December 2006 Newsletter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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