July 2003 Newsletter

Lobster Tale

A friend of the guy I sold the Shop ’61 Roadster to wanted to buy a 356 Cabriolet. Ken contacted me to evaluate a Cabriolet here in Denver. But when the seller heard I was to evaluate the 356, he decided it was not for sale. Ken next found a Cabriolet on the East Coast and I coached him on what to look for. Ken found lots of problems and passed on the car. Next was one at European Collectibles in California but it was sold before Ken could make an offer.

Finally there was another in California stored for fifteen years and owned for over thirty. The gas tank was replaced and the Cabriolet made drivable. I reviewed pictures of the 356 and talked to the mechanic that worked on it. I found a few issues and Ken was able to negotiate a good deal. The car transport company had an opening and Ken had his 356 in New York in just six days.

Ken loves his 356 and wanted to thank me for my help. He asked if I liked lobster and I said sure! He said they are on the way. I expected two or three. Ten live lobsters arrived! We had a party.


Vern has a few more weeks with the paint on Gene’s ’62 Cabriolet so we took Ted’s ’61 Cabriolet to Don the other painter. Don is working full time at his home shop so the goal is to have Ted’s 356 painted by mid August so we can assemble it and get it to Autoweave. Ted wants the 356 for the West Coast Holiday in Taos in early October.

The car carrier company picked up the Shop ’56 Speedster which is on its way to Italy. So with it gone, two cars at the painters, the two race cars at Bill’s and the Shop ’64 Coupe at Autoweave we only have five 356’s at 356RESTORE.

While we wait for 356s to come back we are detailing all parts for both Gene and Ted’s 356s. This will allow rapid reassembly. We may even have time to install a shop ceiling or continue work on the Carrera.

Bill was able to modify the 741 transmission from the ’58 Race Car to fit in the ’52 Race Car. He had help from Al Lager. We used the nose from the transmission in the ’52 and matched it with the 741 from the ’58 which had the racing gears installed by Trevor. Now we will have to install an above the tunnel shift mechanism to avoid the early “monkey motion” linkage. We hope to get all the race parts off the ’58 and on to the ’52 in time to do one race this season.

We plan to put our spare engine into the ’58 and sell it as an outlaw 356. It will have the roll bar and Nomex interior. We will fit nerf bars, fix the electrics for the street and repaint.

We need project Shop Cars! After the ’58 street outlaw all we will have left is the ’61 Coupe which we will also turn into an outlaw. Now is the time to let us know of that rusty 356 that someone was going to restore and never got around to it. We will pay a finders fee. We prefer to get Colorado cars and we like them to be complete. The rustier the better. Call 303-840-2356 or 303-841-6475 if you can give us a lead on project cars.

We always need 356 parts. We don’t sell all our parts at swap meets as we need them for restorations. If you have parts, give us a call. We pay a fair price.

Tech Tip

The next time you need a battery for your 356 buy an Optima. When BJ finished the restoration of his and Jen’s ’64 Coupe he had starting and running problems. A few times I would have to take a spare battery and rescue him. Once we bought an Optima battery for his 356 the rough running and stalling problems disappeared. The Optima delivers 850 cold starting amps. It is a closed cell battery so there is no acid leaks or vapors to ruin you battery compartment. They are sized different than a standard battery and will take some engineering to fit in your 356. Plans for installation are available at the 356REGISTRY.org website. We purchased ours at Peerless Tire. Recently I had problems starting the ’61 Porsche Junior tractor. A 12 volt Optima solved the problem.

Future events

Nostalgia Racing will host the Summit Historics at Breckenridge August 23-24. While there won’t be any racing (perhaps in the future) there will be an autocross, concours and rally. Drive up for the fun.

Porsches and Pastries will be September 14th. While Barb and Jen no longer have the bakery, they still know how to create those goodies. Mark your calendar now!