February 1997 Newsletter


Well, even with our winter vacation in Hawaii (our first in two years), we still made some progress.

The Shop ’64 Cabriolet was tuned up in Boulder and driven to Parker. Dr. Jack’s ’64 Sunroof Coupe was painted by a new painter and delivered on schedule. Webb’s ’64 Coupe went to the new painter and Ryan picked up Jack H’s ’64 Coupe to paint. And Bruce’s Covertible D was painted by Ryan and looks great in its new Aquamarine Metallic color.

I knew Ron in Boulder would be visiting a friend in Parker and asked if he could drive the Shop ’64 Cab down Friday night. I would then drive him back to Boulder on Saturday for the tech session he would present. He agreed and had a 356 adventure. First I forgot I hadn’t installed the seat belts. So Ron and his young son were sliding around on the new leather seats. Then when Ron turned on the heater, all the fine blasting material blew out the heat/defrost vents. Over 60 mph the center soft top latch would pop and the new driver side door receiver broke. So there was Ron trying to hold his son, the top, the door and dust blowing all around. A real 356 adventure. Ron made it with no additional problems and gave me a good critique on the Cab’s first drive in eight years. He said it drove great with just a few minor problems for me to debug. Ryan has already picked up the Cab’s doors and lids for a repaint as the initial match wasn’t that good. I hope to have the Cab done by month’s end and then put on a few miles to seat the rebuilt engine before selling it.

Dr. Jack’s ’64 Sunroof Coupe has been a real joy to reassemble. Since the 356 was all original I’m restoring almost every part -carpet, interior, rubber. This means things go together without trimming, drilling or modifying. I did replace the headliner and this was my first sunroof headliner although I have done a dozen coupe headliners. It was a little tricky as I know how critical it is to get the sunroof opening glued down smooth. If not, the sliding panel will hang up or worse scratch the paint. I did a good job. After the headliner, I got most of the interior done and will hold up on the rest until we rub out the paint. Then it is engine installation and test drive.

Webb’s ’64 Coupe should be back from the painters in a few weeks and then it is reassembly and test drive. I didn’t have to pull the engine for this restoration. I promised Webb the 356 will be done in late April. He will fly out from New York and drive the 356 back to Michigan. Webb is the original owner and will be presenting the 356 to his son.

Jack H’s ’64 Coupe which really looked rough with its paint peeling and rust actually turned out to be the straightest 356 of the three ’64 Coupes. It had minor damage to the left front and left rear and minor exterior rust. It took only five days for the metal repair and finish and paint should be easy.

Bruce’s Convertible D got hung up in the paint booth while Ryan finished his college degree. Ryan knew the pressure was on and did a great job. The 356 is beautiful! I’m sure glad Bruce did a color change from red, there are too many red 356 Porsches and many original colors to choose from. Aquamarine Metallic is a beautiful color and we are going to do some trick things with this 356.

So I am in the reassembly mode – Dr. Jack’s, Webb’s, Jack H’s and Bruce’s. But this is the part of 356 Restoration I enjoy the most. The time it takes to properly reassemble a 356 is lengthy but the time goes fast. I have never made money on reassembly but the knowledge gained and enjoyment makes up for the loss. If I charged actual time for reassembly, I probably wouldn’t get many 356’s to restore.

Tech Tip

Last month I mentioned that shock absorber replacement could be a simple job or a hard job. Here’s why. But first, I’m often asked what shocks to buy. Both Koni and Boge were original equipment and are available today (although not exactly reproductions). The advantage with Konis are they are adjustable. However, I know very few owners that adjust their Konis during the year. Since Konis are about $100 each and Boges $75 each I recommend Boges. The front shocks lower mount should have a castle nut and cotter pin. Be sure to remove the pin completely before removing the nut. It is smart to mark the pin holes in the bolt with the edge of a file to make reassembly easier. Before removing the shocks, reduce the load by using a floor jack to compress the shock. Be careful of the backing plates. Use wooden blocks. With the top of the shock detached the problem can occur at the bottom. The metal eye tube can be rusted to the bottom support. Prying the shock off will cause the rubber shock doughnut to separate from the eye tube. To get the tube off the support will require heat or liquid wrench or a pipe wrench or a grinder, or combinations.

If you are scrapping the old shocks this problem is not a big deal. If you are trying to save the shocks you will have to get a new metal tube and fit it into the rubber doughnut using silicone and lots of patience.

Mille Miglia

Over 800 vintage card applied to enter the 1997 Mille Miglia. Only 350 can start. Klaus’ 1952 356 was not accepted, so the co-driver slot is not available. Klaus say next year he may to enter a Ferrari.