December 2010 Newsletter

newheaderHappy Holidays
Seasons Greetings from 356Restore and the Kellogg’s!

Fun time! The Twin Grille Roadster is back from the painter and we get to dry fit all the parts for an evaluation before going to final paint. The painter did an excellent job on the body work and painted the Roadster in a flat black primer. It really looks stealthy. The body is straight and the gaps were good. The first thing we did was to install the headlights and new chrome wheels and tires. We haven’t done a complete dry fit before, usually just the bumpers, tops, lights and other parts that fit to a painted chassis. But this is a rare 356 Twin Grille Roadster, one of 249 produced. The owner will sell it and we hope to get top dollar. It will probably go to a collector, so fit and finish must be excellent.

We recently ordered the interior and from the Certificate of Authenticity (available from Porsche Cars North America) discovered this 356 was ordered with green leather seats. We received some samples and had some original leather and got a very good match.

While we don’t do show cars as they take a longer time than driver level 356s we enjoy this kind of work. We call it “polishing the zerks” (A zerk is a grease fitting on the suspension that fits a grease gun), it means every part has to be cleaned, polished, painted or replaced. This takes time and patience.

Speaking of patience, we were missing a grab handle on the Shop ’54 Coupe. We assembled the dash; instruments, switches, etc, without the grab handle thinking it would be a simple job to install it when we found one. Well we found a nice one and it took over two hours to install it! The reason being the dash on a ’54 356 is removable and the grab handle is not on the dash but way at the passenger end and should be installed before the dash. There is less than an inch of room with the glove box in the way. We tried special tools but just could not get the grab handle installed. After two hours, we unbolted the right side of the dash and the glove box and by looking through the windshield we got the grab handled attached. So patience is important in 356 restoration. This is also the reason there are few shops that can do this work. Can you imagine charging a customer for two hours labor to install a grab handle?

Another issue in 356 restoration is reproduction parts . For the Twin Grille Roadster the owner had bought parts in the eighties and some may have been new old stock (nos). He had purchased two rubber hood seals. Upon inspection, both looked good; flatter than what we often see today. A bulky hood seal can cause the hood to sit high revealing the seal. Not a good fit and finish. We tried one hood seal and immediately discovered a problem. The shop that had “restored” the Roadster in the early eighties had not used the correct screws and finishing washers. The holes were too big. This means we had to make a nut plate for each of the thirty screws. A nut plate is a metal piece one inch by a half inch with a hole centered in it to receive and capture the correct screw. Of course, the nut plate has to be held under the hood lip as you insert the screw and finish washer through the rubber seal. It takes time. After an hour and a half we were done. But it didn’t look right so off with that seal and on with the other. Another hour and a half and we are satisfied with the result.

While, I work on the Roadster dry fit, we took the Texas ’60 Coupe “Goat Car” to the painter and put the Shop ’58 Cabriolet in the shop. BJ will have a lot of metal work on this 356, more than the “Goat Car”. After getting the bare chassis off its dolly, we hung the doors, While the doors both need extensive repair they can be used as jigs to see if the door gaps are close. They were not, as the complete floor had been removed and the Cabriolet had opened up. We used a come along secured to the rear and front suspension tubes to pull the chasses closed. We will keep it this way as BJ installs a new floor and we will continue to put the doors on and off checking that we maintain a good gap.

Back on the Twin Grille Roadster, I started at the front end for the dry fit. After the hood seal, we installed the fuel tank and saw we will have to reposition the filler neck in the filler opening as the previous “restoration” did poor metal work in this area. We also will have to so some body work to get the rubber seals to fit around the headlights. Reproduction headlights were used by the previous shop and it took some work to get the headlights to fit. Glad we were in primer and not paint. Then we have to try reproduction headlight seals which just like hood seals vary in thickness. With the front compartment almost done we are moving on to the interior compartment and the exterior parts. We installed the rear teardrop tail lights but had not cleaned the wires. We had protected them with aluminum foil when we painted, caulked and undercoated underneath. To clean old paint and undercoat off wires, you can carefully use lacquer thinner and craft sticks to scrape. Be careful with the thinner on wires with a colored trace as it can be removed.

On over sixty full 356 restorations we have only used two reproduction wiring harness. The wires don’t age often and ends and connectors can be repaired. Restoration wiring harness cost around one thousand dollars.

Grandpa News
Alex and BJ played 9 holes of golf on Sunday. Alex likes putting but enjoys driving the golf cart more. Alex is paying very close attention to the calendar with the most important question being “How many more days until Christmas?”

November 2010 Newsletter

A few weeks ago our air compressor failed. It is hard to be productive without air tools. For grinding we can switch to electric grinders but for cutting we need the plasma cutter and for sanding we need air. Hand sanding is a chore.

The technician thought it was the motor and said to get seventeen years was great as ten years was average. So a new motor was ordered and a week later with it installed it still didn’t work. So it was the pressure switch and with it cleaned it worked even with the old motor. (saved $600). A week later we had to replace the pressure switch. Now everything is great.

BJ has the Texas “Goat car” just about ready for the painter. We took the Oklahoma Twin Grille Roadster to the painter so we moved the Shop ‘60 Cabriolet into the shop.

If you remember, we had solved the top closing problem before we stopped working on it to work on customer 356s. With the top closed, the side windows did not seal to the top. Since the doors and parts were from our parts collection (Remember it was an abandon and stripped 356 from Carbondale) it was not to be unexpected and pointed out how original parts were hand fit. With a days work we were able to adjust the window regulator to get the glass to seal. Then with the door seals installed the doors wouldn’t shut tight. We have solved this problem many times and the doors now shut but not flush at the lower rear. We will add a shim to the top hinge and this will bring the bottom rear in but will probably mess up the gaps. We probably should have dry fit all the door parts and seals before paint. We took the Shop’60 Cab to the mechanics for linkage adjustment and engine start and tune.

We also took the Shop ‘58 Cabriolet to Blast Tech. This was the 356 we recently purchased which was really rusty and was on a dolly if you saw it at Porsches and Pastries. Before going to Blast Tech BJ put some duct tape over the yellow crayon marking on the top of the dash. It read 3.12 and lw. Don’t know what it means but it was marked at the factory and we try to save these factory marks which we have seen before particularly on doors. We also removed the Cabriolet top covering from the frame and took it to Blast Tech.. We will need the top frame as an additional jig when we start the metal work. You can’t believe how many tacks are used to secure the top material to the frame. There are wood tack strips at the front and rear of the frame. The headliner is tacked with probably 150 tacks then the padding is installed and then the top is secured by another 150 or so tacks. We had to buy a tack puller at the hardware store.

So with the Twin Grille Roadster at the painters and the Shop’60 Cabriolet at the mechanics we put the Shop ‘54 Coupe in the shop. When we left this project we had started on the electrics. Using Joe Leoni’s book we soon learned this early 356 had some differences. Since early 356’s used the same colored wires for different functions i.e. yellow with black tracer for both lights and horns and many red wires for power, it became obvious we would have to trace the wires. To do this we had to cut away the cloth covering on the wiring harness. This allowed us to trace a wire from the fuse box to the switch location and other locations. We got this done and installed a battery. Headlights worked but nothing else. The key in the ignition switch didn’t seem to turn correctly. On a Pre A the ignition is off or on. You have a starter button to start the 356. So off to the local locksmith. He checked the computer and said keys are not available and we should get a new switch. I said they are not available, could we try a repair? So we opened it up and tried to modify the switch to make the key work. No good, so I said lets remove the guts as it only has to be off or on. We did and we checked continuity and it works. Of course the key will fall out as there are no guts but we can solve that some how. So forty minutes and ten dollars and a bit of fun working with an experienced locksmith, it was back home and time to test it. It works! The red generator light comes on and the starter turns over. Now we have to figure a solution to the turn signals problem as we don’t have the correct turn signal switch or flasher. Will probably have to ask Joe Leoni for help.

It was embarrassing! We were showing off the 356’s in the storage building to visitors when I lifted the hood on the Shop ’54 Coupe, four mice were running around. On the early 356s the tunnel goes right though to the front storage compartment so they had the run of the 356. We checked the other stored 356s and found mice evidence. Now we know why the cat wants to get in the storage building. Because of the cat we don’t use traps or poison. But the next problem is the car covers. They provide the perfect dark environment for mice. So we are going without car covers and trying the ultrasonic rodent repellers.

Barb made reservations at our favorite spot in Maui for our February vacation. Looking forward to it as it has been a busy year. Check out the Maui beach on the webcam at

Grandpa News
Alex has moved up to level five in swimming. She has mastered the breast stroke and is learning the dolphin kick.
Alex has enjoyed all the Christmas toy catalogs. She has gone through a lot of markers circling what she wants. Alex will be an Angel (of course!) in the church Christmas play.

October 2010 Newsletter

newheaderPorches and Pastries
We had a great turnout for Porsche and Pastries. Over sixty two 356’s and about one hundred and seventy folks. Sixty pounds of brisket along with a whole lot of ribs and pork loin were consumed. Doug the chef and BJ’s cousin did a great job and many, many folks commented on how good the barbeque was. Doug and his wife Kathy went to Kansas City the next week and got an award (18th out of 500 teams) for their sausage side dish. We will have to have some of Doug’s sausage side dish for the next P+P.

And of course the pastries, Jen hasn’t lost her touch and they were all great. We saw many friends we hadn’t seen in a while and we will probably do this again.

RMVR Enduro
Last year Bill Frey and Scot Petitt drove the 356RESTORE 1952 356 coupe race car in the year ending Enduro race. Both Bill and I were impressed with Scot’s first drive in the almost sixty year old race car. This year, we decided to let Scot drive the full hour and forty-five minute race (with two mandatory ten minute pit stops). Scot did excellent. He qualified twenty-eight out of fifty-two production cars and finished seventieth ahead of four 911’s and two 914’s. We love it when one of the oldest Porches still racing beats the 911’s.

Concours Results
This was the 27th Annual Exotic Sports Car Show and Concours d’Elegance. The winners of those who had their 356’s judged were:
356 Closed
Montie Lehman ’56 Coupe
Mike Deutcher ’64 Coupe
Bob Thompson ’65 Coupe
Al Gordon ’64 Coupe
356 Open
Conway/Shapiro ’56 Speedster
Chris Marsico ’64 Cabriolet
Bob Lewis ’58 Cabriolet

The Favorite Porsche Award went to Dick and Debra Koenig’s’57 GT Speedster. This was also our favorite and one of the best 356’s we have seen. Dick even made the aluminum GT hubcaps.
Of course the real winners were the Children’s Program of United Cerebral Palsy receiving $100,320. This was one of the biggest and the best car shows and we will do it again next year so plan to participate.

Kit’s ’64 Coupe
We had Kit’s ’64 Coupe at Porsche and Pastries and she received a lot of favorable comments. But the real fun was she got to drive it home to Fort Collins after twenty two years and a recent restoration by 356RESTORE.

Work continues on the rare Twin Grille Roadster from Oklahoma. We have not had to replace much metal, only the diagonal and right rear fender brace. Almost all the metal work has been cutting out poor previous repairs and making it right. On the good repairs the welds were not ground then coated with fiberglass and tar. Messy, messy work but we are almost done and then it will be off to the painter where we will have it painted in black primer. We will then dry fit everything and have the 356 evaluated prior to going to the finish coat of black paint.

There are a lot of unique features on the D’Iteren Roadsters. This is part of the fun of working on these cars. We knew from past work that the original doors on D’Iteren Roadsters were stamped with the serial number on the door bottom not on the inside panel like the other Coach builders. However, the Oklahoma Roadster doors have no serial number stampings. Maybe it was in chalk or grease pencil and disappeared. It does have the serial number stamped on the fuel filler lid while the other T-6 bodies do not. Also on T-6 bodies in the engine compartment at the rear are two access holes to reach the inner fastener on the tear drop taillights. These are covered by large rubber plugs. On the Oklahoma Roadster we found the same sized hole to access the “60” script. We had never seen this before. It sure looks factory but could have been done by a previous owner. Another mystery! The windshield frame on Roadsters were either brass or pot metal according to research. But on Barb’s Twin Grille Roadster they were aluminum!

Some Roadsters had the “Porsche” script on the dash, some did not. How could a Concours judge make a judgment?
The 356’s are not like Corvettes which have a rigid standard of authenticity based on factory records. Porsche had various Coach builders build their deigns and specifications but obviously the Coach builders could add their own proven techniques such as the undercoat under the hood of Karmann 356C coupes.

BJ has finished the extensive metal work on the Texas ’60 Coupe and is now doing the body work prior to paint. The body work should be straight with no major collision repair or clips and the gaps were good. This will also be a black 356. The objective continues to be a driver at minimal cost. The big hit to this plan was the engine with a hole in the third piece due to fire extinguisher residue. Dirt got inside and ruined the engine. We will replace the engine with one of our spares which checked out good on the engine stand. To keep the cost down we will use spare interior pieces and dye them black. They call it dye but it is really a vinyl paint. With various colored panels we can make them match. A few bucks versus a few thousand for new panels.

Grandpa News
Alex went to a friends birthday party. All eight girls got to ride in a pink limousine to a salon where they got their hair done and nails polished. They then dressed up and sang and danced on stage.(How can you top this?)

September 2010 Newsletter

newheaderPorches and Pastries
Final Reminder: Saturday September 25th is Porsche and Pastries at 356Restore. It starts at 10:00am but come anytime and stay as long as you want. Plenty of food, beverages and Porsches.

Having written about two hundred of these newsletters over almost twenty years, some months we don’t know what to write. I mentioned this to BJ and he said “Heck just walk around the shop, plenty of ideas.” He was right, so here is my observations after a shop walk.

Bleeder Valves
The Twin Grille Roadster from Oklahoma was missing the rubber caps that protect the opening on the wheel cylinder bleeder valves. These are important as without them, moisture can get in the valve as it points up. Once they start to rust they are difficult to remove without snapping off. Once the bleeder valve is gone you can’t bleed your brakes. Two were snapped off on the Roadster, one snapped off as we tried to remove it and one we removed successfully. These were the four front wheel cylinders.

While wheel cylinders have come down in price (about $80) wouldn’t a ten cent bleeder cap be a better deal? Check your 356! Take a few minutes with a flashlight. More than half of the 356’s we evaluate are missing the little rubber bleeder valve caps. Get them at your FLAPS (friendly, local, auto parts store).

Engine Shroud Color
Many do-it-yourselfers ask “What color should I paint my engine shroud?” Well, the prevailing wisdom was that normal engines were black and others were light grey or silver. We have a 3’x4′ picture in the shop of the Porsche factory assembly area in the early 60’s. There are twelve engine pictured. The normal engines with Zenith carbs have black engine shrouds, the super engines with Solex carbs have grey shrouds except for one grey engine with Zenith carbs. So if the factory didn’t worry, why should you? Check out the picture at Porsche and Pastries.

We use a lot of this penetrating oil solvent in the shop and it has saved many rusted fasteners. It is better than Liquid Wrench and better than WD-40, which is a water dispersant lubricant and not a penetration solvent. Check it out and order at

Safety come natural at 356Restore. We have eye protection, ear protection, breathing protection and safety shoes and clothes. In twenty plus years of working on 356’s I have had only two injuries. One was using a dull X-Acto knife, the other when I dropped a wrench on my eye. I was under the 356, tightening a fitting and I did not think I needed eye protection. BJ had a eye injury even when he was wearing eye protection. A piece of metal took a ricochet and came under his face mask. Eyes are pretty damn important so wear eye protection.

Another safety procedure we use is to yell “Clear!” when lowering a 356 off the jack stands. This is after we check to see if it is safe. We even do this when we are alone. (We started this procedure after I lowered a 356 and the jack stand was not clear. My 356; and the painter gave me a good deal.

Kit’s ’64
As mentioned earlier, there was a big delay on finishing Kit’s ’64 Coupe as she needed a new crankshaft and the best crankshaft vendor-Scat was out of stock. Scat had a great reputation for the best 356 crankshaft, as they never break. All the racers used them. Well, the Scat crankshafts were finally back in stock and the mechanic got one. It was out of spec! It would not work and the factory played dumb. We won’t go into details here, so if you need a crankshaft you or your mechanic should do due diligence.

356 Comfort
You should be comfortable when driving your 356. The pedals have two positions for short and long legs. You have to pull back the rubber floor mat and remove the wooden floor board. A bolt on the pedal shaft can be removed and the pedal can be shortened or lengthened. There are also different size steering wheels. A standard 16 1/2 inch wheel and a smaller 15 1/2 inch wheel. Some after market steering wheels are even smaller. When the 356 was introduced, some owners complained about over steer. Porsche solution, a bigger steering wheel!

BJ is just about done with the metal work on the Texas ’60 coupe. We counted over forty patches to the interior metal. Fortunately little repair was need to the exterior, as no rust or collision damage and all the gaps were good (even the rear lid which was used by the goats to play King of the Mountain). I started on the front of the Twin Grille Roadster and found lots of poor previous repair. The Roadster was “restored” thirty years ago and at that time the 356s were old and not worth much. So quick and dirty repairs were done. At least we didn’t find flattened oil cans riveted and bonded over.

And of course we bought another shop car. A ’58 cabriolet which requires a lot of metal work but nothing we haven’t seen before.

Grandpa News
Over Labor Day, Barb and I took Alex and Jen to Vail where we rented a condo where Alex could swim. We also took her up the gondola and there is a great play area for kids at the top. Kids under twelve ride free in the summer. You other Grandpas should take note.

August 2010 Newsletter

newheaderPorches and Pastries
Porsches and Pastries will be Saturday, September 25th at 356RESTORE; 8356 N. Sunburst Trail, Parker, Colorado 80134. This will be the fifth or sixth Porsches and Pastries and we usually have 35 to 50 Porsche 356’s. It is an open shop, open house event. Come whenever you can and stay as long as you like. We start at 10:00 am and go into the evening. Featured are the pastries of BJ’s wife Jennifer who was an executive pastery chef before becoming a full time mom. Also, this year BJ’s cousin Doug from Iowa will trailer out his barbeque/smoker and cook up brisket and chicken. Of course there will be water, pop, beer and wine. Porsche 356’s should park on the driveway apron and driveway. Non Porsches should park on the grass either side of the driveway. In the past we have had real early 356’s, Carrera 356s and even an America Roadster show up. Everyone is welcome and we look forward to seeing you.

The 27th Annual Exotic Sports Car Show was held August 8th after being rescheduled from an earlier date. We thought the reschedule might yield lower participation but we were wrong. Perfect weather and what look like close to 500 sports cars. Bill Frey and I entered my 1952 356 race car. One of the oldest Porsches still running. Bill and I co-drive it and recently Scot Petitt has joined the team. At car shows, we like to let kids sit in the 356. At least 50 kids did this and at one time there was a line of five kids waiting to get in the Porsche. I gave Bill a heads up when we saw a boy who had just finished an ice cream sandwich start to get in the car. A few napkins and he was good to go. The concours benefits the United Cerebral Palsy Colorado Children’s Fund which is doing some great work.

The “Goat car” from Texas as BJ calls it, is about half done with the metal repair, BJ got the new floor pan in and repaired the battery box floor. More work has to be done on the rear interior which was heavily rust damaged due to the goats climbing up the back of the 356 and damaging the rear windshield seal allowing water to get inside. The owner indicates that the goats have been sold.

This 356 also had a hole in the third piece of the engine due to the use of a chemical fire extinguisher at sometime. We pulled the engine and had the hole in the third piece TIG welded. We were going to check the engine on the test stand but then decided to look further, sure enough, sand and gravel inside the engine and the case is shot. We had one of our spare engines checked out and it checks good with some carb rework and adjustments. So we will sell it to the Texas owners. The approach on this 356 is a Sunday driver so the owners three year old triplet girls can go for a ride in the Porsche. Matching engine numbers and exact replacement panels are not a concern.

I continue to work on the Oklahoma Twin Grille Roadster. We continue to find very poor previous metal repairs. We found a repair on the door that was done correctly with the correct butt welds but another “body man” must have done the rest of the work; just tack welding metal over rusty areas and not grinding the welds. At least we didn’t find brazed in oil can metal and stop signs like we have seen in the past.

We also are duplicating the undercoat spray pattern and caulk used by D’Ieteren. This body builder was the only one to use a thick caulk on the seams. On a previous Roadster restoration we removed some caulk from the battery box and it was still pliable after forty five years!

The engine for this 356 had been started up after thirty years by a VW mechanic in Oklahoma. It ran good enough for us to drive it off the trailer but it still needs some valve work. This is the original engine and we are trying to restore this rare 356 to original condition. It should be stunning with black paint and a green interior. We will ask the owner to get the Kadex information as the roadster has the non reclining seat hinges or boomerangs. These may be original but look funny as the lower seat back is exposed where the recliner should be.

We have finished the metal repair in the interior compartment and repaired the door gaps. We are now working on the front compartment and suspension. There is an insulation material around the fuel tank on T-6 356s and it was damaged on this 356 and is no longer available. We found a substitute heavy jute material that works, only it is grey so we paint and undercoat it black and it looks original.

So no work on the shop 356s but we did pick up the shop ’64 Coupe from the painter. It is Signal Red and the son of the painter did the color sand and buff. We could tell he was excited about his first sand and buff as he had pictures of the 356 on his cell phone to show us. When we picked up the 356 it was great! Jordan did a great job on his first job and we could tell his Dad was proud.

We get calls and e-mails from all over as we are the first listed on the 356 Registry vendor page. BJ got one from a shop that was having difficulty getting the seats in. They sent a picture. BJ told them that the inner seat rails were attached to the tunnel and that piece was missing. “Oh well,” they said “we usually restore airplanes.” Jeez!

Grandpa News
Barb was watching Alex while BJ and Jen were at BJ’s 25th high school reunion in Minnesota. Barb and Alex went bowling: Alex beat Barb by one pin!

July 2010 Newsletter

The ’60 Coupe from Texas, or “goat car” as BJ calls it, is back from Blast Tech and the rust damage is more extensive now that we can see a naked 356. The owner indicates that they want a Sunday Driver so we have proposed replacing the damaged areas in the rear interior with flat stock as reproduction panels are not available. We informed the owner this would devalue the 356 if they wanted to sell it but the plan is to keep the restoration cost down. This also means we will reuse a lot of parts that were rusty and dirty.

With all the rust and dirt it took longer than usual to disassemble this 356. It took three hours to remove the engine and disassemble the sheet metal. When we did, we discovered a hole in the third piece of the case. From the crusted condition of the rubber seals on the engine piece it appears there had been an engine fire and the chemical fire extinguisher left residue that ate through the third piece. We removed the third piece and had it TIG welded but have now decided to tear down the engine to determine its condition. If a major engine rebuild is require the owner may want to rethink the restoration.

On the other hand, we have the ’62 Twin Grille Roadster from Oklahoma which will be for sale after the restoration. This 356 will receive a nut and bolt detailing in order to achieve a fair market price for this rare Porsche 356. It is one of 249 produced by the Belgian coachbuilder D’Ieteren. We have conferred with the owner and have agreement to restore this 356 to original factory condition. The original colors were black with green interior. We have the original green top boot to match the interior. The 356 was “restored” in Kansas City thirty years ago and painted silver. As mentioned last month the 356 was never assembled. While the metal work was average for that period the body work was very good and the silver paint shows no rust bubbles or paint failures. So we will work around the body work redoing the previous repairs and fixing the very poor door and lid gaps. The metal work thirty years ago was to remove rust damaged areas and tack weld a repair over the area. Of course the welds were not ground down. We also see some pop rivets which will have to be removed. It is obvious the doors and lids were not used to set the correct gaps. The gap at the top of the rear of the passenger door is one half inch. The owner was concerned we would just use filler to fix this. We will strip down to bare metal and using the door as a jig, cut, move and weld new metal to achieve the correct gap.

So, we have two different projects at the same time. One is to restore a family ’60 Coupe to a Sunday driver so the triplet girls can go for a ride. The other is to correctly restore a rare ’60 Twin Grille Roadster to achieve the best market price. The Wyoming Speedster returned home after we had one last enjoyable drive. As far as the Shop 356s, they get second priority to customer work. The Shop ’64 Dolphin Gray Coupe now has all it’s interior complete and it is waiting for the engine rebuild. The Shop ’64 Signal Red Coupe should be back from the painters in a few weeks but will have to wait on the engine teardown, evaluation and rebuild. The Shop ’54 Silver Coupe still awaits resolution of electrical issues and installation and checkout of the rebuilt engine. As for the Shop ’61 Silver Cabriolet, it continues to present challenges. As you may recall, this was the Carbondale Cabriolet. It was stripped and abandoned on private property in Carbondale. When the land became public the town wanted it off their property. The tow truck guy gave it to his brother for the $50 fee charged to verify it wasn’t stolen. Since it was free, the new owner asked us to restore the 356. No doors, lids, interior, engine, gas tank or instruments. It did have the transmission to make it a roller and it had VW brakes. But no bullet holes!

Fortunately, we had some Cabriolet parts at that time and were able to assemble a Cabriolet. We had a driver side door but not a passenger side door. We actually made a Cabriolet door out of a Coupe door. For the early 356s the factory used the same doors but later they differed. We finished the Cabriolet in primer and the owner was going to have a friend paint it and have an engine built. Years later, the owner had to sell and we made an offer; it was not accepted. We realize we had sold the owner a lot of parts and had a profit on them so we increased our offer and it was accepted.

As previously noted, we finally got the non-original top to fit and latch but then the side windows would not seal to the top. After hours of trying to adjust them we decided to have new side windows made. We made a pattern that would seal to the top and had new glass cut and tempered. The driver side fit perfectly but the passenger side was tight and wouldn’t go up. The problem was the Coupe door we had modified. Coupes have a recessed bolt at the back of the door to secure the side window frame, Cabriolets don’t. This bulge kept the Cabriolet frame from being wide enough to allow the glass to move freely We had 1/16th of an inch ground off the glass and the problem was solved.

The rescheduled Concours is August 8th at Arapahoe Community College.
Porsches and Pastries is at 356RESTORE on September 25th.

Grandpa News
Alex is in Hawaii and probably spends every day in the pool. We look forward to her return and her story telling of the trip.

June 2010 Newsletter

We mentioned last year that we are starting to receive 356’s from out of Colorado. The first to arrive is a 1960 Coupe from Texas. It is a family 356 purchased by one brother at the factory then given to another brother. Both enjoyed it but eventually it was stored outside for the last fifteen years.

It is complete but very rusty. Unfortunately, the goats would climb up the back to get on the roof. Their hooves scratched the rear windshield and damaged the seal allowing rain to get into the rear interior. Lots of rust in the rear seat area. Many of the parts are also rusty but we have replacements on the parts shelves. BJ did the disassembly and the 356 is at Blast Tech. When we get the naked 356 back we will prepare the restoration estimate. The owner is the wife of the grandson. She is an ER doctor. She got our attention by emailing us a picture of her three year old triplet daughters with a note that they want to ride in the 356.

The next out of state 356 is a 1962 Twin Grille Roadster. And believe it or not it is owned by a retired ER doctor in Oklahoma. He brought over some parts prior to having the 356 shipped. It is due this week. The 356 was “restored” by a shop in Kansas in the early 1980’s but was returned unassembled as they just got “burned out on the job”, “need shop space for insurance work”, “anyone can reassemble the car”.

356Restore gets to redo some of the other shop’s work and do the reassembly The owner is aware of the rarity (only 249 Twin Grille Roadsters) and its value. He plans to sell it as it would be tough for his children to share it. The doctor is 79. As we were unloading his car full of the parts, there was a heavy box and I said that I would help carry it. The next thing I know he had lifted it out of the car and carried it down the ramp into the shop. I told him I hope to be as spry as he is at 79.

Joe Leoni came and helped with the wiring on the shop ’54 Coupe. Pre-A’s are difficult to assemble the electrics as many wires are not coded. For example, there are two yellow wires for the right turn signal and two yellow wires for the left turn signal. Which is which?

We still have electrical work to do on the Shop ’54 coupe but I switched to the Wyoming Speedster for the final debugging and to get it ready for the Concours. Joe helped me solve the final electrical issue and I put a few miles on the Speedster. It sure is fun to drive. I had forgotten how much noise a Speedster makes without any sound deadening insulation. I also forgot how confined you are with the top up. Unfortunately, the Concours was postponed because of the rain and the owner may pick up his 356 prior to the reschedule date.

We also did some work on the Shop ’61 Cabriolet. If you remember, we could get the top to latch with great difficulty but could no get the latches to lock. We were told the problem was probably with the rear bow we had fabricated out of conduit pipe. We fixed the rear bow but still had the problem. The solution was to adjust the top up just a little bit at the hinge. And now the top locks. But now, the side glass doesn’t seal to the top. We will go back to the Shop ’54 Coupe and get it ready for engine installation and checkout. We find that if we walk away from a problem a solution will occur to us.

The Dolphin Grey ’64 Shop Coupe should have newly upholstered blue seats done soon and we can get it ready for sale. The engine has been disassembled and the case, crankshaft and most of the parts are good. It looks like we will need pistons/cylinders and bearings.

The other Shop ’64 Coupe is at the painters getting its original color Signal Red paint. BJ has been restoring parts for the Shop ’64 and the Texas 356.

Tech Tip
Super Glue now comes in a gel. We find it easier to use than the liquid. We also use two-part 5 minute epoxy glue. Get the Locktite brand in two bottles. The two cylinder push tubes are hard to use.

We needed a window regulator for the Shop ’64 coupe. No problem we have a lot on the shelf. In fact, we had fourteen Coupe window regulators but they were all for the passenger side. We needed a driver side. We did have one broken driver side and we were able to repair it. It is not uncommon to have a few driver side door parts as they get the most use. The factory never expected parts to last for fifty years. We also have twenty-three valve covers. Now we don’t do engine work, how did we get so many valve covers? Well, when we buy project 356s or parts, quite often the seller was a gear head and bought engine parts. Since you could buy 356s for $1,000 or less in the ’70’s many were bought as projects and the first thing the gear head would do was to pull the engine. In the past twenty years we have bought many 356 projects that were never completed and came with extra engine parts.

We have had a positive response to Porsche and Pastries scheduled for September 25th. BJ’s cousin from Iowa is bringing his smoker and will be doing ribs and brisket. And of course Jen’s pastries.

Grandpa News
After completing kindergarten with very good marks Alex will be hanging out in Minnesota and Hawaii to relax and regroup as she heads for first grade.

May 2010 Newsletter

newheaderPorsche and Pastries
Back by popular demand!

Porsches and Pastries is tentatively scheduled for Saturday September 25th at 356Restore. This will be the start of our twentieth restoring the Porsche model 356. Over 120 356’s have been restored or made serviceable for driving in the last twenty years. We are starting to receive 356’s from out of state. We think we have restored most of the Colorado 356’s. We still need project 356’s for shop cars, so let us know if you know of one.

We realized the other day we had not done any welding for months. We had been working on the reassembly of the Wyoming Speedster, Shop ’54 Coupe and the Shop ’64 Coupe. We had to use the welder on the Wyoming Speedster. We were installing the driver side seat and it would not fit. The Speedster has Coupe seats. These were an option to the Speedster seats and many Speedsters were configured this way, as the servicemen that bought Speedsters learned that Speedster seats were uncomfortable on long trips.

The problem with the Wyoming Speedster seat was the seat rail that was supposed to be riveted to the seat bottom, was secured with small sheet metal screws and aluminum rivets. We could not use steel rivets without disassembling the newly upholstered seat, so we welded the rail to the seat bottom and it worked the first time. You can imagine what could happen to the driver seat in an accident if it had not been repaired.

The Shop ’54 Coupe was all assembled and ready for electrical checkout and engine installation when we realized we had installed the lower rocker deco. This is not correct for a Pre-A 356 but was done by many owners as an upgrade. We should have welded the rocker deco holes during the body work. We took the Shop ’54 Coupe to the painter for repair after we welded the holes.

We were missing a glove box knob for the Shop ’54 Coupe. While we have a lead on where we might get one, we decided to try and make one. We had a broken glove box knob base and found we could cut off the curved section of an original plastic coat hanger and epoxy them together to make a functional knob. We like the look and may leave it on the 356.

BJ was doing the electrical checkout on the Shop ’64 Coupe and could not find the ground wire that comes from the wiring harness to the side of the battery box and then to the horns and parking/turn signal lights. We checked the other harnesses we had and couldn’t find this ground wire. Then we discovered what the factory had done. A separate ground wire that goes into the harness, is doubled on itself and comes back out. It makes sense, as the ground is the battery box side and there is no need to run a ground wire through the harness. Plus by securing the doubled up ground wire in the harness, a separate ground wire would not have to be provided.

We have referred to the Shop ’64 Coupe as Heron Grey. Actually we had it painted the original Dolphin Grey. This is a great color with little red, green and blue in it that is attractive in the sunlight. Heron Grey is just a grey, like a business man’s ’54 Ford coupe. The Dolphin Grey ’64 coupe is almost all assembled but will have to go into storage as we discovered problems with the engine and have requested disassembly to discover the problem. The other Shop ’64 Coupe, BJ has just about ready for paint. It will be the original Signal Red. We know the original engine for this 356 will need a rebuild as it feels like a broken crank. So, we hope to sell at least the Shop ’54 Coupe and the Shop ’60 Cabriolet this year and hopefully one or both of the Shop ’64 Coupes. The remaining problem with the Shop ’60 Cabriolet is top fitment and we hope to get to this next month.

Not that we are complaining but mailing the newsletter has been an off and on hassle. First we had to sort by zip code and put special stickers on each batch. Then that went away but the hours for the bulk mailroom decreased to three hours a day. Now we have to deliver the newsletter to the bulk mail room, then walk to the front and stand in line to pay and get a receipt. No wonder the post office has problems.

We have not been selling parts from our large inventory as we find we need them for restorations. We do sell to local 356 folks. We recently looked at our shelves and could see a problem about to happen. We had built the shelves years ago with 2×2’s and quarter inch plywood. Over the years, the shelves were starting to sag with all the weight. We bought some steel shelves, and reinforced the wood shelving and rearranged the inventory using more plastic store boxes to separate items. Storage is now safer and we can actually find things.

Don’t forget the Exotic Sports Car Show and Concours D’Elegance June 13th at the Arapahoe Community College. This is the twenty-seventh annual, and continues to raise monies for United Cerebral Palsy of Colorado.

Grandpa News
Alex’s kindergarten class presented the play “How Does Your Garden Grow”. Alex was a flower (prettiest of the bunch!), others were weeds and vegetables. All the students had signing, dancing and speaking parts. It was a lot of fun.

April 2010 Newsletter

newheaderThe Machine Shop
The Rocky Mountain 356 Club had a Tech session at Martin Willis’s “The Machine Shop” in Colorado Springs. Martin is very entertaining and knowledgeable. He was from South Africa but now is a U.S. citizen. In South Africa he was active in motor racing some of it in a 356. He explained his ongoing quest for better breaking and the various techniques he tried. A solution he perfected for brake drums is now available to 356 owners. He makes the steel liners and machines a grove in them that lines up with a groove and a slanted hole drilled in the drum. He explained the exact and critical temperatures needed to install the new lining. Once installed he inserts a stainless steel wire through the hole in the drum to secure the liner to the drum. He also pins the liner. A very innovative technique! Martin impressed us with a lot of innovative solutions to problems.

He had previously told a club member he could fix the problem of loose axle splines in the rear brake drums.. I thought how does he do this, heat treating or adding metal? Simple, he machines new splines hubs. He also machined a tool to repair 356 brake wheel cylinder with broken off bleeder valves.

Martin Willis’s shop is at 110 Fountain Blvd in Colorado Springs, CO,

We picked up the Wyoming Speedster at the mechanics and completed the assembly. There is a remaining problem with the brake master cylinder. The pedal goes soft and we expect a seal in the master cylinder which is not a Porsche 356 part. We are waiting for a solution from the supplier.

This brings up a point. Why go to the disc brakes on a drum brake 356? Porsche won LeMans with drum brakes. Compared to a Volkswagen, Porsche 356 drum brakes are huge. Yes, if you are racing, disc brakes don’t fade as fast as drum brakes (we use front disc and rear drums on our ’52 race 356). We believe a drum to disc conversion is expensive, adds more weight to rotating mass and may devalue the 356.

Why convert from 6 volts to 12 volts? All the 6 volts problems i.e. dim lights, slow starting, added accessories can be solved with good clean grounds and the tools sold by Joe Leoni at 356Electrics i.e. starter relay and head light relay kits. There are also new L.E.D light kits and electronic turn signal flasher for the 356. When Joe was asked why go to 12 volts, he replied, you can get 12 volt fuses at the auto parts store. Probably the only reason to go to 12 volts in our opinion.

Why go to the 5 1/2 inch wheels on a 356? We did this on both my ’63 Sunroof Coupe and Barb’s ’62 Twin Grille Roadster, but we have gone back to 4 1/2 inch wheels which were original to the 356. We found slower low speed turning, tire rub on the front struts and high RPM needed to move the wider tire. Yes, they give a more modern aggressive look to the 356 but the 356 was designed for 4 1/2 inch wheels, as it was designed for drum brakes and six volts.

The shop ’54 coupe is stalled waiting for the corrected rear upholstery panel from the supplier. We need this panel installed before we can install the rear windshield and engine. BJ continues the assembly of the shop ’64 Coupe and I replaced the vinyl headliner. Once removed we found what ever critter ate the small holes in the original headliner had also done a job on the sound deadening pad that is glued to the roof. The pad is fun to reinstall using spray adhesive and trying to position the pad using your hands and head while pieces of material get down your shirt and in your eyes and mouth.

One headliner trick that got in to the second edition of our book, we learned by accident. We had removed a headliner and put the screw for the sun visors,rear view mirror, coat hooks and quarter window latch back in their respective holes. Later when we reinstalled the headliner we didn’t realize we had covered over the screws. But they were easy to find and a little x over the screw head with a Xacto knife exposed the screw and allowed quick attachment of the fixtures.

Gasoline Smells
A few years back, we woke about three o’clock in the morning with a strong gasoline smell in the house. Our bedroom is two floors above the garage. A carburetor float had hung up in the 356 in the garage and gasoline had filled a cylinder and was running out the muffler. We had not turned off the fuel petcock.

We had a 356 owner tell us the gasoline smell in the garage was really bothering her. When we checked out the 356 we started at the engine and worked forward. The problem of course was up front. The ground wire for the fuel sender was attached to the wrong screw leaving the correct screw hole open. A 6 millimeter hole caused a strong gasoline smell. If you smell gasoline and there is nothing on the floor, pull your floor boards and inspect the rubber fuel line that connects the fuel petcock to the steel fuel line in the tunnel. You should inspect all the rubber fuel lines annually.

Grandpa News
Alex got all advanced and proficient marks on her kindergarten report card. Subjects are reading, writing, social studies, math, Spanish, handwriting and attitude. Alex also attended the show “Mary Poppins” over the Easter weekend, at the Buell theater. She loved the big theater, the dancing and singing but when Mary Poppins flew over the audience she was amazed.

March 2010 Newsletter

Vacation was great! Totally relaxing! All we do is sit in the sun, read books and watch whales.
Editor’s note: (Some of us take lots of naps.)

Caroline picked up her restored ’62 Coupe and was quite pleased with our work. This started out as a repair on the door and fix the hood kink but evolved to a complete restoration. The previous color was a mottled metallic green and we went with the period color Ivory. With the restoration Caroline’s 356 probably doubled in value.

The Wyoming Speedster went to the mechanic just before vacation but little was done. Since then they have made great progress and it should be ready for final assembly and delivery. The customer decision on Ivory with a Tan interior and Tan top was an excellent choice. This is a sharp looking Speedster.

So, I’ve been working on the Shop ’54 Coupe and BJ on the Shop ’64 Heron Gray ’64 Coupe. We just about finished the metal work on the other Shop ’64 Coupe but are holding it to finish the three Shop 356s which are painted and need reassembly.

We started to install the wool headliner in the Shop ’54 Coupe and realized it was over our skill level. The upholsterer we use was able to come to our shop and do an excellent job. There was a delay as the headliner was not made to match the notches in the chassis that hold the headliner metal stays. We had to make new notches for the headliner to fit. The wool headliner sure looks good compared to the later vinyl headliners. Wish they hadn’t changed.

We also had problems with the rear interior panel. We ordered a new panel from the premier 356 upholstery supplier and the studs that secure the panel to the fire wall didn’t line up with the holes in the firewall. We made a paper pattern of the ’54’s firewall and sent it and the bad panel back to the supplier.

Speaking of headliners, we had not removed the headliner in the Shop ’64 Heron Grey Coupe. It was in good shape, just needed cleaning. The painter did a good job of protecting it from over- spray. But the other day we looked at it and found six small holes. They do not seem to be from cuts but as if some insect had eaten the material i.e. similar to damage you would see on vegetation. Anyone know what vermin eats vinyl? Oh well, we have done lots of vinyl headliner installation. It involved trimming and glue.

Tech Tips
Some glue tips not covered in our 356 restoration book: use Weldwood Contact Cement in quart cans. There is also a gel formulation but it is too thick for headliners and carpet. Also use quarts rather than a gallon as the gallon can go bad if not used in a while. (Plus, have you ever kicked over a gallon can of glue in a 356?)
You use small flux brushes or one to two inch brushes to apply the contact cement. They are cheap enough to be disposable, but if you scrape them clean they harden but can be reusable when softened by the glue.

Follow the directions on the can. Apply the glue to both pieces to be glued and wait 12-15 minutes before fitting together. While contact cement is a one shot deal on things like counter tops, you can peal headliner and carpet pieces apart to refit them. You can also do two applications of contact cement on hard to stick areas.

When we wrote the first edition of our 356 Restoration book, we sent a draft out for review. One reviewer said when installing carpet use hot water in a spray bottle to soften the carpet for difficult curves and dips. This works well and you can apply the contact cement to wet carpet once you’ve got the carpet to fit. For pieces like tunnel covers, we just put the carpet piece under the hot water faucet then glue and clamp. The next day it is dry and secure.

356 Restoration Book
Speaking of the book, we have received over two dozen phone calls thanking us for writing the book and informing us it is being used for it’s intended purpose~ Do-It-Yourself 356 restoration. We took a chance writing the book as there are many 356 “experts” who do not hesitate to be critical. We have not received one negative comment on the book. We have even been told the book has been given to restoration shops to follow the techniques described.

We have probably a few more weeks to get the ’54 Coupe ready for mechanical checkout. Bill has the period correct but not original engine rebuilt and ready for installation. Some may remember, we got the ’54 Coupe in exchange for doing a restoration on a ’55 Coupe. Of course the ’55 got all the hard to find pieces to complete its restoration. We have found many Pre-A pieces but still need a glove box knob.

BJ has restored and installed all the exterior pieces on the Shop ’64 Coupe and is working the electrics. We will have to get a headliner before finishing the interior. The engine is at the mechanic’s for evaluation on the test stand. When we finish the ’54 and ’64 we will fix the top fit problems on the Shop ’61 Cabriolet and get it finished. The goal is to sell all these shop 356s this year.

Grandpa News
When Alex has a day off school Jennifer, Barb and Alex usually try to go on an outing. On the last excursion they were waiting for their lunch to be served after a walk through the aquarium and Alex was doing the word search on her placemat. She found the word jellyfish and turned to Barb and said, “you know Grammie, that is a compound word.”

January 2010 Newsletter

We hope to finish the restoration and deliver the two customer 356’s before Barb and I go on vacation next month. Aloha!

Caroline’s ’62 coupe sure looks good in its new Ivory paint. We installed a new charcoal carpet and was able to reuse her black vinyl interior. In fact we were able to reuse most of her origi- nal parts and it sure makes life easier as original pieces fit. For example the reproduction aluminum trim pieces at the threshold of the door do not have the screw holes that line up with the factory holes in the 356 body. The trim has a to be cut to fit and new holes drilled. Average time to install the four reproduction trim pieces is one hour. Reusing original pieces is ten minutes. Or $110 parts and labor or $10 labor. True, new reproduction trim looks better than fifty year old pieces but we like the patina. Once again on Caroline’s 356 as in many 356’s we work on that had been previously been “restored” we had to redo work that had been previously done wrong. This is not to slam the previous owners or “restoration” shops as years ago they did not have the resources available now. And years ago the Porsche 356 had little value.

The Wyoming Speedster has turned out very well. It is also Ivory and the owner went with a tan interior and top. We had ordered the interior and when it arrived we called the upholstery shop to get on the schedule. He said he could get to it the next day so we trailored it there and ten days later we had an almost finished Speedster. All that is left is to reinstall the parts removed for the upholstery, install the rebuilt engine and take it to the mechanics for start up and checkout. So we should be finished with the customers356’s and get back to the shop ’64 coupe (2), Shop ’60 cabriolet and the Shop ’54 Coupe. Three are in paint and just need assembly. We will be looking for more 356’s to restore later this year. So if you know of a 356 needing restoration (yours?) or of a shop 356 we could buy as a project give us a call.

Interest in the Porsche 356 remains high and growing. One measure of this is the number of internet hits on the 356 Registry forum “356 Talk”. In December there were over 72,000 visits to 356 Talk from 13,300 visitors. Twenty three percent of these visitors got to 356 Talk by using Google.

If you don’t check 356 Talk occasionally you should. This is the place where 356’s and 356 parts are advertised for sale. The talk part has questions, answers and discussions. Many of the 356 experts participate in this forum. Just about every day we learn something new about the Porsche 356.

Another measure of the 356 interest is the calls and emails and shops visits at 356Restore. While these were down in the last quarter of last year they are now increasing. The second edition of our 356 restoration book is selling well and is being used for actual 356 restorations. Many folks who bought the first edition just bought it because it was about the Porsche 356.

As far as the values go, the market dipped 10-12 percent in the last few years but may be improving. It is hard to tell as we see asking prices at the old high levels but can not confirm sales.

We also see reasonable asking prices with honest descriptions of the 356. We see these on 356 Talk and recommend this site for those searching for a 356. We do not recommend E-bay unless you have the 356 inspected before the sale. We have restored some E-bay purchased 356’s and they were really rough once we got down to bare metal. The new owners paid too much and were very disappointed.

The 2010 East Coast Holiday will be September 22-26 in Cleveland Ohio. The West Coast Holiday will be October 6-10 at Park City, Utah. With this close a venue we would hope to see many Colorado 356s. We have restored over sixty Colorado 356’s and would like to see them all there. In California there is an annual event called the North meets South. The northern and southern 356 owners alternate hosting this event somewhere in mid-California. This year it is in San Louis Obispo April 29-May 2nd. We expect about 150 or more 356’s at these events. Get details by going to and click on Events.

The Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing schedule has races at the new High Plains Raceway track on April 16-18 and May 15-16 followed by the Trans-Am Invitational at Pueblo June 12-13, A summer race at PPIR June 26- 27, a race in Hastings Nebraska September 3-5 and the ending Enduro race at High Plains Raceway October 2-3. More information is at

RM356C Badge
In the previous newsletter we mentioned how the local 356 club had to change their name from “Rocky Mountain 356 Porsche Club” to “Rocky Mountain 356 Club”. This was due to Porsche protecting their rights. As a result of the name change, Gary Moschetti of the club designed a new club badge. It is outstanding! A front engraving of a 356 mounted on a Colorado pine cone. It is the best club badge that we have seen. Congratulations to Gary!

Grandpa News
Alex thinks that besides swim lessons and gymnastics, that dance class would be fun. Wish we had her energy!