January 2014 Newsletter

Some folks are just hung up on originality. While we value original parts and will work hard to make them usable, we will use a reproduction part when we have to. We like the patina on original parts and have grown to dislike brand new looking 356s.
A while back on 356 Talk an owner was looking for original lug nuts for an early 356. He was told they were all the same. He replied the early ones were a little bit smaller across the flats (ATF). Well, we had about sixty in the lug nut box and got out the micrometer and measured. He was right! We had quite a few that were smaller ATF. They all fit a 19mm socket but about a third of those we had were smaller. Then last week we got a call, a guy was looking for original rear outside bumper brackets. We told him they were available from vendors. He said he knew that but they weren’t like originals. We asked the difference. He said the repos were sharp at the edges while originals were slightly rounded. We said he could file the edges, we had never heard of concern on original bumper brackets and they wouldn’t make his 356 go faster.
Does originality add value to a 356? Yes, but lug nuts and bumper brackets?
Friday, December 20th was a good day. It was the day the Shadow/Jim and BJ’s Project was down on the ground on its wheels. This means we had painted, caulked and undercoated the underneath and fit the cleaned and painted suspension. After sixteen months, this was a great accomplishment. We then dry fit the rest of the parts and checked the top fit.
The top fit as there is a bit of play but the rubber seal for the cowl looked like it might be off. We figured how we could shim the windshield side pieces to make a tighter fit after paint. But then we saw Tim Goodrich (noted 356 restorer, now retired) had reproductions made of original windshield seals. We ordered some and they will correct the problem. Tim had these made for the 356s he restored that are now in Wolfgang Porsche’s collection. So, the Shadow has gone to the painter! We got a paint sample from Wilhoit Restoration for the original white. It is not an appliance white but more of a dusky white. Looks period and will set off the red interior.
Speaking of which, the bench seat which is original to this 356 is back from Autos International and is beautiful. As you may recall, we basically rebuilt this bench seat using parts from early wooden framed bucket seats. While the original metal bench seat bottom was repairable, most of the wood was gone. Autos International did a great job as they had to strengthen the seat bottom and add springs in the middle. We had a good pair of early seat hinges and had them chromed. The bench seat looks great!
When we dry fit parts prior to paint we had to drill holes for the front and rear emblems. We had used replacement panels in these areas and they don’t come with emblem holes.
Fortunately, someone wrote a Do-It-Yourself 356 restoration book which has the measurement for all the different size emblems on all 356s.
The dry fit was important, as we discovered the holes for the hood handle were off. Glad we caught this as it would have meant a repair and repaint of the hood.
Working on the reassembly of the Shop ‘64 Coupe known as “Viney” we saw we needed a steering coupler. The one provided by Stoddard is very expensive as it is a Porsche factory part and carries a liability issue. A steering coupler failure is a big deal! Fortunately vendors have developed a replacement steering coupler that works, is not expensive but is not original (an originality issue?). The steering coupler for the A and B 356s is different from the C’s and is not expensive. It is a reproduction and not the same as the original but it works. You should check your steering coupler it could be fifty years old. We have commented about old rubber in the past.
Years ago, I needed some help bringing a customers 356 to the shop. It was drivable but very, very rusty. I got a friend to go with me and he could drive it back. It was Saturday and although he was a little hug over we made it back. When we started to disassemble the 356 we found the steering coupler was hanging by just a few threads. We called him over to see it and he almost fainted. Check your steering coupler!
Reassembly of the Shop ‘64 Signal Red Coupe is going well. The front compartment and dash are reassembled and most of the exterior parts in place. We are waiting on the headliner and carpet, then we can finish the reassembly.
We had to have the original engine for this 356 rebuilt and it is still at the mechanics. When we first evaluated this 356 stored in a backyard covered in vines, we unscrewed the oil filler cap and saw it was rusted away and metal pieces had probably fallen into the engine. So, the rebuild was not a surprise but sure knocks the profit off a shop car sale.
Grandpa News
Sammy was playing with her battery powered toy mix master when it stopped working. Jen said she would get a new battery. She returned with a battery and a screw driver and told Sammy she would be right back. When she returned Sammy had removed the very small screw and pulled out the battery. Jen had to install the new battery but Sammy reassembled the toy.
Barb and I will be on vacation but will return before the next newsletter.