January 2006 Newsletter

Those of you that have visited the shop may have noticed the blackboard by the phone with a list of things to do. At the top of the list was shop ceiling. Three years ago BJ and I put a ceiling in the area we call the “dirty room”. This is where BJ does a lot of grinding and filler work. We bought material to do the rest of the shop ceiling but never got to it. So, I hired a guy to finish the work and he did a great job. We have a lot more light in the shop.

Speaking of light, we use 500 watt halogen shop lights. Both individual and two on a stand. If you do any work that requires good light, you should have one. They are only about nine bucks at Home depot and come with two bulbs. The bulbs alone are three bucks each so it is a good deal.

I started on repairs to the front floor pan on the Shop ’57 Sunroof Coupe but then moved on to the Shop ’64 Slate Gray Coupe. The ’57 Sunroof restoration will be featured in the second edition of my book. I told the publisher I could have it ready by this fall. He indicated that the summer of 2007 would be better as he wants to sell out the first edition. So the pressure is off on the ’57.

BJ finished the paint prep on Rob’s ’59 Cabriolet and we took it to the painter for its Ivory paint job. We moved the Shop ’57 Speedster into the dirty room for paint prep. With a space open, we moved down the Shop ’64 Slate Gray Coupe. This is the one we bought down in Albuquerque a while back. The original color was Signal Red. We did the metal work and I decided to paint it my favorite 356 color-Slate Grey. There are just too many red 356’s. The ’64 was a project the owner never finished. He was preparing to move and needed it gone within a week. We hooked up the trailer and Barb and I dashed down to Albuquerque to get it. I bought it at a very reasonable price and it came with lots of parts as the owner had disassembled a second ’64. However, parts are missing and I have to find them on my parts shelf. We stopped selling parts and going to swap meets as 356 parts are getting hard to find. We have six more Shop cars to finish in the next few years and will need to use what is on the shelves. So of course, we bought another 356 which will need parts. This is that ’58 Coupe we did for Mathew awhile back; the mild outlaw with the fuel filler in the hood and nerf bars. It is very attractive in Silver but needs to be completed. Not sure when we will get to it.

The outlaw will require A parts and we have very few on the shelf. If anyone knows of a stash of A parts, let us know; most of what we have on the shelf are B and C.

We are still trying to pick an engine for the Shop ’57 Speedster. Trevor evaluated one we had that was suppose to be a 912 engine. But it was a mish mash of parts and so dirty that Trevor didn’t want to start it on his test stand. Bill Frey also has a test stand and volunteered to test another spare engine we had. Bill got it started and we will replace the carbs, distributor and generator with rebuilt parts we have. Since we don’t do major mechanical work it is surprising we have so many mechanical parts on the shelf. When we have quite a few we send them out for rebuilding. In addition to an engine for the Speedster, we also need one for the Shop ’64 Coupe, Shop ’54 Coupe, Shop ’58 Outlaw Coupe, Shop ’61 Outlaw and the Coyote ex race car. We may sell some of these 356s as projects and let the new owners find an engine that meets their needs.

Book Review
In the fourteen years we’ve sent out this newsletter we’ve never done a book review. For Christmas, BJ gave me “Wheels A Passion for Collecting Cars” by Stuart Leuthner. Great! I thought another coffee table book. But then I started to read it. Sure there are pictures and details on great cars but it is really a series of biographies on the guys who collect great cars. Many like Clive Cussler, Harry Mathews and Vinny Terranora have Colorado connections. The book answers the questions you would never ask. How did Harry develop the brushless car wash? How did Clive develop Derk Pitt? How did Vinny finance Rocky Mountain Harley Davidson? A recommended read.

Shop ’57 Carrera
A few years back after I discovered the early history of my Carrera in Thailand, I wrote an article about it for the 356 Registry. Well, the article was just published in the latest volume. The editor did a great job particularly reproducing the E-mail pictures I received from the grandson of the original owner.

When I started to restore the Carrera I decided to restore it to its original condition. This meant I had to remove the features used for racing, such as the rear deck louvers, roll bar and race tires. I had a picture of the 356 in 1965 that showed it with overrider bars on the bumper so I acquired some. But then the pictures from Thailand showed the Carrera without overrider. My guess is that when the 356 was imported to the U.S. it was required to have overrider which is something the factory had to put on U.S. bound 356s starting in 1957. Another mystery.

Grandpa News
She is just not walking, she is running! So the gate is up at the stairs. She is also feeding herself and drinking from a glass. As you watch her you can see how she absorbs and processes information about the world around her. Something I don’t remember as a parent but definitely see as a grandparent. Another thing that is becoming apparent is a bit of independence – a hint of things to come.