May 2000 Newsletter


Last month I said I had plenty of work to do before the Charity Concours. Did I ever!

I entered four 356’s and at the time I sent the entry forms only Barb’s Twin Grille Roadster was running. My Black ’63 Sunroof Coupe needed an emission check with its rebuilt engine and some door adjustments.� The New Jersey ’58 Speedster needed to be reassembled and this was a priority as the owner was flying out for the event. Then my ’56 Speedster needed to be reassembled. Both Speedsters had the engines in but were weeks away from being finished. So we got the brake lines hooked up on the ’58 Speedster but had problems with the emergency brake.  We put new axle boots on it and fill the tranny.  And of course the boots leaked. We got the rebuilt instruments in but still had electrical problems.  Joe Leoni’s books helped a lot.

Then it was time to fire up the engine; we primed the carbs and it fired right up. Then died! Tried it a few times; same results.  Checked for fuel at the fuel pump. Nada! Checked at the exit from the tunnel. Nada! Checked at the petcock. OK! So it has got to be in the tunnel. Ran some wire up and down the tunnel line and finally got fuel flow. Ran out about a cup till it ran clear.  Hooked everything up and the engine ran.  Did a rough adjustment on the throttle, clutch and accelerator linkage and it actually went forward ten feet and back ten feet.  Good enough; time to work on my Speedster.  But the next day I smelled gasoline and checked the New Jersey car. Saw the new petcock was weeping. Not unusual until the cork seals get wet.

So off to my Speedster. Same routine but significant electrical problems.  Had to request Joe Leoni’s help.  The man is a genius. Got most of the problems solved but upon starting the car I couldn’t get a gear.  As I was working on this I notice the New Jersey Speedster still smelled of gas.  I opened the door and could see the new floor mat had big bubbles. Gasoline had gotten underneath and softened the rubber.  So I took everything out to dry in the sun and put clamps on the petcock hose.

I made an appointment to have Trevor do some adjustments and check my mechanical work. (I don’t profess to be a mechanic and wanted a professional to check a customer car.) Trevor did the adjustments and checked my work but couldn’t run the engine as there was a fuel leak in the tunnel. Got the ’58 Speedster home and pulled the fuel line. There was a split in the line and lots of rust. Replaced it with some 5/16 inch copper tube. The car fired right up; the floor mats dried out and everything went back together.

Back to my Speedster. Running out of time. Pulled the shifter. Someone had lengthened the lever to shorten the shift. The alignment at the pin was off. Found a better shift lever, But to replace the lever you have to loosen the tunnel shift rod at the back of the tunnel.  It was difficult but finally came loose.  Installed the new lever but the rod wouldn’t go in.  Spent two hours but it still wouldn’t go Called Trevor.  He said it should just slip in.  It was obvious I would have to get the rod out to find the problem.  The workbook says pull the engine and tranny.  No way Jay! I grabbed my metal shears and cut the top off the tunnel.  I can weld it later. Just get the shift rod out! Sure enough there is a little burr in the bottom of the shift rod opening. I remove this and the shift rod goes right in. But I still can’t get gears. Just like the problem with Cal’s Speedster.  One day to go till the New Jersey customer arrives and I have to help sort out his leftover parts. Fired up his car-only running on three. Crud got in the carb from the fuel line.  Worked on my shifter. Could only get second gear.  That’s it.  We are done by definition.

The Show

The New Jersey customer arrives two days before the show.  He loved his car! I made arrangements to trailer both Speedsters to Allan, the painter’s, shop which is just across the street from the show.  I figured we could somehow drive or push the cars to the event.

The morning of the event:

  • Barb drove her Roadster.
  • Jen drove the Black Coupe.
  • BJ and I drove the truck and trailer to the paint shop.
  • Both Speedsters fired up. I made it to the show in second gear and the New Jersey owner made it on three cylinders!  This was the first time he had driven it since 1963!
  • At the show Cal said the fuel pump failed on his new engine the night before. So I got the trailer, went to his house and brought his Speedster down to ACC and we pushed his car onto the grass for the show.

What a show!  Over 250 cars.  Twenty six were 356’s and thousands (it seemed) of spectators.  Mel Shapiro got Best Porsche for his ’56 Black Speedster. (I had the honor of having that traveling trophy for a year with the Carrera. and am pleased to see it pass to him.)

Rosemarie Lohert got first place in the 356 class.  Congratulations to Mel and Rosemarie and thanks to all who supported and attended the event.