December 2004 Newsletter

Restoration Book
The first printing of “Porsche 356 Guide to Do-It-Yourself Restoration” has sold out. The publisher had 1,500 copies printed expecting them to last two years. They sold in six months. The publisher is printing another 1,500.

While financial gain was not my motive in writing the book, it is great to recover my expenses. If you want a book as a Christmas gift I have some available and would be happy to sign it. Price is $24.95 plus $4.00 shipping and handling.

The new Shop Car is a ’57 Sunroof Coupe not a ’55. I confused it as it has the Pre A engine configuration with the small Solex carbs. For the Shop ’58 Cabriolet, we decided on a tan leather interior which came with the car rather than the original missing red interior. With a tan soft top this Meissen Blue Cabriolet should be a sharp looking 356.

Many, many parts were missing on the Cabriolet. The most fun was making a soft top frame out of two broken ones. Since the frame has a lot of aluminum we were unable to weld it and had to fabricate attachment points and missing parts. The ’58 Cab is almost complete and will be off to Autoweave in a few weeks.

BJ finished work on the ’57 Carrera and it will go to Don, the painter, when he is finished with Michael’s ’61 Coupe. Both these 356s will be silver.

BJ started on the smaller repairs on the Shop ’64 Coupe after I did the floor, thresholds and longitudinals. He is almost done with the metal work and will start on Scot’s ’55 Coupe.

Trevor is finishing up the brake and other work on the Irish Green Shop ’64 Coupe and we hope to put some miles on it before winter sets in.

I mentioned last month that we needed bumper over riders for the ’57 Carrera. I made some calls and they are very hard to find. Then I thought to check some early pictures of the 356. In a 1965 photograph of the Carrera in the St Paul Winter Carnival parade it had over riders. But then I checked photos sent to me by the grandson of the original owner. They were taken in Norway right after the 356 was picked up at the factory. It did not have over riders in the pictures. It also had hood straps which was not noted on the factory Kardex information. Also, the fog lights specified on the Kardex were not on the car. It is probable the owner made some changes at the factory. We have the original red leather seats for the Carrera and they have a lot of patina. Maybe too much to salvage but we will wait on an evaluation at Autoweave.

Barb and I will probably drive to Arizona for the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale in late January. This year the event is five days with over 1,000 cars to be sold. Hopefully, some will be 356s. Bill Frey attended last year and said it was a great event. Info is available online at and tickets can be purchased online before the end of December.

Barb and I are also registered for the Gulf Coast Holiday, April 7-10 in Boerne, Texas (pronounced “Bernie”). Boerne is not far from San Antonio and the event will include a special tour of the Alamo site and dinner on the River Walk. (I wonder if my old barracks from my days at Officer Training School is still at Lackland AFB). The registration packet is available at or contact David Wildrick at 713-218-9686.

BJ and I will miss the Anaheim Swap Meet in early February. This year it is in Long Beach as the Anaheim site is not available. It has been expanded to cover all European sports cars not just Porsches. Barb and I will take vacation again on Maui. Aloha.

Tech Tip
Some of you may experience a gasoline smell after you park your 355 in the garage. To avoid this, drive into the garage, leave the garage door open, turn your fuel petcock off (counter clockwise to Zu) and let the engine die of fuel starvation.

This procedure guarantees no gasoline smell and also keeps fuel from sitting in the carbs and fuel lines.

As mentioned previously, today’s gasoline with additives is harmful to the 356 fuel system.

With a dry system the 356 will take longer to start unless you install an electric fuel pump. Any mechanic (or you) can install one. One installation is shown in the Technical section of the 356 Registry website. Don’t forget to turn your fuel petcock back on after starting. To remind yourself that the petcock is off, pull your sun visor down. We are in the habit of turning off the fuel petcock even when stopping the car for a short while. With gas still in the fuel lines but the petcock off, the 356 will start but only go a few blocks before running out of gas. A great thief deterrent. If traveling, take a car cover to disguise your 356 at motel stops. It will look like a Volkswagen.

November 2004 Newsletter

Shop Cars
Well I did it again! Bought another shop car. A shop car is one we buy and restore to sell. Hopefully we buy at a small cost, invest our time, pay others for parts, paint and interior and then sell at a profit.

This one is a ’55 Sunroof Coupe. I use to say that a sunroof added two thousand dollars to the value of a 356 Coupe. Now I say at least four thousand dollars as sunroof clips, if you can find them, go for three thousand dollars. This sunroof shop car has lots of rust underneath but is complete and the gaps are good. Good gaps mean probably no collision damage but you can’t tell until the 356 is disassembled and media blasted. So this shop car will join the list of others to be restored.

I had to stop and think about our 356 inventory.

We have:
’52 Coupe Racecar (will probably keep until racing is no longer fun.)
’54 Coupe-(not really ours until we finish the owner’s ’55 Coupe.)
’55 Sunroof Coupe – (just bought.)
’57 Carrera-(close to being ready for paint).
’58 Coupe Coyote-(need to add engine and turn into street outlaw).
’58 Cabriolet-(painted Meissen Blue; being assembled).
’60 Outlaw-(top has been chopped for Speedster windshield but needs more mods).
’62 Twin Grille Roadster-(Barb’s 356 will stay in family).
’63 Sunroof Coupe-(my 356 but may sell if I like the ’64 Green Coupe better).
’64 Green Coupe-(has Al Lager engine, just about ready for road test).
’64 Coupe-(the one we got in Albuquerque, metal work started).

So we have eleven 356s. We will only keep two or three as we are not collectors. The problem is finishing the shop cars when customers need work. While we have tried to slow the customer work we still have some customer commitments.

As noted above, the Shop ’58 Cabriolet is back from Don, the painter. It is beautiful! Meissen Blue is a soft blue gray and will look great with a red interior. The issues are many parts are missing or there are parts from other 356s. We have parts from two broken soft top frames and have to fabricate parts to make one good frame.

I started on the metal work on the ’64 Shop Coupe from Albuquerque and have the floor pan in; the right longitudinal and threshold in and the front of the right side door repaired. It still needs a repair to the left longitudinal and numerous rust areas. (Blast Tech really helped out and got the ’64, the ’54 and the ’55 blasted in just two weeks!)

BJ continues work on the ’57 Carrera. The hood was full of bondo and when he opened it up he found fiberglass over rust, previous brazing and missing seams. He has done an excellent job of restoring the hood and other areas of the 356. I just realized we have to find and fit the bumper overriders before we can paint the Carrera. Will check with vendors next week.

While we had checked out the electrics on the ’64 Green Coupe we still had problems as I was getting it ready to go to Tevor’s for final tuning. The lights wouldn’t work and they had before. Time to call Joe Leoni. After doing the obvious checks, Joe found power going into the headlight relay but none coming out. The problem was a very small rivet in the relay body that was loose and not making contact for ground. A little cleaning and a drop of solder and we had lights! Seems like every time we have to call Joe for an electrical problem it is a ground problem. Just can’t understand how 40-50 year old parts fail. (Maybe a winter project for you would be to clean and check all the grounds on your 356; not just important for lights but also for engine performance.)

Customer commitments include assisting Michael assemble his Coupe and assembling Mathew’s ’59 Coupe after paint; also doing restoration of Scot’s ’55 Coupe and doing the metal work on Andy’s ’62 Coupe. A couple of reasons we are able to complete a lot of 356 restorations is we have the 356s blasted so we can see all the required metal work; we know how to do the metal work correctly and quickly and we have had two painters that do the final finish and paint. Both Don and Vern do excellent work. Unfortunately, Vern is having problems with his shoulders (important when hand sanding/blocking a car) and he will have to curtail work for awhile. So Don will have to pick up the load but says he is up to the challenge.

Our thanks to Phil Carney for submitting a picture to the 356Registry of Porsches and Pastries on Drive Your 356 Day. Our thanks also to Bill Block for again recommending our 356 Restoration book in his book review column in the Registry. The first printing of 1500 is just about sold out so order now for Christmas.

October 2004 Newsletter

The phone number for Foreign Intrigue who sells the cloaking device for the 6 volt Optima battery for the 356 B/C cars is 1-800-800-8070. (We dropped an 800 last month.)

East Coast Holiday
This was the first East Coast Holiday for Barb and me. There were over 200 356s and the venue around Williamsburg, Virginia was great.

One thing I noticed was a lot more modified 356s than we see at West Coast Holidays i.e. outlaws, no bumper guards, Carrera rear valance, special bras; similar to what we saw in Spain for the International 356 event.

The headquarter hotel was adjacent to the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center and had a very large parking lot for the 356s, at least 150.

This was the thirtieth anniversary of the 356 Registry and was celebrated in style. Wednesday was the first day and included a “Taste of the Taverns” in Colonial Williamsburg. That evening was a dessert reception.

Thursday was a drive to Smithfield where there was a reception featuring the great Smithfield hams. This drive included a trip on the Jamestown ferry. In the afternoon there was a tech session followed by an excellent reception sponsored by the 356 Trustees.

Friday featured drives to plantations along the James River. Our favorite was the Shirley Plantation which is Virginia’s oldest, being established in 1613. It is still a working plantation and the home of the eleventh generation of original owners.

At another plantation, the Berkeley, you can see a cannon ball, lodged in the wall, fired during the Civil War (or War of Northern Aggression as referred to by Southerners.)

Friday afternoon was the Literature, Memorabilia and Model Meet. I signed about thirty of my 356 Restoration books at one of the book vendor’s table.

Saturday was the big day. Everyone drove to Historic Yorktown for the Concours. The streets were blocked off and the 356s parked by model type. It rained off and on for the first two hours but by 11:00 the sun was out and it was an impressive display of 356s. There was a huge crowd and awards were presented promptly at 2:00 preceded by a Fife and Drum concert.

The Saturday dinner was exceptional; buffet setup, excellent food with no speeches or presentations. There was a DJ and Barb and I even danced (been a while).

Sunday was the Swap Meet and I signed some more books. Even bought a 1954 “American Forces Germany” license plate for a future ’54 Coupe restoration. After the Swap Meet we explored Jamestown and then drove to Washington DC area to meet friends. They took us on a sailing cruise of Chesapeake Bay and we reminisced of when they joined us in Colorado for the Snowmass/Crested Butte Holiday.

Before returning home we visited some Civil War battlefields and Mount Vernon. I was most impressed with Mount Vernon. George designed a heck of a place! The views from the mansion and lawns overlooking the James River are spectacular. The gardens replicate what George had designed and even included some of the plants. Plan to visit Virginia in 2007 for their 400th anniversary.

We finished the minor body work on the Shop ’58 Cabriolet and took it to the painter. It will be Meissen Blue, the original color. I saw a few 356s at the ECH in this color. It is a soft blue/gray. We will also use the original red color interior. We finished the metal work on the other Mathew’s 56 Coupe and it is ready for the painter. We received the new rear clip for the 356 and it went on with few issues. It really improved the rear of this heavily damaged 356. We also had work around the rear lid and left door and minor work on the right threshold and nose. We had to do this work without causing damage to the excellent finished interior.

We brought the Shop ’57 Carrera into the shop and BJ started on a lot of minor repairs. I had previously done the floor, right door/lockpost and left headlight area. BJ found a fiberglass repair in the battery box that I had missed. We will take our time on this restoration and do it to show quality as it is a rare and valuable 356.

We still have to get the engine in the Shop ’64 Coupe and sort it out before the snow flies. We will also take the other Shop ’64 Coupe to Blast Tech for blasting so we can start on the metal work. We will also pick up Scott’s ’55 Coupe which we will restore in exchange for Scott’s ’54 which we are presently storing. Then when Mathew’s ’59 Coupe comes back from the painter we have to assemble it and also the Shop ’58 Cabriolet.

September 2004 Newsletter

Drive Your 356 Day
Porsches and Pastries
Both events are this Sunday September 19th. A few years back, the Sunday closest to Dr Porsche’s birthday was selected to be “Drive Your 356 Day!” 356 folks have drives and events and pictures are featured in the 356 Registry. This year Porsches and Pastries coincides with “Drive Your 356 Day!”. So drive your 356 to 356RESTORE and enjoy great food and camaraderie. All Porsches and others are invited and we usually have a few special 356s. A few years back we had an 1952 America Roadster (one of sixteen built). The event is this Sunday at 356RESTORE from 11:00 to 4:00; call 303-841-6475 for directions. There is always plenty of food (Barb and Jen used to own a bakery).

356 Registry
Many of you who receive this newsletter don’t belong to the 356 Registry. You should! It is now a true registry with over 8,000 356’s registered and available for information on the 356 Registry website Check this out to see if there is history on your 356. The 356 Regristry provides a bimonthly magazine which is excellent! And now all the previous editions for the last thirty years are available on CDs! It has tremendous information on how to maintain and enjoy this special car. To join the 356Registry you can find info at the website or contact Barbara Skirmants at 810-688-9090. See you on Sunday!

Tech Tip
Last month we mentioned the Optima battery which is the best battery for your 356 as it has great starting power and doesn’t leak acid. One issue is this high tech battery doesn’t look right in a 356. Well, someone has designed an Optima cover that looks just like an early six volt battery. Unfortunately it is only available to the 356 B and C. I bought one of these “cloaking devices” and think they are great. It looks like the inventor got a battery case and the Optima fit inside at an angle. The top looks just like a standard 6 volt battery with 3 vent/fill holes. You can use the standard battery cover and nobody can tell the difference. The vendor is Foreign Intrique at 1-800-8070. You may have to wait for your order as demand has been exceptional and it is a 356 hobbyist that makes them.

Well Porsches and Pastries always gives us an incentive to clean up the Shop and finish a few 356s.

Mathew’s ’59 Coupe went off to the painter after we fit the nerf bars and special GT gas tank filler through the hood. This particular filler has a hinge which needs an opening big enough to clear and which would also let rain inside the front compartment. No problem! Off to Wal-Mart and we found a Tupperware type dish that fits perfectly and is flush to the hood. With a drain hose the problem is solved.

David will pick up his ’58 Coupe at Porsches and Pastries. He will trailer it back to Albuquerque on his home built dolly/trailer. Come and see this rig! We completed all the metal work and he will take it home to dry fit everything before paint. (This 356 took a hard hit.)

So we will start on the other Mathew’s ’55 Coupe with front end and threshold repair while we wait for the new rear clip, which it really needs. We will bring down the Shop ’58 Cabriolet which should be ready for paint in a few weeks as the metal work was done years ago. We sold this Cab a few years ago as we had too many projects. Miles and his Dad did a lot of work on it together until his Dad unfortunately passed away. So we bought it back.

We also have to put the engine in the Shop ’64 Irish Green Coupe and give it a road test.

If we like this 356 as much as we think we will with the Al Lager engine, we will keep it and sell the Shop ’63 Black Sunroof Coupe. We will also move the Shop ’57 Carrera into the shop and get it ready for paint.

Then we have another David’s 356 Coupe from New Mexico and a ’55 Coupe from Longmont. I get a ’54 Coupe in exchange for doing the ’55. So that will be up in the future along with the ’58 ex-race car which will be come an outlaw and the other outlaw project. So it looks like we are busy through next year.

It is time for a break! Barb and I are off to the 356 East Coast Holiday in Williamsburg, Virginia September 29th-October 3rd. We will let you know about this event in the next newsletter.

The next Holiday is April 7-10, 2005 in Boerne, Texas (30 miles north of San Antonio). For this one we hope to have time to drive a 356. However, we attended a Holiday in Galveston, Texas years back and the drive across Texas is a real long one! Barb still reminds me that we drove into the night because we could not wait to get home!

August 2004 Newsletter

Porsches & Pastries
The sixth annual Porsches and Pastries will be held Sunday, September 19th from 11:00 to 4:00 at 356RESTORE. The address is 8356 N. Sunburst Trail, Parker, Colorado. Call for directions.

This may be the last Porsche & Pastries as BJ and Jen (the Pastry Chef) are adopting and will have other priorities next year.

However, we will have a fall 356RESTORE event next year of some kind. We are closing in on our 100th 356 repair/restoration and that will call for a celebration. If we don’t make 100 we will celebrate 90 something!

This newsletter has been going for thirteen years. Some of you get more letters from 356RESTORE than you do from your family. A few months ago our printer failed and those of you on the Western Slope and West Coast missed the July issue. (You could have received the recipe for a cold soup which corrupted the newsletter label file!)

If anyone misses a newsletter which goes out mid month, you can always read it on our website Most all the newsletters are there. (If someone would like to volunteer to type in the early newsletters a fee will be provided. They have to be retyped from the three column newsletter format to the website format.)

We have also added our website and e-mail address to the newsletter. We will also add this to those of you who get the newsletter via e-mail. The newsletter via e-mail saves us printing and postage and we appreciate those that get the newsletter this way. If you would like to get the newsletter via e-mail just send us an e-mail at However, if you change servers we will not know unless you tell us. For seventy cents the post office tells us of address changes. For e-mail changes you have to tell us.

Gmund 2004
This was another great Porsche event at the Maybee’s. It gets bigger each year. Probably at least fifty 356s and a hundred other Porsches, plus Porsche tractors, good food and beer and entertainment. There were representatives from PCA and PCNA and many Porsche folks from out of state. Thanks to Sharon and George and all who helped make this a very fine Porsche day.

East Coast Holiday
Barb and I will attend the East Coast Holiday in Williamsburg, Virginia September 30th thru October 2nd. We have never attended an ECH and look forward to it. We will combine it with some vacation to visit friends we have not seen in a while. At the 1995 West Coast Holiday (Aspen/Crested Butte) our East Coast friends visited and we loaned them our ’63 Coupe for the trip. At a rest stop, Paulette asked how they were enjoying the 356, since they had been use to MGs. They said “fine” and she said “What are you shifting at?” They said 4000 RPM and she said try 5500. At the next stop they had these huge grins and it was hard to keep them off the mountain roads for the rest of the trip. They have promised us a sailboat ride when we go to the ECH in exchange for that experience.

PS Leave it to Paulette to help you enjoy your 356 to the fullest!

I finished the assembly of Michael’s ’63 Coupe and he will pick it up this week. He will do the mechanical work and then it will be off to Autoweave and finally on the road. I am amazed at the rusty metal we cut off this 356. We did the metal work a year ago and I forgot how much more metal work we did other than the front clip. We always save the cut off rusty metal to place alongside the finished 356 for a photo.

BJ finished the metal work, paint, caulk and undercoat on Matthew’s T-5 Coupe and it will be off for painting after some outlaw mods.

I will get back on David’s Coupe which had some lead above the left windshield opening which didn’t look factory. Sure enough when we melted it it was one inch deep covering a heavy hit. We think this was a race car that went off track and took a hit on the left fender, windshield and roof.

David will take the 356 back to Albuquerque prior to paint and dry fit all the parts. We are concerned that the right side windows won’t fit due to the collision damage.

Next will be Matt’s ’55 Coupe. It sure was pretty until we had it blasted and saw multiple repairs to the rear clip. It will need a new rear clip and fortunately they are being made but very expensive. Matt also needs some front nose work and right threshold repair. After Matt’s we “should” be able to get to the shop cars.

Tech Tip
If you have read my Restoration book you know I recommend the Optima battery. (*Book can be ordered from The Optima battery has excellent cold starting amperage and it is sealed so you don’t get battery acid in the battery compartment. You can buy them at Peerless Tire, Jim Paris Tire and the Battery Shop.

July 2004 Newsletter

Speedster 50th
What a great time! Three days of 356 overload!

We arrived in Monterey on Thursday and could already see the 356s gathering. We stayed at the same condo we had in 1998 for the Porsche 50th anniversary. This condo is right on the beach and isolated by artichoke and strawberry fields. Very peaceful.

Knowing that there would be a big crowd we got to registration early Friday morning. No problem! Just a few minutes to register and receive the goody bag. Registration was well organized as was the whole event. High quality and very professional. While this was not a 356 REGISTRY event most volunteers were familiar from 356 REGISTRY Holidays.

And the cars! The parking lot was full of hundreds of 356s. The event featured the 356 Speedster on its 50th anniversary. There were 288 Speedsters registered! Included were the first prototype and six of the first ten Speedsters made. Also featured were the Speedster predecessor, the Aluminum bodied American Roadster of which there were six and the Speedster successor, the Convertible D of which there were forty there.

The Friday afternoon event was the Literature meet which was held at the Hyatt in conjunction with the 356 Goodie Store. BJ and I had a table and were selling our 356 Restoration book. I was quite pleased with all the favorable comments it received. We also met many friend we have made at previous Holidays and the Anaheim swap meet. We sold and signed a lot of books.

After the Literature meet it was back to the condo to get ready for the event dinner. You had your choice of the Monterey Aquarium or the event site in Carmel. We chose the aquarium as we had done this in 1998 and it is spectacular. Imagine a reasonable sized crowd with a chance to see every exhibit and a food station at every turn. It was great! Our favorite are still the jellyfish and sea otters.

Saturday featured morning drives and then the big staging of all the 356s at the Carmel golf course. The drives included a tour of the famous Pebble Beach Seventeen Mile drive, a run on the recreated 1950 Pebble Beach race course or laps at the Laguna Seca race track. Barb and I checked out the Seventeen Mile and the 1950. It was foggy and we were concerned that the big gathering at the Carmel golf course might be cold and damp. Not to worry, the Carmel valley was bright and sunny. And the 356s started to arrive and kept coming and coming and coming. Estimates were 600 356s. Not just the featured cars but all the other 356s.

The featured 356s were arranged on the golf course in groups of similar chassis serial number so you could go through Porsche time as you viewed the cars. There was also a large corral for all the other 356s which included some outlaws and custom 356s.

My favorite were the stretch 356 and 356 panel wagon.George Maybee brought out the Horsetooth Reservoir Speedster that lived on the bottom of the lake for many years. It was a crowd favorite.Dinner that night was at the golf course. How are they going to feed 1600 plus people? No problem! Multiple buffet lines and no long waits. What a sight! Excellent food and hundreds of 356s arranged in front of you. After dinner were awards and entertainment.

Sunday morning was a swap meet; it was rather small but we sold more books. And the event ended; what a time, probably never to be repeated.

OK, we know it! We are over committed. We are full up at the shop with fourteen 356s. I completed the reassembly of George’s ’61 Coupe and he picked it up for final engine work by Trevor and upholstery by Autoweave. BJ finished up the metal work on Mathew’s 356. I delayed finishing David’s metal work as Don the painter finished Fritz’s ’64 Coupe in Champagne yellow. When the 356 are painted we like to get right on the reassembly. This allows us to free up space plus it is the fun part of 356 restoration. I’m almost finished with Fritz’s 356 and then Michael’s 356 Coupe was finished by Vern the other painter. So it will be next and then back to David’s ’68 Coupe. David who lives in Albuquerque found a ’64 project car for sale and told the owner about 356RESTORE and he contacted us. It was a good deal. Another 356 parts car plus lots of parts. So Barb and I took the trailer to Albuquerque and brought it home. With Georges 356 gone and Fritz’s almost ready we will have room for the ’54 Coupe which is part of the restore the ’55 Coupe in exchange for the ’54 deal.

We have one other customer commitment, another Dave in Albuquerque. (I thought I was committing to one Dave when there were two; an e-mail problem.) After that it will be a period of working on restoring and selling shop cars. I just have to get the ’57 Carrera done!

June 2004 Newsletter

356 Values
A few years ago we restored a Shop ’61 Roadster. This was a complete car and appeared to have minimal damage. The engine had been rebuilt five years earlier by Ron Appleton. This was a big plus! We paid a premium for the 356, $14,000.

As we got into it, we found no collision damage and only minor rust damage to the battery box and front closing panels. We decided to restore the car to close to show car level. We spent time doing things we don’t normally do on driver level cars, like chrome and detailing the suspension. The Roadster was finished in the original Aetna blue with red interior.

When it was time to sell it, it went to a collector in New York for $45,000; a very good price (and one of the few Shop 356s on which we made a profit).

A few months ago we started getting calls about the Roadster. It appeared the collector was thinning out his collection and the Roadster was for sale. The Roadster went to a classic car dealer in New York; we don’t know the selling price. The dealer called us and we gave him details on the history and restoration. They put pictures on their web site with a very accurate description of the car (and some nice words about our work).

A potential buyer called and we told him about the Roadster. He asked if it was worth $85,000! There was no price on the web site. This blew me away! I explained to the potential buyer the value of 356 Roadsters and the difference between 1961 single grille and 1962 twin grille Roadsters. He decided the 1961 Roadster was over priced.

Next, I got an e-mail from the dealer. You could tell they were upset, I cost them a sale. The e-mail was very professional and asked for information on 356 values. I responded with the values from Excellence magazine.

Another call from a potential buyer and the price was down to $63,000 or $65,000 with the tool kit! I explained about tool kit values and told him if he liked the Roadster and thought it was a fair value he should buy it even though it was over market.

When BJ and I talked it over he said, “think of it this way Dad, someone values your work at twice the market value”.

A couple of messages here. If you continue to improve your 356 it should maintain or increase in value. And there are buyers who only look at appearances and not the inherent condition or market value of a car.

We had a great time at the RM356PC Ed Carroll Porsche West Fest in Fort Collins. Although the turnout was low, it was fun. The highlight was a tour of a classic car shop that does the mechanical work on early Italian sport cars. The place was full of Buggatiis and Talbot Lagos. The shop guys were great fun, you could tell they enjoyed their work.

Next week a bunch of us will be at the Speedster Fest in Monterey California. Over 500 356s are expected and over 1500 participants. A few of us are staying at a condo right on the dunes and beach. It should be fun. We will report next month.

An event coming up in July is Gmund West 2004. This will be Sunday, July 25th at George and Sharon Maybee’s in Henderson (north of Denver). George has created a replica of the Gmund, Austria building where the first 356s were built. This event gets larger each year and we expect hundreds of Porsches and representatives from the 356 Registry, Porsche Cars North America and Porsche AG. Even the 356 Registry Goodie Store will be there. You don’t want to miss this one. To register contact Susan Bucknam at or call Sharon Maybee at 303-655-9831.

Well I did it again! I agreed to restore a ’55 Coupe in exchange for a ’54 Coupe. While we won’t start on the ’55 until next year we will pickup and store the ’54. Lets see, that gives us five Shop projects when we have time-the coyote, the shop outlaw, the ’57 Carerra, the ’58 Cab and the ’54 Coupe. Plus since our 356 Restoration book was published we have lots of customer calls. Will we expand? Hire more people? Get a bigger shop?-Nah! BJ and I will keep having fun and the work gets done when it gets done.

More Progress
Speaking of getting work done-BJ is just about done with the extensive metal work on Mathew’s ’54 Coupe, I’m just about done with the metal work on David’s ’58 Coupe but also got interrupted to get the Shop ’52 race car ready for the Pueblo race. It was hot in Pueblo and since I have a 1720 engine in the ’52 I ran in D Production and they ran away from me. So it wasn’t a lot of fun but the ’52 performed flawlessly.

Then the mig welder broke. We have had no problems for fifteen years. So metal work stops while it is fixed. I can put George’s ’61 together and BJ can start getting the gaps and contours correct on Mathew’s 356. Coming back from the painters soon is Michael’s Coupe and Fritz’s Coupe plus Matt’s 356 is at Blast Tech. It will be busy!

May 2004 Newsletter

Be Careful
Last month’s newsletter mentioned two 356s that had been in accidents. After the newsletter had been distributed we got another call. Fred’s 356 got hit hard on the right rear. Again, not the 356 driver’s fault. He was in a school zone, flashing lights, 20 mph limit and the other driver (cell phone?) ran into him.

And then at the first vintage race at Second creek this year, Dave went off track at turn ten, went across track and hit the jersey barrier. His 356 has extensive front suspension and transmission damage.

Fred was fortunate on his insurance claim. We did the estimate insisting on panel replacement not repair and a full paint job. The insurance adjuster reviewed our estimate and wrote Fred a check for the full amount. He didn’t even try the “betterment” clause on the paint job. While we did the estimate we are too busy to repair Fred’s 356 and it will be taken to another shop.

There is no insurance for racing incidents so Dave will have to do most of the repair to his racing Roadster.

Restoration Book
My 356 restoration book has been well received. I received over twenty calls, letters and e-mails thanking me and congratulating me on the book. We have sold over 700 copies and I am quite pleased. I am being pressured to do a second edition with more photos and details. Maybe in a few years.

Rennsport II
BJ and I flew into Orlando, rented a car and drove to Daytona Beach for Rennsport II. We had a motel right across from the track. Friday morning we got to the track early. The place was packed with Porsche Race cars. There were 560 drivers registered!

We had free access to the garages and were able to examine in detail the famous and winning Porsches of the past. There were over twenty 962s, all 911s from every year and more RSRs than you could imagine. There were over thirty racing 356s. Plus there was serial one 356, an America Roadster and a Gmumd Coupe from the Porsche museum. Jerry Seinfeld also brought Porsches from his collection. The best was a Gmund Coupe that had been preserved not restored. This is the most documented Gmund 356 and all the documents were there for review. This 356 even had a roof rack to carry a spare tire. This was a documented factory option. Early Saturday morning the garages were open, no one was there and I was able to spend an hour undisturbed with those great 356s.

There was also a restored Model 109 Porsche diesel tractor like mine and we were able to take a lot of pictures for this future restoration project.

BJ and I attended the driver’s meeting. When the race steward asked how many drivers had not raced at Daytona about 200 hands went up. But as in all vintage races this was about the cars not winning. In three days of racing there were no major racing incidents. Yes, there were spins and off track excursions but no metal to metal.

The racing 356s were in Group I. This group also had all two liter 911s and 550s. There were 120 Porsches in this group! The 356s were quite competitive and the racing was great. While Daytona was a road course, a lot of the track is on the high banks. The drivers said they would put the 356 into fourth, run it up to red line, try to get a tow from another Porsche and just hang on. They also said your vision narrows on the banking and it is quite rough.

BJ had a new digital camera with zoom and he got some great pictures.

At lunch time they would have parade laps and yes serial one was driven along with all the other museum cars and the famous racing Porsches. Rumor has it Rennsport III will be in California in 2007.

BJ is about two thirds done with the metal work on Mathew’s ’59 Coupe. I started on the metal work on David’s ’58 Coupe. This is an interesting project as previous rust repairs had been done, some acceptable some not. For example, the floor pan was replaced but not correctly. It was welded under not over the inner longitudinal ledges. I am trying to make it look right without removing the floor pan. There are also nicely done patches to the rear fenders where there were fender flares. Since there are no seat mounts or pedal cluster bracket this 356 was not driven after repairs. We think this was a racing 356 that was converted back to street use.

Fritz’s ’64 Coupe is at the painter for a Champagne Yellow paint job. The other Michael’s 356 is at the other painter and should be back soon. We also have George’s 356 to re-assemble and just to ensure that we have enough to do, I bought a ’58 Cabriolet as a shop car. We did the metal work on this 356 years ago and sold it as a project-now we get to finish it.

April 2004 Newsletter

Black Monday
A few weeks back on a Monday following a beautiful 356 driving Sunday, we received a call. A friend of Cleve’s was driving Cleve’s ’59 Coupe around the neighborhood after doing a tune up. He was hit hard by another car in the passenger door. The other driver was at fault.

One hour after that call we got one from Jerry. He was driving his ’62 Cabriolet around his neighborhood and was hit in the right front fender. The other driver was at fault.

We did an insurance estimate on Jerry’s 356. He was able to drive it to our shop. Heavy damage to the fender, bumper, and front panel. Moderate damage to the hood, cowl, right rocker, headlight bucket, fender brace and battery box side. The front suspension may need alignment. Unfortunately we would not be able to do the repair for months and Jerry planned to participate in a lot of 356 events this year.

You should have stated value insurance on your 356. This is provided by classic car insurance providers. If you have actual cash value from Allstate, State Farm, USAA, etc, they will go to the “book” and determine your forty-five year old car is worth $2,000. You then have to prove with receipts, comparisons, etc, that it is worth more. There are some mileage, garage and other restrictions with the specialty providers but you can shop around to find one that meets your 356 driving habits.

Also don’t be surprised if the insurance doesn’t cover all of your new paint job. They will only pay to get the paint back to its condition at the time of the accident. You will have to argue the percentage.

It is obvious we are over committed. Mathew brought his ’59 Coupe over after he disassembled it and had it media blasted. While he bought it in Arizona it obviously wintered in Minnesota. We call this 356 “Cheesecake” as it ranks number three in rust damage behind “Frankenstein” and “Igor”. It has plenty of Swiss cheese holes plus the owner brought over some great cheesecake for BJ and me. (Let’s see, lobster, steaks and now cheesecake, the word must be getting around!) When BJ went to cut off the front floor pan on “Cheesecake”, the plasma cutter stopped working and there was a terrible smell. Someone not only pop riveted a patch over the rusty floor pan, they left the rubber floor mat under the patch!

David brought his ’58 Coupe up from New Mexico and we took it to Blast-Tech for blasting. David had disassembled the 356 and made a dolly on which to make repairs. Concerned the 356 on the dolly would ride too high on a trailer, David put an axel, springs and tires under the dolly and towed it 500 miles to our shop. A real nice looking rig. We will take pictures. We had no problems towing it to Blast Tech and it should make their job easier.

Fritz brought over his ’64 Coupe. He wants a new paint job and the interior corrected. The 356 needs very little body work. We started disassembly and probably won’t have this 356 blasted as it is so straight. The painter says he can sand it down and repaint. Fritz has to decide on color.

I corresponded with David about his 356 via E-mail. Well there is another David also E-mailing me about doing his car. Thinking there was one David, I may have committed to two 356’s!

We finished Tom’s ’64 Cabriolet and he picked it up. We have moved all the Shop cars to the storage building as we expect Michael’s 356 back from the painter and David’s back from Blast-Tech. We also have to assist George in the reassembly of his ’60 Coupe.

Vintage Racing
Bill Frey finished the ’52 Coupe Race car and we ran it at the Second Creek Drivers School on Easter weekend. We were still assembling the race car Friday and had no time to test. The 356 ran great right off the trailer! If you are considering a 356 race car, Bill is your man.

Tech Tip
We are sure you always check your oil before taking your 356 out for a run; but what about your tire pressure? Your owner’s manual will specify the settings for your 356. Usually 26psi front and 28psi rear. Proper tire pressure is critical for 356 performance. How old are your tires? Five years is a reasonable tire life. After that they are dangerous. If you don’t know how to read the date code on you tire, take it to a tire shop.

Our 356 Restoration book started shipping April 15. There were some delays in publishing but there are also delays in 356 restorations, so we are use to them.

BJ and I will attend Rennsport II in Daytona Beach, Florida, April 23-25. We think this will be a huge Porsche Racing event as Rennsport I three years ago at Lime Rock Connecticut was great. Details next month.

March 2004 Newsletter

We’re Back
BJ and I had a great time at the Porsche Swap meet in Anaheim, CA. Barb and I had a very relaxing time in Maui.

The swap meet was huge! Hundreds of Porsches on display including at least a hundred 356s. There must have been over two hundred vendors and thousands of spectators. Over forty thousand dollars were raised for charity.

We sold over eight thousand dollars in parts which was one of our best years. We see no value of parts on the shelf when they can be used to keep these great cars on the road. We are always looking for 356 parts so let us know if you have some for sale.

Next year’s swap meet will be at a new location as the present site owners were offered too much money not to sell their land. As usual we donated a percentage of our sales to the American Cancer Society. This used to be a percentage of the gross but now it is of the net due to BJ and my stop in Las Vegas on the way to California.

This has become a tradition to break the drive and still arrive in Anaheim in time for all the festivities.

Burned up 356
A few months back a friend of one of our customers called for advice. Her home, along with 150 of 200 homes in her community was destroyed in last years California fires. Her 356 was totaled and her insurance offered $11,500. I did some research on comparable 356 values and faxed them to her. When Barb and I returned from vacation, she called to thank us and said her insurance company settled for $17,000.

Restoration Book
My 356 restoration book titled “Porsche 356 Guide to Do-It-Yourself Restoration” will ship in early April. Already the publisher has received close to 100 individual orders and large orders from automotive book sellers.

The book is 112 pages with 208 photos. It sells for $24.95 plus $4.00 shipping/handling. It can be ordered online at or by calling 1-800-553-5319. I will be happy to autograph your copy at 356 events this year. We will be at West Fest in Boulder, Monterey and hopefully Williamsburg.

Well we hit the ground running after the swap meet and vacation. BJ is doing all the usual metal work on the Shop ’59 Coupe Outlaw; floors, longitudinals, battery box, etc. We did chop the top to fit a Speedster windshield but may not get to the rest of the Outlaw mods until we finish customer commitments.

I finished all the metal work on Tom’s ’64 coupe and soon it will be off to the painter. We have to disassemble Fritz’s ’64 Coupe do some minor metal work and get it ready for a new paint color. It will also need some upholstery work. While this is a fairly easy job the next one, which is Mathew’s ’59 Coupe, will involve a lot of metal work.

Mathew’s 356 came from Arizona but looks like it spent some hard winters in Minnesota. But no rust damage we haven’t seen before.

We will be bouncing around as we still have George’s ’60 Coupe and Michael’s ’62 Coupe at the painters and they will need reassembly when they return.

Bill is working to get the ’52 Coupe Race car ready for the season and then we will convert the ’58 ex-race car to a street Outlaw. Soon Al Lager will have the engine ready for the Shop ’64 Coupe and we will sort that out. If the Shop ’64 is as good as we expect, we may keep it and sell the black ’63 Sunroof Coupe. So basically, we are full up for this year and there is still a 356 coming from New Mexico.

To promote the book and to also have a fun time, we will be attending the Rennsport Reunion II at Daytona, Florida April 23-25. Followed by the RM356PC West Fest on May 1-2. Next will be the Joy Lutheran Classic Car Show May 29th here in Parker for the benefit of the youth program. If you are in the area and want to show your car for these kids call us or Bill Frey.

In June the Speedster Fest will be in Monterey, California and September 30 through October 3 is the East Coast Holiday in Williamsburg, Virginia. There is no West Coast Holiday this year due to the Speedster Fest but next year we think it will be in Texas. The RM356PC is planning to offer to host the 2006 West Coast Holiday here in Colorado.

Porsche Tractors
A growing collector hobby is Porsche tractors. While not many were originally sold in the U.S., thousands were sold world wide in the sixties. Many are being imported now. Roland Lohnert in Castle Rock at (303) 663-4363 can help you find one. Roland use to work for Porsche Diesel and recently obtained a large inventory of original spare parts to keep these Porsche classics running. So contact Roland or visit the web site to learn more about Porsche tractors.

January 2004 Newsletter

We hope you all had a happy holiday; we did. Most of the work this month has been preparing parts for the big swap meet February 1st in Anaheim, California. We look forward to the road trip and the stop in Las Vegas. We also get to see friends and customers from all over the world. Robert is from Amsterdam and always buys a lot of parts from us. There is a guy from New Zealand that carried some side window glass back home on his lap. There are lots of people that know us and it is fun to put faces to names.

We have quite a few parts this year as we parted out that damaged ’63 Coupe. We will keep the engine and transmission and sell most everything else. Eventually we will take the sawzall to the body and get a few clips for future restorations. Our philosophy has always been that parts should be used to restore these great cars and not set on the shelf.

Michael’s ’62 Coupe has gone to the painter and instead of silver he is going with Oslo Blue. After seeing the color on Gene’s ’62 Cabriolet. Since we had a space in the shop we brought down the Shop ’60 Outlaw. There is a lot of metal work to do on this car in addition to the outlaw modifications. While BJ worked on the battery box, floor and longitudinals, I chopped the top. I used a Speedster windshield to determine the new roof height and grab the side cutter and sawzall and chopped it off! Looks neat; sort of like a Speedster with a hardtop. This also moves the rear window down for better visibility but it also means I will have to section the rear deck lid to get it to fit in the smaller opening. The next outlaw modification will be to re-arch the wheel wells to look like an American Roadster.

Note: Phil Carney has written an excellent article detailing the history and status of each of the seventeen America Roadsters. The article was printed in the last few issues of the 356 Registry magazine. We were very pleased to have S/N 12336 at Porsches and Pastries a few years ago. The America Roadsters are aluminum bodied 356, manufactured in 1952 and are very rare. Any way, I like the round wheel openings and will duplicate them on the Shop Outlaw.

Believe it our not; it looks like we are booked up for this year. We will have Michael’s and George’s Coupes to reassemble after paint. We will be restoring Tom’s ’64 Cabriolet. We have a 356 coming up from New Mexico and another from Arizona. Plus we want to finish the Shop Outlaw and convert the ’58 race car to a street car. And of course the Shop ’57 Carrera sits on the back burner.

While we have requested newsletter recipients to let us know of any 356 project cars, we have had no response. Is it possible 356RESTORE has done all the 356’s in Colorado? We doubt it but have worked on over sixty Colorado 356’s.

Restoration Book
The print date will be in March. Next month we will have ordering information., I plan to take samples and order forms to the Anaheim swap meet. We will also have a table at the Speedster Fest in Monterey in June.

Mark Kutner purchased a new Bosch flasher unit for his 356 from Zim’s Autotechnik (817.267.4451). Mark is really impressed with this electronic flasher. His turn signals are bright and react immediately. At $49.95 it is more expensive than the $5 NAPA unit (part #535). As a safety item we would recommend you get this electronic flasher.

Another safety item you should have is the third brake light from the Lereyn Company ( or 831.636.3046). We have done enough rear end repairs to 356’s to know you have to be seen when braking. The 356 will still stop quicker than most of the other cars on the road.

This brings up the dual master brake cylinder option. There are kits for the 356 to convert from a single to a dual master cylinder. If you had a wheel cylinder or brake line fail you would still have half your brakes. Do you need this option? If you do periodic brake maintenance probably not. If however, you have never bled your brakes or don’t even know where the brake fluid reservoir is, then probably yes.

The Carquip annual Swap Meet (and breakfast burrito feast) will be February 22, (Sunday) in Boulder.

The RM356PC has a full schedule of events this year. We will have details next month.

(Whoops! No newsletter next month as it is time to leave the fun of 356 restoration and enjoy the fun of Maui. Aloha!)

The Porsche Rennsport Reunion II is April 23-25.

The 356 International meet is May 20-23 in Deauville, France.

The Emory’s Campout is June 11-13.

The Speedster Fest is June 25-27.

The East Coast Holiday is September 29-October 3 in Williamsburg, Virginia. This will be a big event! It will celebrate thirty years of the 356Registry.