June 2011 Newsletter

We recommend 356 owners to enter a Concours. This allows your 356 to be judged and receive feedback on its condition. Improving its condition based on what the judges found will increase the 356’s value.

Personally, we do not enjoy Concours. We only entered one and took a second place trophy. But the judge found a greasy area behind the fan shroud and put his greasy fingerprint on the judging sheet. So our first and last Councours.

However, we decided to enter Dr. Johnson’s Twin Grille Roadster in the 28th Annual Sports Car Show and Concours D’Elegance. We did this to get feedback on our restoration and if it scored well to assist in selling the 356 if Dr. Johnson decides to sell.

We picked up the 356 at the mechanics and did a short drive; the first drive for the 356 in thirty years. Then it is cleaning the car and hiding any faults from the judges. Some judges are knowledgeable, some are opinionated and their opinions may be wrong. But feedback is feedback.

The black Twin Grille Roadster with green interior scored 228.8 out of 240 points for first place in the 356 B/C Open class. Most of the point deductions were for dust and smudges which are hard to stay on top of on a black car with spectators touching it. The judges did find a missing part on the engine which we had forgotten, so that was good.

After the Concours, we decided to take a break from 356 restoration for a few days and work on household chores and gardening.

The Texas ‘60 Coupe was at the mechanics but we told the mechanic the Twin Grille Roadster would get priority as it was entered in the Concours. The ‘60 Coupe should be back at the end of the month.

BJ has the Shop ‘58 ready for paint then we will be doing the remaining disassembly of the Illinois ‘60 Cabriolet. Then the ‘60 Cabriolet will head to media blasting. The owner did most of the disassembly using our 356 Do-It-Yourself restoration book. The ‘60 Cabriolet is another family 356. His wife drove it in high school and it has been stored in a barn for many years. Rusty, but with no major body damage. When we finish the Illinois Cab we will defer customer 356s to finish our shop 356s.

While the Twin Grille Roadster and Texas Coupe were at the mechanics we brought the Shop ‘64 Coupe into the shop for reassembly. It had been over a year since we disassembled this 356 but BJ had taken the time to clean every part and find replacement parts for poor parts. But most of the parts were original and in good condition. Having the parts ready to go makes reassembly easier.

We started with the doors, hood and rear lid. We like to do these parts first so they don’t get damaged off the 356.
We found the hood handle polished and ready for assembly. It had the correct washers, nuts and plastic profile. It went on the hood in just a few minutes.

Then we positioned the hood on the 356 and used the index holes for alignment. This is a starting point and we usually have to keep making adjustments to get the correct gaps.

On the first try with BJ watching the back gap to make sure we wouldn’t rub, we set the hood. Perfect! On the first try, good gaps and flush! This has never happened before. This 356 is talking to us and it is good.

Next, to the doors. There are many door parts and BJ had them cleaned and identified. The right door went quickly and I told BJ how sweet was this 356. BJ said “Be careful, they can bite you.”. And bite me it did.

I had the door completely assembled with the good gaps and it latched flush. The last thing to do was connect and pin the cable to the latch assembly and install the door panel and handles. The bite was the cotter pin in the latch assembly was sheared off and the pin hole was jammed. To clear the hole for the cotter pin means disassembling the entire door to remove the latch assembly and drill out the pin hole. Which we did.

But then, the ‘64 Shop 356 made up for it. We were installing the rear seat backs but couldn’t get the screw into the hole in the chassis which is under the carpet. We checked with a flashlight and sure enough it looked like the screw has sheared off in the hole. We left it til later to finish other interior work. We got the center punch, hammer, drill, drill bits and tap to clear the screw hole. But it was clear! What we had seen with the flashlight was the sheen of glue covering the hole from when we installed the carpet. So, one bite and one kiss.

In this newsletter we usually don’t mention the shops that help us complete a 356 restoration. We refer to them as “mechanics” or “painters or “upholstery shop”. We do this as our experience with these folks may not match that of our readers. However, we must praise our painter, Thom Agnes of Mirror Image Automotive Refinishing. We had some paint damage on the Twin Grille Roadster four days before the Concours. This was due to a misaligned door latch panel installed wrong thirty years ago But we should have caught it. Thom came, did the repair, blended the black paint perfectly and the repair was invisible. The judges never saw what happened. Thanks Thom!!

Grandpa News
Alex just had her first dance recital but she is much more excited about starting her martial arts class and riding her new skateboard.