November 1998 Newsletter

Tech Tip

This is a useless tech tip. The birds or deer keep knocking the bottom plastic plug out of the tube type bird feeder. It finally disappeared. The replacement is the drain plug from a 741 transmission. Actually the tech tip is you should become familiar with standard pipe threads on your 356. Brakes, tranny, engine. Sometimes you can substitute a common plumbing piece for a repair or fabrication.


Cal’s Speedster should go to the painter this week. The painter is without a helper so Allan’s ’59 has taken a few weeks longer than normal. While I’ve been waiting, I’ve worked on restoring the Speedster parts. The steering wheel had a lot of cracks. You clean these out with a dental tool (ask your dentist or order similar from Harbor Freight). Then pack them with plastic filler (bondo). Sand with 100-600 grit. Then prime with two part epoxy and wet sand with 1200 grit. Paint with the appropriate steering wheel paint from Stoddard. Then seal with two to three coats of Clear.

Cal’s steering wheel was beige but the steering column was black. Most steering columns would have been beige or gray. When I disassembled the column I could tell it was originally black and was appropriate for a Pre-A white car with red interior. Beige or gray wouldn’t look right. For those of you on 356TALK on the Internet you know that interior colors and trim on Pre-A’s and A’s has been much discussed. The consensus is what looked right was right.

After many discussions with knowledgeable 356 folks, I’ve decided to paint Cal’s Rudge Knock off wheels with a powder paint chrome. To rechrome the wheels would have been about $2,000 each. The problem is not only do the wheels have to be split, the twelve rivets have to be removed for chroming. These are special metric rivets which are hard to find. Removal of the original rivets may mean replacement. I’ve looked at the powder paint chrome finish and it looks like a semi gloss stainless steel. I think it will look ok; not chrome but also not $10,000.

The other parts for Cal’s Speedster were straight forward restoration. Strip to bare metal (media blast or paint stripper), repair as necessary, paint with two part epoxy primer and paint original color. The Speedster seats and top bow needed lots of repair but turned out great. The Speedster seat upholstery was all original and quite unique on how it was attached. You can tell how these seats were low cost and uncomfortable. Cal’s Speedster also has the Coupe seat option. Recent surveys indicate most Speedsters sent back to the States by servicemen had the Coupe seat option. My ’56 Speedster also has Coupe seats.

I’ve also done some work on Norm’s ’54 race car. Since this Coupe gets all the latter stuff, everything requires fabrication. Since Norm is a big guy we first found a comfortable race seat and positioned it to the steering wheel. Then we positioned the B/C shifter which connects to the 741 tranny. The later B/C pedal cluster required fabrication of the throttle linkage. The 911 master cylinder required fabrication of the brake lines and the brake light switch and of course the disk brakes required major fabrication of the front suspension. And since ’54 Pre-A’s didn’t have a front sway bar we had to fabricate one of those. The rear sway bar is from Vic Skirmat’s and is a bolt on-no fabrication. Thanks, Vic!

So the past month has been mostly parts restoration. Since Blast Tech wasn’t too busy, I sent about 20 doors, 12 bumpers, 4 hoods, 4 deck lids in for blasting. This is after I had them do about sixty wheels. Anyhow I’m thinking of restoring these parts and hauling them out to L.A. for the February 7th Swap Meet which is getting to be a big deal. I’ll need a trailer this time but more importantly if I sell a lot of parts, I will need to replace them. So if you have 356 parts or know of some I would like to buy them or take them on consignment. I pay about 25 cents on the dollar. In other words, if I think a bumper will sell for $200 after restoration, I will buy it for $50. My philosophy is 356 parts shouldn’t be on the shelf. They should be restored and put on a running 356.

I said last month that Allan’s ’59 was the last customer car for a while. Guess what? Rocky’s 64/65 SC Coupe showed up! I evaluated this 356 in October 1992 when I first started 356RESTORE. Rocky didn’t have the time or resources then but does now. And since he was one of my first potential customers I will start on his 356 next year. I indicated this is a 64/65 which means it is a ’64 but 1965 rolled around and it became a ’65 as you can’t tell the difference. (I think the only difference between ’64 and ’65 is the absence of a coachbuilder badge in 1965 since Porsche bought out Reutter and didn’t badge the 356 in 1965.) If you know of other 64-65 differences let me know-could be worth a prize. Rocky’s 64/65 was also imported from France and has the neat importer’s badge on the engine shroud. I haven’t had time to evaluate the 356 yet buy it doesn’t look too different from when I checked it out in 1992.

October 1998 Newsletter


Its been two months since we reported progress but even with all the great events this summer we did get some work done.

Jim H’s C Coupe had the metal work done. The major work was on the left lockpost which had a very poor previous repair. I found the original lockpost pushed back and a metal strip welded in. I was able to remove the repair and weld in an original piece. The right headlight bucket and fender brace also needed to be repaired.. These were replaced with reproduction parts which fit with some rework. The C Coupe was painted its original Ruby Red and I painted, caulked and undercoated the bottom. I also put in a new headliner and reinstalled the front and rear windshields. The 356 C was trailered back to Loveland and Jim has the pleasure of final reassembly.

The metal work on Cal’s Speedster is done. This has been a major project during the past two months. I started with the dash. A radio and ashtray had been installed. These were easy repairs as it was just butt welding in pieces to fill the holes. The curve of the dash was more difficult but there was enough metal left to come close to the original and the Pre A eyebrow was restorable and used as a jig. (While in Monterey, I took pictures of the dash of a Pre A Speedster for reference. However, they had used an A eyebrow which is the only repro part available. It looked ok but really wasn’t right.) The original restored Pre A eyebrow made a perfect repair. Pre A’s had two big instruments and a small oil pressure gauge in the middle. A’s had the latter three big instruments, as a result the eyebrows are different. Other dash features are also different.

After the dash, I repaired the inner longitudinals and tunnel and put in a new floor pan. Next it was longitudinal repair, a new jack spur, a new battery box floor and lots of small repairs. The hood needed kink repair and the passenger door a new bottom. The underneath was painted, caulked and undercoated. The tranny was removed and cleaned. Cal’s Speedster is ready for the painter but the painter is working on Allan’s ’54 Coupe. While I wait I’ll restart on Norm’s ’54 racecar or work on Cal’s brakes.

Allan’s ’59? I said I was done with customer 356’s and would only work on mine for a while. However Allan’s ’59 needed very little metal work so I slipped it in between projects. When it gets its new coat of Ivory paint, I’ll put in a new headliner and reinstall the windshields. Allan will do the rest of the reassembly.

I picked up the ’56 Speedster I get in exchange for restoring Cal’s ’55 Speedster. I needed to pick it up before the snow flies as it has the Rudge Knockoff wheels that will go on Cal’s Speedster. Since these have special brake drums I can do the restoration and swap during the winter. Rudge Knockoffs are valuable wheels and I plan to be very careful with their restoration. Not only do they have to be separated prior to rechroming, this has to be done with special lathes to ensure they are true. The other issue is security. A few years ago, many sets of Rudge wheels “disappeared” at a restoration shop. My ’56 Speedster is very rusty yellow with black racing stripes. It’s obvious it will need a new pan, longitudinals, battery box floor, fender braces, closing panels and lots and lots of other repairs. But Hey! it’s a Speedster and worth doing. It comes without an engine but I just checked and one of my spare engines is a ’56 super!

So, after Cal’s Speedster and Allan’s ’59 it will be Norm’s ’54 and then the Shop Cab or Speedster.


Starting in November the shop hours will be Tuesday through Saturday. I’ll be using Mondays to help Barb with her project. Barb has talked for years about managing a tea room. I thought a few hundred square feet in an old building. Well, she found a 8,000 square foot house on five acres. There is a lot of rehab to do before she opens “Hilltop House” for her banquet facility and I like this kind of restoration too! So on Mondays it will be “this old house” rather than 356RESTORE.


The last vintage race of the season was at Pueblo. Bill and I co-drove the ’58 Company Car. My 356, his engine. I was the first car out Saturday for practice. I had never driven the track and it was foggy. If I saw skid marks going right, I turned left. By the afternoon I sort of learned the track. But Sunday they put all the production cars on the track for an Endro. Sixty plus cars. Lots of Corvettes, Mustangs and Trans Ams. But the Company Car held its own in the corners. Those big bore cars may be fast on the straights (I hit 100 + mph) but 40 year old Porsches can catch them in the corners.

Tech Tip

When you install your front hood and rear deck, there should be some index holes for alignment. These are holes drilled by the factory through the hinges. Use these for your first trial fit. If not right, drill some new holes after a good fit. It will help in the future.

September 1998 Newsletter


What a great summer for Porsche enthusiasts. I’m sitting here on the deck at a Steamboat condo composing this newsletter in my mind. It’s evening, a gentle rain is falling and I just drove the last lap at Steamboat. The Steamboat Vintage Race is no more. I’m looking at the new condos that mean we no longer get to race on the streets. I’m remembering all the great times this summer.

Off To Monterey

No sooner had we recovered from the great Steamboat Classic then it was off to Monterey. We had looked forward to this trip for two years (even had our condo reservation for two years). This was the big 50th anniversary celebration of Porsche. There would be a 356 West Coast Holiday, Vintage Races at Laguna Seca featuring Porsche and the Concours at Pebble Beach.

Barb thought about driving her Roadster but would have had to do it on her own as I had the Blazer packed with 356 parts for the big Swap Meet. She opted to ride with me. I did flat tow a C Coupe out to San Jose for a friend. We convoyed out with the Petitts. Norm was trailering his ’51 Coupe which was invited to race at Laguna Seca. (Over three thousand vintage race cars applied; only 340 were invited). The trip out was without incident. We saw lots of motorcycles heading east to Sturgess and lot of hot rods heading west to Reno. Reno hosts what they call Hot August Nights and the town was full of hot rods.

The condo’s we reserved at Monterey were right on the dunes. A perfect place to relax, visit with 356 friends and prepare for the event.

356 West Coast Holiday

We had over 400 356 Porsches at this event! This is more than we will ever see in one place again. Friday was registration and tech sessions. The real fun was watching the 356’s arrive at the host hotel. 356’s from all over the U.S. Speedsters were common and there were plenty of Carrera’s. The colors were as if Dr. Porsche had distributed jelly beans.

Saturday was tour day and a Literature Swap. The tours were organized in a tour book which was very well done. 356’s took off for Big Sur, Carmel Valley, Monerey Wine Country or the back roads. We had 356’s all over the place. You should have seen the heads turn as they went by. I sold a wood steering wheel and a chrome horn ring at the Literature event which was packed with buyers. $750 was not a bad start and I still had a truck full of parts for the Swap Meet.

Sunday was the Concours at the Quail Lodge Golf Course. Three hundred eighty seven 356’s were counted on the grass and there were at least two dozen late arrivals parked on the roads. Unfortunately, serial No. 1 was not there due to an off loading accident in Chicago. It is now back at the factory for repair. But the Gmund Le Mans Coupe was there plus other museum and special Porsches. Again there was a category for “rusty” 356’s and a Pre A Cabriolet with plenty of rust and the horse hair and springs sticking out of the seats was going to be the obvious winner. An excellent lunch was catered at the Concours site and then many of the 356’s went on the 17 Mile Tour. That night was the awards banquet-very well done.

Monday we had access to the Laguna Seca Race Track and we put over 300 356’s in two groups on the track for parade laps. No passing, but lots of fun. You’ve probably seen the Corkscrew turns on TV but until you’ve driven it you don’t know what a steep drop it is. Monday night we had the Monterey Aquarium reserved for the Holiday Banquet. What a place! Outstanding food and drinks available at numerous food stations and fantastic views of the sea life without the crowds. Barb fell in love with the sea otters, but we couldn’t stay late as we planned to be up at 5:00 AM for the Swap Meet.

I did real well at the Swap Meet. There were lots of buyers and I sold over $3,000 worth of parts. I sold some side glass to a guy from New Zealand. I asked him how he would get it home. He didn’t know but he really needed the glass. I sold some parts to a Japanese guy who did not speak English. We exchanged notes and parted with polite bows. The Swap Meet ended the Holiday and we would have a few days before the Laguna Seca Races,so we decided to sleep in Wed. But everyone woke up at 7:00 AM when a 5.3 earthquake hit. Being a native Californian I knew what it was but it is still a weird experience. So time to relax, long walks on the beach, shopping and prep the ’51 Race Car.

Laguna Seca

Friday at Laguan Seca was practice for new drivers. There would be fourteen race groups. Starting with the Pre war racers and ending with the big fast, fast cars. Seven groups would race Saturday and seven on Sunday.

Friday the pits began to fill. Of the 340 race cars, 124 would be Porsches. The factory had a huge exhibit with 24 Porsches from the Museum. Norm’s car performed well during practice. Since we put a 1300 cc two piece case engine in it we didn’t expect much from 45 H.P. Norm was slow up the hill but man could he fly downhill through the Corkscrew!

Saturday was race day and it was crowded. They had to close the gates (not since the Pope’s visit had they done this.) 550 Spyders were so common in the pits they were like Volkswagons. There were Gmund 356’s, Carrera Abarths, 917/10’s, 908’s, 936’s, 962-and more. It’s possible every Porsche Race car was represented. Some of the big name Porsche drivers were there-Haywood, Bell, Follmer, McAfee, Linge, Herrmann and Rohrl.

There was a parade of Porsche Race Cars during the lunch break and I got some great video. I remember a 962 taking some hot laps and then pulling in. A young boy about 12 got out and were his eyes big. Wonder who he was.

Dr. Wolfgang Porsche drove a 1951 Sauter Roadster-was he ever having fun!

It was overload! We would miss Sunday races as we had tickets for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. (The tickets for the Concours completely fund the United Way in Monterey. I asked Barb if there were any disadvantaged folks in Monterey/Carmel-must be).

Upon the advice of previous Concours attendees, we got there early Sunday. Glad we did, as by noon it was packed. They park you on 17 Mile Drive and bus you to the event. While Porsche had their own area the event was really about the great classic cars. I had never heard of a Minerva but there were about a dozen of them in their own group. Great Sedans from the ’20’s. I’m glad I took pictures early, as soon there were too many people to be able to see the cars. We left at noon and drove to Big Sur for a picnic. Then it was time to pack up and head home.

Steamboat Races

The next event was the RMVR Labor Day weekend races at Steamboat. This would be the 15th and last street race. Perhaps the last street race in the U.S.

Since I hadn’t time to rebuild my race engine, Bill F donated his street (?) engine for the Company Car. He only had a few hours on his new engine but we put it in the ’58 Coupe and it ran well. He got to drive as it was his engine. However, after the last race Sunday, they put all the race cars on the track for a goodbye parade. The people said it was terrific-I didn’t see it , I was driving the last lap at Steamboat.

July 1998 Newsletter


The Speedster is not a virgin. I could tell during disassembly that someone had been here before. You can tell by missing washers and mis-sized hardware. Anyhow, the Speedster is off to the blast shop when the C Coupe is blasted. Then I hope to get Jim’s metalwork done and off to the painter while we are in Monterey.

Then I’ll help Jim with his reassembly, do the metal work on the Speedster and hopefully finish Norm’s ’54 Race car. Jim’s C Coupe is my last customer commitment; so after it I can work on my own 356’s. I may take a few small jobs if they fit my schedule. Don’t forget-I have to rebuild an engine for “The Company Car”.


Speaking of racing, I just got back from the Vintage Race at Second Creek. This was a charity event and again we raised over $40,000. (Had hoped to see more of you there. Do it next year.) We were trying to get Norm’s ’52 steel bodied factory race car sorted out for the Monterey Historics. However, we are having problems with oil pressure and need to adapt a deep sump to the 2-piece case engine.


At present, there is a lot of sales activity for 356’s. I get a lot of calls. Must be folks are happy with their 401K’s and want to invest in a little fun. Anyhow, a newsletter recipient wants to sell a ’64 C Coupe, Black/Black, engine/trans rebuilt, minor rust, needs carb work, $11,500. Contact the owner at (303) 773-2376 evenings. I believe there were only 50 or so Black/Black C Coupes produced.


What a great summer for Porsche enthusiasts. I’m sitting here on the deck at a Steamboat condo composing this newsletter in my mind. It’s evening, a gentle rain is falling and I just drove the last lap at Steamboat. The Steamboat Vintage Race is no more. I’m looking at the new condos that mean we no longer get to race on the streets. I’m remembering all the great times this summer.

Steamboat Classic

The RM356PC put on a great event in July. It preceeded the Porsche Club National event at Steamboat. The town was full of Porsches. We had close to a hundred 356’s for the Classic. Barb drove her Twin Grille Roadster while I had the Blazer full of parts for the Swap Meet. On Friday there were driving tours or white water rafting. Barb and I did the rafting which was a kick and something we wouldn’t have done on our own. But with the 356 friends, it was great. Rich borrowed Barb’s Roadster to lead the driving tour so even the 356 got a workout while we were on the Colorado River. Food at the Classic was first class and Friday we had a pig roast.

Saturday was a fun Gymkhana and Swap Meet. While I was busy selling parts I could hear the laughter of folks doing silly things in their 356’s. This was also Rainbow Weekend at Steamboat so the sky was filled with hot air ballons. What a sight. The color and beauty of both ballons and Porsches. The banquet Saturday was at the top of Mr. Werner. Beautiful sunset and then the glow of the balloon show.

Sunday was the Concours at the Torian Plum Plaza. The 356’s were staged all around the plaza-you would turn a corner and see another great 356. I helped judge and there were some great cars, some at a National level. (The judging team that I was in judged Brett Johnson’s 356 and found a few originality errors. Brett wrote the book on originality so score one for 356RESTORE). We stayed over Monday for the PCA Concours. While there were hundreds of great Porsches, they were all staged in rows. Very Teatonic but not much fun.

There is a great video of the Steamboat Classic. It is the best I’ve seen of a 356 event. It is available for $60 from N.W.F.T. Video Productions, PO Box 156, Indian Hills, CO 80454. A great Christmas gift.


June 1998 Newsletter


Speaking of racing, I just got back from the Vintage Race at Second Creek. This was a charity event and again we raised over $40,000. (Had hoped to see more of you there. Do it next year.) We were trying to get Norm’s ’52 steel bodied factory race car sorted out for the Monterey Historics. However, we are having problems with oil pressure and need to adapt a deep sump to the 2-piece case engine.


At present, there is a lot of sales activity for 356’s. I get a lot of calls. Must be folks are happy with their 401K’s and want to invest in a little fun. Anyhow, a newsletter recipient wants to sell a ’64 C Coupe, Black/Black, engine/trans rebuilt, minor rust, needs carb work, $11,500. Contact the owner at (303) 773-2376 evenings. I believe there were only 50 or so Black/Black C Coupes produced.


In last month’s newsletter I said I had Barb’s Twin Grille Roadster running. Well it did but when I went to start it a week later-dead battery. Now I had just bought three new NAPA 72000 series 6 volt batteries. I like them because they are bigger than the Interstate and fit the T-5/T-6 battery area without shimming. I put the batteries in Barb’s Roadster, my Sunroof Coupe and the shop ’64 Cabriolet. All started and ran fine. (By the way I sold the shop Cabriolet. When I told a guy there was still weeks worth of effort to finish it and I didn’t have the time; he said he would finish it in exchange for credit against the sale price. I checked out his garage complete with lift and gave him the 356. He did a great job on finishing it and I sold it to him for the asking price less the credit for his work.) Anyhow I recharged the Roadster’s battery and when touching the ground strap to the battery I heard a relay click. It was the horn relay. Aha! That’s the problem, the horn is always hot and I’ve got a short. Sure enough, I hooked up the recharged battery and next day it’s dead. But the Twin Grille Roadster has a new wiring harness and new relays. So I disconnected everything horn related and again the charged battery is dead in a day. So I walk away from the problem (highly recommended trouble shooting technique). Could it be the new battery? I start up my Coupe; battery is still good after a week. Put the Coupe battery in the Roadster. Roadster starts; wait two days; Roadster starts again. Take suspect battery to NAPA; sure enough, good 12 volts but minimal starting amps. They replace battery. Problem solved.

While on the subject of the newsletter, we will skip next month as we will be in Monterey for the Holiday and Historic Races/Concours. I hope to put out a two page newsletter with pictures in September. Right now over 800 356 enthusiasts are registered for the 356 Holiday. So expect we will see over 400 356’s in one place-Monterey the place to be for the 50th anniversary of Porsche.


We picked up Jim H’s C Coupe and had only to disassemble a few pieces as Jim had done the major disassembly. Then it was off to Blast Tech. Man are they busy! Not just the restorers but they still have contracts with the GM dealers who get priority. (Call me if you need to know about the hidden warranty on GM paint problems). Anyhow, while waiting for Jim’s 356 to get blasted, I picked up Cal’s 1955 speedster. This is the guy who owns three and wants to get at least one done. We agreed I’d restore one for him at my expense and labor in exchange for another. Since this Speedster was stored outside since 1977 I knew I might find serious rust. But it’s not too bad. It had a hardtop on with plexiglass side curtains, but still there were leaks. The passenger door bottom is gone, most of the dash is gone, the rear pan is gone as is some of the tunnel and inner longitudinal. But the body is straight, gaps are good, rockers good (great! as these Pre-A pieces are NLA), longitudinals not too bad and even one jack spur is good. But just about every trim and interior piece is shot. So, I will spend a lot of my money and labor restoring this Speedster but this buys me one that I will also spend a lot of my money and labor on. So, it’s not a freebie. Disassembling the Speedster I used a new penetrating solvent. It’s called In-Force and sure is better than Liquid Wrench. I only broke one bolt during the disassembly. Of course I have to replace all the hardware but it is nice not to have to drill out and re tap numerous bolts/screws.

May 1998 Newsletter

Vintage Racing

Last month I told you of the fun I had at Drivers School. What I didn’t report is what I suspected but hadn’t confirmed. That noise I heard on the last laps of the last race was the crankshaft breaking! Now you don’t break a crank in one race, it’s something that starts as small cracks and worsens over time. Since this engine had previously been in a dune buggy, I have a picture of a guy/gal flying over a sand dune and taching 8,000 rpms. I don’t know if this happened but it is the reason to tear down and inspect a race engine every 3-4 years.

So my racing may be done for this year unless I have enough spare parts to get an engine together before the end of the season. If not, we will do Drivers School and the necessary races required for a license next year.

While I didn’t race last year I thought I had time to race this year. But if anything my schedule of restorations is more full this year. And Vintage racing takes time.


I think I’m the last 356 Porsche restorer in the Denver/Colorado/Five State area. Many shops have closed or are closing their doors. If there is another shop doing 356 Porsche restorations, let me know; we can share the work.

I’ve been getting 5-6 calls a month to do restorations. Right now I’m saying “not till after Monterey”. I really want to finish some of my own 356’s so I won’t be taking any new work until next year.

I was sort of complaining about all the calls until I got the call you dream of. The guy said he had three Speedsters and wanted me to look at them. Well I did, and while we don’t have a deal yet, I’ll let you know what happens.


Barb and I have reserved a 4 bedroom condo at Monterey Dunes for August 6-16. Norm and Karen Petitt have two 3 bedroom condos reserved next to us. We want to firm up folks for these rooms. If you have expressed an interest in staying with us, please call and confirm your dates. If we don’t hear from you by June 1st, we will open it up to other interested parties. The rate per couple is $82 a night. The Hyatt is getting $150 a night during the Holiday and $300 a night during the Historics.

The condo is north of Monterey about 15 miles in the town of Moss Landing, so you would need your own transportation to and from the events.

Tech Tip

Here is one you won’t ever use but I thought I was pretty clever so will share it for my own ego. When I opened up Ron’s ’58 Coupe longitudinal, I found the heater tube rusted away at the rear just before it exits the body. What I did was take a cardboard tube from Christmas wrapping paper and split it down the middle. I then rolled it smaller and stuck it inside the two rusted ends. I traced on the cardboard the missing metal, removed the cardboard, cut the pattern and rolled it over my repair piece. ((Remember I bought 20 feet of the correct heater tube pipe from Conway four years ago.) I cut to the pattern with my plasma cutter and believe it or not, it fit! Fortunately the missing metal was low so I didn’t have to weld on the top of the heater pipe.


I finished the reassembly of Greg’s ’64 and he picked it up and drove it back to Colorado Springs. This 356 got a little frustrating at the end when it wouldn’t start. He drove it to my shop so it should have started since I didn’t do any mechanical work. It ended up being worn out points and a plug wire shorting out against the oil canister. (Have you checked your plug wires for wear?)

Unexpectedly, Ron’s ’60 Cab came back from Eisenbud’s after an engine rebuild. This was another 356 that wouldn’t start after I finished the restoration. But this was one was obvious after we found no compression in one cylinder. Anyhow I did the final detailing on this 356 and Ron drove it back to Cheyenne. I started the metal work on another Ron’s 356 and by the next newsletter should have it done. Ron will finish the body work, paint and reassembly. So far in five days, I’ve installed a new pan, longitudinal, threshold/rocker, front and rear closing panels and numerous rust areas. I’ve yet to start disassembly of Barb’s Twin Grille Roadster for repaint but this will be done for Steamboat and Monterey. I also have to pick up the pace on Norm’s ’54 Race car and Chris dropped off his ’57 Coupe for paint touch up. Hey! As long as I’m enjoying what I do, I’ll keep doing it (“but Jim you have to learn how to say no”). .Someone asked me how long I intended to keep doing this-guess as long as there are cars and it is fun.

Upcoming Events

The annual Charity Concours is May 31st at Arapahoe Community College. Please enter your 356 in either Concours, Street or Display (non judged). If you are judged you will get good feedback on how to improve your 356. Display is fun! Registration is $30 after May 16th and all proceeds go to United Cerebral Palsy; contact Lynda Prilika at (303 989-0806).

There will be a spectator Vintage Race at the new PPIR track south of Colorado Springs on June 6-7. Plan to attend and watch the 356’s show their stuff.

April 1998 Newsletter

Monterey ’98

I talked to Dave S at Driver’s School. He will have his Gmund Coupe ready for Monterey! In fact, he is thinking of driving it there! He was at Driver’s School to get a license so he can drive it a Laguna Seca! Way to go Dave! (We will forget your attempted first turn pass at school).

Tech Tip

While working on The Company Car, I borrowed a brake bleeding kit from Bill. This comes with a hose you attach to a spare tire that has 17 pounds pressure. The hose goes into a plastic bottle you fill with brake fluid and another hose goes to a cap that fits on your brake fluid reservoir; works great. It’s call “Gunson’s Eezibleed” and is made in England. You may have to shop for it.

The brake fluid we use is Ford High Performance Dot 3 Brake Fluid. It come in a blue can from Ford Dealers. Read the specs on the can, you will be impressed.

When you need to buy rubber pieces for your 356, I recommend International Mercantile in Del Mar, California (800) 356-0012. Terry has done a lot of research on 356 rubber parts and is reproducing them out of Dupont products. They are lots, lots better than the Taiwanese products from other vendors. It use to be a hassle to order from Terry but now he takes credit cards over the phone. Call for a catalog.


Next meeting will be Wed, May 6 at the same place, Brittany Hill, Thorton-see ya there.


I had some nice comments last month on the Newsletter so we will keep it going. Any suggestions for topics that you would like covered would be appreciated.

Last month’s Newsletter referred to “front end loader” as a nickname. Since we were eating supper at the time, Barb was suggesting that I was stuffing my face.

While I don’t want to turn the Newsletter into a Vintage Racing diatribe, you should know of my first experience driving a 356 at race speed.


Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing has over 500 members and lots and lots of sports cars from the 50’s and 60’s. They run 6-8 races a year in Colorado and start out the season with a Driver’s School. I attended this year and was impressed with the emphasis on Vintage Racing rather than Racing. The idea here is to improve your skills, have fun and be safe.You get in trouble for aggressive driving, going off track or hitting/touching anything.

You are evaluated by an instructor at the school and the next few races. If you do well at “Vintage Racing” you get a license. I was told I did well at Drivers School. I know “The Company Car” performed better than I did. It was reliable, consistent and forgiving. I made mistakes, forgot techniques and occasionally got frustrated. All in all I had fun. Who would have thought that at the age of 57 I would pass a MG at close to 100 mph on a downhill straight away with a sharp right hand turn approaching. It is tribute to the 356 Porsche that they are still a competitive and fun car.


Greg’s ’64 SC Coupe came back from the painter in its original Champagne Yellow and looks great! I hope to have it all together in the next few weeks. I did little work on Norm’s ’54 race car as we are waiting on parts. I plan to do the metal work on Ron’s 356 as he has had this car on the rotisserie for 8-12 years and has taken our ribbing with good humor. This 50th anniversary is the year to help Ron get his 356 back on the road.

While getting “The Company Car” ready for the racing season I called around the country to get info on brake shoe linings for the Carrera drum brakes. I could not get a recommendation but did get an offer to buy them for $3,000. I think I’ll keep them. They saved my butt at Drivers School even though I will have to get them relined soon.

After or during the work on Ron and Norm’s 356’s, I will start getting Barb’s Twin Grille Roadster ready for a repaint. When I did Barb’s car, I did a lot more leading than I do today. It appears I occasionally ran my lead over my flux base. Everything looks fine until you apply paint solvents. They get between the lead and the surface metal and cause lifting. I’ll work these areas back down to metal and apply today’s plastic filler.

My philosophy on parts, is that they should be on driver 356’s not on the shelf. So as I reassemble a car, if I have a better part on the shelf, I’ll swap and charge a small exchange fee. This saves the customer from buying an expensive reproduction part and I get the satisfaction of creating a nicer 356. Of course, eventually I’ll have a shelf of rough parts, but if I time it right this won’t happen until I retire for the second time.


I mentioned earlier of trying to get advice on Carrera drum brakes. I got conflicting advice and lost a few days by trying the wrong advice. What I had forgotten is what I learned years ago. Pick one knowledgeable person and follow their advice.

March 1998 Newsletter

356 Electricals

Joe Leoni a local long time 356 owner has done an excellent job in documenting 356 electrical circuits and problems. He has prepared a two volume document on schematics and trouble shooting. And it is in color and even I can understand it. It is 100 times more valuable than the existing 356 diagrams. The first two volume set is for the 356C but Joe has promised a set for the B and A I think Joe is looking for a distributor and they will sell for around $75/set. Meanwhile contact me for more information. I strongly recommend these documents for anyone restoring or trouble shooting 356 electricals!


The RM356PC is the Rocky Mountain 356 Porsche Club. Barb and I have been members for over ten years. This newsletter reaches close to 350 Porsche 356 owners. Many of you are not members of the RM356PC and you should be! Particularly this year, the 50th anniversary of our favorite sports car. Membership gets you an excellent monthly newsletter and information on 356 driving and technical events. Contact Al Gordon at 12773 Grizzly, Littleton, CO 80127. Phone (303) 979-1072. Dues are $30 a year. The monthly meetings are always the 1st Wednesday of the month at the Brittany Hills in Thorton.

The next club event will be a tour of the Shelby America Museum preceded by lunch at the Mockingbird Restaurant Mar 21.


Well, my objective has been to finish up customer 356’s and get to some of my own 356’s. We finished Bob’s ’59 Convertible D and he will pick it up this week and do the reassembly. This was a pretty rough 356 but I think we got it close to original. We also got Greg’s ’64 SC Coupe finished and off to the painter. Greg and his daughter will help on the reassembly.

We also got the 741 tranny installed in Norm’s ’54 race car and most of the front suspension installed. We need a few parts and then can get it back on the ground. Updating a Pre-A with disc brakes and later transmission and shocks/suspension takes a lot of fabrication. But hey!-it’s fun! I can imagine myself as a Porsche designer.

So with these projects complete or underway I had to start on my 356 race car for the upcoming season. The previous owner called this 356 the “coyote”. He even had Coyote painted on the back of the wide front mirror. Since the race car is mine, I changed the name coyote to 356RESTORE and now refer to this 356 as “the Company Car”. Right now I’m going through the brakes-it has Carrera drum brakes in front. Then I will clean up some wiring, remove some unneeded parts and make the 356 pretty for the racing season.

Vintage Racing

Readers have asked for the Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing ’98 schedule; so here it is:

  • April 11-12 is Driver School at Second Creek.
  • April 25-26 is race at Stapleton.
  • May 16-17 is race at LaJunta.
  • June 6-7 is race at Pikes Peak International Raceway.
  • July 11-12 is Charity Event Race at Second Creek. (Please support this race. You will have to pay admission. Contact me if you would like to sponsor “the Company Car”.
  • August 8-9 is race at Pueblo.
  • September 4-6 is the big street race at Steamboat.

And the final RMVR event is a Sprint race and Enduro at Pueblo on October 3-4. My 356 is number 135; I’ll be at the back of the pack but I’ll be learning. Contact me for directions to any of the race places.

Swap Meet

This year I did better than expected at the RM356PC/PCA Swap Meet. Usually I sell about $400; this year it was $800. Most of it was small items but then again it looks like I am beginning to have a corner on 356 parts in Denver. I recently bought all the good 356 stuff from Appleton’s, plus I bought 356 parts from Tom Scott and also parts from a guy in Phoenix. I buy those parts to upgrade parts on restoration projects. Many of the used original parts are a lot better than most of the reproduction parts (plus they are cheaper).

Tech Tip/Joke

I tried a joke last month and had some positive feedback but I think I will stay with Tech Tips. However, Barb and I usually watch Jeopardy and recently they had a contestant named “Bobcat”. I said that’s a neat nickname-wish it was mine. Barb said no you would be “Front End Loader”. What did she mean?

Anyhow a guy dropped by with a bumper problem. He had new bumper guards and reproduction overrider tubes and hardly anything fit. I showed him how to relieve metal and rubber to get a fit. Relieving metal means removing metal with a dremel tool or die grinder to get pieces to fit together. I also had to weld thread extensions on the various bolts. The Tech Tip is do not assume reproduction parts will fit. Always dry fit everything before painting.

February 1998 Newsletter


Our areas biggest swap meet will be a joint 356RMPC and PCA event at Tom Conway’s Carquip in Boulder Saturday, February 28th. It starts early but Tom serves a great breakfast at 10:00. Now is the time to go out and look at your 356 and make a list of things you can upgrade. I’ll be there and my prices are half of retail. Plus Ron Appleton (yes, they are closing) will be selling stuff from his shop. Will those neat Carrerra PanAmerica banners be on sale?

Also I’m in charge of the swap meet at Steamboat. I’ll be there as will Doc and Cy’s and hopefully Conway and Redden. But it’s the little guy with a few 356 items that makes these events fun. So set aside a few parts and let me know you will participate.


As some of you know, when I retired from the computer industry I found no need to spend time at a computer. Barb has done these newsletters. Recently I signed on to the 356 Registry chat room (check the Registry for details). I find it informative with 10-30 messages a day. Many of the “experts” participate and there is information for novice to pro. It takes me 15-20 min. a day to read the messages; I’m sure a week’s vacation would yield hrs of on-line time. Since I plan to put my newsletter and parts list on the Internet I thought I would refresh my computer skills (having a son working on his Masters in Computer Science helps). I would recommend the 356 chat room.


Barb and I had a great winter break in Maui, Hawaii. In Maui we saw a nice ’57 Speedster (restored) and a rusty ’64/’65 Coupe. We took a day trip to Kaui and saw a Karman Notchback Coupe. So we may have to set up a 356RESTORE Hawaii branch to extend our winter break.


Peter picked up his Notchback Coupe and drove it home. It sure looked nice in its fresh Ivory paint compared to its rusty Togo Brown. Peter was one of my best customers. He told me what he wanted, paid his bills when requested and did not expand the scope or critique the job. Thanks Peter!

Norm’s ’54 Coupe race car came back from the painter in beautiful Porsche racing Silver. We will have a lot of fabrication on this Pre-A to put the good stuff (i.e. suspension mods, disk brakes, etc) on it. Norm is designing the graphics to make this 356 look like a Carrerra PanAmerica racer. Norm is hoping to have his ’52 steel bodied race car accepted for Monterey (it was in 1982). If we get the ’54 done in time, he may take both. Speaking of Monterey:


I hope you have accomodations as they are getting tight. Here is a tenative schedule:

  • Friday – August 7, 1998
  • The 356 Holiday opens with driving tours and tech sessions.
  • Saturday August 8, 1998
  • The Holiday has a winery tour, tech sessions and a literature meet. There may also be pre-historic racing at Laguna Seca.
  • Sunday August 9, 1998
  • This is the Holiday Concours, Pebble Beach Tour and Banquet. Also racing at Laguna Seca.
  • Monday August 10, 1998
  • The 356’s will lap at Laguna Seca and have dinner at the Aquarium.
  • Tuesday, August 11, 1998
  • 356 Holiday Swap Meet
  • Wednesday August 12, 1998
  • PCA Reception
  • Thursday, August 13, 1998
  • PCA Rally and Blackhawk Auction.
  • Friday, August 14, 1998
  • Vintage Racing practice plus the Carmel Car Show and PCA Dinner at Carmel Mission.
  • Saturday, August 15, 1998 Vintage Race (first half) and Porsche Corral (limited to 700 Porsches) at Laguna Seca. Also Rick Cole Auction
  • Sunday, August 16, 1998
  • Vintage Racing (second half), Christies Pebble Beach Auction, Pebble Beach Concour d’Elegance.

Many of these events require advance registration i.e. 356 Holiday, PCA events; I have registration forms. Some events are expensive i.e. to park in Porsche Corral during the races will be $50 for car and driver and $20 per passenger. Meals in the Corral are also available resonable (?) cost $15-$20.

The factory is bringing many museum and factory race cars. They will be at the East Coast Holiday PCA Parade at Steamboat, West Coast Holiday and at Watkins Glen. Watkins Glen will be celebrating its 50th anniversary along with Porsche. Brian Redman is organizing the event and details are not yet firm but is scheduled for August 28-30 and will primarily be racing.


A lady went to the doctor and was surprised and pleased when he told her she had the bust of a 20 yr old. She went home and was admiring herself in the mirror when her husband came in. He asked what she was doing and she repeated what the doctor had said. Husband said yeah, but did he say anything about your 50 year old ass. To which she replied, he did not ask about you!

January 1998 Newsletter


Well, 1998 is here and I’m not even close to deciding on event logistics. What 356’s should we drive to events? Or should we join with others and transport to Montery. Or should we trailer as I want to sell parts at swap meets. If any one is considering transport to Montery let me know. For sure I have to get Barb’s Twin Grille Roadster back on the road. It needs a repaint and the suspension fixed plus maybe a new top. My ’63 Coupe just needs to be driven, plus replacing a few part I “borrowed” for customer cars (some days you just can’t wait for UPS!).

Merry Xmas

I hope you had one; I did! Santa brought me a complete racing outfit. Driving suit, helmet (Snell 95), gloves and arm restraints, boots and Nomex socks. I may not go fast this year but I’ll look good!

I plan to paint racing stripes on the helmet to match the race car. I think I will change the name of the race car to 356RESTORE instead of Coyote. Maybe my CPA can find a tax break.


You will receive this newsletter a few days early as Barb and I are taking our winter break in Hawaii. Just for you, we will be searching for Speedsters in the grass shack and the elusive Carreraii parts.