I hope I haven’t caused you concern. Some feedback I had received lead me to believe that because we have been real busy as chronicled in these newsletters, some folk believe we are not enjoying the work. Nothing could be further from the truth! Being busy means our philosophy of getting these great cars back on the road at reasonable cost is well received. Are we working too hard? No way! The challenge is scheduling 356’s between the blast shop, metal repair, the paint booth, reassembly and storage. Right now we have six 356’s active but under control. Are we still having fun? You bet! Are we continuing to learn about 356’s. Absolutely! We recently had a 1960 Roadster come up from West Texas. The 356 got T-boned in the driver side door with about 20,000 miles on it. The customer’s father bought it for the transaxel and put it out to pasture. The horses were eating hay out of it. It still had the original Royal Blue paint (with rust) and had never been disassembled. It is a Belgium-Delterran 356 and the whole car outside, inside, underneath had been painted Royal Blue. Then the front and rear compartments had been covered with a light undercoat and the bottom with a heavier undercoat. All the seams had been caulked and the caulk is still good, -it didn’t blast off. This was the first 356 I’d seen with factory caulk. I learned a lot about proper assembly of a Roadster and recorded proper bolt and washer combination.
However, some of these may be unique to DeIterran Roadsters. One original thing is that the wire to the T-5, t-6 front turn signal does not to through the middle of the large opening in the pot metal backing plate. It goes under a small notch at the bottom of the plate. I’ve done at least six 356’s wrong in this area. Who knows what wiring was correct? Very few (except for you now). Who cares? I do! So we are busy but still learning. We still quit at 3:56 every afternoon and don’t work evenings or Sundays. We hired a helper, Ted, an NCAA champion gymnast to do grunt work and with the three of us progress has picked up but we are still behind schedule.
Last month we said Tom’s ’52 Coupe was the first we had seen with no major exterior damage. Well Alan’s ’60 Roadster also had no exterior damage and then Rhone’s ’60 Roadster also got blasted and had no exterior damage except for the driver side T-bone. So three 356’s in a row without clip repair, brazing or bondo. Maybe we are attracting a better class of clientele. We stopped work on Tom’s ’52 Coupe in order to get Alan’s Roadster ready for paint. In two weeks, Alan got tunnel repair, inner longitudinal repair and new floor pan. The 356 also got closing panel repair, a new longitudinal, a repaired longitudinal and new inner door posts. The dash was repaired (I couldn’t live with Hormel Ham cans pop riveted and bondoed over). The passenger door got a new bottom and the battery box a new front bulkhead and floor. Numerous rust holes and weak spots were repaired and the 356 Roadster went off to the paint booth to join Joe’s Speedster which is ready for Silver Metallic paint. We promised Joe his Speedster back for Christmas. So Ryan and Ted will be busy at the paint booth. We moved Rhone’s ’60 Roadster from the blast shop to Boulder fer frame straightening to hopefully correct the T-bone. Then, it will be new pan, longitudinals, thresholds, rocker and fender repair. But the reason to stop on Tom’s Coupe and finish Alan’s Roadster was to make way for John’s Speedster. It was restored fifteen years ago but the restoration shop got into financial trouble and while the bottom of the Speedster seems correct much of the rest of the work is slap-dash i.e. the battery floor was welded with the panel outside rather than inside the battery box. Most of the poor repair was hidden under heavy undercoat. (*We insist customers inspect metal repair prior to paint and undercoat). So Tom’s ’52 Coupe is on the rotisserie, Joe’s Speedster is ready for paint. Alan’s Roadster is ready for finish, Rhone’s Roadster is being straightened and ready for metal work. John’s Speedster is being blasted and will be ready for metal work and up next is Tony’s Coupe which rolled out of the garage and had a relationship with a tree.
Tech Tip Update Update
Mike called from Colo Sprgs to remind me that the C hood latch is fail safe. If the latch wire breaks, the latch fails in the open position. Adjustment of the latch position is done by screwing the latch knob. So, C owners don’t need a safety wire but they really should inspect their hood latch just to marvel at German engineering. Another example of German engineering is the front hood hinges. If you have some out of a 356, play with them and marvel at the design. Also understand that American gas station attendants didn’t appreciate the design.
When we disassemble a 356 we immediately protect all wires that could be blasted or over sprayed, we cover them with aluminum foil and seal with duct tape. The foil/tape stays on until after the 356 is painted and undercoated. If you have ever used masking/duct tape on wire you know the problem after a few months. The aluminum foil solves the problem.