February 2008 Newsletter

Not a lot of 356 restoration progress as BJ, Jen and Alex and Barb and I were on vacation. We were on the big island of Hawaii. BJ, Jen and Alex got there first and then Barb and I joined them. We stayed at a friend’s new home with all the best facilities including a pool and fantastic views.

Grandpa News
After a six hour flight, Barb and I deplaned at the Kona airport. There to greet us was Alex in a Hawaiian muumuu with leis and a kiss for both of us. A treasure!

Back to Progress
The Irish Green Shop ’59 Coupe is coming together. We started with the headliner and it went in without problems as we have installed a few over the years. With the headliner in we could do the glass. The original front windshield was in very good condition and we were able to use it. This was one of the few times we were able to reuse an original windshield and this saved $500. Rear windshields are almost always reusable unless someone was driving backwards at high speed!

Side windows and quarter windows are usually reusable. Side windows often get scratched by a screw backing out of the back of the top chrome piece which holds the rubber seal and fuzzy strip (check yours!). Quarter window glass often delaminates. For the Shop ’59 coupe the side window and quarter window glass were reusable. So, by being able to use the original glass the glass installation went quickly with just new rubber seals.

We used reproduction headlight assemblies which we think are still being made in Brazil for the VW aftermarket. They are quite inexpensive compared to restoring the original units. Restoration would involve re-chroming the rim, repainting the headlight assembly and finding new glass. So if you headlight assemblies have poor chrome, rust and pitted glass, you may want to swap them out.

One of the first things we do after picking up a 356 at the painters is to install the doors, hood and rear deck.

With all the activity in the shop, we don’t want these pieces to get damaged. The doors, hood and rear deck lid went on quickly and the gaps are excellent. One of the issues today is getting good rubber seals for the hood and doors. Fortunately, there are a few vendors and we can try various seals to maintain a good gap. Many 356s have hoods and doors that don’t fit flush due to think seals.

BJ is doing the electrical wiring on the Shop ’59 Cabriolet and discovered that the wiring harness had been cut at the fuse block and at the instrument harness. New wiring harnesses are around $1,000. So BJ is repairing all the old harnesses we have collected. For those harnesses that aren’t repairable he is saving the wires for future repairs. It looks like we will have a good collection of usable harnesses and original wires.

We took the Shop ’54 Coupe to the painter. We had been storing this 356 until he had room. There was no paint tag on the 356 and we didn’t want to spend the $110 to get the paint information from Porsche Cars North America. Inspecting parts, we think the original color was Jade Green. The small sample we found is not too appealing. Plus the reference books show an interior color of yellow. We just don’t think a Green/Yellow 356 will sell so we will paint the ’54 Coupe Silver. Silver sells and we can use a red, black, blue or green interior. When we pick up the ’54 at the painter we will drop off the ’59 Cabriolet and it will also be Silver. We haven’t decided on an interior color yet but are leaning towards blue with a blue top.

The Shop ’57 Sunroof Coupe is featured in the second edition of our 356 Restoration book. We removed the manual sunroof to take pictures for the book. We also removed the electric sunroof from my Black ’63 Coupe for pictures. There is very little reference material on 356 sunroofs and we think this addition to the book will be appreciated. The book should be on its way to the publisher soon.

Thumbs Up
A while back, BJ and I were cleaning up the storage building and had eight 356s pushed out on the driveway. A helicopter was flying by, descended, hovered over the driveway, checked out the 356s and gave a big thumbs up. Whenever we drive or even trailer a 356 we usually get a thumbs up. That is probably true with many of you and it feels good doesn’t it? That is probably why we all try to keep these special cars running and on the road.

Vintage Racing
The Use by Special Review (USR) permit for the new race track was approved by Aurora County commissioners and the 460 acres were purchased by the Colorado Amateur Motorsports Association (CAMA). So we are a go and grading and surfacing can start.

The racetrack is called High Plains Raceway and is located 17 miles east of Byers; about an hour drive from Denver. We will have a 2.5 mile track with 15 turns and there is plenty of elevation changes. The racetrack design has been carefully studied and approved by all that will use it. There are a dozen clubs (including motorcycles) that belong to CAMA and will use the facility.

While “HPR” is a ways out, we will not be disturbed by development as we were at Second Creek. Plus we have 460 acres compared to Second Creek’s 55 acres. The build out will be done in phases depending on funding which has proceeded well. In the plans are real bathrooms, a concession building, a dedicated tech area, paddock paving and RV hook-ups. You can be part of Vintage Racing-checkout www.HighPlainsRaceway.com