December 1996 Newsletter


Happy Holidays from 356 RESTORE. Did you remember to change your oil before storing your 356 for the Winter? We had a clinic at Appleton’s a few years back and he showed us the impressions of ice crystals on the engine parts. Fresh oil (as soon as you drive your 356 moisture enters the engine) will protect from Winter storage problems.

I’m sending this newsletter a little early to remind you of the RM356PC Xmas party. It will be at our home on Sunday, December 15th starting at noon. You don’t have to be a club member to attend. Call for directions and details. We have over 50 folks signed up so far so it will be fun.


Ron picked up his ’60 Cabriolet. He will have it painted in Cheyenne and then back here for reassembly. I picked up Jack H’s ’64 Coupe from the Blasters and it is now in the shop. Jack came by to check it out prior to metal work and was surprised by what was hiding underneath the paint and Bondo. His 356 is not that bad compared to most I get. So, the shop is full of three 1964 C Coupes. I finished all the metal repair on Dr. Jack’s Sunroof Coupe. I thought I finished last month but while scrapping undercoat off the bottom, my chisel went through the left front strut. (Inexpensive wood chisels are best for scrapping tar and undercoat). Dr. Jack’s 356 had a real heavy undercoat. This was done after the 356 was purchased and was both a plus and a minus. The plus is the 356 had no serious rust underneath (except for the strut and a front closing panel). The minus was the horns, shocks, heater values and transaxle had heavy undercoat.

For the horns, I scraped the undercoat off and had them sandblasted. I did not disassemble them. I’ve discovered that it’s easiest to blast them in one piece rather than disassembling and disturbing the paper gaskets. It’s a little tough to paint under the grilles but you can. With a horn kit they look like new and they still work. (I’ve done six pair this way-and don’t forget to mark which is the high and low tone.)

Dr. Jack’s shocks also had to be hand scraped. And guess what? Yep, they were the original Porsche shocks painted blue. Just like the ones I found on the Shop ’64 Cabriolet. So I think Porsche had Koni make shocks with the Porsche name on them (I doubt Porsche made their own). This probably happened at the same time Porsche bought out Reutter in 1963. Anyhow, with the strut repaired, I replaced all the chipped and loose undercoat (after cleaning the metal with a acid and applying two part epoxy paint) and then sealed the undercoat with paint. I also did the filler work on the body repairs and Dr. Jack’s 356 is ready for paint.

Believe it or not, all ’64 Coupes presently in the shop will be painted Ivory. Two are originals – Dr. Jack’s and Jack H’s – the other, Webb’s is a color change. I’ve commented before how models and colors show up in the shop in bunches, but this is getting weird.

While finishing up Dr. Jack’s Coupe I started on Webb’s 356. Again most of the metal repair was exterior with some repair to the longitudinal plus new jack spurs. The major problem was the hood which had rusted out in the nose due to a hood seal installed wrong and sitting with water in the hood channel.

I had three approaches to this repair. I could try to cut out rusted metal and weld up dozens of holes in the original hood. I could sacrifice a shop hood and replace the whole nose section or I could repair a shop hood to fit Webb’s 356. I decided to try both the last and first approaches and then decide which would fit best. It was obvious the repair and fit of a shop hood was going to take a lot of work i.e. filler. And since I don’t like a heavy hood, I went with a welding repair of the original hood. This took a lot of time, particularly splitting the fold over seam in the nose. This was rusted tight and I had to make a tool out of an old screwdriver. But I got it done and it was the right choice plus I have a partially repaired shop hood for a future project) good hoods are worth up to $1,000). So yet to do on Webb’s 356 are fresh paint and undercoat on the bottom plus restoration of the front storage, interior and engine compartment.

While I wait for material to dry on Webb’s 356, I’ll start on Jack H’s metal repair.


The Eastwood Company (1-800-345-1178) sells a complete buffing kit that you can mount on your bench grinder. It comes with eight buffing wheels, six compounds, face shield, gloves and a video. I have read good reviews on this system and would recommend it. It cost $85.00. While I opted for the more expensive professional buffing system, I am quite pleased with all of Eastwoods restoration products (call them for a catalog).


Next month we will report on 356RESTORE financials. Did Jim make money this year? What did he sell out of or buy into inventory? Go back and reread you newsletters, they will give you a clue.

Anyhow, by year end we will have restored over forty 356’s in four years and that is the real goal. Just keep driving your 356!

November 1996 Newsletter


Not a bad month. Quite a bit accomplished. I finished all the metal repair on Dr. Jack’s ’64 Sunroof Coupe. There were 25 areas that needed repair. Almost all were on the lower body. it was obvious the 356 had been stored wet, with mud and snow packed on the under curves and trap areas. There was also the traditional damage in front of the doors.

When I first had this 356 blasted I left on the doors, lids, and glass as I did not want blasting material inside what I thought was original material. I was correct. This is an all original 48,000 mile 356. it had not been previously disassembled or repaired i.e. no collision damage. My intent is to restore this 356 using all the original parts including carpet and interior. Only a few pieces of the carpet and interior need to be replaced. All the chrome and aluminum trim can be reused. The 356 had been repainted (Ivory) once but it was probably with Imron. This paint was so hard I couldn’t hand strip it. So I sent it back to the Blasters to have the door jams and openings blasted.  With Dr. Jack’s 356 back in the shop, I’ll do body finish and wait for an opening at the paint booth.

In the paint booth is Bruce’s Convertible D. Bruce is going to a color change from red to Aquamarine which is a beautiful blue/gray. (I agree, there are too may red sports cars.) Plus, Bruce has opted for lots of trick accessories so this will be one mean road machine.

Webb’s C Coupe was also blasted and I’ve started on the metal repair. Most of it is longitudinal, thresholds and previous work that failed. This 356 had some of those rubber buttons indicating an attempt at interior panel rust proofing. What I could see, whatever was sprayed inside didn’t work. Whenever I open a cavity for repair I clean and paint inside before welding it shut. (I once saw a 356 with new longitudinals that weren’t even painted on the outside; they were already rusting six months later._ When I finish the metal work on Webb’s 356 it will wait on the paint booth. Meanwhile, Jack H’s C Coupe will come back from blasting and we will start the metal work on it.

So we will be working on three C Coupes, plus Bruce’s Convertible D. but what happened to the shop cars and Ron’s ’60 Cabriolet? Well, Ron will take the Cab back to Cheyenne for paint and then back here for assembly. The shop ’57 Coupe is on loan to a potential buyer who decided he really wants an open 356. Meanwhile he is detailing the car and storing it while advertising it for sale. He spent hours rubbing out the paint and it glows like an Ivory jewel.

The Shop ’64 Cabriolet hung up in the upholstery shop waiting for a new front top bow. The guy that was making these died and it took a while for the vendor to find a new woodworker. But he didn’t have the steaming form. So we had him buy it from the window. he made six top bows before the form broke. We expect one for the Shop ’64. When he gets back on line he has an order from Stoddard for 200 top bows. Guess there are lots of Cabs waiting on top bows.

So if you are counting, I have five or six 356’s moving through the shop this winter. Since the shop really only holds three 356’s, I’ll be playing the logistics game. Since I gave up my storage area, I now have three Shop 356’s in a nearby barn, one in Greeley, one in Layette, and one in Vail. So I met with an architect and will soon start on my own storage building which we call the Carriage House and it will be on the east side of my driveway. This will be strictly for storage not shop work. it should hold eight to ten 356’s. Most of the storage areas in my neighborhood are for horses. Mine will be for horsepower.

During the month I also detailed Warren’s C Coupe and he drove it home. We had this 356 for almost two years and it always got low priority as Warren was in Florida and in no hurry. Since I felt bad about having his 356 so long I gave him lots of extras. The 356 looks great with its fresh Emerald Green paint and gold wheels. A little but of chrome and interior work and this will be a sharp 356.


I had to renew by driver’s license. When asked my hair color I said “you decide.” So I now have gray hair by hey! I’m good to the next century.


Barb and I will host the RM356PC Christmas party on Sunday, December 15th from 12:00-4:00. You don’t have to be a club member to attend. Please drop by and meet some great people. RSVP to 841-6475.

Also looks like the 1997 356 Registry West Coast Holiday will be the weekend  in August prior to the Monterey Historics which will feature Porsche. With the Holiday, the Concours, and the Vintage races, this will be the biggest Porsche event next year. Plan now! Coming up are Vintage Races in Las Vegas at the new race track and also in Phoenix. I hope to make one of both. More details later.

October 1996 Newsletter


Let’s start out with some Tech Tips! Over twelve years ago when I restored my first 356, I put the hood seal in backwards. It is supposed to be installed with the apex of the V inside and the arms pointing outside. When this was called to my attention, I re-installed the hood seal correctly. Since then I have seen a few other hood seals installed wrong. But no big deal; it’s not going to take 10 mph off your top speed.

Well I was wrong! Correct installation of the hood seal is very important. I just disassemble a ’65 Coupe with an improperly installed hood seal. The underneath of the nose of the hood was rusted out. Picture a V holding water under the hood! You got it, the reason why the seal should not trap water at the nose. This is a very difficult metal repair!

By the way, the cut in the hood seal is on the passenger side, upper corner where the factory weld shows, usually between the lower first and second screw of the corner piece.

In the last two weeks I’ve disassembled three 356’s to get them ready for media blasting. One item that is important to me is removal of the gas tank. I prohibit any gasoline in my basement shop (so does Barb!). On B/C 356’s the technique is to remove the tank hold down bolts and body to tank plates and then disconnect the gas line to the tank and pull the cotter pin on the lever.

Before removing the gas line to the tank make sure the lever is turned off i.e. to the Z or Zu (off) position. When you pull the line off you will have a few drips of gasoline so have a cloth handy. Do not have a trouble light under the work area. Use a flashlight! Well, two of the gas tanks I removed were no problem, but the third, when I pulled the gas line, gas spurted out. What happened was someone installed the gas lever upside down. What was supposed to be reserve was off and off was reserve. Fortunately I was able to crawl out from under and put the lever in the off position. Why did I not recognize the wrong lever position. Well, on A cars it’s one way and B/C cars the opposite. I forgot. The picture of gas pouring onto a hot light bulb sticks in my mind. Be careful!

By the way, gas in the tank is used in my lawn mower/snow blower. Also any money found in a 356 during disassembly is mine! I made over $5 this week with change I found under the floor mats. The most I found in the past was in the heater tube on the passenger side. Can’t you picture a child stuffing change in the heater opening by the floor.


We returned Mikes’s ’64 Coupe but also received three 356’s. Dr. Jack’s Sunroof Coupe came down from Vail and was disassembled and blasted. Web’s 356 C from New York was transported out here and also disassembled. A few days later, the third one, Jack’s C arrived and was also disassembled and sent to the blaster. So you know what I will be doing this winter. Three 356 C’s plus Ron’s ’60 Cabriolet as time permits. Plus Warren’s ’65 Coupe is just about ready for glass installation and the Shop ’64 Cabriolet should be back from the upholstery shop.


I took a Sunday off and helped crew on Norm’s 911 at the Pueblo Enduro Races. These are one and a half hour races with two mandatory 10 minute pit stops. It’s fun to watch the vintage Porsches race for more than 15-20 minutes. One of my jobs was to check tire pressure. We set at 24/26 psi front/rear at the start. Ten laps later the tires were at 30/32 and had to be bled. Ten more laps they were at 26/28 and had to be bled again. There were only two 356’s at Pueblo, Bill’s number 17 and Troy’s new race car. Bill is always fast and did well. Troy’s new race car looked great. He might have been the fastest Porsche but broke a rocker arm.


I loaned someone my Merritt/Miller book. This is the one on all 356 factory publications. I use it for determining correct factory options and installations. I need it back; it is expensive.


I see a definite upswing in 356 interest. Last month I mentioned I knew of some nice 356’s for sale. I received six calls. Since then I have had more calls from buyers and sellers. I hope this holds although it usually gets quiet during the winter. A possible buyer was interested in the Shop ’57 Coupe and I loaned it to him to evaluate. Well, he has had it for three weeks and loves the car but thinks he will buy an open car. Meanwhile he has driven the ’57 enough to seat the pistons, buffed out the paint, fixed the trim and cleaned the car. Guess what? He is going to sell it and we will split the profit over my original asking price.


Well I moved all my parts from the storage area to the shop. Of course this involved building shelves over the garage for the non 356 stuff. It took a while. I also moved Tom’s ’54 Cab to his friend’s garage (Tom is in Hawaii). So a few more 356’s moved from storage and we will be out of there and the major rent increase. Drop by the shop and check out my parts. Everything is here. In the past I wasn’t sure what I had. Of course, whenever I sell something, I will need it the following week!

September 1996 Newsletter


Well, I got a call from Germany. The guys who were here last month told their Dad about 356RESTORE and he will be out next spring. He is looking for a B Coupe and I may sell him my Black ’63 Sunroof Coupe. I don’t drive it that much and it would be nice to think of it on the Autobahn at speed.


Steamboat was great! I was proud to see one of the 356’s I worked on honored in the program and with a parade lap. Norm also did well in his race. It may be the last race for number “52” as the crash box transmission needs to be saved. Bill was also there with his ’63 Coupe which I got ready for Steamboat. While he didn’t race, he did drive it for the first time since 1980.

So I was pretty proud of my efforts. So proud, I bought another 356. I’m working on Bruce’s Convertible D and he had his Coyote race car for sale. I always liked this 356 so we made a deal. No! I won’t be racing (my eyes and concentration aren’t up to it- I know, I’ve been on three race tracks). But we may have a few guest drivers next year.

Next August 14-17, Porsche will be featured at Monterey! It was supposed to be this year but Porsche bowed out due to the Boxster introduction. It will be a great event and we’ve already made reservations. You should too!


At long last, we finished Mike’s ’64 Coupe. This 356 got a complete front clip (from the windshield forward), a rear clip, driver front floor, battery box bottom, sides and front, longitudinals, thresholds, rockers, closing panels, lockpost and other repairs I forgot. We are returning it to Mike in primer as he must fit everything before we paint. With so much metal work we will probably find problems with fit. It is a lot easier to fix this in primer rather than paint!

I’m doing the same thing on Ron’s ’60 Cabriolet. Ron has a mix of Cab and Coupe parts so I plan to fit everything prior to paint.

Warren’s ’65 Coupe will be next into the shop after Ryan does the color sand and rub out. I will need to install the glass and new rubber and make it pretty. This was a scratch and shoot job that had a lot of bondo over rust and really should have been blasted. We expect the Shop ’64 Cab back from the upholstery shop and also Dr. Jack’s Sunroof Coupe down from Vail. So we will be busy this winter, but I have to slow it down. Rather than 8-10 356’s a year we will probably commit to half that. The reason? Ryan is getting burnt out and my rent for the storage area just jumped to $750/mo. So we will have to stay in barn storage, build parts storage over my garage and slow down the number of 356’s.


I find myself dry fitting everything on a 356. I used to assume parts would fit but now I check out everything before assembly. I must use my metric tap and die set many times a day. I continue to be dissatisfied with reproduction parts. For example, for the Shop ’57 I needed door wedge receivers. This is a simple aluminum part but the suppliers were out of stock. So I got some rough originals from Carquip and back ordered the repros. Six months later the parts arrived. They wouldn’t fit! The holes were misaligned and the depth was too shallow! I’ll save them for a lockpost replacement job. The repro recievers will probably fit on a repro lockpost which doesn’t fit too well anyway!


The 3 year lease is up on the shop truck so I will get another S-10 Blazer. I checked into the Tahoe but they are so much in demand the dealers won’t deal. With the S-10 Blazer I get a good lease plus the benefit of my GM card. Yes, I use a GM Mastercard for all my 356 parts purchases. This saved me over $1000 on my new lease. I think it’s great that GM is funding Porsche restoration.


I don’t have fixed prices for 356 parts. I price them based on the 356 and the owner. When we lived in Minnesota there was an old man that lived on a nearby farm. He had an outdoor privy and we use to stack hay bales around his house for warmth. He must have been in his late eighties. He could no longer drive a car but still had his tractor. One day I drove him into town to have his tractor starter fixed. He had $5.20 for the repair. This is what they had charged him fifteen years prior for a similar repair. When I picked him up, the repair shop had charged him $5.20. When I questioned the repair shop owner it was not a question of charity, but respect. So that’s how I run my business; respect for the 356 Porsche and respect for the owner who cares.

356’s For Sale

I get calls on 356s for sale. I know of a nice Roadster and an outstanding SC Coupe. give me a call 840-2356

August 1996 Newsletter


Thanks to a reader of this newsletter we had some visitors from Germany drop by to check out the shop ’57 Coupe. While vacationing in the U.S. the father told them to look for a 356 Porsche. Turns out there are very few good 356’s for sale in Germany or Europe for that matter. So, the two young German men came to 356RESTORE and were blown away! They couldn’t believe the 356 Porsches or the commitment to their restoration. They shot a couple of rolls of film and I’m sure I’ll hear from the father.


We had a good turnout at Snowmass. Over twenty 356’s with lots from out of state. We had five cars from New Mexico, three from Utah and a beautiful black coupe from Kansas. Weather was great, the accommodations, food and company excellent. Barb drove her Twin Grille Roadster with the top down and this is the only way to enjoy the mountains. However, I’m not a good passenger in a 356. Its OK when you have a steering wheel and brakes for feedback but without them the passenger is just along for the ride. Of course, I didn’t have time to prep the Roadster so we had a small oil leak, the oil temperature gauge was bouncing all over the place, the wipers wouldn’t shut off and we had a shimmy from 57 to 64 miles per hour. The solution of the shimmy was to drive at 70 mph. So we made it home in three and half hours including a lunch stop in Georgetown. The solution to the other problems waits on my having time to work on my own cars.


We finished the work on Norm’s ’52 steel bodied factory race car (SBFRC). There was more metal work then expected (always true!). Paint had been applied to dirty surfaces (remember; clean, shiny metal!) and rust continued to do its thing. In addition to the metal work. I fabricated a rear valance. This is a piece that goes where the integrated bumper would go on the early 356’s. Bur the valance is a flush piece like you see on the Gmund coupes. To make this valance I was fortunate to have the wooden buck we made when trying to bend the rear aluminum bumper deco for the ’52 Coupe from Lincoln. To make the valance I formed sheetmetal to the buck, cut notches to make the curves, welded the cuts, fit the car and finished. We decided not to make a front valance due to some existing problems with the front clip. We also replaced the side and rear plexiglass, put in a new split windshield, added a Carrera exhaust, wire mesh headlight covers and leather hood straps. I think this 356 is an excellent example of the early race coupes. Hope you think so also; check it out at Steamboat during the Labor Day races. It’s the black number 52.

While I worked on the ’52 SBFRC Ryan was finishing up the paint on Warren’s ’65 Coupe. We’ve had this 356 for two years and it never got priority as the owner was in Florida and other projects got in the way. Anyhow, Warren should get his 356 back soon and Ryan will resume work on Bruce’s ’59 Convertible D.

After I finished Norm’s ’52 I started on Bill’s ’63 Super 90 Coupe. This is the remaining car I planned to have finished for Steamboat. While the ’63 won’t be raced it will be there after not turning a wheel since 1980! Bill rebuilt the engine and had the 356 painted. I get to do the reassembly. So far it’s going quite well and I’m sure we will make the Steamboat deadline.

After Steamboat, I’ll fix the minor problems (tachometer cable, turn signal, distributor) on the Shop ’57 Coupe and contact those interested in buying this 356. I’ll also have to install the windshields in Warren’s ’65 and make it pretty. Then there is the Shop ’64 Cabriolet which got stalled at the upholstery shop (Ron is doing the interior for the Marlboro train and ran into some rework but it was not his problem, the customer goofed). I also have to make arrangements to get Dr. Jack’s ’65 Sunroof Coupe down from Vail and pick up the shop cars I’ve got stashed in various storage spots. So the fun never ends!

Tech Tip

One of the advantages I have is access to numerous 356s during restoration. If I’m working on an A Coupe or a C Cabriolet I usually can find a similar 356 to check out wiring or parts placement. While I have the parts book and shop manuals sometimes they are not clear. It is always a lot easier to check out a similar 356.

I invite you to do the same. If you have questions on 356 assembly just drop by and check out the cars in the shop or in storage. At the present time we have access to Pre-A’s, A’s, B’s, C’s.


I’m really getting excited about Steamboat! Porsche will be featured and we expect lots of 356’s. The vintage race cars (last year there were 240) practice on Friday, practice/ qualify on Saturday and race on Sunday (Monday is a rain day if needed). On Saturday there is also a Concours at the courthouse downtown, an art show, vintage plane exhibit, and lots of parties. Hope to see you there; look for me in the pits by the 356s on the lawn in front of the condo or at Turn 2.

July 1996 Newsletter


While we took time off for family affairs, we still made some progress this month. We finished the underbody work on Don’s ’59 Coupe and installed the headliner and windshields. The 356 was delivered to the Black Forest where all Porsches should return. While there, we picked up Tom’s ’53 Cabriolet which Don’s brother Joe had stored for us for two years. Thanks Joe!

This month we plan to pick up the three shop cars stored in a nearby barn and one in Greeley. Those will go in my leased storage area. Finally I will have all my 356’s together.

Work continues on Norm’s ’52 SBFRC. There was a pressboard wood cover over the rear firewall. Upon removal we found about forty pop rivets and some major holes. We don’t know what was installed on the firewall, but I’m restoring it to its original shape. There was also plenty of brackets and holes in the rear floor pan, probably from racing seat configurations. The major problem has been rust in the longitudinals. This 356 race car has over a hundred one and two inch holes drilled into the inner metal. With so many holes in the inner longitudinals, water (probably from washing as the 356 has factory plexiglass side windows) got into the longitudinals and the 356 rusted from the inside out. Similar to Lauren’s problem when his 356 was stored outside with the sunroof open.

Anyhow, I repaired the longitudinals which is better than replacement as the Pre-A longitudinals, rockers and jackspurs have a different curve than later 356’s. And of course it’s hard to find Pre-A sheetmetal. After we get all the rust out and apply epoxy paint, caulk and undercoat, we will fabricate front and rear valances. This will give the 356SBFRC a Gmund look. By the way, in 1982 at Monterey, Norm met the Porsche bodyman that drilled all the holes in this 356SBFRC. He is still alive and we hope to fly him out here for Steamboat and conduct an in depth interview on what went on at the Porsche factory. More later!


It’s been awhile since I mentioned Open Shop. It’s still on every Saturday from noon till 3:56PM. It’s a great time to look at 356’s under restoration, check out parts, bench race and enjoy a beer or pop. I have had as many as twelve 356 folk out for Open Shop and usually one or two each Saturday. Everyone is welcome, you don’t even have to own a 356 to come by!

To get to 356RESTORE find Paker on the map (southeast of Denver, south of Aurora.) From the north, go south on Paker Road past Main Street. The next intersection is Hilltop Road. Go east 1 3/4 miles to N. Sunburst Trail. Turn right and go exactly one mile to 8356 N. Sunburst Trail. The shop is in the basement. Honk if I don’t answer the door. (I might be grinding!)


1957 Coupe, serial No. 100510. Ivory with burgandy leather interior. Rebuilt “C” engine. No rust, no leaks, looks great. Runs good but need to break in the engine. Chrome wheels, Konis, all new rubber. Priced at $13,500. You may remember this 356. It belonged to “Hammerdown” Nancy Smith. While Steve did most of the restoration, 356RESTORE finished it.


Unfortunately, blasting will not remove heavy undercoat or tar. The best tool to use is wood chisels; putty knives are too flexible. Just get the 356 up in the air, a good pillow under your head, eye protection and 6-8 hours later you will see what you have. Hopefully, it will be good metal.


356RESTORE has lots of 356 parts at very good prices. Usually 50% of retail. Plus these are originals not repros. While my interest is resoration parts, I have quite a few engine and tranny parts. I am not an engine/tranny guy and will let these parts go cheap or trade for items like turn signal lights, hood handles, etc. I have a large selection of drum brake parts i.e. backing plates, wheel cylinders, shoes, springs, etc. I probably have over forty plastic tear drop lenses at $3 each Drop by or call!


Don’t forget Summerfest this weekend at Snowmass (July 26-28th). We will be there so no Open Shop on Saturday the 27th.

Also at Steamboat over Labor Day there will be a race class just for 356’s. We have twenty-eight 356’s so far but could use some more. Contact Norm Martin at (303) 237-2428.

Also the 356 REGISTRY East Coast Holiday will be October 24-27 at Cypress Gardens, Florida.

June 1996 Newsletter


As my business card shows, I give advice on 356 problems. Hey! Somebody took my advice! My advice in the past was not to really tighten the negative cable on your battery. If you had an electrical problem, it would be nice to simply twist and remove the ground cable. Well, a 356 owner dropped by to have me look at a hood fit problem. He had an electric sunroof and when it started to rain he closed the roof.

Fifteen minutes later we went outside and he said he smelled smoke. He opened the 356 door and smoke poured out. I yelled “Pop the hood”; he did and I pulled out the unstrapped tire and pulled off the ground cable. The problem was found at the sunroof motor. The switch didn’t close and the circuit was unfused. (There is a special two fuse fuseblock for the electric antennae and sunroof). The sunroof motor was so hot I burnt my hand. We were within minutes of melting the headliner and blistering the paint. Because the ground strap was not over tight we saved minutes not looking for a wrench.

Well, we spent some time discussing where to get a 356 sunroof motor rebuilt but the next day the owner called and said the motor still worked! He also asked me to order the special fuse block.


I was preparing for the West Fest swap meet and had a nice speedometer I could sell. However, it had a dead spider inside. I had been nervous about trying to remove the soft bezel from a 356 instrument and had recommended sending them to an instrument shop where they have special tools. This time I tried removing the bezel with a small blade screwdriver. It worked! The bezel only overlaps by about 1/16 of an inch and does stretch a bit. I worked the bezel up about one third of the way around and it came right off. I removed the spider, cleaned the face, cleaned the inside glass and reattached the bezel by stretching it with my fingers. Once the bezel was on I pressed it down by rolling it on hard wood and then secured it by pressing with the nose of a clothespin. I was so impressed, I raised the price $25 but nobody bought it. I mentioned this repair at the swapmeet and someone said he had made a tool out of a butter knife for the same purpose.

West Fest Tech

I teched about a dozen 356’s prior to the West Fest track event at Mountain View. Many had problems with unsecured batteries. We can’t get the right size batteries for the 356 battery position so we must secure them with shims and straps. On the race track I have heard of unsecured batteries shorting out and also denting the hood. So make sure your battery is secured. Another problem is link pin adjustment. With the 356 jacked up at the front you should be able to grip the tire at the top and bottom and feel only a little play as you push-pull. I found a few 356’s with excessive play. The procedure to adjust the link pins is in the workbooks.


Barb and I were asked to judge the charity concours at Araphoe College. She did interiors and I did engines. We did about seventeen cars but no Porsches. For this type of concours you can’t really judge authenticity so you concentrate on cleanliness and condition. I judged a 1932 Cadillac Victoria that was perfect. After the five minutes of judging was almost up I finally found a little bit of dust. This car was perfect; I hope it won. Barb asked the owner if he would do her kitchen!


The shop ’57 coupe was driven to the West Fest and I received some nice comments. Thanks! I still need to do some distributor and carburetor work plus some electrics. I need to put on a few miles to check the rebuilt C engine and then it should sell between $13,000 – $15,000.

The shop ’64 Cab is at the upholstery shop and we should have it on the road soon. Don’s ’59 Coupe is just about ready for the headliner and underbody. I did some more work on Ron’s ’61 Cab by resetting the windshield frame and lockposts. Some more work on the rear fenders and most of the body work will be almost done. I started some work on Norm’s ’52 steel bodied factory racecar (SBFRC). We plan to have this 356 ready for Steamboat. In fact most of the effort over the next few months will be geared to Steamboat.

Future Events

Don’t forget the 356’s are meeting in Snowmass July 26-28th. There will be a 356 show on the mall Saturday and a banquet and breakfast. They enjoyed us so much at last year’s Holiday, they invited us back. Call 1-800-598-2004 for reservations.

And now is the time to make reservations at Steamboat Springs for Labor Day. Porsche is featured at the Races and concours. This year there will be activity on Friday so plan to arrive Thursday. This will be a big Porsche event – reserve now!

Tech Tips

NAPA sells a glass fuel line filler that looks great on a 356. A lot better than those plastic fillers. The part number is 730-9561.

April 1996 Newsletter

Problem Solving

I’ve told many of you that the reason I enjoy restoring 356 Porsches it that I get to solve a lot of problems. When I worked in an office I always had a plan; a strategic plan, a marketing plan, a product plan, a project plan. With the plan I could anticipate problems and consider solutions in advance. With a 356 however, you inherit problems. Over 30-40 years problems have been created by abuse, accident, poor repair, neglect and of course rust. You really can’t have a plan that will cover all the problems you will find on a 356. I’ve restored over thirty 356’s and still find new problems every day. This is my enjoyment, solving new 356 problems or solving previously discovered problems in a new and better way.

On the Shop ’64 Cabriolet we had the engine stored on a roll around so I never got to check the heater boxes. Once the freshly restored engine was in the car and I was able to get underneath I discovered the driver side L shaped pivot that connects the heater cable and rod was broken off.

What to do? Well this is the double flapper heater box used on S90/ SC’s. It turned out I had a spare set on the parts shelf but these are expensive ($320 each retail) and I hate to break up a set. Plus I would have to put had three levels of problem solving. I could try the extension, if it didn’t work I could try the assembly and if that didn’t work I could replace the complete heater box.

My kind of problem solving; I had a strategic plan! So I got under the 356 and saw I could pound back the heater box sheet metal to expose more of the broken pivot rod to clear the welder tip. After repair I could pound this back out by reaching through the flapper opening.

With the metal back, I used a dremel tool to grind a tip on the broken rod. Then I found some stock rod and also ground a tip. I left the rod long to ease the welding. The purpose of the tips where the rods would join is to allow weld between which could be ground down to clear the pivot. This technique of welding rods together was learned years ago when we first encountered a similar problem. Leaving the rod extension long meant I had something to hold when welding and I could trim it off with the side cutter after welding on the replacement pivot.

So, how did it go? Exactly as planned. The rod extension was welded on, the pivot prepared, properly positioned and welded on and the extension trimmed. There was no frustration, only enjoyment because I knew if the first attempt failed, I had two more solutions. Time involved; one half hour to study solutions, 15 minutes to implement. (By the way, 356RESTORE never charges for solution time, just implementation time.)


Progress has slowed as my helper over committed so there has been rework and delay. I got the Shop ’57 Coupe finished and off to Boulder for adjustments and engine tune-up-I am now alternating between Appleton and Conway. I also finished the Shop ’64 Cabriolet except for door assembly. The ’64 should be off for upholstery within the next week. Don’s ’59 Coupe is in paint but needed some minor rework

before I finish it. Mike’s ’65 Coupe was also sent back for rework. Warren’s ’65 Coupe is ready for paint and Bruces’s ’59 Convertible D was started but then stalled. Paul’s ’52 Coupe went back to Lincoln and I spent a few hours repairing the damage to Norm’s ’62 race car. Hey! racers, you aren’t suppose to damage these great cars!

Follow Up

I asked Stoddard why the C steering coupler had gone from $40 to $140. The answer was that they had possible problems with the quality from their supplier and rather than take a chance with liability, they now provide a Porsche part. I can’t argue with this since I always have a trained mechanic check out my mechanical work.

On the Shop ’57 Coupe the doors were binding on the front hinge upright. I had to trim both the metal and rubber seal before the door fit flush. Just one sixteenth of an inch at the hinge would cause the door to be out three eights at the lock post.

Tech tip

Wurth no longer provides the black sealant I had used for years to seal windshield seals and other rubber to the 356 body. I switched to GE Silicone II black sealant and it works just as well. In fact, many household sealants and adhesives are just as effective as the specialized automotive products


March 1996 Newsletter


We had a great turn out for the tech session at 356RESTORE last month. One of the subjects I covered was 356 doors but I only did about a half hour and I could have gone on for another hour. One of the things I learned in the business world was to watch the audience. After a half hour I could tell they were saturated on doors so we will keep the discussion going here.

One of the most important things about 356 door fit is not only perfect seams and the fit to the body but also internal gaps. The ’60 Cabriolet in the shop has good seams and body fit but the inner door touches the lockpost! There is no way that you could fit a door panel and a door seal and still have the door flush with the body. On the Cab I’m probably going to have to move the lockpost in and the fenders and rocker out.

One way to work this problem is to ensure you have at least one half inch gap between the inner door and the lockposts and threshold. While it’s nice to have none or few shims on the door hinges it’s more important to be able to close the door. So move the lockposts or shim the door to get your inner gap. You will then have to move the body panels to fit the door.

I also recommend trial fitting the door panels and door seal (just tape it in place) before final finish and paint. Then when assembling the door leave the stricker plate off to last. First install the door panel (this could be a tech session all by itself). Does the door close flush and you still have room for the door seal? If okay, proceed to the door seal; if not can you move the door seal channel back or grind it down. Now glue in the door seal. Do short sections (two feet at a time), use tape to hold it in place . Leave the ends long to trim to the threshold rubber later. Does the door close flush with the seal in place? Great! If not, you may have to trim the door seal. Now install the hinge cover with ID plate.

Esoteric Tech Tip

So your 356 is perfect and you still want to make it better. Take this tip from John Jenkins. Remove all your lugnuts, clean them with Metal Prep, buff them on your wire wheel and then treat them with gun blueing. Believe it or not, John did this and he had the best lug nuts ever on a 356. So if you worry about your nuts make them blue!

Tech Tip

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The most important thing in 356 metal restoration is getting to clean shiny metal before finish. I’ve seen three 356’s which had been “restored” and looked great for only a few months. After grinding down the paint and filler we found rusty metal. The factory started out with clean, shiny metal and got ten-twenty years before rust. Why would you want to cover rust and expect anything more than a few months before the finish begins to fail. If you don’t do the metal work yourself, insist you see the clean shiny metal before the restoration shop applies primer, filler and paint. If you need reinforcement, visit my shop and I’ll show you tarred over licences plates, fiber glass and tin cans used for “restoration”-even shop rags stuffed into rust areas have been found.

February 1996 Newsletter


I had been working six days a week without a break since Thanksgiving (and even this break was combined with business) so I went to Phoenix! Barb was in China helping Dixie adopt Dixie and Jim’s baby girl (welcome Danielle!). Phoenix hosted the first Vintage Sports car race of 1996 and I was told this was a great event. It was! The race was at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) which was one of the best tracks I’ve attended. We had 220 vintage racers in seven groups. Practice and qualifying was on Friday with races on Saturday and Sunday. There were forty Colorado drivers there and plenty of Porsches. It’s great how the 356 can still beat the 911!

I helped Scotty with his Mini Cooper. Scotty also owns five 356’s and I just finished his ’53 Cabriolet in primer. Anyhow in Phoenix Scotty had his Mini and had one problem. Remember what we discussed in this Newsletter about changing brake fluid? Well Scotty did well in Friday practice but after his brakes locked and in qualifying they caught fire! Scotty who has raced sports cars for forty five years (deduct 45 from 1996!) calmly stopped, unstrapped, grabbed his fire extinguisher and put out the fire and drove back to the pits.

The next morning we bled the Mini’s brakes and while the fluid to the rears was OK, we found discoloration and black specks through the front lines. We purged and bled the lines and all was fine for Saturday and Sunday races I hate to admit it but Scotty passed two 356’s during the races.


Well I wasted some time this month preparing for the PCA Tech Session. There was little 356 interest. I also spent time preparing for the Restoration Clinic at my shop on Sunday March 17 (starts at 11:00 AM if you get this newsletter in time). The Shop ’57 Coupe is almost done. The interior is complete. The engine is in and I just need to complete some linkage adjustments and electrics. I may hang on to this 356 until the RM356PC event at Mountain View Speedway on June 8th. If it performs well, I’ll set the selling price a little higher.

Paul’s ’52 should have been done but after engine start up at Appleton’s I still have to reposition and weld in the shift bracket before driving. Plus I found a gas tank leak which required tank removal because whoever painted the tank used the wrong paint and it blistered and got inside the tank from around the filler opening. And the rear brake shoes are still swollen because seals were missing on the tranny and 90 weight leaked onto the brakes and whoever put in the wiring harness did it wrong and there is no power out of three fuses. Such are the joys of 356 restoration.

Mike’s ’65 Coupe is nearing completion. All the metal work is done and we’ve stared on primer, caulk and undercoat.

Warren’s ’65 is close to paint. We discovered no metal under the bondo on the driver side rocker so we had to replace the rocker. It will be nice to get this long term project wrapped up.

Don’s ’59 Coupe is at the paint booth and I need to put in a headliner plus windshields and return it to Don and Joe for re-assembly. They plan on getting it back together in two weeks (good luck guys!)

The Rocky Mountain 356 Porsche Club will host another West Fest in June. This will be a track event at Mountain View plus the swap meet, show and drive at Ed Carroll Porsche in Fort Collins.

Some progress on the ’52 Coupe from Lincoln. Appleton’s got the engine running which is a big relief but we still had to solve some problems with the linkage due to the later transmission.

Upcoming Events

There will be a restoration clinic and chili feed at 356RESTORE on March 17th. This is in connection with the RM356PC club monthly event. Everyone is welcome including non-members.

January 1996 Newsletter


I intended to mention a 356 for sale last month but forgot. I get two or three calls a month on 356’s for sale and try to pass the info on to those I know are interested in buying. Right not I’m not buying as I own nine 356’s and need to restore at least five before I rebuild my inventory.

A couple that receives this newsletter has to part with their 1960 Sunroof Coupe. They sent me a picture and I gave them a call. The 356 has 48 thousand miles and they are the third owner. The say it is rust free and a right running car. It has a decent leather interior but needs a headliner. The 356 was originally White but is now Dark Blue. From the picture I would recommend a block sand and repaint in the future. The asking price is $10,000 which is very reasonable for a Sunroof Coupe. I am not brokering the car but would like to do any future restoration. The 356 is in Telluride; call me for the phone number.

The Market

How do I read the 356 market? Well I read the advertised asking prices , but know of few sales. I get more calls from sellers than buyers. Most of the 356’s for sale are rough (which is good for the restoration business). Most of the buyers are looking for open cars or rare cars. There also appears to be a market for vintage racers if incomplete but rust free 356 rollers or shells.

One gauge I use for the 356 market is swap meets. We just had one last month and I sold $500 worth of 356 parts which is about what I did at last year’s swap meet. In previous years I hardly sold anything. So I concluded there are buyers but mostly for the low cost project cars. There are buyers for good quality restored 356’s but they also want value and the reputation of the restoration shop is important. Since I hope to sell three or four shop cars this year, I intend to only sell accurately represented cars at a fair price.


The Shop ’57 Coupe is coming together in good shape. Almost all the metal and parts are original. I’m having the door panels redone but having some delay in matching the leather.

Mike’s ’65 Coupe just needs a rocker panel, bottom paint, caulk and undercoat plus primer and it is ready to back to its owner. This 356 got a bottom everything plus front and rear clips. Mechanically this looks like a sweet 356; it was just rough in the body.

We also got a running start on the metal work on Don’s ’59 Coupe. Almost all the driver side lockpost, inner fender and outer skin was rusted. This has been repaired also with other rusted panels.

Scotty’s ’53 was finished in primer and put in storage waiting for the next step. The work was performed to the estimate even though additional problems were found and solved. Scotty also paid promptly; this is how the trust relationship should work. You trust 356RESTORE to do quality work, we trust the customer to meet his/her commitment.

I’ve got about a weeks worth of finish work on Paul’s ’52 Split window Coupe and then it will be shipped back to Lincoln. Appleton’s got the engine running

The Rocky Mountain 356 Porsche Club will host another West Fest in June. This will be a track event at Mountain View plus the swap meet, show and drive at Ed Carroll Porsche in Fort Collins.

Also I intend to get on Ryan’s back about Warren’s ’65 Coupe which just needs a rocker panel and repaint. We have been storing this 356 free for over a year which is not way to run a business. There has also been a delay in the final paint on the Shop ’64 Cabriolet.

One of the newsletter recipients flew me to Dallas to look at his Pre-A Speedster. While this made me feel important, reality was rolling around a warehouse cement floor in zero degrees temperature. Anyhow the Speedster is in paint and just needs assembly (have we heard this before?). I will finish this 356 this year because it is a nice early Sppedster and the owner is knowledgeable.

Upcoming Events

There will be a restoration clinic and chili feed at 356RESTORE on March 17th. This is in connection with the RM356PC club monthly event. Everyone is welcome including non-members


1957 Coupe, Ivory with maroon leather. Fresh restoration by 356RESTORE. Original pan and battery box. Rebuilt engine to Super specs