For Christmas we got a CD of all the great music from “Bullitt”. Who would have guessed after last months newsletter comments. We listen to this great music in our new shop truck which we partially financed with credit on our shop Mastercard. So all the Porsche parts we buy help finance a new shop truck every five years. We switched insurance on the new truck to USAA. Would you believe they still had our records from 1963 when we were an Air Force Second Lieutenant driving a red ’59 Impala with a white top and white tonneau cover.
The Shop ‘58 Cabriolet was taken to the mechanic to resolve some shifting issues. We put the Shop ‘64 Coupe in the shop to do the final checkout. It will be for sale soon, we just need some good driving weather.
BJ finished the clean, paint, caulk,undercoat on the Magnuson’s ‘59 Sunroof Coupe (not Mulligan’s) and it will be off to the painter. BJ can then do the final welding on Jim’s project which just had the panels tack welded in place.
We had sent for the COA on the Shop ‘63 Coupe and it showed it had a sunroof as an option. With the 356 blasted we can see where the roof was replaced with a non sunroof roof. We were fortunate to acquire a complete sunroof locally. It is the electric sunroof which is correct for a ’63 model (Although you could order a manual sunroof). The question “ How many Sunroof Coupes were produced?” is often asked. But it can’t be determined as Porsche did not keep track of options ordered. However, a sunroof adds $10,000 to the value of a 356 Coupe. Years ago we said $3,000 added value, then $5,000 now $10,000. We have not seen a sunroof clip offered for sale for a very long time and when offered very expensive. But a Sunroof Coupe has been our daily driver and they are fun to drive. We have yet to disassemble the recently purchased Shop ‘61 Coupe but from our inspection it will be another extensive project.
Jim’s project (and we know what model 356 we are referring to) is together! Two weeks was spent on the engine compartment. We were able to modify a Coupe fire wall to replace the rusted out firewall. We modified the hinge pockets, attached the original but dented deck lid and used this assembly to properly locate and tack in the firewall. The engine compartment has all the brackets and openings for a Carrera engine and these required repair. Most of the mid fifties 356’s had provisions for the Carrera engine even if it was a pushrod engine.
The engine shelf on the mid fifties 356s was bolted in and the reproduction of this part does not come with the weld nuts so we had to order some and position them . Having a removable engine shelf may make engine removal easier but access to the eighteen bolts takes time and is probably why later engine shelves were welded in place.
We started this challenge in July 2012, so five months of working on nothing but Jim’s project with so much of the original metal rusted away this was a true “Made By Hand” experience. This project could not even be attempted without the availability of reproduction replacement panels. Are these panels perfect? No. They are all oversized and require trimming. And as mentioned before, you have to be positioning two or three adjacent panels before finalizing your trimming and tack welds.
We lost time and had to backup when fitting the hood and front fenders. We finally realized the reproduction cowl had the corners for the hood to tight making the hood as a jig difficult. We finally worked around the hood and will fit it during body work. So metal work is done and body work will start. Knowing that we will have a successful project, we sent the bench seat we restored to Autos International. They are the premier shop for Porsche 356 interiors. We had the original interior pieces which had been red but vinyl painted black. Enough of the original red color is available for a match plus the pleating on the seat was useable as a pattern. So the interior will be the original red with the oatmeal carpet and black top.
Another lead time part is the chrome work and we prepared these parts and sent them out for chroming. Chroming is very expensive so for driver level restorations we just clean, polish and call it patina. For the Shop ‘58 Cabriolet, we disassembled the four seat hinges and had them chromed, the cost was $850. We used to have three chrome shops in Denver, now none due to the environmental issues. Often it is cheaper to buy reproduction chrome parts.
We didn’t think we would continue to comment on this subject. We got a call from a young guy who had a rear clip from a Coupe and could get a front clip. But instead of making a Coupe he wanted to know how hard it would be to make a Cabriolet or a Speedster. He knew you can now get most all 356 exterior panels. His motivation-money! We explained the problems but he really wanted to score big in the 356 market.
This months issue of Panorama shows 356 values. They continue to surprise us.
No newsletter next month. Aloha!
Alex has been enjoying her gift cards from Christmas. Besides the Apple I Tunes purchases of “One Direction” and others she is becoming a experienced clothes shopper. Not much of a girly girl she has more Under Armor, Nike and Justice clothes. Which all barely fit in her very small closet. The closet size is a ongoing discussion of displeasure.