December 2012 Newsletter

There was nothing interesting on TV so we watched the 1968 movie “Bullitt” which we recorded. We know there is a yellow 356C in the closing frames but there are other observations we made that maybe of interest.
· Drivers using hand signals to turn (not during chase scenes).
· Men wearing fedoras and nurses wearing caps.
· Eating TV dinners
· Putting cream on cereal
· Using pay phones
· Only lap belts (being used?)
· Smoking pipe in hospital (but no cigarette smoking in the film)
There is great music, lots of jazz riffs. You should watch “Bullit” again.

356 Market
We’ve commented before but will have to admit we can’t understand the 356 market. Recently a customer’s Speedster that we help restore sold for $215,0000. We have restored seven Speedsters and they are the easiest 356 to restore. Doors without windows, a loose fitting top, no radio and few options. We have folks standing in line for the Shop ‘58 Cabriolet which should sell in the 90’s. In the last few years six of the 356’s we’ve restored have sold for a total of close to one million dollars.

What we will do is concentrate on finishing our Shop 356s and cut back on customer work or increase our shop rate. We don’t know how long this 356 market will last but think now is the time to sell, not to buy; or just enjoy your 356.

So what did we do? We bought another 356. A 1961 Coupe with good mechanicals but bad rust damage and previous repairs. So this makes eleven 356’s we own. We will have to thin out the herd.

The Latest Additions
The ‘61 we bought had a story. BJ took the call. The owner said his mechanic said the 356 was too rusty to drive and he wanted to sell it. So we gave him directions to the shop and he drove the 356 here. He explained he had the 356 for forty eight years and only recently stopped driving during the winter. Our evaluation showed significant rust damage which had been covered with flat sheet metal and sheet metal screws.

The engine was an unnumbered 912 but had been well maintained. The owner complained about loose steering and we could see a lot of slop in the steering wheel. We removed the inspection plate and saw the steering coupler was almost gone. We explained that this was probably the problem but it was also evident the steering box had not been serviced.

So he didn’t have to sell the 356 if the steering coupler was replaced. We told him he could drive it home but not to make any sudden steering corrections. We also told him what we thought of his mechanic.

Later we got a call from the owners son-in-law and got the impression the family thought the 76 year old driver should sell the 356. We told the son-in-law we had an offer in mind but hadn’t told the owner as the 356 could be repaired and driven.

The son-in-law said they would think about our offer and get back to us after the weekend. They advertised the 356 for sale over the weekend and had some lookers but no offers and then decided to sell the 356 to us. They drove it out and we closed the deal. So the ‘61 Coupe awaits disassembly.

Bill completed the check out of the engine for the Shop ‘58 Cabriolet and we installed it but have not yet completed the final checks. We retrieved Barb’s Twin Grille Roadster from the upholstery shop and the new top makes a great difference. We are thinking about an another restoration of this car to a higher level as the last customer’s Twin Grille Roadster we restored was on the market for $190k (Porsche produced 4145 Speedsters and 249 Twin Grille Roadsters– again why the price disparity).

BJ has finished the body work on the Mulligan’s ‘59 Sunroof Coupe and will do the underneath clean, paint, caulk and undercoat. Then it will be a dry fit and off to paint. We picked up the Shop’63 Coupe at Blast Tech and it was rough as expected. It will need a bottom everything and there are dents in the body. The left front nose area has been clipped with over lapping welds, the right front fender and nose have previous repairs and the rear seats were rusted away. Nothing we haven’t seen before. In the past five years we have not seen a 356 project in good condition at a reasonable price. We like to think that our 356 restoration book caused this situation. We have received many calls and E-mails from do-it-yourselfers.

Jim’s project continues at a slow pace. Just when we think we are close to finishing a panel replacement we find a problem. We thought we were done with the front end but then did some measurements and were off almost an inch. The problem was when we leaned into the front compartment our weight caused panels to misalign. Since we had installed the headlight buckets we were able to run pieces of conduit through the hole in the bottom to the floor. We adjusted to the right height and clamped in place. We removed some tack welds, readjusted panels and should wrap up the front end shortly.

Grandpa News
We had to mention to Alex that Santa needs his list a couple of weeks before Christmas so the Elves can make and wrap the gifts. Changes and additions, and there were many additions, were difficult to do for Santa. Alex has a fun Christmas break planned, her cousins and Grandma from Minnesota will be coming out to Colorado and they are thinking about going up to the mountains and learning how to ski.

November 2012 Newsletter

This might be a boring newsletter as most of it is about restoring the Porsche Model 356, (Gee that’s different!). For the past month BJ has been working on the Magnusons’s ‘59 Sunroof Coupe and I have been working on Jim’s project. Last month we were sort of stalled on the project as we were waiting on the front end panels. We needed the dash, cowl, inner fenders and outer fenders. We had repaired the front bulkhead with the hinge pockets, the front suspension chassis area and trial fit the battery box.

So while waiting for the parts, we decided to see what was needed for the rear panel repair. Well, the rear clip needed to be replaced but we had one. The rear cowl was dented but looked like it could be repaired and the engine compartment firewall and engine tray needed repair.

Years ago we used to take repair panels to swap meets and sell them. We did well financially, but soon realized we needed these panels for restorations. So we kept them in the storage building. We went there and found a engine compartment firewall, an engine compartment rear panel with side trays and some inner fender pieces.

No sooner did we find rear panels we could use, then the front panels arrived. So the rear panels were taken to Blast Tech and we can start on the front.

As you know, Jim’s project has the chrome removable windshield frame and all the repairs we made on the left side chassis were from a Coupe. So the top of the left hinge post had to be modified to receive the windshield frame. We did this and used the windshield frame and top frame to verify we were positioned correctly.

This is critical, because the front cowl is the first panel to be installed. It has to be correct at the windshield post as this panel also has the upper corners for the hood. If you are off a sixteenth of an inch, the hood will be off center and the whole front end will be off.

So, we spent a week and a half fitting the cowl and hood and inner fenders. Tacking them in place, then removing the tacks, repositioning and doing it again. When we were close, we added the outer fenders and nose. This makes it look like a complete 356 but every panel has to come off, readjusted and tried again. We actually had to walk away for a day and a half as we were taking one step forward and two steps back.

The problem was the hood. It is key to the whole front end. The hood we were using was the best one from our inventory. It would need kink repair but this could be done during body work. The real problem was the hinges and hinge pockets. Just being off a fraction at the hinges can throw the whole hood off and as a result the fenders and nose.

We had repaired one hinge pocket and replaced the other. We decided to position the hood without the hinges and fix this area later. This was the best approach and we began to move forward.

When working with fenders, both front and rear, you have to remember x,y and z. Not only do the panel edges have to line up with adjacent panels, they have to go up to established contour. With the Magnuson’s 356 here we were able to take measurements for z and using a level to confirm equality. So the front end of Jim’s project is almost all together; tacked in place but correct. There will be lots of welding to tie it together but we will probably start on the rear panels to ensure the 356 is correct before tying it together.

Earlier, we mentioned selling restoration panels at swap meets. Many of these panels we sold and wished we had kept were new old stock-NOS. This means they were new replacement panels from Porsche but old stock they had in inventory for a while. Companies like Tweeks, NLA and Stoddard got in business obtaining NOS parts from dealerships after 356 production ceased.

Where we got our NOS panels was from a body shop here in Denver. They were shutting down and we assisted in cleaning their outside storage. When they saw we were interested in 356 panels outside they showed us the NOS panels stored inside on top of the office. If they had to repair a 356, they got a panel from Porsche, cut out what they needed and threw the rest on top of the office roof. Having NOS panels was great, as years ago all we had was donor panels from parted out 356s. But today, we have vendors reproducing panels as good as NOS. Jim’s project could not even been attempted without these panels.

We mentioned hinge pockets earlier. Well, after twenty five years we learned there are two types. Early 356’s with the fuse block under the dash were solid. Later 356’s with the fuse block in the front compartment had holes to hold the rubber strap that secured the fuse block cover. Since we used parts from a ’63 Coupe we will also have to change the heater outlet on the inner longitudinal to the earlier style and also the radio speaker opening even though it is covered by carpet.

The Signal Red Shop ‘64 Coupe has had its engine installed and will be for sale soon. This 356 has European heating system so will probably go some place cold. The engine for the Fjord green ‘58 Cabriolet is in final checkout, will be installed and this 356 will also be for sale soon.

Grandpa News
Alex received straight A’s for the first quarter of third grade. She says she does not want to become a doctor/ veterinarian anymore but now wants to be a director of TV shows and movies.

September 2012 Newsletter

newheaderTwentieth Anniversary
Thank you to all that helped us celebrate the twentieth anniversary of 356Restore. The weather was perfect and we had over forty two Porsche 356s and over 150 folks helping us celebrate.

Jen prepared over 1500 pastries and they were almost gone. BJs cousin Doug had an important meeting in Wisconsin on Friday and there was no way he could get his barbeque rig here by Saturday so we went to a back up plan and all was good. Barb did a great job on the salads. Jim was trapped in the shop answering 356 questions and did not have much time to circulate but he thanks you all.

So what is the future for 356Restore? We plan to keep getting these great little cars back on the road as long as it continues to be enjoyable. (Note: Someone left a nice Carhart sweatshirt here so just call to retrieve)

Jim’s project is sort of stalled as we wait for the replacement dash/cowl and outer front fenders. Each panel requires another panel for correct placement just like the factory did it. So while waiting for panels we decided to restore the bench seat. It is a rare 356 option; one estimate is only 200 were produced. It is the early square back style with a wooden frame. Disassembly yielded broken and missing wood and rusted and missing metal. We were able to glue and replace wood pieces to fix the bottom frame. It is a rectangular piece that goes over the tunnel it slides on unique ball bearing rails on the outside and fore and aft movement is controlled by the driver side latch with a long rod to the passenger side latch. Then there are the springs, again a rectangular frame. Much of the frame was rusted as were the springs. We kicked ourselves for throwing out some seat spring assemblies while cleaning up for the party. Then we discovered the springs we threw away were smaller than the early springs. Then in our seat pile we found some early seat bottoms and we were able to weld them together by using the wooden frame to position them. We are just missing springs in the center but we think the upholstery shop can work something out. Of course, the seat hinges were terribly rusted and unusable. We found a set of four in our part stash, so all is good.

BJ finished the extensive metal work on Sam and Sally’s ‘59 Sunroof Coupe. We started this project in mid March so it has been one big job. BJ is on to body work and then it will be ready for paint.

So we bought another Project 356. A 1963 Coupe which was a barn find in Colorado but the buyer didn’t have the time or skills to restore it. It is a black plate California 356 that came to Colorado and was stored outside the barn under some rugs. It looks like a short track racer with wide seven inch wheels and fat tires. The right front wheel was stuck solid as we discovered getting it off the trailer. In the rear there was no brake assembly and the wide wheels were bolted through the VW brake drums and there were no shocks. The chassis was supported by two 4X4s. We will continue the disassembly and get it to BlastTech. So far it doesn’t look like any collision damage.

It came without an engine but we had recently bought two 356 engines from the estate of a Porsche mechanic in Pueblo. One of them is a complete ‘63 engine. We will check it out on the test stand The ‘56 engine we bought for Jim’s project arrived from Florida and we will assemble and also check it out on the test stand.

The Shop ‘58 Cabriolet got its new top and awaits its engine which is assembled but not yet tested.

Kirk’s ‘60 Cabriolet had its engine installed and suspension and linkages checked out. It will be going back to Illinois shortly.

The engine for the Signal Red ‘64 Coupe has been tested and will be installed and checked out. The other Shop ‘64 Coupe-”Viney” is at the painters and will also be Signal Red.

356 Trivia
We’ve always considered Porsches as race cars. Starting with the 356A, a factory option was a crash helmet and race suit.

There were 76,303 356’s produced:

356 7,627
356 A 21,045
356 B 30,963
356 C 16,668
Total 76,303

Wire wheels were an option for 356s but were not often ordered as they were illegal in Germany.

A rare factory option was a tow hitch. We actually had one when we ordered a tow bar from Stoddard twenty five years ago and the part numbers were reversed in the catalog and we got a tow hitch which we returned.

Another neat option was a heated windshield. Dixie still has her original one hanging in her garage

In the’60s over half of the 356 were painted Ivory, Ruby Red, Heron Grey, Slate Grey or Silver Metallic, but Signal Red was closing fast.

A twelve volt option was available starting with the T-6 B (earlier for Carreras). We have always said there is nothing wrong with six volts. Clean your grounds, use relays and proper tune. A twelve volt conversion today is difficult and expensive.

Grandpa News
Alex pulled some tendons in her ankle and will be in a walking cast for three weeks. Did she fall off her Barbie bike or jump off her Princess Bed? Nope. She did it playing tackle football.

September 2012 Newsletter

newheaderPorsche and Pastries and Twentieth Anniversary
There is a lot of buzz about our twentieth anniversary celebration. We expect a big turnout. We will start at 10:00 am on Saturday, September 22nd. It’s open house so come when you can. As before, 356s park on the upper driveway, others park on the grass. Plenty of food and drink and a gift for each family, plus lots of freebies.

Twenty Year Reflection
It was twenty years ago this month. I was driving my 1963 Sunroof Coupe to the vintage races at Steamboat Springs. I was chasing Rich and Paulette in their 914. On the straight sections, I thought about the future. I had just been told to take an early retirement from my position as software manager for Control Data Corporation. I was in my early fifties, health was good and we were financially secure. Did I want to update my resume and hit the streets? What did I really enjoy? Well restoring Barb’s Twin Grille Roadster and writing about it was enjoyable. How about a business restoring Porsche 356s. We could call it 356Restore. But first, I better discuss this with Barb. She agreed but probably not knowing the sounds and smells that would emanate from her basement. So I got a business license, printed up some business cards and started a newsletter. I used all the 356 owners in the RM356PC and Rocky Mountain Region of PCA for the initial newsletter.

Our first customer was Lauren who lived up in the mountains. We called him “Mountain Man”.  He worked on VWs and drove a snowplow. He had a ‘59 Sunroof Coupe that had been stored outside but with the sunroof open a crack and the 356 on a slope. Rain started rusting out the driver side foot area and into the front strut. It was basically clean the area and weld in new metal; paint , caulk and under coat. Another customer at this time was Gerry, a neighbor who needed a roll bar installed in his ‘59 Coupe race car. We also installed a front oil cooler in the front of the battery box which is below the front clip on Pre-As, pretty effective.

At this time we were asked to restore an Austin Healey and Studebaker Golden Hawk. We said no, wanting to stay with the classic car we enjoyed most– the Porsche 356.

In twenty years we have worked on over one hundred and twenty Porsche 356s. Our eighty were full restorations. Most of these were projects that the owners bought cheap as a project or a driver. Some were original owner 356s that needed work. We also bought Shop 356s which were usually projects that never got completed. At that time we were buying Shop 356s for around $3000 and selling them for $8,000-$10,000 which was the market. Most of these projects were complete and mechanically sound.

With over 100 customers we have had only three horses rears (you know the word I wanted to use).
On reflection that is pretty damn good, of course the horses rears stay with you and its easy to forget the good folks. I mentioned one of the horses rears to Tom Conway once and he said “Jim, sometimes you just have to fire the customer”. This had not occurred to me and made life more enjoyable. Many, many stories of 356s and people over the last twenty years but lets get back to the present.

Basically, the two big projects underway this month, BJ has just about wrapped up the extensive metal work on Sam and Sally’s ‘59 Sunroof Coupe and will start the body work soon.

It has been great having Sam and Sally’s disassembled 356 here as we can use it for measurements as we work on Jim’s Project ( we discussed the reason for this name last month). With Jim’s Project on the frame jig the only usable area was the right side inner longitudinal. All the rest of the chassis structure was gone. But starting with a floor ledge on the right longitudinal we could work back and then to the left side and to the front. With a level floor we could continuously take measurements. Of course if we are off an eighth an inch when we start , we could be off an inch when we get around the 356.

Tuesday, August 14th we know it is going to work! Using the left side pieces from our parts car we get to the front and it lines up. Actually it was off a quarter inch but the use of a come along pulled it together and we have a 356!

During this period our twenty year old MIG welder was acting up and we could only use tack welds. BJ suggested a new roller wheel which solved a similar problem on his newer MIG. We got a new roller which feeds the welding wire and could see twenty years of wear on the old one. Now we weld great and the floor and tunnel are in Jim’s project.

A week after Porsche and Pastries is the RMVR Enduro at High Plaines Raceway. Come out September 29-30 and enjoy the vintage races.

Grandpa News
Alex had her 8th birthday party at the local bowling alley with about 8 of her best friends. Pizza and cupcakes was followed by the gifts. Alex asked all of her friends to pick from the Denver Dumb Friends League needs list and bring those items to the party instead of gifts for her. There are going to be some very happy puppies and kittens. However Alex did get some fun presents for herself from Grandpa and family.

August 2012 Newsletter

newheaderTwentieth Anniversary Porsche and Pastries
Our twentieth anniversary celebration will be Saturday September 22nd. There will be gifts, freebies, great food and drink and hopefully lots of Porsche 356s. There will be one more newsletter before the event to confirm plans. This is a family event and an open house so come whenever you can, we will start at 10:00am and party til dusk.

BJ has been doing excellent work on Sam and Sally’s ‘59 Sunroof Coupe. The whole right side has been restored and the floor pans installed. With the floor pans in we moved the ‘59 Sunroof Coupe off the frame dolly so we could put Jim’s project on the dolly.

The Shop ‘63 Cabriolet in Silver with Red interior sold and went to Austria. The Shop ‘64 Dolphin Grey Coupe with Blue interior sold and went to Australia. Both sold at market prices. The other Shop ‘64 Coupe is at the painters and the Shop ‘58 Cabriolet is waiting for its top and engine.

We mentioned a ‘56 project 356 that had just arrived. We will now refer to it as Jim’s project rather than by model. The reason is that this newsletter is on the internet and subject to searches. Since this model 356 is popular and we will be describing some major restoration issues we do not want to concern future buyers. As you may recall this happened on a Roadster we restored that had issues (latter resolved). A potential buyer found the mention of the Roadster issues in our newsletter and backed out of a purchase agreement.

So Jim’s project is on the frame dolly. It is probably the most challenging restoration we will do; although Barb’s Twin Grille Roadster was probably as challenging but that was twenty five years ago. Jim’s project is complete, just terribly rusty due to being under a plastic tarp in humid Ohio for forty years. It came with an incorrect engine which probably needs a major rebuild but we were able to find a ‘56 engine in Florida which may work. We also received the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) from Porsche and this was a White 356 with Red interior and a bench seat! The Bench seat makes it very unique although we heard of another with this option. With the popularity of the 356, we have some excellent vendors that provide metal panels for the 356 as many have noted, the 356 started rusting when it left the factory. So we ordered lots of panels and one vendor provides a complete welded together battery box. This saves a lot of time. Some panels are just not available such as inner lower front panels which we needed. However, little of the chassis changed from 356A to 356B and we still had the 356 B coupe parts car. We cut out the left side from lock post to hinge post including the longitudinal and rocker. We had this media blasted and with the project on the frame dolly, tacked this part in place.

Having Sam and Sally’s ‘59 Sunroof Coupe here has been a real help. We can just take a measurement or trace a panel. One issue with using a Coupe hinge post is that it is different than Jim’s project. So before installing the left side piece on the dolly we had to make it look correct i.e. the windshield frame structure is different. While cutting chassis panels off the 356 donor car we had some luck. We were able to remove the tunnel brake line and it is usable. This is important as no one makes this seven foot line. You have to make it out of smaller lengths and there are issues with connectors inside the tunnel. When it comes to brakes an original brake line is preferred.

With the left side tacked in place we rebuilt the right side inner longitudinal and test fit a rear pan. It fit good but we can’t install it until we receive the heel plates. (We never knew what those panels were called but found them at a vendor site. They are the vertical panels at the rear seat area. When we test fit the rear floor pan we also test fit the replacement tunnel and used it to position the replacement front bulkhead; The panel where the pedal cluster/brake master cylinder attached.

As you can tell this is one big jigsaw puzzle. We also test fit the front floor pan but hesitate to tack this in until we have the front structure rebuilt with replacement diagonal and struts. This work could not be attempted without the frame jig/dolly. We are waiting on delivery of the replacement front cowl and fenders. We already had a complete nose so we hope to have everything tacked or clamped in place by Porsche and Pastries. We have not yet thrown out the rusty metal removed and we will display it with Jim’s Project.

Tech Tip
One 356 issue is fitting the male part of the C hood latch. It is designed to open if the pull wire breaks. So there is a sweet spot you have to get just right. This issue was discussed on 356Talk and someone pointed out there is a hole in the latch to align the pieces and use a nail of a drift to secure the position while adjusting the pull wire clamp. Another 356 knowledge gained after only thirty years. Works like a charm!

Grandpa News
We all started third grade this week however just one of us attended class. Jennifer worked on the clothes and supplies, BJ and Alex went and looked at new desks and maybe a new computer for her room, Grandma was going thru birthday wish list and seeing if they needed to be school items. We all have a very busy year ahead of us.

July 2012 Newsletter

The charity Concours at Arapahoe Community College in June was the biggest yet. The weather was perfect and 462 classic cars showed up. There were over 11,000 spectators and the net revenue to the charity was $115,000.

We had heard about the 356 Club Concours at Dana Point, California and decided to attend. We volunteered to judge and judged in both the full concours street concours. The difference being the undercarriage is judged in the full concours but not in street. We estimate over 150 356s attended but only about 40 were judged, the rest were for display. The venue is beautiful! A grassy park on a high bluff over looking the Dana Point harbor and the ocean.

We were judging the engine compartment and just about every 356 we inspected was perfect; no dirt or stains. However, we are always able to find some small flaw. On one full concours 356 we could only take off one tenth of a point as it was almost perfect but we found some chipped paint on a clip. We were later told that the engine compartment on this 356 scored perfect at the PCA Parade.

The other judges on our team were very knowledgeable. Many had judged at Porsche Parades and Pebble Beach. On one 356 A coupe, we noticed that it had a 356 B style fan shroud. We took off points and mentioned it to the owner. He said it was one of the last 356 A’s produced and had many 356 B features including the fan shroud. He had pictures of the original engine compartment as delivered. Once again, we learned something new about 356s and our pencil had an eraser.

After picking up Kirk and Kelli’s ‘60 Cabriolet at the top shop, we took it to the mechanics for engine installation and checkout. Kirk thought the estimate for an engine rebuild in Denver was high and shopped around and got a lower estimate from a respected 356 shop in North Carolina, we sent the engine there and when it came back from the shop, we assembled all the sheet metal and peripherals that we had restored. One of the first things the Denver mechanic checked was the flywheel endplay. It was out of spec and would require two spacers to adjust and two spacers are not recommended. So the engine was crated up and sent back to North Carolina. We will store the ‘60 Cabriolet until the engine is returned and checked out.

The ‘64 coupe we call “Viney” had the under carriage painted and undercoated and was taken to the painter. It will be Signal Red, so we will have two ‘64 Signal Red shop cars for sale. The Shop ‘58 Cabriolet is waiting for time at the top shop and engine rebuild and installation. Then it will be for sale.

The ‘59 Sunroof Coupe from Wyoming was placed on our rolling frame jig as the whole right side longitudinal had been removed by someone that did not know how to restore a 356. Fortunately, bracing had been used and the Coupe was almost square. With “Viney” off to the painter, we moved the ’59 Sunroof Coupe into the shop. The owners, Sam and Sally, had obtained almost all of the panels needed to get the 356 back into shape and BJ started on the right side longitudinal. The 356 will require a lot of welding as the shop used a spot weld bit to remove panels that did not need removal.

Last month we mentioned a ’56 project Speedster that we had purchased. Well, it arrived and it is as rusty and crusty as we expected. Most of the panels are there but a lot of the metal is not. We had it blasted and more of the metal disappeared, Blast Tech said they were going to send us a sympathy card!

However we have done all of this work before and enjoy the challenge. We will not be taking pictures as they could scare off future buyers. Most of the exterior and interior front end panels need repair but these have become available from vendors due to the 356 popularity and projects done today that would have been scrapped previously.

We have ordered the needed panels and will start repairs on those that we can save.

In the meantime, every time we touch the rusty crusty Speedster we get scratched as the blasting blew out the rust and left sharp edges. An issue with the Speedster is the left longitudinal rocker/hinge post area. Most of this area is missing and not all the panels are available from vendors. We have only parted out one 356 in twenty years and we had the stripped down chassis up against the wall in the storage building and the left side was undamaged. Out came the sawzall and we had a complete left side area to take to Blast Tech along with an A rear clip and replacement hood. So the plan will be to get the left side of the Speedster square using the door as a jig. Then start on the floor and tunnel, to do this we will use the frame jig and all the while we will have the top frame attached.

We hope to show progress on the Speedster at Porsches and Pastries September 22.

Grandpa News
One of the neatest things that Alex, BJ and Jennifer got to do in Hawaii was a night time snorkel dive with the manta rays. They put on wetsuits and dived into the water with about seven other boats and 100 people. The divers went to the bottom at 45 feet they lit up the ocean with their LED lights. The snorkelers lit up their rafts with LED lights and then here came the plankton and then here came the manta rays. Thirty three rays showed up in over an hour. The rays have wing spans from 6 to 16 feet and they swam with in inches of everybody as they twirled in the ocean scooping up plankton. It was one of the most amazing things Alex had ever seen.

June 2012 Newsletter

newheaderPorsches and Pastries, Saturday September 22, 2012
We will be celebrating the Twentieth Anniversary of 356Restore. BJ’s cousin, now award winning barbeque competitor, has confirmed he will be back. We still remember his delicious ribs and brisket from the last Porsches and Pastries. And of course, Jen will out do herself with the pastries. All we need is your 356 Porsche.

The Porsche 356 Speedster has become an icon. We called the interest in the Speedster “The James Dean Effect” because he drove and raced one before his death in his 550 Spyder.
As many of you know, Max Hoffman the Porsche importer was selling the Porsche 356s in the early 1950s. The price of a 356 at around $2,900 was comparable to a Cadillac. He needed a lower price point and had convinced Porsche to build the Speedster which would have a lower windshield, a thin top with side curtains, no roll up windows or radio or other options. Max committed to 200 speedsters and these were made by modifying the Cabriolet chassis.

With the reduced weight of the Speedster and the growing interest in sports car racing. The Speedster was quite competitive. Porsche produced 4822 Speedster between 1954 and 1958, about 6% of the total 356 productions. Because of its styling and competiveness the Speedster quickly became a high value car and was at the top of the 356 model values. Then about ten years ago its values began to increase. This may have been due to foreign purchases and the exchange rate, we are not certain. What was once a $50,000-$70,000 356 was then pushing $150,000. We were fortunate at the time and sold one for $140,000.

The Speedster market has settled down and you see few for sale and those that are for sale are at very high prices; probably late comers to the market or investors.

All of this Speedster information is because we recently bought a 1956 Speedster as a project. We received an E-mail from a guy who said he bought a 1956 Speedster in the mid 70’s and stored it. He wanted to know its value as he saw the high auction prices but his Speedster was in poor condition stored in Ohio under a tarp. Since 356Restore is the first listing at the 356 Registry vendor page we get many of these enquiries.

We told the guy that project 356 prices had gone up and the last project Speedster we bought we paid $18,000. We estimated the project Speedster market at $22,000 to $26,000. He responded that someone in California offered $10,000 sight unseen and he was doing more research. He said “not bad for a $400 investment”.
We told him to put it on the market and stand back. What he did was posted an enquiry on 356 Talk titled “What is My 1956 Speedster Worth?”

He had sixty hits in the first two hours.

He E-mailed us and said it was crazy; many cash offers. We responded we would be interested and hoped for consideration as we were the first contact. We made a firm offer at $24,000 based on a few pictures. But then he posted a picture on 356 Talk of the bench seat. This really got discussion going. We laid back and when things calmed down we asked where we stood. He said we were at the top of the list. We thanked him and said our offer was firm and we did not participate in bidding contests. He continued to get enquires and offers and some of them made him upset. When the dust settled, he said we got the Speedster. We quickly sent a deposit and a sales agreement. We also had four tires sent to him and he put the 356 in a shop to make it a roller for transport. We should have it at 356Restore next month.

We took Kirk and Kelli’s ‘60 Cabriolet to the top shop and when it comes back we will take it to the mechanics for engine installation and checkout. We feel like all we have been doing is trailering 356’s. Two to the upholstery and back, one to the top shop, the race car to Pueblo for racing and then to the Exotic Sports Car show and Concours D’Elegance.

At the Councours, cars from Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing were invited and since our ‘52 Coupe is the oldest car racing in RMVR we took it for display. We allow children to sit in our 356 at car shows. We estimate BJ had two hundred kids sit in the ‘52. He would explain the seat belts, what tachometer was and show them how to grip the steering wheel while Mom and Dad took pictures. The large bunch of kids ranged from toddlers to pre-teens.

BJ resolved the last major body work issue on the Shop ‘64 Coupe “Viney” and he will paint and undercoat the bottom and it will be off to the painter.

I had little to do so I spent time in the gardens. They were the best we have seen in twenty five years and then the hail came.

We will attend the Councours in California at Dana Point next month and BJ and I got tickets for the Formula One race in Austin Texas in November. We have followed Formula One for years and this will be only their second trip to the US.

Grandpa News
June is the month were Alex has all of her summer day camps. From Mon-Fri, 9 to 5 Alex will be in Zoo camp at the Denver Zoo then the Denver Dumb Friends League Pet camp then Bible school. After that she starts her vacations to Hawaii and Minnesota then the third grade starts the first week of August.

May 2012 Newsletter

newheaderTwentieth Anniversary- Porsches and Pastries
If you go to and click on the newsletters, you will see the first 356Restore newsletter went out in October 1992. This newsletter announced the start of 356Restore a shop specializing only in the restoration of the Porsche Model 356.

To celebrate our twenty years we will have a Porsche and Pastries on Saturday September 22, 2012. We hope to have gifts, some stories and surprises. And of course plenty of Porsches and pastries.

In twenty years we have helped over one hundred and twenty Porsche 356s get back on the road. We will have more details in future newsletters.

We Learn Something- Porsche 356
After thirty years being around the Porsche 356, we still learn new things. We got an E-mail. A guy is looking for lug nuts but he wants the ones with 23mm flanges. We E-mail back that all Porsche 356 lug nuts are the same and Stoddard should have them for around five bucks.

He E-mails back that lug nuts with 23 mm flanges were used up to 1959 and then they went to 26mm flanges.

So we go and check our inventory and we have thirty nine 23mm lug nuts and thirty eight 26mm lug nuts and probably more in the race and tow parts box. We will do a trade with this guy.

But will your 356 go faster and perform better with the correct lug nuts? What if you have mixed size lug nuts? (Bill, check the racecar!)

This is why 356’s are fun , you continue to discover new things.

Working on both the Shop ‘58 Cabriolet and Kirk and Kelli’s ‘60 Cabriolet (Happy Car) we discovered they both had PPP. That is Parade Princess Problem. The Cabriolet is used in a parade to drive the Honorary Princess. The top is down and she sits on the folded top and of course bends the rear top frame strut to hit the body.

We have only been in one parade (without a Princess) and it is not a 356 event. You go at the speed of a walking horse (hopefully you are in front of the horse). You are in low gear with the clutch in and out and your eye on the oil temp gauge.
The Shop ‘58 Cabriolet is waiting for carpet and top installation as is the Happy Car.

We just finished almost all the reassembly of the ‘60 Cabriolet. It was typical i.e. average time to install the exterior door handles was thirty minutes. Fifty five minutes on the driver side; five minutes on the passenger side. Same with attaching the rear bumper to the body. Average forty five minutes. Driver side one hour fifteen minutes, passenger side fifteen minutes.
BJ got the front clip on the Shop ‘64 Coupe. Since the 356 had been hit in the front left, the left fender was bowed out. Fortunately, we had part of a NOS left fender. So BJ had to position everything, tack it and check measurements using the hood as a jig. But of course the hood was bowed. He used our trick of putting the hood on the floor with waxed paper under the hinge and nose area and stepping on it with bare feet. It worked and the hood became a good jig. It took about week to get the “front clip” installed. The Shop ‘64 Coupe will be off to the painter soon. It will be another of the Signal Red with black interior Porsche 356s.

The Wyoming ‘58 Sunroof Coupe will then go into the shop for its major metal repair. It is on our frame dolly since so much metal was removed but the 356 is still fairly square.

RMVR– Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing held its first race of the season on Mother’s Day weekend. Over 100 vintage racers were trying out all the improvements made over the winter. The race was held at High Plaines Raceway (HPR) out by Byers, CO. The race track continues to improve, now with showers and a new viewing area on the back straight and there is a kids play area.

The next race at HPR will be July 21-22 and will be the Race Against Kids Cancer. This was well attended last year and while all RMVR events are free to spectators a voluntary contribution for the charity would be appreciated.

RMVR will be featured at the Concours d’Elegance at Arapahoe Community College on Sunday June 10th. There will be many RMVR race cars with history. The Concours is the big event in Denver for car enthusiasts and will be the 29th Annual. Porsche is always well represented; so plan to bring your 356!

An event we plan to attend this year is the 26th Annual 356 Club of SoCal Concours at Lantern Bay Park on July 15th in Dana Point, California. This is a very scenic location overlooking the Pacific Ocean. While the Denver Councors is for all sports cars, Dana Point is just for 356s. There will be hundreds.

Tech Tip
When washing your 356 for spring events and the Councours don’t forget to open you quarter window and dry under the rubber seal. We have seen many 356 with rust damage in this area. Tire pressure for the 356 should be lower in front than the rear. The pressure and difference is a personal choice. Pressures recommended in the Owner’s Manual have been superseded by today’s tire technology.

Grandpa News
Alex surpassed her reading goal and finished up a huge presentation on China. If you did not know, 5 Chinese Yuan = 0.79 US Dollars and fortune cookies were invented in San Francisco CA not China. Alex wants to know why she has to go to school for two more weeks if everything is done.

April 2012 Newsletter

newheaderProject 356s
For years, folks that know we are always looking for project 356s, would tell us about a 356 stored outside Frisco, CO. Well, we think we have found it!

One of our customers told us of a ‘54 356 Cabriolet at a shop in Sedalia. We called the shop owner and he said that it belonged to a lady in Frisco. He agreed to the restoration as he had done some VW restorations in the past. But his body man/painter took some money did minimal work and disappeared.

We drove to Sedalia and found the 356 outside totally disassembled and sitting on a one axle trailer. Fortunately, all the parts were stored inside. The shop owner said it was a ‘55 but we checked the numbers and it was a ‘60. The shop owner pulled the engine and it needed a rebuild. The body man/painter before he disappeared had fiber glassed the whole rear seat area. He also put in the floor pans but fiber glassed the edges. This 356 was probably the worst condition 356 we have ever evaluated. Every panel needs work. The front compartment was a flat panel with no recess for the gas tank!

We called the owner and she gave us the background on the 356. She wanted us to restore it but this is a huge project and we have put her off. We said we would be interested in buying it as a future project. She said no, she is going to have it restored. She is already out big bucks with negative progress.

Remember our ‘58 race 356, the Coyote? This is the one in the colors of Mexico that Bill Frey and I raced. Well, we had sold it (or traded it) so we could use the parts in the stripped ‘52 Coupe that we got for $800.

We got an E-mail from the new owner in Germany! He had just purchased it at a show in Stuttgart and sent pictures. It still had the cream body color with red and green racing stripes and had been rebuilt as a street outlaw. It looked good.

We E-mailed the new owner the history of the 356 and told him there was a package with lots of documented history. He indicated he is supposed to receive this. We are glad the Coyote was kept in its race livery as it was a fun 356 (but not as fast as our ‘52 race car)

We’ve mentioned before that since 356Restore sorts out at the top of the vendors lists at the 356Registry website, we get lots of calls. We always try to help these folks. We tell them about the 356 resources available and how to learn about the 356 and restoration. Well, we got a call from Melbourne, Australia. The connection was excellent. The guy must have called in the middle of the night to ask us a restoration question. It was how to replace the knob on the dash mounted vent control. Unfortunately this little black knob is expoxeded on and is almost impossible to remove. We’ve done it once and have about six controls that need the knob.

We gave him a few tricks to try and wished him luck. We probably get five or six calls a month on 356 restoration. We got one the other day from a restoration shop here in Denver. While they normally restore American muscle cars, they had a ’65 356 to restore. The owner asked about parts, availability, quality of reproduction parts and restoration techniques. He seemed very knowledgeable about restorations. He thanked us and closed by saying he had our 356 Restoration book and it was great. Our kind of guy!

As we had mentioned previously, we had been putting off customer work until we finish and sell our Shop 356s. One couple in Wyoming we had put off for two years and we had told them to check back occasionally. Well, the last time they called we had space and told them to bring down their ‘58 Sunroof Coupe.

While they had been waiting for us they took it to a body shop in Wyoming. When they checked on the progress they were upset and pulled the 356. The shop started by drilling out all the spot welds and removing the tunnel which was undamaged and the complete right side longitudinal/threshold area. They had drilled out the spot welds on the left longitudinal/threshold but had not yet removed them when the 356 was pulled.

So the 356 arrived completely disassembled flat on the floor of a trailer. It took five people to load it but BJ, I and the owners got it out. We have mounted it on our frame dolly as we want the 356 to be square when we do the extensive repairs. But we can’t start on it until we get the front clip which just arrived on “Viney” the Shop ‘64 Coupe. Waiting for the clip BJ did all the body work on the sides and rear of “Viney” so it will be ready for paint when the front metal and body work is done. We try and stay with the original colors on Shop 356s. So it will be Signal Red.

The Shop ‘64 Dolphin Grey with blue interior that is for sale had a potential buyer ask for the dates on the wheels. We checked and two were original and two replaced. Does this really matter?

We used to sell a lot of parts at the California swap meets. We soon learned that we need parts for restorations so only sell to friends or locally. One time we did real well at a swap meet and BJ was counting over $2000 in small bills as we drove home. If the cops had seen us it looked like a drug deal.

Grandpa News
Alex and her two puppies, Boulder and Crystal, have been learning how to sit and walk on the leash. We do not know who is training who.

March 2012 Newsletter

Had a call recently from Jeff. He is a car broker that specializes in classics. He helped us sell Shop 356s in the past but had moved out of state. He called to thank us for documentation we had provided for a customers restoration. He was selling the 356 for the owner and our detail on the restoration would significantly help sell the 356.

Who was the customer? We have had close to one hundred customers and we could not remember the 356. Jeff gave us enough detail to remember. About fifteen years ago we got a call from an original owner who wanted his 356 restored. He was in New York and we said we do not do out of state 356s (at that time) as we want the owner involved. He wouldn’t be put off and said the 356 would arrive next Friday. It did. We did an estimate and provided a lot of detail on the restoration. He had said he was doing the restoration so his son could have it for his sixteenth birthday. When it was done he flew out to drive his 356 to the family farm in Illinois. The owner appeared to be in his sixties. We asked him how old his son was. He said “eight” . We told him his 356 would have to be driven and cared for as it couldn’t just be stored for eight years. He understood.

According to Jeff the owner had passed away and the son never got to drive the 356.

Title Problem
Our second 356 was the ‘63 Sunroof Coupe which we still own. We helped restore it when we lived in Minnesota twenty five years ago. We had it titled in Minnesota and flat towed it to Colorado when we relocated. We titled it in Colorado and registered it every year until two years ago. Then the DMV asked for our insurance card which we sent. The VIN on the insurance card did not match the VIN on the title which was R13804005 some piece of industrial equipment.

We know how to get a title that has been lost or is incorrect. There are companies that provide this service for a cost. But the company we had used was out of business. So we waited as the ‘63 Sunroof Coupe was due for some mechanical work which resulted in an engine rebuild. We also waited since we knew the Colorado titling process was complex:

-You need a certified VIN inspection (fortunately this is easier than in the past).
-You need a VIN search by the state ($2.20)
-You need an appraisal by a licensed Colorado dealer on their letterhead with their license number.
-You need a bond for twice the appraisal value (not too expensive)
-You need a sworn statement of fact on the title problem.

There is a lot of confusing paperwork but we are almost there and hope to be driving the Black ‘63 Sunroof Coupe soon.

The ‘60 Silver Cabriolet with the red interior has been Sold! It is on its way to Austria. We were quite happy with the sale price and long term readers will remember it was a 356 that was missing everything.

The Shop ‘64 Dolphin Grey with blue interior (original colors) is still for sale but a swap may be in the works with an older owner who has one restored and painted but not assembled or checked out. He does not have the skills or time to finish his 356 but wants one to drive. Maybe a trade.

BJ has most all the metal work done on Viney the Shop ‘64 Coupe. We are waiting on a front clip which has been delayed. We will probably send for the Kardex information from PCNA as the market seems to want original colors. The original engine for this 356 caused us concern as the oil filler cap had almost rusted away and we were concerned metal flakes could have gotten into the engine. An oil drain and flush reveals problems so it is being disassembled to determine the extent of a rebuild.

The Shop ‘58 Fjord Green Cabriolet is almost done. We decided to do this 356 as a high end driver as there is a lot of interest in it. Only 2,672 T-2 Cabriolets were manufactured. A small number increase the rarity. We have installed the wiring and did a complete brake job with new metal and rubber hoses, new wheel cylinders and master cylinder. The top frame was blasted, primered and painted and installed for checkout prior to the paint job. The tan interior with leather for the seats and any vinyl for the rest was taken to the upholstery shop. We just took the dash, front and rear seats and quarter panels. Juan the upholstery guy can do these without the 356 as we have a few more parts to install on it and check it out. The ‘58 Cabriolet came without seats and they are hard to find. In fact all Pre A and 356A parts are hard to find. We paid twice what we had paid in the past for the seats.

One of the parts we leave to the last to install is the hood latch. We leave it to the last as is it can be difficult to install particularly if the latch assembly is not original to the 356 and metal repairs have been made to the hood. We have spent a full day on some front hood assembles. So we installed the female part of the latch. Cleaned and loosened the male part and checked the parts would work together. Attached the male part to the hood. Used tape to see if it was centered. It was. Closed the hood; it latched. More importantly it opened. That makes our day!

Grandpa News
Alex has finished up with her swimming lessons. She now swims better than anyone in the family. She is looking into a hip hop dance class or a taekwondo class to take after school. But this summer she is going to take family trips, a week class at the Denver Zoo and a bowling camp.

February 2012 Newsletter

Yes, we had a relaxing vacation in Maui, HI. Plenty of sun, read lots of books, caught lots of fish and relaxed. Met a 356 guy who had contacted a 356 owner on Maui who invited us to visit. We thought we would meet the owner, say nice things about his 356 and be back at the beach in an hour or two.

Well, when we arrived the owner had his 1958 Carrera GT Speedster, Devin sports car and Shelby Cobra in the driveway. After he got to know us he said ”Lets go for a drive”. My friend didn’t want to drive and I had driven a Carrera, so I said I’ll drive the Devin. What a blast! This Devin was 1200 pounds on a tube frame. Devin in the fifties made lots of kit cars and factory cars in various configurations, VW engines, Porsche engines, Corvair engines and even V-8s; both front and rear drives. They were very competitive. The ride was most of the way up the Haleakala volcano. Haleakala is 10,000 feet and we went up more than half way. Plenty of twisty turns. The Devin had a Type 1 engine but it was fast. Only about ten feet in first until you had to go to second. Then lots of acceleration out of second and third. I’m chasing a Carrera GT and staying right with him. Plenty of exhaust noise! I can heel and toe in sandals but I’m in shorts and near the top we arrive in the clouds, No heater! No wipers! so we back off. Had lunch at Grandmas, a coffee and sandwich place known to locals. And then back down the volcano. What a drive! When we got back the owner offered me the Cobra but I said no, it would be a let down from the Devin. So yes, we had a great vacation.

We had the Shop ‘64 Coupe known as “Viney” disassembled and media blasted. After twenty years outside, many of the parts will have to be replaced. We pulled the engine and did not try to turn it over. The oil filler cap had rusted away and we were concerned rusty metal may have gotten into the oil. When we pulled the fan shroud it was full of vines! We carefully checked the oil canister and did not see any metal flakes, so we took it to the mechanic to drain the oil and flush and inspect the engine. Hopefully we can save this original engine.

BJ started on the metal work on “Viney” while we were on vacation. We were aware that this 356 had taken a hard hit on the front but were surprised to see after blasting that it had been rolled and had a replacement top. But since the windshield and side glass fit we didn’t except a problem. We ordered a new front clip and BJ opened the front to rebuild the battery box. He replaced the front bulk head and battery floor. There was minimal damage to the battery box sides. BJ had to use the porta-power to move the battery box forward. Fortunately there was no damage to the front torsion tubes. The driver door could have been repaired: the 356 probably rolled on that side, but we had a better one in inventory and it fit well. So BJ continues the metal work on “Viney” and I have been assembling the Shop ‘58 Cabriolet. It sure looks good in Fjord Green and will look great with a tan interior and top. We have most of it assembled with major issues being the wiring harness and brakes. The Shop ‘64 Coupe in Signal Red remains in the shop waiting on a rebuilt engine. We are using a 912 engine we had so it will not be original. Many 356 owners have upgraded to the 912 engine, some saving their original engine so we don’t expect this to change to effect value. The Shop Dolphin Grey ‘64 Coupe and the Shop Silver ‘60 Coupe remain on the market. We have an offer on the Silver ‘60 Cabriolet and it may be off to Germany.

The Illinois ‘60 Cabriolet is at the painters and we have most of the parts ready for reassembly. This is another 356 stored for twenty years but fortunately, inside. The engine needed a rebuild and the owner choose to have it done on the East Coast. We had it disassembled and shipped as basically a short block. The East Coast mechanic will do the rebuild and checkout using his parts and send it to us and we will assemble with the owners parts. The owner hopes to get out here soon to see the “Happy Car” in paint.

The Rocky Mountain Vintage Race schedule:
3/24-25 Fire Rescue (Crash and Burn)
4/21-22 Driver School– PPIR
5/12-13 Spring Race-HPR
6/2-3 Trans AM -Pueblo
7/2-3 Pikes Peak Hill climb
7/21-22 Charity Race– HPR
9/1-2 Fall Race-Pueblo
9/29-30 Enduro-HPR
HPR is High Plains Raceway out by Byers, CO. The track built by all the racing clubs in the Denver area. 2.55 miles fifteen turns, up and down hill; if you haven’t been yet plan on it. No admission charge and visit all the cars and drivers. PPIR is the Pikes Peak International raceway south of Colorado Springs. Closed for awhile but now open to amateur racing. The Pikes Peak Hill Climb now has a class for vintage racing. Pueblo is located 5 miles west of Pueblo off Hwy. 50.

Heads Up
If any of you plan on doing business with Classic Investments, a classic car shop here in Denver; give me a call.

Grandpa News
Alex finished up with all her swimming lessons and at age 7 is a much better swimmer than any one in the family. She is signed up for a class at the Denver Zoo this summer and is looking at a Science or Robot building class also this summer. Between classes and vacations she is booked until the fall with activities.