December 2009 Newsletter

When the Shop ’64 Coupe came back from Blast Tech, BJ started on the metal work. While at Blast Tech he cleaned, painted and polished all the parts for this 356. What we thought was a good floor pan was only good on the back half. The front half was probably a Volkswagen pan. The original was cut out and the VW welded in with the edges of the original still attached to the side ledges. BJ got that all cleaned up and showed me that the original rusty edges had continued to rust and expand. We had read somewhere that rust will expand seven (or seventeen) times its original unrusted size. It was obvious on the pieces that BJ cut out. When you see a rust bubble you are looking at the same expansion. A rust bubble the size of a pencil eraser will yield a damaged area the size of a silver dollar. You can stop the rust from expanding by using the Rust Treatment product from NAPA (item # 765-1232). To remove the rust you have to cut out and replace the metal. We always get a chuckle when we read or hear of a “rust free” car. We believe we can find rust on any 356. Two quick checks. Remove the rear tunnel cover by the back seats and use a mirror and a flashlight to check for rust in the tunnel. Or, remove the carpet deco strip at the door. Pull back the carpet and drill a hole at the sill. Have a piece of white paper to show the rust as you pull back the drill bit. The factory had many areas of overlapping metal on the 356 and after forty five to fifty years moisture is sure to have gotten in these seams and created rust. We have never described our restorations as rust free.

While BJ worked on the Shop ’64. I worked on the assembly of the Wyoming Speedster. When we billed the customer for the beautiful Ivory paint job we asked to confirm that he was going with a black interior as he indicated earlier. Glad we asked! He had changed his mind and wanted a tan interior and a tan top. We have ordered these pieces and it will look sharp. While the factory offered suggestions for interior colors compatible with the exterior color, the buyer could order any interior color combination. We always wondered what the lady ordered for her pink 356. Maybe black?

The assembly of the Wyoming Speedster was not without its challenges (we never say problems). The wiring harness had some wrong terminals and short wires. While working the wiring harness through the tunnel we used a mirror and saw a cable caught in the tunnel. We had to cut the back of the tunnel to get to it and discovered about two feet of the tachometer cable that had been twisted inside the tunnel. It would have interfered with the throttle and shift linkage. Another challenge was the disc brake system that had been purchased for the Speedster. The Speedster had the later front spindles and we had to dress the front caliper to get it to fit. We also had to shim the outer wheel bearing to get it to set. At the rear, some parts were missing and we had to adapt some parts to fit. We ordered the missing parts from Germany.

Last month we talked about starting reassembly on the Wyoming Speedster. We have kept track of our hours as we had estimated time and materials for the reassembly. So far it has taken eighty two hours and we expect another thirty. This is with all the available parts cleaned , painted and polished. You can multiply by the shop rate to determine the cost. This is why we encourage owners to do their own reassembly. It is enjoyable and you really get to know your 356. Caroline’s ’63 Coupe is due back from the painter this week and we get to do more reassembly. We also look forward to getting back on the reassembly of the Shop ’54 Coupe.

We ordered and will install a wool headliner which is correct for a Pre-A. We have never done this and look forward to the challenge.

We haven’t done many 356 evaluations lately but we did do one on a ’57 Sunroof Coupe in Boulder. The 356 had been dipped years ago so the suspension and the wiring harness had been removed along with all the parts. It sat flat on the garage floor against a wall with all the parts stuffed inside. The engine had been disassembled and was covered with surface rust. The owner wanted to sell but we told him we couldn’t give an estimate until we saw all the parts which we couldn’t do in the crowed garage. He said he would clean it up and call me. When we went back up, there was two feet of space on one side but all the parts were still stuffed inside. We could see the floor and all the damaged areas had been cut out and rough repairs started. You never want to cut out the rust and the damaged areas all at once. Panels are set to adjoining panels and when they are cut out structure is lost. This may have been the most butchered 356 we have evaluated. We gave him a fair estimate which was about a third of what he had into it. He was very disappointed but may part it out and we indicated we would buy parts.

Joe Leoni turns 80!
Happy Birthday to Joe! Joe has provided one of the most valuable services to 356 owners with his 356 electrical books and products improvements. His knowledge and assistance has helped 356RESTORE get these great cars back on the road. He is a good friend.

Grandpa News
Happy Holidays from Alex and the rest of the Kelloggs! Alex has five Santa lists going to ensure she gets what she wants.

November 2009 Newsletter

newheaderWest Coast Holiday
Barb and I had a great time at the West Coast Holiday in Sedona, Arizona last month. Over 200 356’s including an American Roadster and a Glockler. It was held at the same resort that hosted in 1989 and 1999. The Arizona folks host a Holiday every ten years. Barb and I were there in ’89 and in ’99 and hope to be there in ’19.

Larry Myers drove up from Tucson for the Saturday concours which is held on the golf course at the resort. It was great to see Larry, he looked the same as when he was active with the RM356PC (same crew cut). He had made a display of his participant badges at almost all the SCCA races he had raced with his Speedster.

Larry was the SCCA Midwest Champion in 1967, 1969, 1972 and 1985. He was also a driving instructor for RM356PC and instructed the Colorado Highway Patrol. Tom and I purchased the badge display from Larry and it will be exhibited at our shops.

The mechanic had tested Kit’s engine on the test stand. It had been stored for twenty years and had almost 100,000 miles on it since the last rebuild. After the valve adjustment the engine started and seemed to run well. Kit wanted her carburators rebuilt and after this was done the engine was started again on the test stand. A knock was heard! Teardown revealed a broken crankshaft which was not apparent until the third piece was removed. The endplay had been OK! So Kit is waiting on a rebuild and we have her ’64 coupe covered and in a secure storage until we can reinstall the engine.

We picked up the Wyoming Speedster at the painters and have started assembly. We also dropped off Caroline’s ’63 coupe and Ed’s ’65 coupe for paint.

While waiting for the painter, we disassembled the ’64 coupe we recently purchased and took it to Blast Tech.

So the shop ’54 coupe is in the shop for reassembly but waits while we start on the Wyoming Speedster. The other shop ’64 coupe is painted in the original Heron Grey and waits for reassembly. The shop ’60 Cabriolet is almost fully assembled but needs correction to the top. Shop cars will have to wait until we finish the customer cars. Fortunately Ed will do his own reassembly. BJ will start on the metal work on the second shop ’64 coupe when it gets back from Blast Tech and also assist on the reassembly of the customers 356’s.

356 Restoration Book
The second edition is out and selling well. You can order it on-line from the publisher at or we have some and would be happy to sign and mail if you would like one or as a gift. The price is $29.95 plus $4.00 shipping.

More Progress
While waiting on the Wyoming Speedster we did some work on the shop ’54 coupe. We were cleaning up the E-brake cables in the tunnel when we found something in the forward part of the tunnel. It was grease! A pound of it! On the Pre-A, the E-brake cable goes through a bowden tube and then up to an E-brake handle on the steering column. Underneath the 356 is a zerk so you can grease the bowden tube. Normally, when you lube a 356 you apply grease until you see the old grease coming out the fitting. The bowden tube takes only a little grease but someone kept pumping the grease gun expecting to see the grease. They almost filled the tunnel!

We had most of the parts for the Pre-A dash and decided to install them. One part we were missing was the glove box so we ordered one. Expensive, as not many Pre-A’s were made (we appreciate that they are being reproduced). When the glove box arrived we figured a quick five minute installation. Wrong! After many tries it was obvious that the glove box can only be installed with the dash removed. A nice feature on the Pre-A’s. So five minutes turned into two hours.

Over a year ago we mentioned that we were working on a rare Speedster number 80013. The thirteenth one made and it came over on the first shipment to Max Hoffman. The owner decided he wanted a show car and spent a lot on the final body work and paint at another shop. Since we do not do show cars, but driver level restorations, we opted out of the reassembly due to the time that it takes to do a show car. 80013 has returned to California for final assembly.

Last Race
The Enduro is the last race of the season for Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing. I decided not to race as age has lessened my skill and concentration. Scot Petitt asked to drive with Bill Frey. The ’52 racecar was modified by Bill to accommodate Scot who is a big guy. The Enduro is an hour and forty five minute race with two mandatory ten minute pit stops. Both Bill and Scot drove an excellent race. Scot passed eight cars on the first lap! Scot also said the ’52 was the most neutral car he had raced. A tribute to the excellent work Bill has done on the ’52 racecar over the years.

Barb and I plan to vacation in Maui again this February. On our computer on the favorites list we have a link to the web cam at the Hale Pau Hana resort. If you would like to check out the beach action go to

Grandpa News
On her last visit, Alex showed me her computer skills. Yes, they have a computer lab in Kindergarten. She even has Spanish lessons!

September 2009 Newsletter

newheaderThirty Seven Years!
That’s how long it had been since George had driven his 356. He drove it home from 356RESTORE after we completed the restoration. But first, we drive it for checkout and then let George drive with us to see if he remembered. He did, and we both agree it was a sweet driving 356.

When George was in college he saw the ’61 Roadster by the side of the road with a For Sale sign. The Roadster was rough and you could see red paint stains on the driveway where the owner had painted it to get it ready for sale. It looked like he used a brush. George asked the price and it was too much for a college student and the owner said others were interested. But weeks went by and the 356 was still there. The owner said his folks wanted it sold and what would George offer.

George offered less than half the asking price and bought it for $1,100.
George drove it, fixed it and had it painted at Import Auto Body, but with the demands of his new profession he parked it in 1972. After waiting two years, he finally got it to 356RESTORE in late 2008. His big smile after the test drive made it worthwhile for both George and 356RESTORE.

Off Topic
Our off topic comments last month on adhesive floor tile for the shop brought more comments than anything we’ve written recently. One guy contacted us for more information and used it to order the black and white floor tile from Lowes. However, he was charged seventy-eight cents a tile. Turns out we got ours at the Lowe’s cost without markup!

The second edition of “Porsche 356 Guide to Do-It-Yourself Restoration” is now available (finally!).

You can order from the publisher at or if in the Denver area I will have some for sale. The price is $29.95. The second edition has 152 pages and 318 photos and illustrations. I hope it is the definitive Porsche 356 restoration book and since it is the only Porsche 356 restoration book it must be, until we write the third edition.

When we picked up George’s ’61 Roadster at the mechanics, we dropped off Kit’s ’64 Coupe. With George’s Roadster back, all we had to do was solve some electrical issues. Wash, wax and test drive.

We had seen the electrical issues before we took the 356 to the mechanics. The left front park light, left rear park light and right license plate light wouldn’t work. According to Joe Leoni’s 356 Electrics book this was controlled by fuse number eight. But the fuse wasn’t blown. So we took Joe’s trouble shooting advise and jumped from the top of fuse two to the bottom of fuse eight. The lights worked after we replaced some bulbs. But with the jump wire off it wouldn’t work but the fuse looked good. Well, we decided to work on it after the mechanics trip. When we got it back; the same problem. We decided to try another fuse. It worked! The p roblem was the original fuse had aluminum tips and after forty plus years they no longer conduct electricity. The replacement fuse had copper tips. We found the same solution to the wipers on fuse number four. Something to check on your 356.
BJ finished the paint prep on Caroline’s ’63 Coupe and it will go to the painter when we pick up the Wyoming Speedster. One thing we found in Caroline’s 356 when we disassembled it was a box of roadside flares. They must have been in the 356 for a long time as they had disintegrated and looked very dangerous. Do you have some? Have you checked them?

Ed brought his ’65 Coupe over for metal repair and paint. We had worked on his 356 back in 1994 when we were making house calls. Ed and his Dad were doing the project together and needed some help on the tricky parts. The project got delayed and Ed recently restarted the project. We had an opening and he brought the 356 over. Most of the remaining repair was to remove warped metal due to the use of a torch for repair. The left door was pretty warped and they are difficult to re-skin. We had a better door and did a replacement but fitting a replacement door is also difficult. We got it and the other repairs done in a week. BJ is doing the paint prep and Ed will have our painter paint it in Signal Red. Ed will do the reassembly.

So as 356s come back from the painter it will be reassembly time, the fun part of 356 restoration. With no major customer projects scheduled we can get back to the Shop ’54 Coupe, the ’60 Cabriolet and ’64 Coupe which have been painted and are also to be reassembled. More fun!

There probably will not be a newsletter next month as Barb and I will be attending the West Coast Holiday in Sedona, Arizona October 14-18. They had their first Holiday in 1989 and their second in 1999. We attended both and are looking forward to this Holiday.

Grandpa News
BJ and Jen were with Alex on her first day of school. All the kids in her kindergarten class were lined up in their uniforms in front of the door waiting for permission to file into the building when one of the boys looked over and saw the playground and asked “when’s recess?” Our kind of guy; he has a future at 356RESTORE! I asked Alex how was her first day of school. “Good,” she said “I got a sticker”. And when I asked what the sticker was for she said “Best napper.”

August 2009 Newsletter

newheaderA Challenge
We mentioned the problem we were having with the Wyoming Speedster last month. How the 356 sat a little low in the left front.
We had the suspension checked so we know the problem had to be in the body. But we couldn’t find it so we decided to paint it and play with the suspension settings later.

Well this bothered me. So rather than taking the Speedster to the painter we decided on one more attempt (after three previous ones). We rigged a 2X4 from the ceiling joist to the strong vertical piece in the battery box. We then made some relief cuts in the left front fender area and jacked up the left front from under the headlight bucket. It worked, but after making some tack welds and lowering the jack the metal would move back.

We got about half the problem solved but it still wasn’t right. We had positioned the 2X4 over the left side of the battery box. We decided to move it to the right side to get more leverage.

In the new position we jacked and jacked and jacked and had the left side six inches higher than the right when “sprong” the metal on the left fender made a noise and a small buckle appeared in the fender. We let the Speedster down and the 356 was level!

We think the Speedster was a race car and dove under something while in a right turn. The force of the impact was on the top of the fender and down. The headlight bucket and hood area were not damaged but the force of the impact tweaked the metal all through the left front. We finished the welds and there is only a slight difference in measurements from the right side to the left side.

Typical of a made by hand 356. We redid the fender for paint and it is now at the painter for Ivory paint. A challenge but also a lot of satisfaction.

George’s ’61 Roadster got its new top at a shop that only does tops. They did a great job and it is impressive how a new top completes an open 356. It is now at the mechanic for engine startup, tune and linkage adjustment. Remember this 356 had been stored since 1972. We had pulled the engine and checked it out on a test stand. After an oil change and valve adjustment the engine started and ran with good compression. The Roadster will be back soon and George will drive it for the first time in over thirty years!

When we pick up George’s Roadster we will drop off Kit’s ’64 Coupe. It is all assembled and was a pleasure to work on. We were able to reuse about all original parts which meant parts fit! This saved a lot of time and challenge. Kit’s engine is on the test stand and while it had not been run since 1988 it appears it too will run with minor adjustment. So Kit will be driving her 356 home in a month or so. Not a bad year so far: Jim, George and Kit all driving their 356s after many, many years.

Caroline’s ’63 Coupe is moving ahead quickly. There was not as much metal work as expected. The problem was a very poor previous paint job that failed. BJ has it almost ready for paint and since Caroline is thinking Ivory we will have her check out the Wyoming Speedster when it comes back in its Ivory color.

Off Topic
When we set up the shop almost twenty years ago, we decided on epoxy paint for the floor. It was expensive but should hold up to shop use. We applied the paint correctly and it failed. It would not adhere and lifted after a few months.

We rented an industrial sander and took it off. Dust everywhere in the house! We did it again, following directions and it failed again. We went to cheap floor paint and had to keep repainting.

A customer in the cement business said a vapor barrier had probably not been installed before the floor was poured. He said to tape some plastic on the floor and see if there was moisture on it the next day. There was! So paint wouldn’t work and we went to the black and white self sticking vinyl floor tile, bought them for 72 cents each at Home Depot. Whenever we had a floor tile damaged we would get some at Home Depot and repair the spot. This was great for years until Home Depot didn’t have them. They said they were not being produced any more. We tried other floor stores and got the same answer. Lowe’s showed them on their website but when we went to Lowe’s they showed not available.

This bugged us and probably others as the black and white checkered flag look is popular in automotive shops. We finally went to the Armstrong Tile web site and found a “contact us” for flooring. We stated our problem and the website said we would get an answer in forty-eight hours. We got the answer the next day. Armstrong still makes the tile but it is sold exclusively through Lowe’s. Armstrong sent specs, order numbers and phone numbers. We went to Lowe’s and their system still said not available. They called Armstrong, got the ordering info and within a week we got a box each of forty five tiles in back and white. The price? Thirty-nine cents each!

Grandpa News
Alex went with friends to visit Santa at the North Pole in Colorado Springs. The first time on his lap she said what she wanted for Christmas. Then they all took a second turn and this time she asked “How’s Rudolph?” being the animal lover she is. Santa pulled out his wallet full of reindeer pictures and told stories about all of them. The kids were entranced.

July 2009 Newsletter

newheaderMoving Cars
We seem to be moving a lot of 356s this month. We have a trailer with a winch which makes loading and unloading easier. We picked up Jim’s ’61 Sunroof Coupe at the mechanic’s and trailered it back to the shop. We finished a few detail items, took it on a test drive then Jim came and drove it home. We trailered the Wyoming Speedster to another mechanic to have the front suspension checked and then trailered it back to the shop. We trailered Caroline’s ’62 Coupe to Blast Tech and then trailered it back. We trailered the Shop ’54 to the painter for a repair. We trailered George’s ’60 Roadster to the upholstery shop for a new top. And we trailered the new Shop ’64 Coupe to the shop from Elizabeth. What! Another Shop ’64 Coupe?

Yes, we got a call from the owner in Elizabeth about selling her ’64. She was the second owner. The first owner was an Army Captain who bought it at the factory. The present owner was recently widowed and was rearranging her life. Her husband had pulled the engine when it failed and the 356 and the engine were just sitting there collecting dust. We made her a fair offer and she said she would check with her son and call me the next day. But she called that day and said she didn’t have to check with her son as it was her 356 and she could sell it. But she did check with her parents, age 96 and 93 living in Nebraska and married for seventy two years! They told her to sell it. We picked it up the next day.

Kit’s ’64 Coupe is almost all together, just waiting on the carpet which we will install. Then it is off to the mechanic for engine installation and checkout.

BJ disassembled Caroline’s ’62 Coupe and after blasting we see it is in pretty good shape. There were some rough previous repairs to the top of the left rear fender and left front fender. Both areas had been hiding under bondo. In general the 356 is straight and metal work and preparation for paint should go quickly.

When George’s ’61 Roadster comes back from the upholstery shop we will have a few small items to complete and then it will be off to the mechanic’s for checkout.

The Wyoming Speedster’s front suspension checked out OK at the mechanic so we knew the problems we were seeing were in the body. We cut and repositioned the left front fender and it looked like we had solved the problem. But after numerous measurements the Speedster still sits a little low at the left front. We checked the body for square and the suspeneion alignment is OK. We think the Speedster took a hard hit in the left front and the body is tweeked but measures correct. We have seen this before. A small change say an eighth of an inch can result in a big change further down the unibody.

When we were doing the final checkout on Jim’s Sunroof Coupe we had to call Joe Leoni as we could not get the wipers to work. They would work with the switch pushed in but blew the fuse when the switch was pulled out. We had it wired correctly according to Joe’s book. Joe came and verified we had it wired correctly. The only option was to pull the wiper motor. This means we had to remove the ashtray, radio and glove box; we then pull off the wires and remove the difficult wiper mount bolts. With the motor on the bench we pulled the cover and while it looked the same as a 356 wiper motor it was different. Joe had not seen it before and we quickly discovered the wiring was different, with the motor back in the 356 and the wiring changed the wipers worked correctly. We think the wiper motor came from a different car.

If any of you have not purchased Joe’s book on 356 electrics, you should! We refer to them all the time. There is a book for each model 356 and they are in color. Before Joe’s books, all we had was the black and white lined drawings from the owner’s manual. Joe also has a website at that has trouble shooting tips for things like hard starting and generator problems. The website has information to order Joe’s 356 electric books.

The Rocky Mountain 356 Club(name change from Rocky Mountain 356 Porsche Club at the insistence of Porsche NA) has some neat events coming up.

There is a tour of Dave Crouse’s Hot Rod shop in Loveland on Saturday, July 25 at 10:00 A.M.. Address is 1067 Des Moines Ave.

On August 23rd the RM356Club will have a Westfest at Ed Carrol Porsche in Ft Collins. This is always a fun event. Contact Gary Moschetti at (303) 494-7281 for details.

On September 19th at 9:30 AM the RM356C will tour a Motorcycle Museum in Lodo close to Coors Field. Contact Norm Petitt at (303) 698-0249 for details.

Porsche is being featured in Monterey at the Laguna Seca Racetrack and there are numerous related events the week of August 11-17. A schedule of events is in the latest 356 Registry

Grandpa News
Alex and her mom have been visiting “Minnesota Granma” most of the month of July. But before they left they had to go shopping for supplies for starting kindergarten ~ they were sent a specific list of items which when tallied at the cash register amounted to a bit over $65. Some of you will nod and say “yup, know that”.

The only news reported from MN is that they slept in a KOA tepee (in the rain) and she attended a gymnastic day camp and loved it, particularly the trampoline. With the swimming and now the gymnastic Grandpa is thinking he had better start saving for the 2020 Olympics for sure.

June 2009 Newsletter

For years, we have restored rust buckets. Both shop 356s we bought cheap and customer projects. Recently the customer 356s have been in good shape with minimal metal work. George’s ’60 Roadster just had door bottom/lower skin rust damage and the typical battery box damage. The door damage had been previously repaired with brazing and bondo. The battery box damage was caused by the use of a wet cell battery which vented acid and exposed metal to rust.

Kit’s ’64 Coupe had been very well maintained and just had minimal rust damage to one threshold. This is under the rubber step plate where the factory adhesive could fail and allow rust to form. But the real neat thing about George’s and Kit’s 356s is that we are able to reuse original parts. For example, we assembled Kit’s bumpers in one and a half hours. Using reproduction parts this takes almost a day. The repro deco strip doesn’t fit the curve of the bumper, and the repro bumper guards have wrong length studs. So it is a real pleasure and a time saver to be able to use original parts.

George’s Roadster windshield was a challenge however. We first installed his original windshield and rubber. Took about an hour as the old rubber had set to the curvature of the windshield and cowl. We could tell we would have to replace the cowl rubber as it was torn and also replace the windshield as it had wiper scrapes.

We were able to trim the repro cowl rubber using the original as a template. We were also able to reuse the windshield seal rubber which was great as it fit the windshield corners which repros do not.

It took four hours to get the new windshield in. The problem of course was the repro cowl rubber which wouldn’t set at the correct angle to receive the windshield. And then there was the cowl rubber deco strips. These are left, right and center pieces of bright work which are suppose to slip into a slot in the cowl rubber and then are secured by clips that attach to the windshield wiper posts. We bought new decos at a sizeable cost and spent two hours trying to make them fit. No go! We compared them to George’s original deco and they were of a thinner gauge and incorrect curvature. We found some replacement original pieces in our stash to replace George’s damaged pieces, cleaned them up and installed them in one half hour. They are not as pretty as the reproduction pieces but they fit.

Now, we’ve said before we don’t bad mouth reproduction 356 parts as without them we would have some pretty sad looking old cars. But we take pride in our work and if reproduction parts manufactures did also they would use their parts to determine and correct problems.

Many 356s have been restored with the cost of restoration exceeding the value of the 356. The reason of course is the time it takes to make reproduction parts fit. So the message is ~ Keep your original parts in good shape. Maintain your 356 like Kit did.

Tech Tip
On every 356 we restore, we recommend and install an electronic turn signal flasher. They are easy to install, needing only a ground connection. Your turn signals are brighter and work consistently. There is also an audible click to let you know they are working. The original turn signal flasher used an element that would heat up and cool down to create the electrical flash. You can imagine what shape an original is in after forty plus years. Plus the repros just duplicate the problem. The electronic flasher solves the problem. We buy ours from Zims (817.267.4451) for about fifty bucks shipped.

Progress Continued
So, Jim’s ’61 Sunroof Coupe went to the mechanic for installation of his rebuilt engine. We expect it back soon for final electrical checkout and installation of a few parts. Both Jim and mechanic were very complimentary on the restoration we had done.

Slate Gray is one of our favorite 356 colors. With the Wyoming Speedster on the ground we noticed the left front was three quarters of an inch lower than the right. Lots of measurements point to a possible front suspension problem. We know it took a hard hit in the left front as we had to replace the entire front closing panel and fender. We took the Speedster to the mechanic who has the jigs and tools to check the front suspension.

George’s Roadster is all together just waiting for the top to arrive. We also need to install the engine which checked out good on the test stand. We started assembly on Kit’s ’64 Coupe and mentioned earlier it is a real joy to reinstall original parts.

BJ started on the disassembly of Caroline’s ’62 Coupe. Who? Well she had been after us for a year to work on her 356. With Jim’s 356 at the mechanic when she called we said we had space and three hours later her 356 was delivered from Boulder. What started out as a hood and door repair now looks like a complete restoration and a color change back to the original Ivory.

We missed the Concours D’ Elegance at Arapahoe Community College as we were racing our 1952 356 Coupe at Pueblo for the eighth annual Trans Am invitational. While the big bore cars are the stars, the small bores did real well. All the 356s ran great and Bill Frey, in our ’52, broke the two minute barrier he had been trying for for two years. Congratulations Bill!

Grandpa News
Alex loves the pool. She recently advanced to the next level in her swimming class. She can do the crawl for 25 yards and dive for rings. She had a check list of a dozen or more things she passed to get her green ribbon. She is a fish! Olympics in 2020?

May 2009 Newsletter

newheaderHigh Plains Raceway
One hundred and ninety four! That’s how many vintage racecars we had at the inaugural race at the new High Plains Raceway out by Byers. We took the ’52 356 racecar out to provide worker rides but did not race. There were only two 356s racing and we use to have six to eight. The track is 2 1/2 miles with 15 turns and lots of elevation changes. It is a technical track and we had lots of racers learning it for the first time. There were no major incidents but quite a few spinouts and off track excursions. The track was built by the local clubs that enjoy racing.

The track record was set by a motorcycle at 1:42. The 356s can run the track at 2:20. With so many turns and elevation changes it takes a lot of concentration to run consistent good laps. Spectators are welcome at Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing events.

See the web site at for racing schedules and track locations.

We completed the assembly on Jim’s ’61 Sunroof Coupe and it will go to the mechanic for engine installation and checkout.

George’s ’60 Roadster is about 75% assembled. We are waiting on parts and have to order a new top.

Kit’s ’64 Coupe will be next for reassembly. It is enjoyable to work on 356s with original parts that just need cleaning or painting. All three of these 356s had been stored for a long time. Unfortunately Kit’s 356 was stored with gas in the tank. We doubt if we can save the tank. The later 356 tanks are difficult to clean as there is a baffle that divides the tank in two. Shops that repair gas tanks have to open them up for cleaning and then re-weld them. After cleaning, some shops use a special sealing product to coat the inside of the tank. You have to be careful with these products as if not applied correctly they can break down and clog the fuel system.

We heard of one owner who had his early tank cleaned and then applied the sealer. He had the tank out of the 356 and rotated it to get good coverage of the sealant. Unfortunately, he covered up the vent holes and when installed in the 356 the fuel pump collapsed the tank!

When we installed the carpet in George’s Roadster we were impressed by the quality of the carpet kit. George had purchased this carpet kit thirty years ago and it was a lot better than those available today. It was lighter weight and had the correct number of loops per square inch.

On most 356s there was a piece or pieces of carpet glued on the back of the door panel to serve as sound deadening so you would get that nice clunk instead of a clank. With today’s carpet kits we had noticed the underlayment would show when the carpet had to be folded, like on the vertical piece at the back seat area. We took an original carpet piece from the door panel and counted the loops per square inch and did the same on the carpet sold today. There were six loops less per square inch on today’s carpet.

We do not bad mouth the 356 reproduction product available today, without them we could not restore 356s and get them back on the road. This was just an interesting observation and if we had not had the door piece to compare we would have never known.

BJ is trial fitting all the parts on the Wyoming Speedster before we take it for paint. Almost all the pieces had to be adjusted as we are sure this Speedster had been a racecar. The bumpers were not centered and the top wouldn’t latch. The side deco didn’t line up. Some of these adjustments required bodywork which would be very difficult after paint.

We did get the Speedster back on the ground after removing it from the dolly that it had been delivered on. We just made it a roller by fitting the front suspension and installing the transmission. We will let the mechanic install the new disc brake system.

The Shop ’60 Cabriolet is at the upholstery shop as we gave priority to the seats for Jim’s ’61 Sunroof Coupe. We had problems getting the top on the Shop ’60 Cabriolet to latch. The top frame was not original to the 356 and had been knocked around quite a bit. Cabriolet top frames are very hard to find and very expensive; at least $3,000. Cabriolet and Speedster top frames are being reproduced in limited quantities in Europe but are also expensive. One of our 356 friends in Europe owns a company that does business in Eastern Europe. He found some skilled metal workers in Russia that had lost their jobs and formed their own company to manufacture parts like 356 convertible top frames.

Tech Tips
There is a correct way and not so correct way to disassemble a 356. If you do this, please do not use adhesive tape to mark wires or parts. After years, the marking is illegible and the tape very difficult to remove.

When we have to protect wires prior to blasting or painting, we use aluminum foil to cover the wire and secure with duct tape.

There is duct tape and there is duct tape. We had some of the real silver duct tape used by heating professionals. We used this to cover the exterior chrome round vent window piece that is part of the latch. The silver tape is self adhesive and we applied a piece and then trimmed with an Xacto knife. This vent window piece is rusty on a lot of 356s and this was a quick solution. The silver tape could probably be used to cover other unsightly chrome pieces on a 356.

Grandpa News
BJ took Alex bowling. They have a ramp that can be positioned at the foul line for kids. Alex could lift the ball and roll it down the ramp to the pins. The first ball rolled for a strike and the game ended with a score of Alex-99 and Dad-97.

April 2009 Newsletter

newheader356 Restoration Book
We reviewed the final draft of the second edition of “Porsche 356 Guide to Do-it-Yourself Restoration”. The layout is not as good as the first edition as this work was sent out and it takes someone familiar with the 356 to understand the sequence. Hopefully, this will be fixed prior to printing which is expected for June.

Demand for the book has increased since the first edition went out of print. We have received calls from folks needing the book but not wanting to pay $200 for copies. We have also received calls from at least twenty folks who are using the book to do their own 356 restorations. We consider the book a success.

We are busy! We put the Shop ’54 Coupe in the storage building along with the Shop ’64 Coupe which cam back from the painter in its original Heron Gray. Pretty! We took the Shop ’60 Cabriolet to the upholsterers to have him install the carpet (which finally showed up ) and the top. The three Shop 356s will wait until we get the customer 356s done.

We started on George’s ’61 Roadster and got it about one third done when we switched to Jim’s ’60 Sunroof Coupe. Jim’s 356 is the one that got hung up at the painter for five months. Another painter got it repainted in the correct Slate Grey color and turned it around in ten days! It is almost all together, just waiting on the carpet and interior. Jim went with leather seats.

The last headliner we put in a Sunroof Coupe we pulled too tight and when it came time to cut the opening for the sunroof we almost had splits at the corners. This time we set the headliner, marked the opening then loosened the headliner to cut the opening. This technique worked well. We are always learning on 356 restorations. Maybe a third edition of the book? Doubt it!

We will finish Jim’s Sunroof Coupe and deliver it to the mechanic for installation of the rebuilt engine and checkout. Then back to George’s Roadster.

Next up will be Kit’s ’64 Coupe which is Black. Her 356 gets dusty within five minutes of being in the Shop. Black is a great 356 color but sure does show the dust. We know as our ’63 Sunroof Coupe is Black.

All the parts for the Wyoming Speedster were delivered including the rebuilt engine and transmission which were done in Minnesota. The tranny has been modified for disc brakes and the whole setup look like good engineering but BJ says the instructions are in German! Good thing Roland lives nearby and is German.

BJ is getting the Wyoming Speedster ready for paint; either White or Ivory. Then he will help finish the other customer 356s. When they are done we will go back to the Shop 356s and contact the customers on our wait list.

When BJ and I trailered the Shop ’60 Cabriolet to the upholsterers a guy saw us and followed. When we stopped, he introduced himself and said he had a ’65 Cabriolet project that would be the same colors, silver with red. After dropping off the Shop ’60 Cabriolet we went to his house and sure enough a ’65 Cabriolet in primer with reasonable body work. He had been working on the project for twenty years. We gave him a verbal estimate on what it would take to finish his project and hope to get to him at the end of the year. The end of the year will get me close to my seventieth birthday and I am starting to think about a second retirement but it will include 356 restoration as I still enjoy it. This situation has been faced and is being faced by many of my friends, so we will have many inputs and plenty of time for a decision.

Tech Tips
A tech tip we learned by accident awhile back, we were installing a headliner and didn’t notice the owner had left the screws in position for the sun visors, mirror, quarter windows and coat hooks. When we went to install these items we couldn’t find the hardware and then discovered we had covered them up with the headliner. No problem. We cut a small x over the screw head, removed the screw, attached the part and we were done. No searching for screw holes under the headliner. We put this tip in the second edition of our 356 Restoration book. Another tip which we learned early and the hard way is to use plenty of tape (we prefer blue painters tape) when working on a painted 356. All the holes in the body have to be cleaned of paint before you can attach wipers, script, horn grilles, turn signals, license plate brackets, etc. To clear the holes we use various size round files. Protection of the area with tape is a must.

During 356 reassembly we have come to expect some paint scratches and just deal with it and move on.

Two products that we use everyday in the Shop are Kroil and 3M General Purpose Adhesive Cleaner. Kroil is a penetrating lubricant and better than Liquid Wrench. The use of Kroil has saved many fasteners on 356s some of which are no longer available. WD-40 is not a penetrating lubricant, it is a water displacement lubricant. We do no use it. The 3M product is excellent to remove tape residue and glue but also a very good rubber cleaner.

We have used it to restore fifty year old rubber with excellent results.

The 3M product is available at NAPA and Kroil can be ordered at

Grandpa News
Alex was sitting on the sofa with BJ as he read the paper and said, “Daddy, I can read this.” She pointed to a very colorful ad for Easter candy and sure enough she could identify the candies but wasn’t really reading, as there was no need for words!

March 2009 Newsletter

(An expression I picked up in Minnesota.) Long term readers of these newsletters could see it coming. Jim would use his management skills from the computer industry to manage the restoration of two or three Porsche 356 restorations at a time.

One 356 would be in metal work, one at the painter, another in reassembly and another at Blast Tech or the upholstery shop. And then, it gets to be almost too much fun.

We have six 356 projects going. The Shop ’54 Coupe is back from the painter and needs reassembly. The Shop ’64 Cabriolet was to go to the upholsterers but the order for the carpet which was the only remaining item got lost resulting in a two month delay. George’s ’61 Roadster got painted and needs reassembly. The metal work on the Wyoming Speedster is done and is ready for paint prep but the owner hasn’t communicated his plans. Kit’s ’64 Coupe is at the painter. Jim’s ’61 Sunroof Coupe came back from a painter after five months but may need more work. And, oh yes, Speedster number 13 will probably have finish body work and paint after over a year and be back for extensive reassembly. So what to do? Vacation! Barb and I had a great time in Maui but I picked up a bug (probably on the return flight) and was down and out for over a week. And then what? Road Trip!

LA Lit and Swap Meet
BJ and I had attended the swap meet in Anaheim, CA a few years back. It was always a big even and we sold lots of parts and met folks who have become friends from all over the world.

But then, the great location for the swap meet was lost. They tried for the last three years at smaller venues but attendance was down. Last year they found a location that was bigger and excitement was high but it rained!

There is also a Literature and Memorabilia event held the day before the swap meet and since it is indoors at the LA Airport Hilton it draws big crowds. Folks come from Europe, Australia and all over the U.S. and Canada for this event.

This year BJ and I decided to drive out and attend both the Lit meet and the Swap meet. First we had to pull parts we thought would sell, clean them and price them. This took about a week. We decided to take mostly small parts as we don’t have a topper on the truck to take doors and clips and big parts. What we like about swap meets is if you don’t sell an item it goes back on the shelf, clean, priced and ready to sell or use in a future restoration.

We left on a Wednesday afternoon so we could overnight in Utah and then spend the next afternoon in Las Vegas. (BJ got us suites at the Mandolay Bay for $75 – plush!).

Then off to California and a stop at Willhoit’s in Long Beach to check out high end 356 restorations. The next day was the Lit meet and we saw why it is so popular. Hundreds of vendors selling posters, models, books and rare parts. There were quite a few Colorado folks and over a thousand others. Quite an event! Afterwards we went to European Collectibles which had at least thirty 356s for sale or sold. They weren’t all show cars and the prices were high.

Sunday was the Swap Meet and Porsche car show. We got there early but others had been there two hours earlier.

BJ and I had planned our set up with long tables on sawhorses off the back of the truck for all the parts that were already cleaned and priced. This is the hussle part as people are already looking as we were unpacking.

We did real well in the first hour when the big buyers know the parts, their rarity and the value. Then it would slow down and pick up for the rest of the day. They had to close the gates with two thousand folks admitted when they ran out of room. You never know what will sell. We sold parts that hadn’t sold before and didn’t sell what we were sure would sell. We packed up about two o’clock in the afternoon when things started slowing down as we wanted to head back to Las Vegas that night. Then from Las Vegas it was a twelve hour run back home. We sold over $3,000 in parts – good trip, good weather; no problems.

Back home it was re-shelf the parts and get back on 356 projects. We hadn’t done much 356 restoration work for six weeks with vacation, a cold and the Swap Meet prep.

We heard from the Wyoming Speedster owner and he wants us to do the full restoration and will be sending the parts needed.

Kit decided on Black for her ’64 Coup and it will be Black on Black. Her engine got a preliminary checkout on the test stand and looks good. We were concerned as she had 100,000 miles since the last rebuild. We will have to replace her gas tank as the 356 was stored with almost a full tank which had turned to sludge. We started on George’s ’61 Roadster and it should to back together quickly as we had prepared most of the parts.

We were not happy with the color on Jim’s ’61 Sunroof Coupe and took it to a different painter for a repaint at our expense. We will not be using the painter again that took five months and got the color wrong.

Kit’s ’64 will be painted soon. The Shop ’64 will also be painted soon and Jim’s repaint is due back in two weeks. This means five 356s to reassemble and checkout. This is the fun part of 356 restoration. As we said “too much fun!”

Grandpa News
Alex’s homework assignment was to count 100 of something. Mom tried jelly beans but you know what happened to that idea. Next Granma told her that she could have as many pennies out of Grandpa’s money jar that she could count and when she had 100 they would go to Target to shop the $1.00 bins, which is a favorite activity. She got to 44 with the pennies all lined up and refused to go any higher. She wanted a “real” dollar, not pennies and stubbornly stuck to that; a Kellogg gene.

January 2009 Newsletter

newheader356 Restoration Book
We finally got word from the publisher that the second edition of “Porsche 356 Guide to Do-it-Yourself Restoration” will be ready for us to proof in a few weeks. The publisher had our draft for almost a year and just didn’t get to it. And of course now we have detail to add which will probably push out the print date. And, we plan to take vacation.

The first edition of the 356 Restoration book sold out of two printings and 3,200 copies. With the continued interest in the Porsche 356, demand for this information remains high. Some copies of the first edition have sold for three to four times the cover price.

We picked up the Shop ’54 Coupe at one of the other painters and rehung the doors and deck lids as soon as we got it back. We do this right away so they don’t get damaged. The next step is to mask off the freshly painted 356 and paint the under carriage to cover overspray and set the undercoat. Since you can’t wax a freshly painted car, we use a glazing compound that protects the finish during reassembly.

For the ’54 we also have to reinstall the transmission as we put it in Speedster 80013 while its transmission was being rebuilt. We have a dolly we install to roll a 356 when the transmission is removed.

The Shop ’60 Cabriolet is just waiting for the red carpet to arrive and we will install it and then off to the upholstery shop for the new top and boot. Some mechanical checkout and it will be for sale.

We expect both Jim’s ’61 Sunroof Coupe and George’s ’60 Roadster back from the painters soon. The Shop 64 Coupe and Kit’s ’64 Coupe will then go to the painters. We are missing a few parts for the Shop ’54 Coupe and they will be hard to find (and pricey). Most of the parts on our shelves are from the latter 356s. We have almost no pre-A parts and very little A parts.

During the final assembly on the Shop ’60 Cabriolet we ran into a problem we hadn’t seen before. The horn contact on the steering wheel didn’t touch the contact ring. No problem, we would just loosen the steering column collar under the dash and move the column, closer. That not it! The column and hub move together. We want the column to move deeper in the hub.

We went to the shelf and we had eight T-5/T-6 steering columns. We even had prices on some at $10 and had never sold any. It’s not a part that goes missing on a 356 and if it is damaged, the 356 was probably totaled. Inspecting the shelf parts we can see that there is a clamp inside the hub that holds the column. The clamp is held by a hex bolt at an angle. It looks like if we can disassemble the hub we might be able to separate it and get to the clamp. We don’t want to have to remove the turn signal switch as we recently checked out all the electrics. It works! We loosen the clamp and adjust the column to hub depth by measuring the correct depth on the shelf parts.

We guess some sort of after market steering wheel had been used on the Shop ’60 Cabriolet and a previous owner had changed the factory setting. Two things learned. Always expect the unexpected when restoring forty five year old Porsches and how great it is to have lots of parts to check assembly.

BJ cut off the damaged left front fender on the Wyoming Speedster to get to the crunched closing panel and replace it. It went well and the replacement left front fender was fit and welded. The door was used to ensure a flush fit of the new fender.

The Speedster’s owner provided a new front nose clip but we only needed the bottom six inches to repair the cut off section on the Speedster. The owner also provided a new rear clip and we will not need it so if any of you need one we think we can get a good price from the owner.

Scot got the transmission in the ’54 Coupe so we can move it into the shop for assembly. There is a rubber collar for the nose piece and a transmission mount that also has rubber. Working with rubber always causes fitment issues as it doesn’t compress well and silicone spray is needed to reduce friction.

We took George’s engine to Eurosport to have it checked out. It had not been run since 1972! George needed to know if he was going to need a rebuild. Changing the oil, replacing gaskets and running a leak down test was encouraging. Value adjustment and carburetor work and the engine runs!

We will also check out Kit’s engine which hasn’t run in twenty years and the engine for the Shop ’64 Coupe which is a complete unknown. We hope we have the same results as we have had with George’s engine. Engine rebuilds are costly and take lots of time.

We will also check out the four spare shop engines we have. It will be good to know what shape they are in and if rebuilds are in our future. We sure do appreciate Porsche engineering. Who would have thought an engine not run in thirty eight years would start right up.

Scot’s son, Aidan, wanted to see where his Dad worked so he came and got to learn all the tools. He used the brake, notcher, grinding wheel and even did a spot weld on the Wyoming Speedster. He is probably the youngest 356 restorer.

There will not be a Newsletter next month as we will be on vacation. Aloha!

Grandpa News
Alex hasn’t started on her Christmas computer as she has been occupied with her new fish tank. Fish have no names yet though.