June 1996 Newsletter


As my business card shows, I give advice on 356 problems. Hey! Somebody took my advice! My advice in the past was not to really tighten the negative cable on your battery. If you had an electrical problem, it would be nice to simply twist and remove the ground cable. Well, a 356 owner dropped by to have me look at a hood fit problem. He had an electric sunroof and when it started to rain he closed the roof.

Fifteen minutes later we went outside and he said he smelled smoke. He opened the 356 door and smoke poured out. I yelled “Pop the hood”; he did and I pulled out the unstrapped tire and pulled off the ground cable. The problem was found at the sunroof motor. The switch didn’t close and the circuit was unfused. (There is a special two fuse fuseblock for the electric antennae and sunroof). The sunroof motor was so hot I burnt my hand. We were within minutes of melting the headliner and blistering the paint. Because the ground strap was not over tight we saved minutes not looking for a wrench.

Well, we spent some time discussing where to get a 356 sunroof motor rebuilt but the next day the owner called and said the motor still worked! He also asked me to order the special fuse block.


I was preparing for the West Fest swap meet and had a nice speedometer I could sell. However, it had a dead spider inside. I had been nervous about trying to remove the soft bezel from a 356 instrument and had recommended sending them to an instrument shop where they have special tools. This time I tried removing the bezel with a small blade screwdriver. It worked! The bezel only overlaps by about 1/16 of an inch and does stretch a bit. I worked the bezel up about one third of the way around and it came right off. I removed the spider, cleaned the face, cleaned the inside glass and reattached the bezel by stretching it with my fingers. Once the bezel was on I pressed it down by rolling it on hard wood and then secured it by pressing with the nose of a clothespin. I was so impressed, I raised the price $25 but nobody bought it. I mentioned this repair at the swapmeet and someone said he had made a tool out of a butter knife for the same purpose.

West Fest Tech

I teched about a dozen 356’s prior to the West Fest track event at Mountain View. Many had problems with unsecured batteries. We can’t get the right size batteries for the 356 battery position so we must secure them with shims and straps. On the race track I have heard of unsecured batteries shorting out and also denting the hood. So make sure your battery is secured. Another problem is link pin adjustment. With the 356 jacked up at the front you should be able to grip the tire at the top and bottom and feel only a little play as you push-pull. I found a few 356’s with excessive play. The procedure to adjust the link pins is in the workbooks.


Barb and I were asked to judge the charity concours at Araphoe College. She did interiors and I did engines. We did about seventeen cars but no Porsches. For this type of concours you can’t really judge authenticity so you concentrate on cleanliness and condition. I judged a 1932 Cadillac Victoria that was perfect. After the five minutes of judging was almost up I finally found a little bit of dust. This car was perfect; I hope it won. Barb asked the owner if he would do her kitchen!


The shop ’57 coupe was driven to the West Fest and I received some nice comments. Thanks! I still need to do some distributor and carburetor work plus some electrics. I need to put on a few miles to check the rebuilt C engine and then it should sell between $13,000 – $15,000.

The shop ’64 Cab is at the upholstery shop and we should have it on the road soon. Don’s ’59 Coupe is just about ready for the headliner and underbody. I did some more work on Ron’s ’61 Cab by resetting the windshield frame and lockposts. Some more work on the rear fenders and most of the body work will be almost done. I started some work on Norm’s ’52 steel bodied factory racecar (SBFRC). We plan to have this 356 ready for Steamboat. In fact most of the effort over the next few months will be geared to Steamboat.

Future Events

Don’t forget the 356’s are meeting in Snowmass July 26-28th. There will be a 356 show on the mall Saturday and a banquet and breakfast. They enjoyed us so much at last year’s Holiday, they invited us back. Call 1-800-598-2004 for reservations.

And now is the time to make reservations at Steamboat Springs for Labor Day. Porsche is featured at the Races and concours. This year there will be activity on Friday so plan to arrive Thursday. This will be a big Porsche event – reserve now!

Tech Tips

NAPA sells a glass fuel line filler that looks great on a 356. A lot better than those plastic fillers. The part number is 730-9561.