January 2011 Newsletter

Even with the Holidays we got some 356 work done. BJ has been working on the extensive metal work on the Shop ’58 Cabriolet. He has repaired or replaced the floor pan including the tunnel ledges, side ledges and front bulkhead. Also the battery box floor and sides, front struts and major repair to the rear struts. At the rate he is going he should have the metal work done in a month and then start the body work. I will assist with major repairs to the doors.

Work continued on the dry fit of the Oklahoma Twin Grille Roadster. We are really glad we decided to do this in primer as the previous “restoration shop” did repairs to the left fender but did not align the holes for the side deco. We had to weld up the original holes to get the side deco aligned. If you have a slight misalignment, a trick is to modify some small machine screws to attach the deco. This will allow some up or down alignment as compared to the original fixed clips.

Then we went to attach the door top chrome pieces and of course, as with the hood seals, the holes were to big. It is very difficult to make nut clips to solve the problem so we drilled new correct size holes. The larger screw the previous shop used would have scratched the side glass. We have the side glass installed and adjusted to the windshield but have yet to adjust the glass to the top. We had the top media blasted and painted it with black two part epoxy paint. We can use it as a jig to ensure the proper fit to the windshield and side windows.

The top will be black and the interior is green leather for the seats and green vinyl for the rest of the interior. The carpet will be green and we have the original green top boot. All the interior has been ordered but we are having problems matching the grain of the vinyl to the leathers. We will go with what looks best which is probably what the factory did.

On other projects, the Shop ’54 Coupe was sold! A customer looked at it before it was finished and liked it. We told him it would be a few more months as we were spending a lot of time on the Twin Grille Roadster. He called back later and asked what would be the price as is. We did some checking on recent Pre-A sales and adjusted the price. The customer called back later and said that he would take it as is, but he wanted it delivered that day, which we did. What sold the ’54 Coupe was the silver paint.

The Texas ’60 Coupe (Goat Car) should be done at the painters in a few weeks and we will pick it up and drop off the Twin Grille Roadster.

While the Holidays slowed progress, I caught a cold. And took ten days off to ensure no complications. I hadn’t had a cold in over ten years; one advantage to working at home. The time off was good, almost like being retired. I read a lot of books but would occasionally sneak down to the shop and do some small projects.

The new 356 Talk forum at the 356REGISTRY.com is great. They have added some new topics such as Authenticity and Outlaw Corner. The authenticity topic so far has validated what we have learned over the years. That is, there were no solid givens to what was built and procedures, parts and hardware varied between the various coachbuilders used by Porsche.

For example, we were able to evaluate an original ’64 Coupe owned by the original owner who picked the 356 up at the factory. One thing we noticed was there was no material behind the torsion hole cover. It was used to shim the cover and prevent rattles. We had assumed all 356s had the material shim: i.e. that is was a given. But on this 356 there was no shim and the torsion hole cover was flush with the body. Did this mean some 356s had the shim and some didn’t? No, it tells us that by ’64 production at this particular coach builder, the panel fit had improved to not require a shim on this 356. Were all ’64 without the shim? No. (when we used to judge 356s we would feel behind the torsion hole cover for the material shims and take a small point off if it was missing. We were wrong; the shim is not a given.)

Another 356 owner reported his door, hood and rear deck lid did not match the chassis number. It was very doubtful all those panels could have been replaced over the years as they were hand fit to each 356. The factory just made a mistake. We have seen panel numbers crossed off and a new number stamped. We have also seen a 356 with no stamped chassis number and on the Twin Grille Roadster we are working on, no stamped doors. So, the factory was trying to make production and sales quotas, they were not concerned with authenticity.

One sign of the continuing interest in the Porsche 356 is that we are restoring 356s that in the past would have been junked. For example, the Shop ’58 Cabriolet BJ is working on. We used to say when we saw a rusted incomplete 356, it will have to be a race car. Now even 356 race cars command a premium. The Shop ’52 race car was purchased for $850 about ten years ago. It was rusty and incomplete. While we have put a lot in to it to be competitive, if we were to sell it we wouldn’t be upside down. But, man is it fun to drive a sixty year old Porsche fast.

Grandpa News
Alex enjoyed Christmas with her cousins going to the zoo and the pool. This week she also had her first snow day of the year. Yea, no school! She made snow angels and shoveled the side walk.