented on his Kardex.

Dog Races Follow Up

Last year at this RMVR Race Event we raised $40,000 for Freedom Service Dogs. This year we hoped to raise $50,000. We raised $83,000! Thanks to all who supported this event. The races were as hot as the weather.

I had planned on driving my ‘57 Carrera in the Historic class. First I had to apply for eligibility and get the vehicle log book, next I had to request a car number and have them made. And most important get the car running and checked out. I trailered the Carrera to Trevors for checkout. On the lift we saw plenty of problems. Both front struts were rusted through with a piece of metal tack welded over and covered with undercoat. Same for the diagonal member. At the rear the tranny hoop was not attached correctly. Trevor fixed the shift linkage and clutch adjustment and I took the Carrera home for welding. There were only three days until the race. After I finished the welding repairs, Trevor came down and started and tuned the engine. What a sweet sound! We drove it around the block and it pulled to the left under breaking. Checked the fluid level and there was none! Added fluid and bled and adjusted the brakes. Drove it again. Everything OK. Drove it some more to practice left hand shifting (it’s a RHD 356). OK, almost ready. Cleaned both cars, (Jen and Bill will drive the ‘58 Coupe), buy race gas ($4.00 a gallon), filled out the tech sheets and packed up the tools.

At the track, I got in line for Tech Inspection. Everything was fine until the last check which was for brake lights. The pedal went to the floor! The right front steel braided brake line had broken! Brake fluid everywhere. Drove back to the pits without brakes, slowly. John McConnel had a spare brake line. Started the repair then I said to myself-“Jim, you rushed this car. You haven’t checked the complete car nor have you pulled the drums and checked linings, shoes and bearing”, I decided not to race. I might take a chance with another car but not with my first Porsche.

So the ‘57 Carrera Coupe served as a static display while Jen and Bill got to race. BJ worked the corners and I worked the pit.

One spectator said I had the ‘coolest” car a the event. (Does cool still mean what it used to or was I being slammed?)

I also reached a decision on steel braided brake lines. I now recommend good German Rubber brake lines which you check annually and replace every three years.

Porsches and Pastries

Some folks asked if we would do Porsches and Pastries again. Jen said sure! So plan to bring your 356 (or other car) to Kelloggs on Sunday, Sept 10th from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Call for directions (303) 840-2356 if you need them.