December 2006 Newsletter

Happy Holidays
Happy Holidays to all our Porsche 356 friends from 356RESTORE.

The painter finished the paint repair on the Shop ’64 Slate Gray Coupe and we brought it home. The problem was our problem so we continue to learn. We put the few remaining parts on the 356 and did an electrical check. Found a few problems but fixed them. We plan to put a few miles on the 356 and then sell it. The engine we installed is from that ’63 Coupe that got wrecked in Virginia. We bought the ’64 as a project from a guy in Albuquerque that started but never finished the project. He did not have the original engine.

Our broker looked at the Slate Gray Coup and said it should sell quickly as the market is still hot but not many 356s for sale. With not many running 356s for sale, project 356s are selling at a high price. We saw one project Convertible D where the guy wanted $50,000.

BJ is making great strides on the metal work on the Shop ’58 Coupe. In fact, I just checked and he is almost done. He has done a lot of welding and has saved all the grinding for a Grinding Party. We do this when Barb is gone as there is a lot of noise and grinding dust. After grinding is preparation for paint using fillers and ensuring good panel gaps.

The Shop ’57 Sunroof Coupe in Aquamarine Blue is almost back together. We need to install the carpet and a new windshield. The windshields that came with the 356 was in perfect shape except for some noticeable de-lamination in the lower left corner. We had hoped that a new windshield seal might cover this problem but no luck. We had to order a new windshield and they are expensive – over $500 retail with shipping.

We also plan to do an electrical check before we take the 356 to Autoweave for a new interior. We suspect that this 356 had been a rally car as there was lots of additional wiring and extra gauges and switches in the dash.

We put Speedster number 13 on the frame dolly but have not started the metal work. We want Bruce, the owner, to see his naked rare 356 and let us know if he agrees with our planned approach.

We had a replacement steering box rebuilt as number 13 had an after market steering box that was not appropriate. We also took the original transmission to Trevor for evaluation and rebuild. The door handles we sent to the east coast expert for restoration and new keys. We will also send the chrome work out to an east coast shop as we do not have any good chrome shops here in Denver. We will also order a new wiring harness. These are a few long lead time items you have to plan for in any restoration.

We started a discussion on rust last month. Here is a quick rust check. It only takes a minute and a screwdriver. Remove your headlight! One screw and unplug the bulb. Put the headlight assembly on a towel on you workbench or some place safe. Inspect the headlight bucket for rust. If just surface rust, clean with sandpaper and use the NAPA product mentioned last month. Take a stiff wire (coat hanger works) and poke it in the headlight bucket drain. The drain tube which is either rubber or metal should be cleared of debris. Reinstall you headlight.

How about this one? When you wax your 356 do you pop open the quarter windows and clean the chassis under the quarter window? There is a drain there but on many 356s it is ineffective. We have seen rust damage under quarter windows. Catch it early.

Another: Open your door and check under that curved door seal on the rubber threshold. Lift it up, there should be a black metal “u” channel piece securing the curved door seal to the chassis with four slotted screws. Is it rusty? If even a little rusty it should be removed and rust treated or replaced. This part must be painted black, not bare metal. The part comes unpainted and we have seen some “restored” 356s with this part unpainted just waiting for rust.

One more and we will do more next month: Those of you who use a traditional battery should know that they emit acid vapors that can start the rust process in you battery box. Your battery box area should be neutralized frequently. Those of you that use the closed cell Optima battery don’t have this problem.

However the Optima battery has gone up in price; from $100 to $140. The reason: the military uses the 12 volt version in Iraq. It is the only battery that can take a 50 caliper shot and still start a Humvee. Production shifted to 12 volt and 6 volt prices went up.

Gas Tank Story
The guy that got his uncle’s 356 and found the screwdriver for the tool kit also had another problem. His uncle stored the 356 in the early seventies with a full tank of gas and the fuel petcock in the on position (Auf). The tank didn’t look too bad when he pulled it and we recommended a radiator shop for repairs. When the tank came back it was toast! Holes on the bottom? No, holes on the top where condensation collected. We found an A tank stamped only one month later than his original and sold it to him.

A message here, when storing a 356 add Stabil to the tank, run it for a while, shut off the petcock (Zu) until the engine dies. Do not run the engine during storage; you have to drive it to get it hot enough to remove water vapor and check your rubber fuel lines.

Grandpa News
She is talking on the telephone now – at least she answers questions but does not start a conversation. Do you think it is too early for her own cell phone in her favorite color “poupl”?

November 2006 Newsletter

The Screwdriver
We had a call a while back from the new owner of a ’59 Coupe. He had inherited the 356 from his uncle. It was a California car and had been stored since 1971. Only 27,000 miles on the odometer. We thought this might be a preservation candidate but we determined it had a ’63 engine and probably some paint work.

When we evaluated the 356 the owner showed us the tool kit. It was in original condition and only missing the long Jorg flat blade screwdriver. I told them the tool kit was quite valuable and would be more valuable if he could find the screwdriver.

On his next visit to California, the owner went through all the storage areas in his late uncle’s garage. No luck. But when he was taking the trash out to the dumpster he cleaned up the area around the dumpster and there it was! A little bit rusty but in good shape. He cleaned it up and he now has a complete original 1959 Porsche 356 tool kit. I told him to add it to his insurance at a value of $2,500.

Trevor got the Shop ’64 Slate Grey Coupe running and stopping and we brought it home. It has some paint damage on the nose and we will take it to the painter for touchup. It will be interesting to see what caused the damage as the problem is behind the bumper and the bumper is not damaged.

BJ is doing the metal work on the Shop ’58 Coupe. We will be able to save the original floor pan but almost all the inner longitudinal needs repair. It adds to the value of a 356 when you can say it has the original floor pan.

We picked up the ’57 Sunroof Coupe in its new original color Aquamarine Blue paint and have started reassembly. This will take longer than usual as we have to take pictures and add comment to the second edition of our 356 Restoration book. We are featuring this restoration in a new Part 2 of the original book. As we find more details during this restoration we add it to the original book which is now Part 1. The net is we will have a new book with a lot more detail on the 356 restoration process.

Speedster 80013 arrived by truck from California. We drove it from the road to the garage. We took plenty of pictures and started disassembly. We removed everything but the front suspension and used our rear dolly to roll it on the trailer for the trip to Blast Tech. We wanted all the paint and filler and undercoat off everywhere. We took pictures under the dash so we can duplicate the factory paint in the future. Usually we don’t have them blast under the dash but for this rare 356 we wanted to get it back in bare metal everywhere.

Blast Tech turned it around quickly and we brought it home. The good news is all the numbers match, there is no major collision damage and the doors are almost perfect. The bad news is there is lot of previous repair using overlapping metal and unground welds. All this had been covered by bondo outside, inside and under the 356. The metal repair doesn’t concern us as we have done it all before. The issue is to what level the owner wants to restore this rare Speedster. It is one of ten in the first shipment of Speedsters to Max Hoffman in New York. We continue to do research on the unique features of these early Speedsters. We have been greatly aided by the publication of the Type 540 book which was published as part of the Speedsterfest celebration in 2004.

We are also being aided by Tim Goodrich who restored the prototype Speedster (12223) and the first three production Speedsters (80002, 80003, 8004). These were some of the featured 356s at the Speedsterfest and Tim did museum quality restoration.

We also had the opportunity to evaluate Speedster 80005 which is here in Colorado in a private collection. While we have not yet finished our research, we have determined there are unique features common to all the early Speedsters and features that are varied between them.

I will be doing the metal work on 80013 and the reassembly on the Shop ’57 Sunroof Coupe. BJ will continue the metal work on the Shop ’58 Coupe. We have to get the Shop ’64 Coupe paint issue fixed and sorted out and sell it. We also expect our Shop Speedster and two customer 356s back from Autoweave. We are starting to look forward to our annual vacation in Hawaii in the first of the year (on these cold snowy days in Colorado, go to and click on the webcam to view our favorite beach).

Fifty percent of the metal work we do is rust repair, forty percent is poor previous repair and ten percent collision damage. Now that your 356 may be parked for the winter it would be the time to check for rust damage before it gets worse.

The rust usually starts behind the front wheels where stones are thrown on the front closing panel. Check this area. If there is even surface rust, treat with Rust Treatment from NAPA, item #765-1232. This product used to be called Extend, we have used it for twenty years. It works! Check above the closing panel where there is a ledge. Make sure it is clean. Remove your inspection cover in the front compartment and check the top of your diagonal member. These two areas must be clean. More checks next month.

Grandpa News
They sure start to get independent at age two but she is still Grandpa’s pride and joy. Grammie has to deal with the independent issues when “we” babysit. They negotiate cooperation by playing “deal or no deal”! Each wins 50% of the time.

October 2006 Newsletter

Porsches and Pastries
We had a great celebration of fifteen years of 356RESTORE at Porsches and Pastries. Sunday, October 15th was a beautiful sunny Colorado day. About forty 356s showed up and well over 100 people. We had folks from Wyoming and New Mexico and owners whose 356s we had worked on but not seen in years.

We can usually tell the success of a party by the food remaining. It was almost all gone! The breakfast burritos were great and the barbeque was a big hit. And of course the pastries, Jen outdid herself! As a retired pastry chef and new mother she hasn’t lost her skills. Thanks Jen for being the pastry part of Porsches and Pastries.

Those of you that have been to the shop may have noticed a white board titled “356RESTORED” and on it the owner’s names and 356 model of cars we have worked on. A few years back the board was full with about 86 names/356 models and we recently wondered how many 356’s we had worked on. By going to our website- we reviewed all of the newsletters from the last fifteen years and discovered we had worked on 100 356’s!

So we folded that into the fifteen year celebration – fifteen years and 100 356s! We made up goodie bags with t-shirts, caps, coffee mugs, scratch pads and a list of all the 356s worked on along with other goodies all celebrating 15 years and 100 356’s. These were given to the 356 owners at the celebration. We also wanted to recognize those who had supported us over the last fifteen years.

We recognized Tom Conway of Carquip who has shared 356 restoration tips and advice with us since we started 356RESTORE. Gary Nardi of Blast Tech who has taken at least sixty 356s down to bare metal for us. Ron Nelson of Autoweave who has always done correct and high quality 356 interiors for us. Dan Diltz who is our painter and while only with us for a few years is providing us with exceptional 356 paint. And we recognize Joe Leoni of 356 Electrics who has not only helped us resolved Porsche 356 electrical issues but has provided his wealth of knowledge to the entire Porsche 356 community.

How We Do It
How could 356RESTORE work on so many 356s in fifteen years? After all it’s just Jim and BJ. Well, it is not; in addition to those we recognized at the party there are parts vendors, supply houses, mechanics and others that share their knowledge and experience of the Porsche 356. With many folks with forty to fifty years experience, there is a lot of knowledge to share.

I’ve said “that after you have restored twenty 356 floor pans the next twenty are easy”. Well, while that is true, our process in restoring 356s is what has allowed us to work on so many. We know how to disassemble a 356 and get it ready for media blasting. We specify what we want blasted and when we get it back we can see the damaged metal and what we need to repair or replace. We have developed good welding skills and use tools and techniques that bring the 356 back to factory specs. True, some 356 basket cases can not be made perfect without tons of money and time, but we provide a 356 that will be admired and driven.

We usually have multiple 356 projects underway. While one is at the painter another may be at Blast-Tech or Autoweave. While BJ may be welding, I’m getting parts ready to reassemble. While one of us is prepping a 356 for paint the other is assembling a painted 356. We keep doing this and the 356s get restored. Yes, we were surprised we had worked on so many 356s, but we don’t kill ourselves. We start at 8:00 AM and quit at 3:56 PM. We take a break mid morning and afternoon. We break for lunch and do absolutely no work after 3:56. We also use Friday afternoons to clean up the shop. While I also use to work a six day week, I recently switched to five days (recognizing that at age 65 there is more to life remaining than 356s). Why do we do it? Well it is enjoyable. Each 356 teaches us something. It is like solving a mystery.

I have said that when I was a “suit” in the computer industry my job was not to have problems. We had plans, status meetings, plan revisions and critiques all to avoid problems. Well, at the end of a day of working on 356s, we have solved a lot of problems and feel pretty good about ourselves and the results.

Progress this month was mostly getting the shop ready for the party. We disassembled the Shop ’64 Coupe and it will go to Blast-Tech. We picked up the Shop ’58 Coupe at Blast-Tech and BJ is starting on the metal work. We expect Speedster number 80013 to arrive this week and we are anxious to see what will be required for a high level restoration. This is a rare 356!

We will have three 356s coming back from Autoweave and one from the painter. We will pickup the Shop ’64 Slate Gray Coupe from Trevors and need to finish it for sale. If everything happens at once we will be packed full! But that just means more fun.

While we didn’t race the Pueblo Enduro this year, we did attend to give support to the other 356 drivers. Since BJ was working race control I got to go in the tower during the races. Turn 10 is the final turn before the straight and where the tower is located. Man! I didn’t know we went so fast through that turn!

Grandpa News
Those of you that get the Newsletter via the Internet may have missed the great pictures of Alex we mailed last month. We e-mailed it later. Hope you saw it – pretty much says it all for us – Alex and fixing Porsches.

September 2006 Newsletter

Porsches and Pastries
Preparations are under way for Porsches and Pastries October 15th. We will be celebrating fifteen years of restoring the Porsche 356 and the fact that we have worked on one hundred 356s. Decisions on food, drink and pastries have been made and items for the goody bags have been ordered.

The date is October 15th at 356RESTORE. It will be open shop between 10:00AM to 6:00PM so you come when you can. There will be a short presentation at 2:00 to recognize those who have supported us for the last fifteen years. We picked a date that didn’t conflict with other events but Colorado weather can be iffy in October. We will put a message on both phones if we have to reschedule. Phone numbers are (303) 841-6475 and (303) 840-2356.

West Coast Holiday 2006
What an event! One hundred and sixty two 356s from all over the U.S. We started with registration in Snowmass on Tuesday. The weather was great and you could hear the 356s arriving all day. The car wash areas were busy as the Concours was scheduled for the next day.

Wednesday was a short drive to the Concours site. What a sight! Over one hundred and fifty 356s in all the Porsche colors. There were lots of Speedsters and a few Carreras.

Judging was Peoples Choice with a few 356s entered in the White Glove Concours. We helped judge the White Glove. Mel Shapiro took first with his gorgeous black Speedster. Rosi Lohnert took second with her (Lucile’s) ’64 Coupe.

After the Concours mini tech sessions were held outdoors and repeated throughout the event so you could attend them all.

At the Concours a fellow was kneeling in the passenger side of his 356 and as he stood up his shoulder hit the windshield and he pushed the windshield partially out of the frame. He hoped I would be able to reset the seal as he had to drive back to Atlanta. I looked at the damage and said we would have to remove the windshield and reinstall it. We would need some cord and beeswax. Since the Concours site was at a ski lift area they found some cord and wax at the ski shop. I was a little nervous removing his windshield as I didn’t want to crack it. But his 356 was a Cabriolet and it came right out. We laid it on a bra on the ground and inserted the cord. By now there were twenty people watching! The cord went in easily and I centered the windshield in the opening and with assistance I pulled the cord and the windshield went back in perfectly.

Time from the windshield out to windshield in was less than five minutes. A new world record for 356RESTORE. Must admit I was a bit nervous but pleased with the results; it does not always go that way!

Thursday was the drive to Steamboat Springs. They left in three groups of fifty. They went over Independence Pass and on to Kremling for lunch. There was some spirited driving!

At Steamboat I gave a mini tech session on pre purchase inspections using Phil Carney’s Convertible D as the subject (Phil has a great 356, I could only find one problem). It started to drizzle during the tech session and we had scattered showers for the next few days.

Friday was a Funkkhana laid out by Miles Christensen at the Meadows parking lot. It started out slow but soon there were up to ten 356s at a time lined up to run the course. I was assisting with the rope around the pylon part and had to run a few times as blindfolded drivers came at me!

Saturday was a 356 car show at the Courthouse in downtown Steamboat Springs. It was well attended by the public as a 356 owned by Ron Hetherington was pictured on the front page of the local newspaper. Saturday night was the banquet dinner on top of Mt Warner. What a sight of Steamboat at night as we rode the gondola down after an excellent meal.

Sunday was an early morning Swap Meet and then departure. We did real well at the Swap Meet (finally sold those backing plates we’ve been hauling to Swap Meets for years).

A huge thanks to all the Rocky Mountain 356 people who have worked for the last two years getting ready for this event; your hard work was greatly appreciated by all who attended.

We got the ’57 Shop Sunroof Coupe off to the painter and brought the Shop ’58 Coupe into the shop for disassembly and preparation for media blasting.

Reassembly on the Shop ’57 Speedster is almost done and it will be off to Autoweave. Let’s see, we have three 356s at Autoweave, one at the painters and one at Trevor’s. It appears we will be real busy for a while.

The next 356 into the shop will probably be a Shop ’64 Coupe for disassembly. The Shop ’58 Silver Outlaw, Shop ’64 Slate Grey Coupe, customer’s ’55 Coupe and customer’s ’59 Cabriolet will be coming back soon and we have to finish the customer’s 356s and prepare the Shop 356s for sale. Still to be restored are the Shop ’64 Coupe, Shop ’58 ex-race car, Shop ’61 chopped Outlaw and the Shop ’61 Coupe.

We haven’t done any 356 racing this year as the local tracks have closed due to land development.

The new tracks in Salt Lake City, Utah and Hastings, Nebraska hosted Vintage racers. While we didn’t attend due to time constraints, BJ did as a corner worker and indicated they are both great race tracks with a few startup problems. We hope for a new track in eastern Colorado and perhaps in Breckenridge. Bill Frey and I will probably run the Pueblo Enduro in October. Last year we took first in D production. Racing a 356 keeps you young!

August 2006 Newsletter

Polishing the Zerks
This is an expression I use when describing the extra work to restore a 356 to near show car level. (A zerk is a small grease fitting used to lubricate the suspension.)

On the Shop ’57 Speedster we are “polishing the zerks”.  Actually, a Speedster is the easiest 356 to detail. There is minimal work to do on the doors, top, seats and dash as many of the parts used on other 356s are not used on Speedsters which were the low cost offering. Of course now, Speedsters command a high price and should be detailed to obtain that price.

When we started 356RESTORE fifteen years ago our approach was to do driver level restorations defined in our 356 restoration book as a 356 restoration “that will be correct, admired and be driven”.

We mentioned last month that we had done fifty two full restorations. If we tried to do concours work we doubt if we would have restored a third of that many 356s. In fact, we have only done one high level restoration prior to the present Shop ’57 Speedster. This was a 1961 Roadster that when we had it blasted we found minimal rust repair and no collision damage. We spent the extra time on this 356 and it sold for an above market price. (Later it sold for fifteen thousand above what we got as the buyer just had to have an Aetna Blue Roadster.)

There are always challenges when restoring a 356. On the Speedster, I had the brake drums blasted and polished. We got new ball bearings and proceeded to install the front suspension which had been cleaned, primed and painted. The brake drums would not go on! We checked the brakes and couldn’t figure what was the problem. We disassembled the Shop ’57 Sunroof Coupe to see what we were doing wrong. Nothing obvious. So we walked away and did other projects. Then we remembered a similar problem we had on Cal’s Speedster. Sure enough, an outer needle bearing had been substituted for the original ball bearing. The needle bearing race which is pressed into the brake drum will not accept a ball bearing. It’s close but not correct. Substituting a needle bearing for the ball bearing solved the problem.

When we installed the Trevor rebuilt transmission in the Speedster we assembled the rear suspension and everything was fine except the emergency brake wouldn’t work. Since some of the Speedster E-brake parts were missing, we had used parts we had on hand. We checked everything. We compared our installation to the Shop ’57 Sunroof Coupe. No difference. So we walked away from the problem, we will let Trevor fix it! A few days later it occurred to us to check the shop manual. Of course, the brake shoes have to be adjusted! Did this and problem solved, dummy.

BJ has finished the body work on the Shop ’57 Sunroof Coupe and will be starting the bottom clean, prime, caulk and undercoat. He has dry fit the major components. He had some problem getting the rear bumper to fit. We want it to be equal distance from the fender on both sides. We see many 356s where the bumpers are not centered. It took him two days to get it right. I joked that at his hourly rate it was a $250 bumper installation.

As many of you know we do not work to a schedule. When I started 356RESTORE I had just retired from the computer industry. The first thing I did was put up a schedule board in the shop. It lasted two months when it was obvious you can’t schedule a 356 restoration.

For the past year we have been saying no to customer restorations so we could finish all the Shop cars we bought. Owners still call and E-mail us to get on the future schedule. We tell them we don’t have a schedule and to check back in one to two years. Almost all say they can wait.

One recent E-mail was from a local owner who had his ’61 Roadster repaired and painted in 1971. He has not yet had it reassembled. He doesn’t have a garage so it has been in storage for thirty-five years! This has to be a record! I will call the owner and see if we can fit him in the “schedule”.

Planning is underway for Porsches and Pastries which is only a few months off. It will be at our place on October 15th from 10:00AM to 6:00 PM. To celebrate our fifteen years there will be goody bags for everyone and of course the great food and Porsches.

Don’t forget the car show here in Parker on Saturday, August 26th. It will be at the Southeast Christian Church at 9650 Jordan Road. The entry fee is $25; spectators should bring two or more cans of non-perishable food.

The 356Registry Holiday is only a few weeks away. It starts September 5 in Snowmass and then we drive to Steamboat. There are about 170 356s registered so far; it will be a great event! Details next month.

Don’t forget that September 17th is drive your 356 day to honor Dr. Porsche. This is turning into a worldwide event and pictures of various drives are printed in the 356 Registry. We usually have great photos of Colorado drives so do it this year.

The next 356 Holiday will be June 26-July 1, ’07 in Harbor Springs, Michigan. Barb and I haven’t been there and think we will attend and perhaps have the chance to visit with Michigan people Vic Skirmants and Colorado transplants John and Carol McConnell.

Grandpa News
Well, she is 1 month short of being two years old and becoming quite independent. Not the terrible 2’s yet but knows her mind! Great to be grandparents rather than parents; we had our share of that primary role!

July 2006 Newsletter

TV Shows
One reason given for the strong interest in classic and collector cars is TV. What I enjoy when watching auto restoration shows is that the same tools and products we use are used by the shops that are featured. One thing that does bother me is the lack of shop safety on these shows. Seldom are hand, eye and ear protection used. If you watch these shows with your kids, make a game out of counting the safety mistakes shown. In our shop we have had only one accident in twenty plus years of working on 356s. That was due to a dull Exacto knife, which dulls quickly when cutting rubber.

We finished the assembly on Rob’s ’59 Cabriolet and it will be off to Autoweave for a red interior to go with the Ivory paint. After Autoweave it will go to Trevor’s for engine installation, suspension and brake work.

We picked up the Shop ’57 Speedster from the painters and it looks great in it’s new original color, Signal Red, paint. The first step in reassembly will be to install the Trevor rebuilt transmission. It is the original transmission but at some point the carrier broke and cracked the housing. While the carrier was repaired the cracked housing wasn’t and the transmission fluid leaked out and the gears were ruined.

Tech Tip
It is easy to check the fluid level in your transmission. When the 356 is up in the air for an oil change you will see a 19mm square plug on the right middle side of the transmission housing. Remove the plug and stick your finger in the opening. If your finger is wet the transmission is at the proper level. If the level is low and you don’t know the last time the fluid was changed you can add 90 weight fluid to the bottom of the plug hole or you can drain and replace the fluid.

To drain the transmission there is another 19mm plug at the bottom rear at the housing. This plug is magnetic and when removed should be inspected. A few small hairs of metal would be OK as the transmission was designed for friction and some wear is expected. If there is a lot of metal hairs, or worse, small bits of metal, the transmission should be evaluated and repaired.

To fill the transmission you can buy 90 weight gear oil at auto parts stores. Also buy the hand pump that fits on the gallon container. You are going to have to pump the fluid into the inspection plug hole until fluid starts to leak out of the plug hole.

Since your axle tubes also contain transmission fluid it is smart to elevate them when draining the transmission. Also inspect the axle boots for cracks or leaking. Leaking from the axle boot is the most common cause of 356 oil on you garage floor.

After we install the transmission in the Shop Speedster we will install the new wiring harness. (You may ask how did we transport the Speedster to and from the painters without a transmission and rear suspension/wheels. We have a wheeled rod that attaches to the rear spring plates. It looks funny but works well.)

The wiring harness for the Speedster should go quickly as we recently reinstalled one in Rob’s Cabriolet. We have done a lot of 356 full restorations and have never had to remove the wiring harness. The few we have installed were removed by the owner.

The wiring harness may be forty to fifty years old and usually just needs minor repair. The wiring harness is good for both 6 and 12 volt applications.

BJ is just about done with the paint prep on the Shop ’57 Sunroof Coupe. Very little filler was needed as the body was straight, no collision damage and the dents pulled out flush.

So when BJ finishes the Sunroof Coupe we will start on the Shop ’59 Coupe. We will disassemble and have the Coupe media blasted. The 356 is complete and looks straight with good gaps. We suspect only moderate rust damage.

There will be a Classic Car and Motorcycle Show here in Parker on Saturday, August 26th. The entry fee is $25 and the show benefits the Southeast Community Outreach program. The show will be at the Southeast Christian Church on Jordan Road between Lincoln and E-470. Spectators should bring at least two cans of non-perishable food.

Last year at this time we had three accidents to 356s in the local area. This year there has been only one. Joe’s Speedster received left front damage when run into in a parking lot on Mother’s Day.

Joe had recently transferred his insurance from a classic car provider to the same company that had his house and other cars insurance. They were no help in fixing the damage. They knew nothing about what it takes to repair a classic fifty year old car. Fortunately, the insurance company for the responsible party did understand and is covering the correct repair.

In the shop we have a white board with the owner’s name and the 356 model of 356s we have restored. It filled up a few years ago and we transferred the info to our website.

We had been telling folks that we had worked on 100 356s in the past fifteen years but not all had been full restorations. Some were minor repairs. Well, I went to the website and counted the full restorations. There were 52! When I told BJ he said that’s because we’re crazy.

Grandpa News
She has grown two and a quarter inches since May and her little body is well proportioned. She no longer looks like a toddler but a thriving almost 2 year old.

June 2006 Newsletter

Porsches and Pastries
People have asked if we would have another Porsches and Pastries. We skipped last year to concentrate on becoming grandparents. To celebrate fifteen years of 356RESTORE and one hundred Porsches 356s back on the road, we will have another Porsches and Pastries on Sunday, October 15 from 10:00 till 6:00.

The open shop format continues. Come when you can and stay as long as you like. Breakfast burritos at 10:00 and lunch and pastries at 1:00. There will be a short program at 2:00 at which 356RESTORE recognizes those who have supported us over the last fifteen years.

Charity Concours
There was a great turnout for the 23rd Annual Exotic Sports Car Show and Concours D’ Elegance. Over 300 sports cars and a huge crowd. The event continues to grow. There were only eighteen Porsches 356s and we’ve had close to thirty in the past so plan to enter next year.

We received an award for Favorite Porsche Race Car for displaying our 1952 356 Coupe. We always let young kids sit in our 356s and wish more people would do the same. It is worth the smiles

We continue the reassembly of Rob’s ’59 Cabriolet. We were able to repair the wiring harness and reinstall it in the 356. Some wires had been cut and some poor soldering repairs had to be corrected. The Cabriolet was missing seats and we only had one set of used A seats available. It took some work to repair them. The vent window frame and side glass are missing and again we have very few A Cabriolet parts on hand and will have to do some fabrication. We repaired the top frame which needed new wooden bows and it looks like it will work. We hope to get Rob’s 356 to Autoweave by next month.

We took the Shop ’59 Silver Coupe Outlaw to Autoweave. They are really busy and will probably do the interiors on at least a half dozen 356s this year. Autoweave will be moving to a new location soon. We have seen the new shop and it will be great.

We picked up Andy’s ’63 Coupe from Autoweave, welded in the battery bracket that was missing and took it to Trevor’s for engine installation.

We also picked up Scot’s ’55 Turkish Red Coupe at his house and took it to Autoweave. We are restoring Scot’s coupe in exchange for a ’54 Coupe which will be a future shop project.

BJ continues with the metal work on the Shop ’57 Sunroof Coupe and it should be ready for paint in a few months. Don the painter should have the Shop ’57 Red Speedster done in a few weeks and we will start its reassembly.

Last month we mentioned that we had goofed when installing windshield deco. The problem was we had ordered a set for both an early and late 356. When the order came, we failed to notice a left side for one set and a right side for the other set had been backordered. We thought we had a complete set when we started assembly. The problem was resolved a few days later when the backordered deco pieces arrived.

We got the glass and engine installed in the Shop ’64 Slate Gray Coupe. We plan to take it to Trevor’s for engine checkout and linkage adjustments.

I was honored to be asked to make a presentation on the 356 Porsche to the PCA group in Colorado Springs and did a little research beforehand. By 1955 Porsche had built 10,000 356s and Volkswagen had built one million Volkswagens. Porsche built a total of 79,316 Porsche 356s. Nobody knows how many 356s exist. My guess is based on 8,000 members in the 356 Registry each owning 1.5 356s and only 30 % of the 356 owners belong to the Registry. The math says a guess would be about half of the 356s built still exist.

I have been contacted by at least a half dozen 356 owners that are using my 356 restoration book to restore their 356. This makes me proud and motivated to do an even better job on the next edition.

Our congratulations to BJ who after working corners at racing events has been asked to move up to race control. A very responsible position and a feather in his cap. Also, congrats to our other son, Patrick, whose team took second in a national rugby tournament in New York.

Tech Tip
Often we get calls on where an owner can buy a part for their 356. The best bet is to go to 356REGISTRY.ORG and click on the vendor section. There is a large list of vendors providing 356 parts and services (including 356RESTORE).

Click on the vendor and you will go to the vendor’s website where many have online catalogs and secure ordering.

We recently took our own advise and bled the brakes in our 356s. We use Ford Motorcraft Dot 3 brake fluid available at Ford dealerships. The specs on this fluid are a lot higher than required by government standards. We also use this fluid in the racecar.

A product that we use on almost a daily basis is 3M General Purpose Adhesive Cleaner-08984. It is an excellent cleaner of all surfaces and does a great job of cleaning rubber parts.

Grandpa News
I have been working a rabbit problem in my gardens for eighteen years and now my dear Alex (with the help of Grammie Barb) is feeding the baby bunnies carrots! She is small and they don’t run away; she can get so close they almost eat out of her hand.

Her verbal skills are impressive. All of a sudden she is talking in sentences. We still have to be careful with words as she will repeat anything you say.

May 2006 Newsletter

North Meets South
A few weekends ago, Barb was going to be visiting her sister in Texas and BJ, Jen and Alex visiting friends in Tennessee. So it looked like a weekend of TV dinners and NASCAR.

I checked and saw that the 25th Annual Porsche 356 North meets South event was to be held that weekend. This is where 356 owners in the north of California meet with those in the south. Usually, somewhere in the middle. This year it was in San Luis Obispo. I had heard that this was a big event and contacted them to see if I could just attend the concours on Saturday. They said the concours was open to the public as it was held at a beautiful park opposite the event hotel. They also asked if I would give a technical presentation after the concours. I said sure and they offered a t-shirt and steak dinner.

I flew out, got a hotel and got up early to get to the park. And the 356s started coming and coming and coming.

Over two hundred and twenty 356’s parked on the grass by the lake. All the colors and all driven to the event. There were even two 36s that we had restored. My favorite was a ’65 Coupe that the owner had picked up at the factory in 1965. It was all original! Now you can learn a lot from original 356’s, but what was original on a 1965 Karman Coupe may not apply to a 1958 Reuter Coupe. One thing (of many) I noticed was that the nut and threads of the bolt securing the bumper guard to the bumper were hand painted body color and the nut and threads securing the bumper bracket were painted black. This is something we will do in the future (there will be no recall!) as this hardware is prone to rust.

My technical presentation on 356 Restoration was well attended by at least seventy five owners and I got a nice round of applause and the steak was excellent. I left before the award presentation as I had a long drive to the airport the next day.

Back in the shop, we started reassembly on Rob’s ’59 Cabriolet. As mentioned last month, every part has to be cleaned or replaced. The Cab was disassembled and left out in the Kansas weather years ago. The Cab is also missing many parts. Fortunately our recent parts purchases will meet many of the needs.

I installed the headliner and carpet in the Shop ’59 Silver Coupe Outlaw and also put in Recaro seats. The carpet and rest of the interior will be red with a silver material in the middle of the seats. Bill Frey checked out a ’59 spare engine we had on his test stand so we will install it and then off to Autoweave for upholstery.

We picked up the Shop ’64 Slate Gray Coupe at Autoweave and there were three other 356s there. Ron said they must be multiplying at night. We were familiar with these 356s as we did the restorations. We haven’t had time to finish the Slate Gray Coupe due to work on Rob’s Cab and the Shop ’59 Outlaw but will install the glass and engine soon.

BJ continues on the Shop ’57 Sunroof Coupe and has found no surprises yet. We always expect surprises on 356 restorations and marvel when one goes easy.

The other day we were installing new windshield deco in a windshield seal. Moderate difficulty as we’ve done this over fifty times. When we went to install the center deco clip we found we had installed one thick (later) deco and one thin (early) deco. We had used the wrong combination of parts without checking first! We needed both side decos to be thin and didn’t have a set of new ones. New ones come anodized and our large collection of used windshield decos (never throw anything away) were all unannodized. We used steel wool to polish our best set of used decos and started over.

Same as the ol’ adage “measure twice, cut once” – sort out your parts then begin the assembly!

The 23rd Annual Exotic Sports Car Show and Concours D’ Elegance is coming up Sunday, June 4th. There is always over two hundred classic sports cars at this event held at Arapaho Community College. Porsches, Ferraris, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguars, Corvettes, BMWS are just a few of the marques that participate. Admission is $10 and the proceeds go to Cerebral Palsy of Colorado. If you haven’t entered your 356 you can do so at the event. You can be judged or just display your car. We usually have over twenty 356s. We will display our 1952 Silver Race car.

Also coming up on Sunday June 25th is Gmund West 2006. This is an all Porsche event (including Porsche tractors!). It is called Gmund West because George Maybee has built a full size replica of the Pfortnerhaus in Gmund, Austria where the first 356s were built. There is usually over one hundred Porsches and the 356s are displayed on the curving lawn. Other Porsches are displayed nearby. Continental breakfast, brats and dessert lunch ($10) and a biergarten are available. Located at 12360 Levi Circle in Henderson, Colorado (close to Brighton). Call Sharon Maybee at 303-655-9831 for event information.

Tech Tip
If you are getting ready to drive your 356, now is the time to bleed and check your rubber brake lines. We talk about this every year. Do It!

Also, we have talked about the effect of today’s gasoline on rubber fuel lines. Check and replace these lines as necessary. There are a lot of great 356 event this year. Be safe and be ready.

Grandpa News
She is almost two and getting impatient to be a big girl. It is hard to manage a spoon and remember “please and thank you”! Other than that, she is our little darling.

April 2006 Newsletter

Folks seem to enjoy this newsletter. It has been going out for fourteen years. I’ve often said that folks may not get letters from their family very often but they do get news from 356RESTORE monthly.

This newsletter is received by 323 folks with an interest in the Porsche 356. Seventy two of these are received via E-mail which saves $346 a year in postage. The downside of E-mail is if you change E-mail servers, your newsletter bounces and we may not know who you are. Who is BIGDOG356?

If you receive this newsletter via mail and change addresses, the Post Office charges 75 cents for address correction. The newsletter expense is not a big deal as it is our primary advertising and is a business expense.

Due to a request in the newsletter that we needed parts, we have been able to buy some nice collections of used parts recently. Some of these parts are already on 356s that we are restoring. So let us know of 356 parts for sale.

Years ago, I wrote an article on 356 part prices and recently updated it. I have parts catalogs back to 1978. I had what I called a basket of parts including a rocker/threshold assembly, a bumper guard, Speedster side curtains, a shifter boot, a teardrop taillight and a wiper blade.

The price of these parts in 1978 was $290; in 2006 it is $634. However, the price peaked in the early 1990s at $727. So due to the increasing interest in the 356 and vendor competition, 356 parts have not shown the drastic increase that we have seen in 356 vehicle prices.

The Speedster side curtains went from $90 to $252. The bumper guard went from $55 to $152 and is now at $119. The teardrop taillight went from $22 to $190 and is now at $80.

We paid the high price for bumper guards and taillights and were happy to see them return to reasonable prices. We have never bad mouthed the price or quality of 356 parts, as without the parts we would be out of business.

The 1957 Carrera 1500 GS sunroof Coupe sold and is going to England where it will be run in vintage rallies. It sold for a fair price for its condition and I am pleased it will be used and not in a museum. When Trevor came by to do the final adjustment to the carburetors, that sweet Carrera engine sound almost made me change my mind. It was my first Porsche.

We took the Shop ’57 Speedster to Don the painter and it will be the original color Signal Red. Most all the parts are ready to go back on the Speedster when it is painted and then to Autoweave for a black top and interior. Trevor is doing the tranny and Al Lager the engine.

When we dropped off the Speedster at the painters, we picked up Rob’s ’59 Cabriolet painted its original Ivory color. Rob’s Cab will not go together as quickly as the Speedster as many parts are missing and those that came with the Cab all need work.

BJ is doing the metal work on the Shop ’57 Sunroof Coupe. He is taking pictures as he goes as the restoration will be featured in the second edition of our 356 restoration book.

I’ve been doing the reassembly of the Shop Silver ’59 Coupe. This is the mild outlaw 356 we did for a customer who did not have time to finish it and sold it to us. It has the gas filler in the hood, a fuel safe tank, nerf bars and headlight grilles. We will do the interior in red. This 356 has received favorable comments from visitors to the shop. The mild outlaw look is compatible with the look of factory prepared 356 race cars.

We sold that ’63 chassis that we recently bought, it will be used by a vintage racer to rebuild his 356 race car that spun and backed into a wall at a local track. We will keep the engine, transmission and the few parts that came with the chassis. The engine along with two others we recently purchased will be used in project cars as needed.

Buying engines is a crap shoot. Until they are torn down and inspected, you don’t know what you have. While we are not a mechanic and don’t follow engine part prices we do know that a 356 engine rebuild that once cost $2,000 now can cost $7,000. The most important aspect of 356 engine rebuilding is the rebuilder. We strongly recommend Trevor Sewell for 356 engine work. Trained in England, his knowledge of the 356 mechanicals is outstanding and he is willing to share his knowledge. Plus, he races a 356 and is fast!

Most of you know we have cut back on customer work to finish our Shop 356s. One of our previous customers recently bought Speedster 80013 (the thirteenth built) and wants us to restore it. The deal: time at his recently built home in Kona, Hawaii in exchange for restoration work. Sounds good to me!

Grandpa News
Alex is getting very good at words. “Grampa” is her favorite! She also speaks in baby talk in phrases with inflection and repeats what you say, so we have to be very careful what we say.

March 2006 Newsletter

Aloha! There wasn’t a newsletter last month as Barb and I were on vacation. When you next see us, ask about the whale we caught. Actually, it was catch and release.

For those of you that want to follow the past progress at 356RESTORE, all fourteen years of newsletters are on our website’

I completed the assembly of the Shop ’64 Slate Gray coupe and took it to Autoweave for a fawn color interior. Slate Gray is one of my favorite 356 colors and it usually came with a red or fawn interior. I thought red would be too much color. While Porsche recommended interior colors, you could order whatever color you wanted. It was the same for exterior colors. Porsche painted a 356 pink for a lady. They even gave it a paint code in case there were more requests for pink!

Orders for exterior colors were collected at the factory, and they would paint the same color a day. If they had orders on hand for Signal Red 356s they would be painted in a batch.

Since the doors and lids had been hand fit to each 356, they were stamped with the last two or three numbers of the chassis serial number and put on the rolling racks for the paint booth. When painted, the proper door/lid was put on the proper 356. This is what is meant by the numbers matching car.

If you watch the movie “Made by Hand” (available only from the 356Registry Goodie Store) shot in 1961, you will see a technician installing a fully assembled door on a 356. This would be a heavy door but he does it in a few seconds and no paint damage.

BJ finished the paint prep on the Shop ’57 Speedster and is just about done with the dry fit. Dry fit is very important prior to paint, particularly if you have to use parts from other 356s.

The Speedster came without a rear bumper and we have ordered one but it will take six weeks. Since the Kardex info on the Speedster indicated US bumpers, we also had to find the overrider tubes. Wanting to fit everything on the Speedster prior to paint, we stole the rear bumper from the Shop ’57 Sunroof Coupe. Of course it needed repair and we had to take pictures of the repair for the next edition of the 356 restoration book.

Fortunately, the bumpers had the holes for the overider tubes which we purchased and everything fit well with minor modifications. The Speedster will be off to paint shortly and will be the original colors Signal Red (or Fire Red) with black interior and top.

Bill Frey was testing an engine on his test stand that we hoped to put in the Speedster. But Al Lager read the newsletter and called to say he had a 1957 engine that he could finish rebuilding. So the Speedster will get an Al Lager engine and since the engine that Bill tested is a ’59 it will go in the ’59 Outlaw Coupe we recently purchased.

Speaking of 356 purchases, we bought another one! One of our customers saw the ’63 Coupe at a local shop. It was just a chassis flat on the ground. The engine, transmission and suspension had been removed and there were no other parts. All the metal work has been done so all it needs is paint prep, paint and assembly. Hopefully, we have most of the missing parts on our shelves.

The day before I wrote this newsletter, I made an offer on a ’58 Cabriolet project. If accepted, that will be sixteen 356s we own. Since we only plan to keep the first and second 356s we’ve restored “my” 63 Sunroof and Barb’s ’62 Twin Grille and perhaps the ’52 Race car, we will have a lot of 356s to finish in the next few years. So I guess my second retirement will be put off. However, a couple of extra weeks of vacation in Maui sounds like a plan.

West Coast Holiday
If you plan to attend the 356 Holiday to be held in Snowmass and Steamboat Springs September 5-10 you must make your hotel reservations NOW! You have to be registered at the event hotels to participate in the Holiday. The reason? To get a reasonable hotel rate the local club has to guarantee rooms. For more Holiday information contact Sharon at (303) 494-7281 or

356 Parts
We buy a lot of parts from vendors. While we try to spread our parts buying among the various vendors to keep them in business, we continue to buy a lot of parts from Stoddard. The availability and quality of parts from Stoddard remains consistently high.

We never have bad mouthed the quality of reproduction parts as we are fortunate to still have them provided for forty to fifty year old cars. We have noticed an increase in parts quality from the various vendors and it is appreciated.

We still have problems with the bumper and rocker deco as we understand there is only one vendor and he makes them for replica 356s. He is not motivated to make them correct for a real 356.

If you plan to keep your 356 for a long time it is wise to purchase parts that have a tendency to fail over time; ignition switches and light switches are two of the items that often fail. You can extend their life by installing the starter and headlight relays from If you need wiper blades you can buy one twice as long at the auto parts store and cut it in half. Make sure it will fit the wiper arm.

Grandpa News
BJ, Jen and Alex took a week vacation in Mexico. Barb and I went through grand daughter withdrawal.

January 2006 Newsletter

Those of you that have visited the shop may have noticed the blackboard by the phone with a list of things to do. At the top of the list was shop ceiling. Three years ago BJ and I put a ceiling in the area we call the “dirty room”. This is where BJ does a lot of grinding and filler work. We bought material to do the rest of the shop ceiling but never got to it. So, I hired a guy to finish the work and he did a great job. We have a lot more light in the shop.

Speaking of light, we use 500 watt halogen shop lights. Both individual and two on a stand. If you do any work that requires good light, you should have one. They are only about nine bucks at Home depot and come with two bulbs. The bulbs alone are three bucks each so it is a good deal.

I started on repairs to the front floor pan on the Shop ’57 Sunroof Coupe but then moved on to the Shop ’64 Slate Gray Coupe. The ’57 Sunroof restoration will be featured in the second edition of my book. I told the publisher I could have it ready by this fall. He indicated that the summer of 2007 would be better as he wants to sell out the first edition. So the pressure is off on the ’57.

BJ finished the paint prep on Rob’s ’59 Cabriolet and we took it to the painter for its Ivory paint job. We moved the Shop ’57 Speedster into the dirty room for paint prep. With a space open, we moved down the Shop ’64 Slate Gray Coupe. This is the one we bought down in Albuquerque a while back. The original color was Signal Red. We did the metal work and I decided to paint it my favorite 356 color-Slate Grey. There are just too many red 356’s. The ’64 was a project the owner never finished. He was preparing to move and needed it gone within a week. We hooked up the trailer and Barb and I dashed down to Albuquerque to get it. I bought it at a very reasonable price and it came with lots of parts as the owner had disassembled a second ’64. However, parts are missing and I have to find them on my parts shelf. We stopped selling parts and going to swap meets as 356 parts are getting hard to find. We have six more Shop cars to finish in the next few years and will need to use what is on the shelves. So of course, we bought another 356 which will need parts. This is that ’58 Coupe we did for Mathew awhile back; the mild outlaw with the fuel filler in the hood and nerf bars. It is very attractive in Silver but needs to be completed. Not sure when we will get to it.

The outlaw will require A parts and we have very few on the shelf. If anyone knows of a stash of A parts, let us know; most of what we have on the shelf are B and C.

We are still trying to pick an engine for the Shop ’57 Speedster. Trevor evaluated one we had that was suppose to be a 912 engine. But it was a mish mash of parts and so dirty that Trevor didn’t want to start it on his test stand. Bill Frey also has a test stand and volunteered to test another spare engine we had. Bill got it started and we will replace the carbs, distributor and generator with rebuilt parts we have. Since we don’t do major mechanical work it is surprising we have so many mechanical parts on the shelf. When we have quite a few we send them out for rebuilding. In addition to an engine for the Speedster, we also need one for the Shop ’64 Coupe, Shop ’54 Coupe, Shop ’58 Outlaw Coupe, Shop ’61 Outlaw and the Coyote ex race car. We may sell some of these 356s as projects and let the new owners find an engine that meets their needs.

Book Review
In the fourteen years we’ve sent out this newsletter we’ve never done a book review. For Christmas, BJ gave me “Wheels A Passion for Collecting Cars” by Stuart Leuthner. Great! I thought another coffee table book. But then I started to read it. Sure there are pictures and details on great cars but it is really a series of biographies on the guys who collect great cars. Many like Clive Cussler, Harry Mathews and Vinny Terranora have Colorado connections. The book answers the questions you would never ask. How did Harry develop the brushless car wash? How did Clive develop Derk Pitt? How did Vinny finance Rocky Mountain Harley Davidson? A recommended read.

Shop ’57 Carrera
A few years back after I discovered the early history of my Carrera in Thailand, I wrote an article about it for the 356 Registry. Well, the article was just published in the latest volume. The editor did a great job particularly reproducing the E-mail pictures I received from the grandson of the original owner.

When I started to restore the Carrera I decided to restore it to its original condition. This meant I had to remove the features used for racing, such as the rear deck louvers, roll bar and race tires. I had a picture of the 356 in 1965 that showed it with overrider bars on the bumper so I acquired some. But then the pictures from Thailand showed the Carrera without overrider. My guess is that when the 356 was imported to the U.S. it was required to have overrider which is something the factory had to put on U.S. bound 356s starting in 1957. Another mystery.

Grandpa News
She is just not walking, she is running! So the gate is up at the stairs. She is also feeding herself and drinking from a glass. As you watch her you can see how she absorbs and processes information about the world around her. Something I don’t remember as a parent but definitely see as a grandparent. Another thing that is becoming apparent is a bit of independence – a hint of things to come.