December 2007 Newsletter

Happy Holidays
The Kellogg’s wish all of you Happy Holidays and a great New Year!

Tech Tip
If you have stopped driving your 356 for the winter, you probably removed your battery and took it inside. Today’s technology provides us with a battery tender. It is not a battery charger or trickle charger. It monitors the charge in your battery and maintains the correct charge. We use one in the shop and always have a fully charged battery available for testing bulbs, circuits or starting a 356. Many folks leave the battery in their 356 and rig up a disconnect to remove the battery tender before starting their 356. Battery tenders are about $60 and one vendor we recommend is Mick Mickleson at Chatham Motorsports (540) 981-0356 or Chatham Mick is a 356 owner and enthusiast; ask him about his Wonder Dog.

BJ is just about done getting the Shop ’59 Cabriolet ready for paint and it should go to the painter next month. This will be three at the painters; the Shop ’64 Coupe, Speedster 80013 and the Shop ’59 Cabriolet. Plus we still have the Shop ’58 Sunroof Coupe at Autoweave and the Shop ’59 Outlaw and the Shop ’57 Speedster here just about ready for sale. We just need some good weather to drive and adjust the 356s for sale. So with only one 356 in the shop while we wait for the 356 insurance repair, we decided to turn our attention to engines.

Over the years we have bought shop cars without engines and decided to buy engines to have on hand. As we have mentioned before, buying engines can be a crap shoot. “Well it was running before my Uncle removed it.”  Right, your Uncle removed it because it made a funny noise due to the broken crankshaft. Our procedure is to ensure the engine turns over with no play at the pulley. We then disassemble the engine sheet metal, clean the engine, paint the sheet metal and reinstall it with any missing parts. We had nine spare engines of unknown condition. Six were in fair condition just missing sheet metal and parts. Three we disassembled and we took the sheet metal to Blast Tech for cleaning. One thing we’ve never understood is how we have so many engine parts on the shelves when we don’t do any engine rebuilding. The engine parts just seem to come with 356s and parts we buy. For example, we have fourteen sets of Zenith carburetor intake manifolds on the shelf. Nobody needs them we couldn’t even sell them at $5 each.

It looks like we have enough parts for the nine engines. We sent the carburetors, oil coolers, distributors and generators out for repair. We painted the engine sheet metal in black two part epoxy paint with the exception of fan shrouds and oil canisters. Recent information from the 356 Registry website has provided us with the original colors for fan shrouds and oil canisters over the 356 years.

The next step will be to put the engines on a test stand for evaluation. Sometimes they start right up but then leak down and compression tests indicate internal problems and probable rebuild. As mentioned before, 356 engine rebuilds can run from $4,000 to $7,000. A new crankshaft alone can be $1,200.

From our nine shop engines we are hoping for at least four useable engines.

I often refer to myself as “cheap bastard that I am”. The metric washers used with machine screws or bolts to secure 356 engine sheet metal are 32 cents each and you need twenty-five per engine. But SAE washers of the same size are 3 cents each but the hole is smaller. So “CBTIA” I buy a couple hundred SAE washers and drill the hole to the correct size. I saved $65 for the nine engines.

By the way, a sign that a 356 engine was not assembled correctly is the improper placement of the screws and bolts securing the engine sheet metal. The horizontal surfaces of the sheet metal are secured by cheesehead screws with washers; the vertical surfaces are secured with bolts with washers. The screw securing the side plates beneath the carburetor must be tight. The threaded holes go on to the valve area and will leak oil if not tight.

Finding oil leaks from a 356 engine can be difficult. While the side plate screws are one area, other areas that leak can be the lower pulley seal, sump plate cover, oil temp/pressure stand, oil filler canister and other areas. The way to find oil leaks is to thoroughly clean the engine, get the 356 up on jack stands and place paper under the engine. From the leak stain on the paper you can trace the oil leak back to the source. We have had as many as fifty 356s parked at our place. Oil stains on the cement driveway have not been a big problem. Most of you take pride in the cleanliness of you 356. The few oil stains we have found clean up with lacquer thinner.

Speaking of oil, there has been extensive discussions on oils on 356TALK. While today’s oil are a lot better than the oils used when the 356 was new, recent changes to additives have removed chemicals the 356 engine needs. Zinc is one of the chemicals removed in order to extend the life of catalytic converters. Some refiners have kept the formulas with the chemicals needed for early engines. One recommended oil is SWEPCO 306 but there are others. Check the 356 Registry technical section and make your own choice.

Grandpa News
Alex has been talking about her baby sister . Unfortunately she will have a wait as the adoption process from China has really slowed down. BJ and Jen are saying now it will be 2009 for a baby sister. Meanwhile, Alex is “babysitting” the new kitten.

November 2007 Newsletter

Rennsport Reunion III
BJ and I made it to Daytona International Speedway for Rennsport Reunion III in early November. We had also attended Rennsport Reunion I at Lime rock Park, Connecticut and Rennsport Reunion II at Daytona. These event are held every three years and feature all Porsche race cars. Close to 500 Porsches from the early 356 to the latest Porsche Spyder.

Our interest is of course the 356 and there were twenty three entered in the first of five race groups. The oldest 356 was Brett Johnson’s 1951 Coupe and Brett runs a 1300 cc engine!

The rest of the first race group comprised under 2.5 liter 911s and 914. There were 93 Porsches entered in this group and at least eighty took to the track. Daytona is a 3.56 mile track using some of the high banking and an infield road course. Only a long race course could allow so many Porsches to race at once; it was quite a sight!

The other four race groups featured the over two liter 911s and front engine Porsches in Group 2; GT3 Porsches in Group 3; 906,907, 908, 910 and 917 in Group 4 and the big boys 956/962 and 934 in Group 5.

Not all of the Porsches were on the race track. The factory sent over some museum cars and our favorite was the 917-027 which is a 16 cylinder. This beautiful white stretched 917 never raced as it was superseded by the tubo charged 12 cylinder 917s. If the 917-027 had been turbocharged, they estimate its horsepower at 2,000 HP. But it never happened and 917-027 has been in the Porsche museum under wraps until they brought it to Rennsport III. One question never answered was could anybody drive a 2,000 HP 917.

Of the 917s that did race, one was the 917-30 that Mark Donohue drove to a closed course record of 221 MPH. The 917s were from the 1970s and in the 1980s we had the 962! There were twenty of them racing in Group 5. Never had anyone seen so many 962s on the track.

And of course there were the drivers that drove these Porsches in their heyday. Drivers such as Heywood, Bell, Elford, Redman, Follmer, Luyendyk, Hobbs, Posey and Adamowicz were there as were others. (BJ and I talked to Brian Redman at the Daytona Beach K-Mart where he was buying soft drinks for his crew.)

BJ and I got to the event a day early so we could see and take pictures of the Porsches before the crowds came. BJ volunteered and worked pit out on Friday. He said it was something to see a 962 coming straight at you as you directed him to turn. I say “him” but there was one lady driver at Rennsport. Our own Marcia Hubble from RMVR. She did really well in her 911 and said the event was fantastic. We had three other RMVR 911 drivers at Rennsport; Alan Benjamin, Jerry Shouten and Hank Godfreson. They all did quite well.

We hung out at the 356 pit areas. Vic Skirmants had three 356s and drivers, Ron Emory transported five 356s all the way fro Oregon and we got to meet Brett Johnson’s five year old twins.

We kept hearing rumors that the next Rennsport in 2010 will be on the West Coast. The problem will be rearranging the race groups. Could you imagine eighty Porsches on the track at Laguna Seca? Man, I would want to be at the corkscrew turn.

Well we got a new tool in the shop. A washing machine! Barb bought it for us after her blouse was ruined in the upstairs washing machine after we did a load of shop towels. At least we don’t use the dishwasher to clean parts.

The Shop ’59 Outlaw is all reassembled and ready for a test drive. (I referred to it as a ’54 last month; in fact quite often I confuse the year of a 356.) We installed a Super engine that Bill Frey checked out on his engine test stand. It sure is a pretty 356 outlaw, everybody likes what we did with the Recaro seats. Maybe we will keep it and perhaps sell the ’63 Sunroof Coupe. Did you know that Recaro stands for the Reutter Car Company. After Porsche bought Reutter in 1963 to make their own bodies, Reutter became Recaro and made seats as well as other parts. That is why you don’t see a coach builder badge on some ’64 and all ’65 356s as Porsche became their own coachbuilder.

BJ continues work on the Shop ’59 Cabriolet. Since this is a Shop car that was missing a lot of parts and does not have matching numbers we can paint whatever color we want. Call us and vote for your favorite color (Togo Brown will not be considered.)

We have had a concern recently that we would loose some 356 parts vendors. We had heard that NLA was selling out and that Stoddard had been bought out by another dealership. Remember when PB Tweeks was bought by Mid America? 356 parts availability declined and prices went up. Well it turns out NLA and Stoddard is good news. Financing has been obtained and a new company called NLA Stoddard LLC will continue to provide us with parts. The financing will allow new reproduction parts to be developed and the key players are long time 356 knowledgeable folks. More details as we get them.

Grandpa News
When our Porsche friends, Rosie and Roland, called us about a cute little gray long-hair, green eyed kitten that was part of their barn cat’s family about to be relocated all discussion centered around whether we should get it. Needless to say once we saw her she was ours. Her name was finally chosen from Porsche (Jim’s pick), Primer or Bondo (BJ’s ideas), Fluffy (Alex’s choice) or Kit Kat (Barb’s winner).

October 2007 Newsletter

356 Restoration Book
The publisher contacted us and needed to know when the second edition would be ready. We told him we would try to have it ready in six months. He said that that time frame was good as it would be available for the 2008 Holiday season.

The publisher has sold out the second printing. So far we have sold 3,250 copies. This is way more than we both expected and again indicates the strong interest in the Porsche 356. We started the second edition last year but was interrupted by health issues. (Recent test results indicate I remain cancer free.) The second edition will have a lot more detail; particularly for those restoring a 356 missing parts. There are problems fitting reproduction and parts from another 356 as these Porsches were made by hand. At present, the second edition is half done.

An interesting month. We did two PPIs (pre-purchase inspection) and one insurance claim. The insurance claim was for a 356 that didn’t quite stop in time and took an SUV in the left headlight area. Fortunately the owner had recently switched to the classic car insurer we have recommended and there will be no problem with the claim. The problem will be when we can do the repair.

One of the PPI’s was interesting as the potential buyer was in Las Vegas and was unable to travel to inspect a local Cabriolet for sale. The Cab was a good driver with good paint and just a few issues. The possible buyer’s name was XN. He explained that he was of Romanian heritage and because people had trouble pronouncing his name he just picked two letters from his name. He did this thirty years ago and has had no problems. Hard to forget his name now! He may pass on the Cabriolet but has a strong interest in the Shop ’57 Speedster.

The other Speedster 80013 has gone to the painter. The owner flew out and we went over the metal work and parts needed. The plan is to have the painter do the body work and paint the Speedster in red primer. We will then completely assemble the Speedster checking for fit issues prior to paint. 80013 will be painted its original Signal Red paint. Of the ten initial Speedsters that came over on the first boat to Max Hoffman in New York, most were Signal Red.

The goal is to have all the parts for 80013 ready for assembly when the Speedster is in primer. This means coordinating with the vendors for chrome work, instrument rebuild, keys, wiring harness, rubber seals and hard to find parts. Hopefully it will all come together.

BJ finished the metal work and body work on the Shop ’54 Coupe and it is ready for paint but we are holding it. We brought the Shop ’59 Cabriolet into the shop to redo the body work.

This is that Carbondale Cab that was stored outside on private land that when the land became public it was towed off as an eyesore. The tow operator gave it to his brother who got it for the $50 tow fee. We did the extensive metal work on this Cabriolet six years ago. Fortunately there were no bullet holes but the 356 was missing lots of parts. We had most of the parts and sold them to the owner along with doing the restoration. We returned the Cabriolet to the owner who was going to have a friend paint it and then do the reassembly. The paint and reassembly never happened as other projects got in the way. So, he sold it back to us.

It is interesting to look at the work we did in the past and compare it to the work we do now. We obviously do very good work after many years and many 356s restored. A lot of the credit goes to BJ who is doing excellent work. BJ should have the Cabriolet redone in a few months and we will probably send it to the painter ahead of the Shop ’54 Coupe as it is a more valuable 356.

We picked up the Shop ’54 Outlaw at Autoweave and it looks great with its Silver paint and new interior. We went with the red interior but put in Recaro seats in red with a silver material down the center. The rear seats were done the same way. It really looks sharp and those that have seen it think it is great. The issue with 356 Outlaws is finding a buyer who likes what has been done to make the 356 unique. This outlaw has the fuel filler opening in the hood and a big touring gas tank. It has a clean look with no hood handle or bumpers. It has nerf bars. It will probably be hard to sell as we have to find a buyer who likes what we have done. We did it for a customer who didn’t have time to do the mechanicals and sold it back to us. Some of these projects remind us of when our kids move away from home and then back again!

The asking price of project 356s has gone up as has restored 356s. This is a concern to us as we buy rusted out incomplete projects as shop cars, restore them and hopefully sell at a profit. We may be doing more customer work in the future and will probably have to increase our rates to maintain profitability.

We mentioned previously about uninformed buyers getting a 356 and trying to restore it for a profit. Our concern is that the restoration might be the chicken wire and bondo approach. We had a recent call from a project buyer that wanted to know how to get the 356 body off the frame! Be careful out there!

Grandpa News
Well I think she is brilliant!

BJ and Grandma were in the front seat driving on an errand and Alex was in her car seat in back. Barb, talking to BJ, used the word “advantage”. Alex piped up from the back and said, “I don’t know advantage, but I know bandage.”

Alex is three now and although a bit shy at first she is handling her nursery school days very well. So maybe all her chatter will be to her advantage!

September 2007 Newsletter

Vintage Racing
Bill Frey flat towed his 356 back to New York as he has a cabin there and the Watkins Glen race track was celebrating Porsche. Bill participated in the driving and historical events.

BJ and I went to the new MPH race track; BJ to work race control and I to checkout my new Airstream camping trailer. MPH is a 2.33 mile, thirteen turn race track. While it is flat the drivers said it was fun. We had 150 vintage racers and a great event including a reception with hors d’oeuvres/beverage and a steak dinner. Boy, that Nebraska beef is good. Yes, Nebraska. MPH stands for Motorsports Park Hastings. Hastings Nebraska is midway in Nebraska just south of Grand Island. A town of 25,000 and really nice people. It is a six and half hour drive but with no race tracks in the Denver area it is worth the trip.

Racers have lost Second Creek, PPIR, Mountain View and the Stapleton track. Developers and politics have closed the tracks. We still have La Junta and Pueblo but you can only run them so often a season.

The Colorado Amateur Motorsports Association (CAMA) is building a new track up by Byers. We have 460 acres and it is not all flat. The race track has been designed and features 15 turns and some seventy foot elevation changes. The track will be one hour east of Denver and there is no threat of developers. All of the political bodies have approved and ground breaking will be this fall and we will race next season.

Funding is proceeding quickly and the three million dollar goal is within reach. If you have enjoyed participating or watching at vintage race events (remember Steamboat) and want to contribute you can do so at

I finally finished all the metal work on Speedster 80013. This was ten weeks of work. A lot of it was repairing previous poor work. The advantage having a 356 media blasted to bare metal is you can see all the metal that has to be repaired. When 80013 arrived and we did our evaluation, we could only see about half the repairs needed. The rest were covered by metal patches, household caulk and undercoat. This is why we insist on media blasting and after blasting can give an accurate estimate of metal repair.

When we thought we were done with metal work we painted the engine compartment with two part black primer. Right away we could see the engine tray was dented and wavy. Since this area is hard to work with a body hammer and dolly, we could cut it out and work it on the bench or replace it. We decided to replace it. Of course no one makes a one piece Pre A engine tray. We had to buy a two piece and make it work.

The bumpers that came with 80013 were later A style and would have to be modified or reproductions purchased. We now have good reproduction bumpers available but we discovered the bumpers from the Shop ’54 Coupe were a perfect fit. So we made a swap. The front bumper brackets are on backorder. There seems to be a lot of 356 parts on backorder; must be a lot of restoration due to the increased value of the 356s.

However, the new wiring harness for 80013 was delivered in three weeks. We have waited up to six months for a wiring harness in the past. It is not often that we order a wiring harness for a 356 restoration. I think we have only bought four. Usually only the wire ends of the original wiring harness need repair. If the original wiring harness was modified it is usually with add on wires and the original wires are still there. We really thank Joe Leoni for his research and documentation of the wiring in all the various 356 models. Joe’s books have saved us hours of work.

So we are now finally doing the metal work on the exterior of 80013. We say finally because folks always look at the fit and finish of a 356 first. We have been working underneath 80013 for ten weeks but nobody will see the work, they only see the exterior and its issues.

Well, we are now making the exterior perfect. The gaps will be flush and correct. The gaps will be 3 mm prior to paint and 2 mm after. The exception is the bottom door gap which should be one mm after paint.

Some of the problems with getting panels to fit flush is the door and good seals. There is only one manufacturer of most of the 356 rubber seals. Another manufacturer makes some of the seals. The problem is quality. The manufacturing process allows a wide variant and some seals are too thick. You will see hoods that are not flush and doors that won’t fit flush. When doing exterior metal work on a 356 you have to use the seals to get panels flush. It is too late after paint.

While working on the passenger door for 80013 we saw that it wasn’t flush with the rocker panel. No problem, we will just remove a shim. But no shims, what to do? Well we got our big hammer and with a few whacks on the lower hinge mount the door fit flush. Usually you see one or two shims on a door hinge. Since 80013 was never in a collision the absence was probably original. If you see a lot of shims on a door hinge it means the 356 likely has been in a collision and there may be more problems than just door fit!

So we are probably a month away from getting 80013 to the painter. BJ will have the Shop ’54 Coupe also ready for paint. We expect the Shop ’58 Outlaw and the Shop ’57 Sunroof Coupe back from Autoweave and the Shop ’58 Coupe back from the painter. So lots of fun projects continue at 356RESTORE.

Grandpa News
Well, Alex had her third birthday the beginning of Sept, so we had 3 different birthday parties-play friends, nursery school and family; so next year at age 4 will she have four?

August 2007 Newsletter

BJ is getting the Shop ’54 Coupe ready for paint. He discovered a problem with the rear lights that required a little more metal work. In March of 1957 the teardrop taillight was a new feature on the 356. The beehive taillights which had been used since 1953 were dropped.

Some owners wanted their 356 to look newer so they took off the beehives and cut holes for the new teardrop taillights. The issue is they are not in the exact same location. BJ found the ’54 had been converted to teardrops and then back to beehives but in the wrong location. No problem, he just took measurements from Bruce’s ’54 Speedster 80013 which we have in the shop. We have seen the beehive to teardrop conversion many times and it has probably fooled many people. (At Autoweave years back we saw a Hudson hot rod with Porsche teardrop taillights mounted vertically; looked cool.)

When restoring 356s it is a great help to have another 356 of the same model available for measurements and location of parts. We usually have A, B and C models around for comparison. When Tom Scott restored his Manhattan Trophy winning 356 he had another 356 of the same year and model he referred to as his library.

I am almost done with metal work on speedster 80013. Just the bumpers and hood left to do. 80013 is probably average when it come to 356 metal work; floor repair and replacement, closing panels, diagonals, battery box, longitudinal repair, front and back of doors, etc. The same damage we see all the time and have repaired many times. We have kept track of the hours spent on metal repair on 80013. Since we have been working exclusively on 80013 this has been easy. Usually we bounce between various 356 projects and it is hard to keep track of work and time spent on a particular 356. So far on 80013 we have spent 170 hours just on metal work. We probably have another 50 hours to go.

So let’s say 225 hours for average metal work on a 356. This would be $10,000 to $15,000 at typical shop rates and you still have paint, interior, mechanical and parts to restore. Something to consider when thinking of a 356 project. Also an incentive to keep your 356 in good condition!

Speaking of 356 projects, we are concerned about prices. In the past, we have paid $3,000 to $6,000 for rusty, damaged, non-running, parts missing 356 project cars. Now with the 356 market hot, we see asking prices for 356 Coupe projects from $8,000 to $15,000; asking prices for 356 open cars are higher; close to ridiculous. What this means for 356 RESTORE is hard to tell. Maybe we will only do customer 356s or maybe the buyers of these high priced projects will sell them to us at a loss when they find out what a 356 restoration costs. A concern is a return to cheap restorations i.e. the chicken wire and bondo repairs that happened in the seventies when 356s weren’t worth much.

The fellow in Las Vegas that is making the special low bow top frame for 80013 is almost done. He has been sending us pictures and it looks great. As mentioned last month, the early Speedsters had a unique top frame and we were fortunate to find someone with the skills to make one. Of course, on a Speedster the top is always down. They leak in the rain with the top up. However, all open 356s should be store with the top up and latched. We got a tip from Ron at Autoweave when we had a Cabriolet top that wouldn’t close. He suggested keeping wet towels on the top in the sun. It worked! The steamy towels relaxed the top and it closed. We left it closed until it set.

On 80013 we had a repair that we have seen a few times before. Someone didn’t know how to remove the starter bolt that secures the 356 engine to the transmission. Of the four bolts that secure the engine, the starter bolt is difficult to remove. So they cut a big hole in the back seat area to get to it. The hole had been repaired with a metal plate tack welded over the hole. To repair this we cut a piece from a wrecked 356. Of course, the replacement piece was from a later 356 and wasn’t an exact match. But we made it work and this is part of the enjoyment we get from restoring 356s.

I once said when I worked behind a desk my job was to anticipate and avoid problems. Working on 356s is a problem solving job and very satisfying.

Tech Tip
For years, when we needed to strip small parts of paint and didn’t want to use the blast tank or take them to Blast Tech, we used a product called Aircraft Stripper. It was nonflammable which was important and worked.

July 2007 Newsletter

No, you didn’t miss last month’s newsletter; we didn’t send one. After six months of inactivity on my part there was a lot to do when my recovery was complete.

Bill Frey and I took the ’52 Race car to Pueblo for the first race of the season. I decided not to drive even though I felt OK. Bill did well and almost broke two minutes; his personal goal. I’m happy with my two minutes, fifteen seconds.

Next up was the Concours at Arapahoe Community College. Again, good weather and a great turnout. We didn’t have time to prepare a 356 and Barb and I didn’t judge. So for the first time in years we had time to enjoy the cars and people. Congratulations to Cal Ensor for placing first with his ’55 Speedster in the 356 group.

After six months of no open shop on Saturdays, we decided to open it up again. To be honest I expected maybe three to five guys to drop by. Wow! We had twenty-two 356’s and at least sixty folks. I gave a few mini tech sessions and the most discussion was on 356 insurance. A few people felt they were covered with State Farm, Allstate, etc; they are not and a few folks commented on their personal experiences with the big insurers. 356RESTORE continues to recommend Hagerty Insurance to cover your 356. They offer insurance during restoration. As soon as we paint a customer 356 we insist they get insurance. Hagerty will adjust this up when the restoration is complete.

At the Concours was Speedster 80054 a 356 we hadn’t seen before and one presented by the new owner. He said it was for sale as the performance wasn’t up to his expectations. He wanted $165,000.

80054 had a few of the features we have to duplicate for 80013, so I gave him my card and said I’d like to check out these unique features. Before he called, I had an E-mail from a potential buyer in Athens, Greece who wanted me to do a complete evaluation and concours judging. I did this and also met the guy who restored 80054. He is from Las Vegas and said he could make a correct low bow top for the 80013. These early Speedster tops were unique and only on the first twenty five or so Speedsters. They have unique leather straps to secure the top to the windshield and the rear window is smaller.

Anyhow, we submitted the evaluation of 80054 to Greece and the Speedster was purchased for around the asking price.

Restoration Shows
We have commented on the automotive shows on TV before and how many restoration shows use the same products and procedures used by 356RESTORE. We were watching one show featuring Jay Leno’s garage. They were restoring a rare Duisenberg. There was a shot of a guy trying to remove the door latch using a screwdriver. Later, another shot, this time he was using a drill to drill out the screws. We use the same approach on 356s. If the screws don’t budge, we drill them out. We can usually save the latch and screw plate.

Bill Frey finished the engine rebuild on the engine we will use in the ’58 Sunroof Coupe which is still at Autoweave. He also put one of our spare engines on his test stand and it checked out OK. So we will use it in the ’57 Outlaw Coupe which is still at Autoweave.

Many of the 356s we have bought as projects came without engines. So we have been buying engines and have nine for future projects. Buying an engine without a documented maintenance or rebuild history by a recognized 356 mechanic is a crap shoot. You may get one that checks out as usable or one that checks out as needing a rebuild. A rebuild today can run from $5,000-$8,000.

We bought a second welder so BJ can finish the metal work on the Shop ’58 Coupe and I can start on Speedster 80013. The new welder is a 110 volt unit and is smaller than the one we have used for almost twenty years. Price was $650. As in many successful products the welder has been cost reduced with more electronics and plastic parts. We will see how it holds up to our original machine.

The Shop Speedster was at Trevors for final checkout but we had to bring it back to the shop. Trevor found some rust damage inside the rear torsion tube. We had never seen this before and we know the Speedster was stored sideways on a rotisserie for many years. We guess water somehow got inside the torsion tube. We had a spare torsion tube that was removed from Barb’s Twin Grille Roadster twenty years ago. We were able to cut out a piece to make a repair and took the Shop Speedster back to Trevors. See, it pays never to throw anything away!

I am working full time on Speedster 80013 as I had planned to start this work six months ago. I was surprised and pleased to find some of the previous repair work was useable. I found some butt welds without pinholes that had just not been ground down! It appears that three different welders had worked on 80013 over the years due to the different techniques and materials.

BJ and I consider the grinding of welds to be as important as laying down good welds. We have special grinding tools and take our time. Grinders can generate heat which can warp a good repair. Grinding is tedious (and very noisy) which is why some welders leave it to others and at our shop Barb leaves to go shopping a lot.

Tech Tip
We have commented before on the great shop lights available at Home Depot and Lowes. The one we recently bought has a switch for 250 and 500 watts; it is easier to use than previous models and it comes with a spare bulb and still under $25.

Another new product we use is 3M Fast Tack Adhesive. Great for when you want to stick something right away. Like the washer and nut for a hood handle or side mirror.

May 2007 Newsletter

Some progress was made this month but mostly on BJ’s part as my energy level is still low.

Moving 356s was needed. The Shop ’57 Speedster is at Trevor’s, the Shop ’58 coupe went to the painter and the Shop ’54 Coupe is in the Shop. We traded the Coyote ’57 Coupe ex-race car for engine work and parts. We had planned to make the Coyote a street outlaw but we really wanted to see it race again. A young guy will run it with the local clubs. We even moved the Porsche tractor into the storage building and out of the backyard; not sure when we will start on the tractor restoration.

Since we had space in the storage building we bought another 356! A 1960 Cabriolet. This was one we did the metal work for a customer and he was going to do paint and assembly. That didn’t happen so we bought it. This was the Cabriolet that was abandon on private property in Carbondale. When the property became public the car was removed on a police order. The sale price was $50.00 plus $2.20 for a title search. Not only did we do extensive metal work on this Cabriolet (fortunately no bullet holes!) we sold the owner lots of missing parts. So we can get this Cabriolet ready for paint pretty quickly.

As BJ started on the ’54 Coupe it was obvious the right front fender needed major repair. The headlight bucket had been previously repaired incorrectly; there was a major dent and a one foot square overlapped patch repair.

Fortunately we had a NOS section of an A right front fender. What is a NOS part? Well, these were parts the dealerships had in inventory for the 356. As the 911 models came in and 356 repair/replacement fell off these parts became old stock. These parts were often stored and eventually became known as New Old Stock – NOS. These parts are obviously valuable as they are original manufacture and not reproductions. We have very few NOS parts left.

The few NOS sheet metal parts we have we acquired years ago from a longtime Denver Porsche repair shop that went out of business. If they needed to repair the left front clip on a 356 they would buy a complete front clip from the dealer, cut off what they needed and save the remaining piece. These are the pieces we bought and are almost out of. Anyhow, BJ did a very good repair to the ’54 Coupe.

I decided to do a minor repair on Speedster number 13. On the top of the left front fender was a one and half inch tear in the metal, probably due to rust. Whenever we had visitors they would notice and point to the damage so I thought it would be a quick fix. I cut out a small patch and tacked it in place. As I welded, the original metal was being blown away. It was way too thin! I had seen a lot of previous repair grinding in the area and the metal is way too weak. Fortunately, we have a NOS fender section to make a correct repair. Almost all the metal work on Speedster 13 will be rework because of poor previous repairs. Fortunately there is no collision damage to the rare Speedster and the doors are in great shape. Everything else? Well, a lot of work.

Concours Prep
The annual Charity Concours is Sunday June 10th at Arapahoe Community College. This is the 24th and the biggest car show in Denver. Please enter your 356 for display or judging. We encourage judging as you get the results and this allows you to improve your 356 and maintain or increase its value.

This concours is basically a clean car contest. Each 356 starts with 300 possible points and deductions are made by judges as they find problems. The judges only have five minutes to evaluate the 356. They evaluate the exterior (65 pts), the interior (60 pts), the engine compartment (60 pts), the storage compartment (40 pts), the chassis rear (40 pts), and the chassis front (35 pts). They will be looking for the condition of chrome, glass, rubber and fit and finish. They will not be looking under the 356! So spend a day really cleaning your 356. You will get the judging sheets back so you can see what more can be done. You may even win a prize! The value of a 356 is enhanced with a concours award.

A few tips. Judges know where to find dirt – it hides. So lift up those rubber seals and mats and clean underneath. Dust under the dash along the steering column. Get the glass and chrome to sparkle. Clean behind the engine shroud. Try real hard to get the grit out of the seat seams; then vacuum it all again! A judge, that Barb worked with the very first time she judged, marked 10 points off the interior score on a car because there was a crumpled tissue in the door pocket. So be sure to clean out the door pockets and good luck!

The May meeting for the Rocky Mountain 356 Porsche Club was on car detailing, hope those of you who attended got a lot of tips to help your cleaning techniques.

(Note: we allow young children to sit in our 356 at the concours while their parents are standing by and we encourage others to do the same.)

Grandpa News
Congratulations to Cal Ensor – Speedster owner/driver who just made the great-grandfather category. Seems like we swap more grandkid-stories as car stories anymore!

My chemo is over and should ensure I remain cancer free so we can restart open shop again; no more worry about infections and I can play with Alex. She has her own playhouse now built to look just like Grandpa’s house but it needs a garage for a mini 356.

Open Shop
Saturday, June 16th from 11:00 to 3:00 we will provide lunch. This is a week after the concours so everyone should be clean and shiny and drivable! Please come, I’ve missed your visits.

April 2007 Newsletter

Phone Calls
We get interesting phone calls here at 356RESTORE. One reason is folks can Google the Internet and find the 356REGISTRY web page if they are looking for 356 info. If they click on vendors, they find 356RESTORE as the first listing. So they call.

BJ had one a few weeks ago when a guy’s neighbor at a storage location was going out of business and asked him over to see if he wanted to buy any equipment.

In the corner under a tarp he found a project Speedster. The owner said it was for sale. The guy called around and everybody he talked to wanted to know where it was and how much. He called us and asked whether he should restore it and what would it cost, or whether he should flip it. BJ gave him information on restoration costs and the guy E-mailed pictures. I suggested that if he wanted to flip it to get it for $15,000 and we would send him $20,000 and get it on a truck the next day.

BJ stayed in touch with the guy but it turned out the owner wasn’t uninformed and sold the Speedster project for $50,000.

Recently I got a call from a local guy that found us through the Registry vendor list. He had bought a ’57 Coupe from the estate of a friend. He had helped the friend modify the 356 years ago and he had recently completed it as an outlaw.

No, not an outlaw as he readily admitted but a full blown hot rod! The friend had found rust damage at the rear struts and decided to change the rear suspension. But why not go all the way-Chevy front frame with small block, Jaguar rear suspension, lengthen the front by nine inches and hinge it forward, metal fender flairs and lots more.

He wants to sell it and is smart enough to know it is in the hot rod market place. He will take it to a Good Guys car show but wanted to know if the 356 crowd would like to see it. I said yes (!) and encouraged him to enter it in the car show at Arapahoe College in June. He was concerned it might be laughed at. I indicated we respect good engineering and fabrication and don’t get hung up on “correctness” especially in outlaws.

The Shop ’57 Speedster has gone to Trevor’s for final adjustment before we sell it. It sure is a pretty 356. We even bought a wood steering wheel to set it off.

The only major issue we had was with the windshield. The metal work in the cowl area done by the previous owner was not correct and the windshield set too loose in the frame. We did all the adjustments we could do and decided we would have to discount the asking price due to the poor and noticeable (and probably leaky) fit.

We checked with our local glass shop and they loaned us some special windshield caulk. While we did a reasonable job it was still noticeable. We had their expert come out (young kid, car guy) and he did an outstanding job. We wrote a note of praise to the owner of the glass shop about their employee’s performance and our satisfaction.

The Shop ’58 Coupe has gone to the painter and will be the original Fjord Green. BJ had one final issue with this 356. The right rear shock mount was missing. In addition to the shock mount this part has a long rod that goes through the chassis for shock support. Inside the 356 it also provides attachment for shoulder belts on later 356s. BJ was able to fabricate a part using an eye bolt washer and steel rod. Looks original!

We brought down the Shop ’54 Coupe for BJ’s next project and I am finally starting on the rare Speedster 80013. BJ also has to start getting parts ready for the ’58 to assemble after paint.

Market Place
The 356 market is still hot although we consider the Speedster prices to be an anomaly which we hope to take advantage of. Strong interest in the 356 and prices bring problems. One is theft! In the past we have sold driver side vent windows to replace those broken during a theft-mostly in California. Be careful! We know of one 356 Coupe parked in a church parking lot a few days a week in the end spot next to the street; possible scenario: a hammer to the vent window, reach in, open the door, turn on the fuel, pull the wire behind the ignition switch, ground it and the thief is on his way to E-bay. Or possible protection- battery disconnect, a lock through the E-brake handle or pull the rotor. However, if they want it a flat bed truck and it is gone.

Grandpa News
Alex sure was cute in her Easter outfit but it still is not advisable for us to play together. We throw kisses from across the room instead. I remain cancer free and am halfway through the chemo treatments to ensure I stay that way. The only side affect has been fatigue leading to irritability.

One in three of us will get cancer! Many cancers are insignificant and cured by the body’s immune system. Other cancers are significant as we know and many of you are experiencing this. (Thanks to those of you who shared your support and experiences in your cards.) The one in three number is due in part to improved diagnosis. Let’s see – 300 folks get this newsletter; have you seen your doctor lately?

Annual Sport Car Show
The 24th Annual Exotic Sport Car Show and Concours D’Elegance will be June 10, 2007 at Arapahoe Community College. This is a great event; usually over 300 sports cars from all the Denver clubs. The event benefits Cerebral Palsy of Colorado. Registration is $30 prior to May 23rd, 2007. You can have your 356 judged or enter just for display. Contact Sandy Marian (303)691-9339; for an entry form. We usually have thirty 356s at the show; let’s try for a record.

March 2007 Newsletter

Aloha Bummer!
We didn’t get to Hawaii for vacation. I am a private person but there has been concern so this is what happened.

After Christmas I thought something might be wrong even though I felt great. I had had a chest x-ray that was negative but we did a CAT Scan and saw something suspicious in my right lung. We did a PET Scan and confirmed a tumor, we did a biopsy and it was cancer but curable by surgery. The surgery was done and it was more extensive than planned but it was successful!

All this happened within a month and the recovery period has taken five weeks. It is recommended that successful cancer surgery patients also follow up with chemo treatments to ensure the cancer is completely gone. We just started these treatments and will wrap it up in June and get on with the rest of our life with just monitoring.

Obviously I didn’t contribute much to progress at 356RESTORE. The good thing is that since we are working on shop cars no customers will be impacted by the slow down in progress. The exception is Bruce’s rare Speedster and he is in no hurry (yet!).

The Slate Grey ’64 Coupe was sold and is going to Florida. The sale price was at today’s market which was about seven thousand dollars more than we would have expected a few years ago.

We finished most of the minor items on the Shop ’57 Sunroof Coupe and it went to Autoweave. We did the carpet and headliner in the ’57 as this detail was added to our 356 Restoration book. However, I cheated and asked Autoweave to make our work look better.

The Shop ’57 Speedster was picked up at Autoweave and we are anxious to get it ready for sale. The engine has been built and needs to be installed. We need to install the windshield and a few other items. (It amazes us that a stripped down 356 like the Speedster can sell for so much.)

Joe Leoni came by and checked out the electrics in the Speedster. We had used a new wiring harness which is really a Coupe wiring harness. The factory just cut off the wires not needed for a Speedster i.e. radio, cigar lighter, interior light, etc. We did the same thing.

Those that have seen the Speedster say it looks great. It should, as everything is new or restored. While not a show 356 it is one of the best drivers we’ve done. We hope the new owner drives it. When we have a few mile on it we will take it to Paragon Motorcars where it will be eye candy with all the other exotic sports cars.

Sports cars at the level of the Speedster are not sold through the newspaper or on E-bay. A specialty shop like Paragon Motorcars is the correct sales arena. Check out Paragon at

Also back from Autoweave was Scot’s ’55 Coupe. This is the 356 that we restored in exchange for the ’54 Coupe. We painted the ’55 the original Turkish Red and Scot opted for a light gray leather interior. This is one sharp bent window 356. We put the windshields in and will have the ’55 trailered back to Scot for final assembly and checkout.

BJ should have the Shop ’58 Coupe ready for paint in a few weeks and we will probably bring down the Shop ’54 Coupe as the next project. We also have the Shop ’57 Silver Outlaw Coupe at Autowweave and it will be fun to get ready to sell.

Selling a 356 outlaw is difficult. You have to find a buyer that wants an outlaw 356 exactly the way its been done. We also have a few days work on Rob’s ’58 Cabriolet which is at Trevor’s. So you see the shop is full!

I am not sure how much energy I will have over the next few months so if anyone wants to help out we can find you a project to take home and pay a reasonable fee. Most of the projects would be cleaning, painting and restoring parts. If you are interested give us a call (303) 840-2356.

Those of you that belong to the 356 Registry receive their excellent magazine. Check out the latest issue which includes a picture of a pink 356! Yes, it is true. Porsche would do almost any thing to close a sale. We understand the factory created a paint code for the pink 356 so it could be ordered again. A lot of the mysteries about options and non standard parts on a 356 are answered by the Kardex built data. That’s what the customer wanted, that’s what the customer got.

There are only a few absolutes about 356s. (The few that I believe at present I am keeping to myself as a judging tool.) You cannot say all 356s had this part or this part was only on such and such 356s. This make restoring 356s more fun for me than say restoring Corvettes. 356s were hand made individualized cars. If you wanted a Pink 356 you could get a Pink 356.

Its almost time for the 356 driving season and you must do something, Please.

Check the date on your tires! We have heard some real horror stories about 356s destroyed and drivers injured when a classic tire of the 356 period let go because it was old.

Go to and click on technical information and then click on tire safety and date codes. If your tires are over seven years old replace them! There are not many replacement options in 165 x15 anymore. We have been buying Kumhos from Tire Rack for about forty dollars each. They are good tires, others are available.

Open Shop
One of the things I have to be careful about over the next few months is infections. So we will shut down open shop Saturday afternoons until July.

January 2007 Newsletter

Richard Petty Says Hi!
A good friend of BJ’s moved from Denver To Nashville to be the marketing director of a large country/western radio station. The station was hosting a NASCAR and Country event and BJ and Jen (and Alex) were invited.

At cocktails before dinner BJ was talking with Richard Petty and when asked, told Richard that he and his father restored old Porsches. Richard said “I’m sure you do a great job and say Hi to your father.”

BJ and Jen had dinner with Ryan Newman and his wife who introduced them to Michael Waltrop. All in all, BJ talked to about twenty NASCAR drivers. When you see BJ, ask him about his NASCAR stories.

Our congratulations to BJ for being named RMVR’s Worker of the Year.

Colorado Winter
Man, it’s been cold and snowy. This gets in the way of restoring the 356s. Even though, the shop is in the basement we have work to do in the garage and have not been able to get to it. For a while the storage building had five foot drifts in front of the doors. There is no way we can get our trailer in to move 356s. If we have to move them we will use Larry’s Towing who specializes in transporting sports cars. We recommend him if you need this service.

Speaking of Colorado weather, there won’t be a newsletter next month as Barb and I will be on vacation. Aloha!

We have not been able to put any miles on the Slate Gray ’64 Coupe due to the weather but we already have some potential buyers.

We got the carpet and windshields in the Shop ’57 Sunroof Coupe plus lots of other parts. When we did the brakes we used a new master cylinder and rubber brake lines. We can usually restore the wheel cylinders and they were easily done on the ’57. We try to reuse the steel brake lines but on the ’57 the tunnel line broke at the front when we removed the old master cylinder. So we replaced all the steel lines. The ’57 will go to Autoweave probably when we pick up the Shop Speedster.

BJ has finished the metal work on the Shop ’58 Coupe and will start the prep for paint. This will free up the MIG welder and plasma cutter and I can start metal work on the Speedster 80013 (the thirteenth Speedster made).

A couple more areas to check for rust. At the front of your 356 below where the tie rods exit the chassis is an important area call the front strut. It is a ledge and a perfect mud trap. If rust damages this area your front suspension is compromised. The rust can move from this area and damage the front of the floor pan. You have to remove the wooden floor boards to inspect this area.

Another area which is less common for rust damage is behind the sound deadening material in the engine compartment above the carburetors.

What happens is you drive you 356 on a cold humid day and park it. Heat from the engine exits the carburetors and causes condensation on the cold metal behind the sound deadening material. We have found this damage on two fully restored 356s. The owners never knew they had rust damage as the sound deadening material had not been removed during restoration.

Have you ever driven your 356 in the rain with the rear quarter windows open? Not a good idea! Rain gets inside behind the interior rear side panels which have a vertical groove for rigidity. However the factor glued the side panel insulation with horizontal glue strips. A little dam is created and the metal panel rusts out. We see this quite often. As mentioned in our restoration book we once saw this whole panel rusted away and missed it during our evaluation as when we looked at this panel from under the fender, the back of the side panel had been undercoated and looked like metal.

That about wraps up the discussion on rust. There are lots of areas where we see rust. We enjoy the detective work of determining what causes rust damage.

Rennsport III
Rennsport III will be November 2-4 this year at Daytona International Speedway. BJ and I attended Rennsport I at Lime Rock, Connecticut and Rennsport II at Daytona.

This will be a huge event. At Rennsport II there were over 600 racing Porsches and dozens of legendary Porsche race drivers. Anyone that enjoys Porsche racing should attend. The event is open to the public. At Rennsport II BJ and I would get there early in the morning. All the garages were open, no crowds and we could enjoy looking at some famous racing Porsches. Then the races started! Over eighty Porsches in a race group on the high banking and into the infield race track. There were at least twenty 356s at Rennsport II including 356 serial number 1. Details on Rennsport III at or www.go

East Coast Holiday
The 356 Registry ECH will be June 26-July 2 in Harbor Springs, Michigan. This is a beautiful area at the top of the lower peninsula. All the events will be held at the resort hotel and include a hill climb, concours, gymkhana and swap meet. Barb and I are registered and look forward to meeting friends in Michigan.

We have attended many Holidays all over the U.S.. Many of the areas of the country we probably would never have visited if there hadn’t been a Holiday. (Why take a trip when the best scenery is right here in CO!) But we treasure the memories of Mt Vernon, the Alamo, Carmel, Sedona, Banf and the other great venues.

Grandpa News
Christmas was a bit overwhelming to a 2 1/2 year old. She opened the first two packages and then just wanted to play with what she had in hand.