May 2004 Newsletter

Be Careful
Last month’s newsletter mentioned two 356s that had been in accidents. After the newsletter had been distributed we got another call. Fred’s 356 got hit hard on the right rear. Again, not the 356 driver’s fault. He was in a school zone, flashing lights, 20 mph limit and the other driver (cell phone?) ran into him.

And then at the first vintage race at Second creek this year, Dave went off track at turn ten, went across track and hit the jersey barrier. His 356 has extensive front suspension and transmission damage.

Fred was fortunate on his insurance claim. We did the estimate insisting on panel replacement not repair and a full paint job. The insurance adjuster reviewed our estimate and wrote Fred a check for the full amount. He didn’t even try the “betterment” clause on the paint job. While we did the estimate we are too busy to repair Fred’s 356 and it will be taken to another shop.

There is no insurance for racing incidents so Dave will have to do most of the repair to his racing Roadster.

Restoration Book
My 356 restoration book has been well received. I received over twenty calls, letters and e-mails thanking me and congratulating me on the book. We have sold over 700 copies and I am quite pleased. I am being pressured to do a second edition with more photos and details. Maybe in a few years.

Rennsport II
BJ and I flew into Orlando, rented a car and drove to Daytona Beach for Rennsport II. We had a motel right across from the track. Friday morning we got to the track early. The place was packed with Porsche Race cars. There were 560 drivers registered!

We had free access to the garages and were able to examine in detail the famous and winning Porsches of the past. There were over twenty 962s, all 911s from every year and more RSRs than you could imagine. There were over thirty racing 356s. Plus there was serial one 356, an America Roadster and a Gmumd Coupe from the Porsche museum. Jerry Seinfeld also brought Porsches from his collection. The best was a Gmund Coupe that had been preserved not restored. This is the most documented Gmund 356 and all the documents were there for review. This 356 even had a roof rack to carry a spare tire. This was a documented factory option. Early Saturday morning the garages were open, no one was there and I was able to spend an hour undisturbed with those great 356s.

There was also a restored Model 109 Porsche diesel tractor like mine and we were able to take a lot of pictures for this future restoration project.

BJ and I attended the driver’s meeting. When the race steward asked how many drivers had not raced at Daytona about 200 hands went up. But as in all vintage races this was about the cars not winning. In three days of racing there were no major racing incidents. Yes, there were spins and off track excursions but no metal to metal.

The racing 356s were in Group I. This group also had all two liter 911s and 550s. There were 120 Porsches in this group! The 356s were quite competitive and the racing was great. While Daytona was a road course, a lot of the track is on the high banks. The drivers said they would put the 356 into fourth, run it up to red line, try to get a tow from another Porsche and just hang on. They also said your vision narrows on the banking and it is quite rough.

BJ had a new digital camera with zoom and he got some great pictures.

At lunch time they would have parade laps and yes serial one was driven along with all the other museum cars and the famous racing Porsches. Rumor has it Rennsport III will be in California in 2007.

BJ is about two thirds done with the metal work on Mathew’s ’59 Coupe. I started on the metal work on David’s ’58 Coupe. This is an interesting project as previous rust repairs had been done, some acceptable some not. For example, the floor pan was replaced but not correctly. It was welded under not over the inner longitudinal ledges. I am trying to make it look right without removing the floor pan. There are also nicely done patches to the rear fenders where there were fender flares. Since there are no seat mounts or pedal cluster bracket this 356 was not driven after repairs. We think this was a racing 356 that was converted back to street use.

Fritz’s ’64 Coupe is at the painter for a Champagne Yellow paint job. The other Michael’s 356 is at the other painter and should be back soon. We also have George’s 356 to re-assemble and just to ensure that we have enough to do, I bought a ’58 Cabriolet as a shop car. We did the metal work on this 356 years ago and sold it as a project-now we get to finish it.