Restoration of Porsche model 356 continues at 356RESTORE. Five cars are in various stages of restoration. Tom’s 54 Cabriolet is up on the rotisserie and is receiving new longitudinals and bottom repair. Abby’s ’62 Coupe has been media blasted and will be next on the rotisserie. Gerry’s ’54 racecar is waiting on an oil cooler for installation. The shop ’59 Sunroof Coupe is at the paint shop and the shop ’61 Coupe driver project sits on its dolly waiting for a break in the action.
We performed a few evaluations this month and received phone calls for future work, so 356RESTORE is definitely viable. We also received phone calls requesting advice on restoration. These calls are enjoyable as they provide a break in the daily activity and we always learn something as well as share information. So don’t hesitate to call about Porsche 356 questions. A business card for your wallet is provided with the shop phone number.
What’s the first step in a 356 restoration?
I learned this one the hard way. The first thing you want to do is loosen your rear axle nuts. You need to do this before you pull the engine and disassemble the brakes. You need weight in the car and operating brakes to loosen the axle nuts. A 38mm socket and breaker bar is needed, although I was able to do the job with a pipe wrench and four foot pipe on my first car. Tom’s ’54 Cabriolet which had been stored for a long time required a special torque multiplier tool and plenty of heat before the nuts loosened at close to 500 foot pounds! If you have trouble with your axle nuts give us a call for advice or the loan of special tools.
One of the options you have when media blasting a car is bondo-in or bondo-out. 356RESTORE recommends blasting a car in two stages. First, remove the doors, deck lids, (sunroof) and bumpers and have them blasted requesting the bondo be left in. Then transport the car to the blaster and have it blasted with the bondo out. Our logic in this approach is that the doors, lids, bumpers may have good repairs and there is no reason to redo it if rust is not present. Since you can see behind the repair on these items you can tell if it’s good. If it’s not good, you can remove the bondo with a wire brush on your high speed grinder. On the car, have the bondo taken out, as the prior brazing and puller holes must be repaired.
Friedrich was the expert body man at Gmund. Ferry Porsche said he could make every part of the body in half the time the others could. But he often failed to come in on Monday because he’d been so drunk over the weekend. Nevertheless he more than caught up with the others during the rest of the week. Since 356RESTORE enjoys both good body work and an occasional drink, we dedicated this newsletter to Friedrich. (Reference: “Excellence Was Expected”, page 58.) Further contests won’t be as tough.
Some very nice parts came in on consignment this month. How about a very good brown vinyl Cabriolet top boot for only $175! Or headrest attaching hardware (original-fine knurl) for only $80! We also have a dozen or so 4″ inch wheels with dates of 1960. If you check the quantity column on the attached parts list you will see we have cornered the market on interior door handles and bumper guards.