Good progress this month. The Shop ’56 Sunroof Coupe was sent to the painter for a new coat of Aquamarine Blue. Les finished the rebuild on the engine for this 356. He said “it’s a happy motor!” So this shop project should be for sale next year.
BJ is doing the metal work on the Shop ’64 Coupe. So far it has received a new front floor, partial threshold and rocker and front closing panel repair. Battery box floor, jack spurs, longitudinal repair and rear closing panels are next. We will repaint this Coupe the original Irish Green. It will have a black interior.
I’ve been working on the Shop ’61 Roadster. I’ve decided to do this 356 as a show car. I usually do driver level restorations as show level takes a lot longer and you have to start with an almost perfect 356. Well, this Roadster had no collision damage and only minor rust. The original floor pan and longitudinals are intact. We will have to repair the battery box floor.
We got this 356 from the second owner who started it as a project twenty two years ago and never got going on it. We think this is a low mileage 356 (the odometer reads 66,025) as the door stops are hardly worn.. We will repaint this 356 the original Aetna Blue (a very attractive color for a Roadster) and save the finish on the front, rear and interior compartments. I did not have these areas blasted as there was no damage and they are original. The seats, panels and dash were red. While I think this is too much color for a blue Roadster, I may keep it original, although tan would be nice.
The engine was rebuilt five years ago by Appleton and I have the work order and receipts. This 356 was complete except for the windshield. It even has two of the very rare “Porsche” wrenches in the tool kit.
This Roadster was built by D’Iteren and has the rare aluminum windshield frame (Barb’s Twin Grille Roadster also has an aluminum frame). Most other Roadsters and Convertible D windshield frames were pot metal or brass.
Since the local chrome shop doesn’t do aluminum I sent these pieces to Paul’s Plating back East. Check out Paulschrome.com for some very informative pictures of the plating process. The section on environmental protection is especially informative and helps to explain why chrome plating is so expensive.
When I took all the other chrome parts to the local shop, it turned out the rear bumper guards were also aluminum. The front bumper guard and all four top caps were pot metal. I checked Dr Brett Johnson’s book on 356 authenticity and it said that Carreras had aluminum bumper guards and they sometimes got on other 356’s. However, the Carrera used the front bumper guards on the rear and they had no exhaust hole. The ones from the Shop ’61 Roadster had the exhaust hole! Another 356 mystery!
Other 356 Mysteries
While the 356 was made by hand-or as Joe Leoni says “made by whatever was handy” this led to many mysteries that are still being uncovered. I have probably looked at over fifty ID plates; the ones that cover the door hinges. They are all aluminum and the last three digits of the 356’s serial number are stamped horizontally on the bottom backside of each plate. I recently saw an ID plate with the serial number stamped vertically. Also I have probably looked at over a hundred rear deck lids. On the A-B-C cars the serial number is in the upper right corner of the center section of the deck lid. Recently I saw the numbers stamped in the upper left corner.
On Barb’s Roadster the serial number was stamped on the gas filler hinge. I showed this to Brett Johnson years ago; he had never seen this. A local owner has some unique tabs welded to the floor under the seats. Another mystery! Since Porsche used three different body builders to manufacture their chassis it can explain some of these mysteries but finding them is what makes 356 restoration so exciting.
A New Owner
I got a call a few weeks back from a guy in New York. He wanted to know about the 356 restoration process and costs. I explained this to him and asked about his 356. He said that for the last three years his son who is now fourteen had noticed a 356 stored outside under a tarp in their neighborhood. He told his Dad they should get it. His Dad said go negotiate with the owner and let me know what you find out and then we will decide. The kid goes, comes back and says we got the 356. His Dad says well how much? The kid says the owner said if I wanted it that bad he would give it to me.
Well, Dad and son have a major project as the 356 had been stored outside in New York under a tarp for twenty five years!
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