May 2008 Newsletter

We are making good progress completing the shop 356s for sale. For the last two years we have deferred restoring customer 356s. We are now opening up the shop to customer work. So if we had put you off in the past and you still need work to be done on your 356, contact us.

The first customer 356 restoration will be a 1961 Roadster stored since 1972. That’s right! Stored for thirty five years! The second owner was backed into and the front bumper and nose was damaged. He disassembled the Roadster and had it repaired and painted. He just never got around to reassembly as he did not have a garage or time. The Roadster has been in a storage lot garage with other household items. When we evaluated the 356 we found a front bumper that weighed an extra five pounds and an inch of bondo in the nose. The battery box floor also needs to be repaired (see the comments on the Optima battery in last month’s newsletter). We will have the Roadster media blasted and hopefully there will not be much more bodywork. Then it will be paint, assembly, and back on the road after a long, long time. The Shop ’57 Speedster was transported to Oregon and the new owner is very happy with it. The shop ’57 Sunroof Coupe is scheduled to go to its new owner in mid June. It will be at the West Coast Holiday in Lake Tahoe, California and presented as the 356 featured in the second edition of our 356 restoration book.

We are backed up with paint work to be done as the shop ’54 Coupe, shop ’60 Cabriolet, and shop ’64 Coupe have to be painted. We are looking at backup painters. We also tried a backup upholstery shop as the last two 356s we had done took over a year. We found an experienced guy who had worked on 356s before and did an excellent job on the seats, dash, and rear seat cushion for the shop ’58 Coupe. The quality of work was excellent, the price fair, and the turnaround time was less than a month. Call us for contact information.

We always recommend the use of an experienced classic car transport company when transporting a 356 cross country. However, one of those companies really screwed up (we don’t know its name). The recent issue of Vintage Motorsport details how a Porsche collection including a 917, 910, 908, 911 RSR, and 962 were transported two hundred miles across Florida and they were not tied down! Unbelievable! Major damage to all the Porsches and a huge insurance problem (one of the adjusters wanted to check the odometers! Odometers on race cars!)

Vintage Racing
Since our 356 race car isn’t ready to race, I volunteered as a corner worker at the first race of the season at La Junta. I had never done this before and when I say work I mean worked. You are on your feet all day in the hot sun and blowing sand concentrating on a section of track to signal a problem-yellow flag or faster car approaching-blue flag. I had to throw a few yellow flags but mostly for spinouts not major incidents. There was one incident in another corner when a student driver rolled his car. Unfortunately, it was a 356. BJ was working race control and had the race stopped and the ambulance and wrecker on the scene in under a minute. The driver wasn’t injured and drove the 356 home after the race.

My hat is off to the corner workers and the after race beer at the next race will be on 356RESTORE.

Corner workers also have a sense of humor. Usually, on Saturday there is a fun race after morning practice and qualifying. The fun race might be an inverted start or an alphabetized start; something different and fun. One of the corner workers had a new idea-shot and a lap, shot and a lap, etc.!

356 Talk
The 356 Registry site has a new format for exchanging information on 356s. It now allows pictures which really helps in identifying a 356 problem. One of the recent pictures was of a black Convertible D as it sat on the highway after spinning out and hitting the guard rail. Extensive damage to the rear end. The cause, a rear tire blowout. The owner knew the tires were at least five years old. We have mentioned before to check the age of you tires; if over nine years old, replace. To check tire age, look for the symbols DOT xxxx xxxx xxx(x) on the sidewall. The last three or four digits are the week and year of the manufacture i.e. DOT PIRW B4LR 109 is a tire manufactured in the tenth week of 1999 (or 1989!)

We continue to enjoy working on the 356. There is usually a challenge. Recently, we had a hood that wouldn’t latch. Well, it would latch but not release. We have done over seventy of these so we knew the problem was probably the male part of the latch being too long and hanging up on the bottom of the female latch. What you have to do is completely disassemble the male latch and continue to work the problem. Would you believe six hours to solve the challenge?

The Great Race of 2008 to commemorate the 1908 race from New York to Paris has been postponed. China doesn’t want visitors prior to the Olympics who might disparage their country. So the Bumfuzzle Kids won’t drive their 356 even on the North American leg.

Grandpa News
BJ and Alex were at the gym and Alex wanted to climb the climbing wall. BJ said, “You have to be five.” Alex said, “I’m three.” BJ said, “How much is three plus three?” Alex stopped, put up three fingers on her left hand, three fingers on her right hand; thought, said, “Six” and continued on her way.