August 2005 Newsletter

Grandpa News
Our first granddaughter, Alexandra, arrived from China July 30th. She is a very sweet baby 11 months old. She is quiet yet animated and eats everything. Moving to 356 news; BJ has read the sermon in my 356 Restoration book and keeps a change of clothes here and washes his shop clothes here. There is no way he is going to carry lead and other shop residue home.

Well we used to have projects in sync, i.e. a project at Blast Tech, a couple for metal work or reassembly here, one at the painters and perhaps one at Autoweave. Now we have three for metal work and two for assembly here. There is one at Autoweave. So, with six projects we are over committed and we have to jump back and forth and don’t get the satisfaction of completing major activities.

I’m to blame.

When the Shop ’58 Cabriolet came back from Autoweave all I had to do was get the proper latches for the top, adjust the doors and get it stopping and running; no problem, done this many, many times. Well, got the top to latch but during an adjustment a fitting in the rear bow I had fabricated broke. Then while trying to fix it I bent the bow. I had made it out of copper tubing as I couldn’t find steel. So, I need a new one. But by now I learned of a guy in Portland, OR that made Cabriolet top parts, but he was 6-8 weeks out. So I borrowed one from Keith’s top which I had borrowed to learn how to fabricate one. Got the top fixed and Keith will get a new rear steel bow.

On to the ’58 Cab doors. No problem on passenger side, had to add a shim and trim some rubber seals. Next the driver door. One day worth of work and it won’t latch. Seems to be interference at every seal.

So, as I’ve recommended, I walk away from it and start on the metal work on the Shop ’57 Speedster. The floors and longitudinals had already been done well buy the previous owner and I had already done the complete front compartment. The major repair was rust damage in front of and behind the doors. In front, this involved repair to the inner closing panel before you can do the outer skin. You have to use the door as a jig to keep everything flush and to fit proper gaps. Well, I spent about a week on this and even took pictures for the second edition of the book.

Then back to the ’58 Cab. I had come up with some new ideas as possible solutions had not worked. Spent a day and a half and got it to latch. But a few minutes later, boing! It popped out. Spent the rest of the day on it. No luck, went back to the Speedster. Set the headlight buckets and front fender braces and welded them solid. Did a few repairs on skin damage and started on the rear lockpost repair.

Went back to the ’58 Cab. Decided to remove all seals and disassemble the door. I would get the door to shut and then add a seal one at a time. Had to move the windshield seal in board as the vent window was pressing into it too far. Fine, still shuts. Add the front door seals. Problem, trim seals. Fine still shuts. Add rear seals. Problem, trim seals. Fine still shuts. But boing! A few minutes later it pops open. Damn! Must be the latch. Make adjustments. Still a problem. Then I notice that the new latch plate has some wear from numerous shutting attempts. Replace the latch plate with an old one. Great, door latches but it is not flush. Adjust inward. Shuts but boing ! Pops open. Must be the vent window. Loosen and adjust outward.

Still no luck.

Walk away, over twenty hours into this problem. This 356 restoration expert hasn’t solved the %#@* door problem and hasn’t yet done the brakes or started the engine. Call Trevor, he has room and will make it start and go also get it out of sight for awhile! Do a little more work on the Speedster lockposts and then the painter delivers Scot’s ’55 Coupe in beautiful Turkish Red. Need to get this assembled and back to Scot who will do the engine work and final assembly.

When the Shop ’58 comes back from Trevor’s I think I will add some shims to the driver door. It is obvious I got the door too tight to the chassis and that is causing interference problems. We will see-report next month.

As longtime readers know, we have been storing a ’58 Speedster for the owner in New Jersey. We completed the restoration years ago but he had no place to store it and also lots of personal issues. He paid $100 a month for storage. Last November I told him it had to go and he reminded me I would get it running and check a steering problem. Couldn’t do this in November but recently Trevor solved the fuel problems due to storage, replaced the steering box and got it running. The Speedster will be going back to New Jersey at the end of the month. I checked my records and we have been storing this 356 for six and half years!

So the plan is BJ finishes Andy’s ’61 Coupe and gets it ready for paint. I’ll work on the reassembly of Scot’s ’55 coupe and do work on the Shop ’57 Speedster. When the Shop ’58 Cabriolet comes back from Trevor’s I will solve the driver side door problem. Then we will put some miles on it and get it ready for sale. Same for the Shop ’57 Carrera. We need to start the metal work on Ron’s Cabriolet.

You know me, talked to a guy in Albuquerque with a ’57 Cabriolet project for sale-another project?