August 2008 Newsletter

We mentioned last month that we were to pick up a ’61 Sunroof Coupe and finish the restoration for a customer. We had done the metal work years ago and delivered it in primer as the owner was to finish the project.

We called to set up an appointment to pick up the 356 and the customer asked how long it had been since we had done the work. We checked the file and it was fifteen years to the day that we had delivered the 356!

We remembered the owner’s cute eight year old daughter who loved the 356 when we delivered it. Well, she is now married and has two daughters of her own.

The other neat thing was the ’61 Sunroof Coupe was in great shape. There had been no paint failures or rust bubbles develop in fifteen years. We also were very pleased with the metal work we had done fifteen years ago. All the gaps were perfect. The 356 is ready for the painter with just a little prep work.

The Shop ’59 Irish Green Coupe got hung up at the mechanics. The 356 was not holding an idle and a leak down test showed problems with the number 3 cylinder. So we will pull the engine to determine the problem. Right now it is 50/50 the 356 will make it to the prospective new owner in Michigan so they can drive it to the East Coast Holiday.

One thing we have learned working on fifty year old cars is expect the unexpected. The last minute engine problem is not unexpected and fifteen year old metal work that has held up is not unexpected. But one is a slight downer and the other a great upper.

We are trying to work the painting backlog problem. Speedster 80013 is coming back from the painter in a few weeks. They did extensive exterior metal work on this rare Speedster and will deliver it in primer so we can do a complete dry fit of all the parts prior to paint. The owner and a friend will fly out to help with the dry fit.

The Shop ’54 Coupe should be getting its Silver paint soon and the Shop ’60 Cabriolet is read for paint. And now the ’61 Sunroof Coupe is almost ready for paint. We are trying to convince the owner to paint it the original Slate Grey, one of our favorite 356 colors.

BJ should have the Shop ’64 Coupe ready for paint in a few months and I should have the ’60 Roadster also ready for paint.

Once again, Blast Tech did a great job on the ’60 Roadster and turned it around quickly. I started with the battery box and cut out the riveted, bondoed in floor. Blasting also revealed damage to the sides and the tow hook had been cut with damage to the front inner battery box panel. All this was repaired and the replacement battery box floor installed along with a new tow hook. The tow hook was bolted in place so we con remove it when we paint and undercoat this area. We will rivet it in after paint. While the battery box floor is a very good replacement piece the reproduction tow hooks aren’t even close to the original. We keep a stash of used parts for this problem. In fact we never throw anything away. (Editor: That is an understatement as evidence in the storage building will attest.)

Right now we are full up with parts; both used parts for future restorations and parts for shop and customer 356s waiting for reassembly. Waiting for reassembly we have parts for:

Speedster 80013
Shop ’60 Cabriolet
Shop ’54 Coupe
’60 Roadster
’64 Shop Coupe
and ’61 Sunroof Coupe.
We try very hard to keep 356 parts separated by car. Only once did we have a problem.

We restored a 356 for an owner and when he picked it up he said “Where’s my rear view mirror?” We said you didn’t have one, see all the parts for your 356 have been installed. “Yes I did” was his reply. Hmm. Walking by the shop parts shelf he said “Here it is?” His mirror was on our parts shelf and had a price tag on it ready for the swap meet. Very embarrassing. We figured out that we had picked the mirror up to explain something to someone and then put it down in another part of the shop. We must have found it and put it on the parts shelf. Since then we are very strict about not moving parts from their assigned location.

Having the parts for reassembly out where you can see them means when we are between jobs we can see a part that needs restoration and clean it, paint it and put it back for reassembly.

The area where all these piles and boxes of parts are stored does look jumbled, but we know which pile belongs to which car!

High Plains Raceway
I recently attended the ground breaking for the new High Plains Raceway. It is on 460 acres out east by Byers. The ground breaking had been delayed in order to ensure financing and due to the 60% increase in paving costs due to the oil price increases. The track will be 2.5 miles long with fifteen turns. We will be racing next Spring.

Pikes Peak International Raceway was recently purchased by a private party and has been opened to club racing. RMVR will race there October 18-19.

Grandpa News
We are happy to share the news from the Fry family of the arrival of grandson Will. Maybe another 356 driver to be. He will have a good example to follow from Grandpa Bill’s years of driving Watkins Glen and here in Colorado. Bill says the race car will be ready for the Endro in Pueblo Sept 27-28.

Alex surprised us with an imitation of her friend Kipper who she watches on the Disney goodnight show. He speaks with an English accent-just think of a four year old Asian British nanny and you get the idea!