February 2011 Newsletter

BJ has been doing some excellent work on the shop ’58 Cabriolet. For example, there was rust damage in the rear seat area which is like a bucket to hold water. This rust damage is very common particularly on open 356s. There are replacement panels for this area but they are very expensive ($500-$800).

The rear seat bottom has round and linear indentations for structure. I mentioned to BJ that he could probably duplicate these if he found a socket and a metal rod of the same size. It turns out the large socket used to remove and secure the rear axel nut makes a perfect impression and a flat tool we had matches the linear impressions. BJ fabricated a rear seat bottom that matches the original for just few bucks. But as he said no one will ever see it as it is covered by upholstery. ( It is about pride in your work and solving problems)

While BJ is finishing the metal work on the shop ‘58 Cabriolet, I completed the dry fit on the Oklahoma Twin Grille Roadster. Tom Scott came over to evaluate the 356 for fit and finish. Tom knows quite a bit about fit and finish as he is the only two time winner of PCA’s Manhattan Trophy and recently tied the highest concours score with a Speedster. Tom indicated what is the correct factory gap edge. It is slightly rounded. You do not want a sharp edge which can occur due to sanding. When Tom got through with his evaluation, we had a list of thirty four things to fix. Which we did, and then we took the Roadster back to the painter for final paint. It should be ready within a few weeks. When we took the Roadster to the painters we picked up the Texas Goat car. But we can not call it the Goat car anymore as it is now in beautiful black paint. Barb said that it looked like black patent leather shoes and we could call it Mary Jane. You ladies probably know this name for shoes but you guys may know that Mary Jane as a term for marijuana. We will let the owner and her girls (triplet daughters and a younger daughter) name the 356.

Since we are trying to keep the restoration cost down on the Texas ‘60 Coupe we decided to use an unused carpet that we had on the shelf. A new carpet set is $550 and we could provide this shop set for a more reasonable cost. The only issue was the color was the light beige called Oatmeal. The correct color should be Charcoal but Oatmeal could have been ordered. The factory would do any exterior/interior color combinations to sell 356s. You know, the light colored carpet looks great in the black 356. We also changed the interior upholstery to black using vinyl paint dye. The original was red and just dirty and tired. The upholstery pieces cleaned up well and looks good in black. We did have to order the rear most upholstery panel and a new dash covering in black vinyl. These panels are frequently cracked by sun damage .

We installed the headliner and glass. We were able to reuse the front windshield which had only a small chip on the passenger side. The rear windshield had been severely scratched by the goats getting to high ground. Front windshields are available and expensive i.e. $500. Rear windshields are not available but we had some on the shelf as they never get damaged (except for goats). Front windshields are laminated but the rear windshields are tempered and hard to break. A Porsche salvage yard said they could be removed by getting inside the car and using a mule kick to kick out the rear windshield. We thought he was joking until he demonstrated.

So the plan is for BJ to finish the metal work on the Shop ’58 Cabriolet and start the body work. I will continue to assemble the Texas ’60 Coupe but then switch to the Oklahoma Twin Grille Roadster when it comes back from the painter. The Shop silver ’60 Cabriolet sits in the garage waiting for good weather to finish a few items and put some miles on it prior to selling. We usually do not price a shop 356 until after we have driven it. We also have the Shop signal red ’64 Coupe to assemble so we will continue to be busy.

Guess what? It is time for Barb and I to vacation. Aloha! There may not be a newsletter next month as we will be gone for two weeks. We will decide when we return.

I Was Wrong
We had learned that 1962 model years 356s had bottom sender gas tanks. These tanks were only used for a little while as you can imagine the problem if they failed. They were also painted black and the top sender t-6 tanks were painted grey. Since Barb’s Twin Grille Roadster had a grey top sender tank and the Oklahoma Twin Grille Roadster had a top sender tank we said Twin Grille Roadsters were the exception. We were wrong! Tom Scott provided pictures on an original Twin Grille Roadster and it has the black sender tank. Plus when I wired up the Oklahoma Roadster is was wired for a bottom sender. And the bottom sender tanks have a different fuel gauge. We think bottom sender tanks may have been swapped due to liability.

Grandpa News
Alex, BJ and Jennifer went to the Colorado golf expo so Alex could pick up some pink golf balls. She was upset because they would not let her drive the golf carts in the convention center. But her dad lets her drive on the course so she know how. Alex also thinks any holiday that has candy in it is a very good holiday.