March 2006 Newsletter

Aloha! There wasn’t a newsletter last month as Barb and I were on vacation. When you next see us, ask about the whale we caught. Actually, it was catch and release.

For those of you that want to follow the past progress at 356RESTORE, all fourteen years of newsletters are on our website’

I completed the assembly of the Shop ’64 Slate Gray coupe and took it to Autoweave for a fawn color interior. Slate Gray is one of my favorite 356 colors and it usually came with a red or fawn interior. I thought red would be too much color. While Porsche recommended interior colors, you could order whatever color you wanted. It was the same for exterior colors. Porsche painted a 356 pink for a lady. They even gave it a paint code in case there were more requests for pink!

Orders for exterior colors were collected at the factory, and they would paint the same color a day. If they had orders on hand for Signal Red 356s they would be painted in a batch.

Since the doors and lids had been hand fit to each 356, they were stamped with the last two or three numbers of the chassis serial number and put on the rolling racks for the paint booth. When painted, the proper door/lid was put on the proper 356. This is what is meant by the numbers matching car.

If you watch the movie “Made by Hand” (available only from the 356Registry Goodie Store) shot in 1961, you will see a technician installing a fully assembled door on a 356. This would be a heavy door but he does it in a few seconds and no paint damage.

BJ finished the paint prep on the Shop ’57 Speedster and is just about done with the dry fit. Dry fit is very important prior to paint, particularly if you have to use parts from other 356s.

The Speedster came without a rear bumper and we have ordered one but it will take six weeks. Since the Kardex info on the Speedster indicated US bumpers, we also had to find the overrider tubes. Wanting to fit everything on the Speedster prior to paint, we stole the rear bumper from the Shop ’57 Sunroof Coupe. Of course it needed repair and we had to take pictures of the repair for the next edition of the 356 restoration book.

Fortunately, the bumpers had the holes for the overider tubes which we purchased and everything fit well with minor modifications. The Speedster will be off to paint shortly and will be the original colors Signal Red (or Fire Red) with black interior and top.

Bill Frey was testing an engine on his test stand that we hoped to put in the Speedster. But Al Lager read the newsletter and called to say he had a 1957 engine that he could finish rebuilding. So the Speedster will get an Al Lager engine and since the engine that Bill tested is a ’59 it will go in the ’59 Outlaw Coupe we recently purchased.

Speaking of 356 purchases, we bought another one! One of our customers saw the ’63 Coupe at a local shop. It was just a chassis flat on the ground. The engine, transmission and suspension had been removed and there were no other parts. All the metal work has been done so all it needs is paint prep, paint and assembly. Hopefully, we have most of the missing parts on our shelves.

The day before I wrote this newsletter, I made an offer on a ’58 Cabriolet project. If accepted, that will be sixteen 356s we own. Since we only plan to keep the first and second 356s we’ve restored “my” 63 Sunroof and Barb’s ’62 Twin Grille and perhaps the ’52 Race car, we will have a lot of 356s to finish in the next few years. So I guess my second retirement will be put off. However, a couple of extra weeks of vacation in Maui sounds like a plan.

West Coast Holiday
If you plan to attend the 356 Holiday to be held in Snowmass and Steamboat Springs September 5-10 you must make your hotel reservations NOW! You have to be registered at the event hotels to participate in the Holiday. The reason? To get a reasonable hotel rate the local club has to guarantee rooms. For more Holiday information contact Sharon at (303) 494-7281 or

356 Parts
We buy a lot of parts from vendors. While we try to spread our parts buying among the various vendors to keep them in business, we continue to buy a lot of parts from Stoddard. The availability and quality of parts from Stoddard remains consistently high.

We never have bad mouthed the quality of reproduction parts as we are fortunate to still have them provided for forty to fifty year old cars. We have noticed an increase in parts quality from the various vendors and it is appreciated.

We still have problems with the bumper and rocker deco as we understand there is only one vendor and he makes them for replica 356s. He is not motivated to make them correct for a real 356.

If you plan to keep your 356 for a long time it is wise to purchase parts that have a tendency to fail over time; ignition switches and light switches are two of the items that often fail. You can extend their life by installing the starter and headlight relays from If you need wiper blades you can buy one twice as long at the auto parts store and cut it in half. Make sure it will fit the wiper arm.

Grandpa News
BJ, Jen and Alex took a week vacation in Mexico. Barb and I went through grand daughter withdrawal.