November 2003 Newsletter

After we picked up Ted’s Cabriolet at Trevor’s we finished a few remaining items and took it for a test drive. Ran like a scalded cat! Trevor sure knows how to build a 356 engine. Ted put 500 miles on it and then back to Trevor’s and then back to 356RESTORE for the remaining items on the punch list. We drove it back to Ted last week and it is done.

Ted’s Cabriolet was number three on our list of difficult restorations. Number one was of course Barb’s Twin Grille Roadster. This was the 356 that was so rusty it broke in half. Number two was “Frankenstein”, the stripped and abandoned ’59 Cabriolet from Carbondale. It had no original parts and major rust.

BJ called Ted’s 356 “Igor” or that evil-evil car. Ted’s car had been hit in the front twice and not only needed a front clip but major rust repair and repair to poor previous repairs.

The reason I mentioned the difficulty with Ted’s Cabriolet is because after we finished it we started reassembly of Gene’s ’62 Cabriolet. What a difference! Gene’s 356 had moderate damage to the front due to backing up on a flat tow and the average rust damage. But all the parts were original. We were able to reassemble it with few problems. For example, while it took half a day to install the windshield on Ted’s Cab it took less than an hour on Gene’s. Same with the hood-three hours for Ted’s; fifteen minutes for Gene’s. This is what is great about restoring the Porsche 356- challenges and rewards.

By the way, I won the bet with Gene. The bet was that whenever a female came to check out a restored 356 within fifteen minutes, she would point to a flaw on the exterior body. Gen said this would never happen with his wife; I said it would as it had happened 100% of the time in the past. Well, it took twelve minutes but we saw Gene’s wife pointing to a small discoloration in the paint on the left rear fender. So, Gene buys supper!

We took Gene’s Cab to Autoweave for some carpet and top work and moved George’s ’60 Coupe to the shop.

We finished all the major metal work on Michael’s ’62 Coupe and BJ will be starting the clean, paint, caulk and undercoat process. On Michael’s 356 as we did on Ted’s we had to replace the front clip.

We are fortunate there is a vendor making these clips as original clips are hard to find. Even clips from scrapped 356s are getting hard to find. There is a lot of work to clip a 356, but a successful job immediately corrects a lot of problems and restores those nice curves.

We bought Rob’s ’64 Coupe and it should be trucked out from Virginia this week. This is the 356 that moved from Denver to Virginia and then took an SUV hit in the passenger door. The pictures I’ve seen show significant right side damage and even the dash buckled up about eight inches. However, we have a good C door and even a complete C dash (leftover from when we rebuilt Barb’s Roadster on a C chassis). I had put instruments and switches in the C dash and carted it to swap meets to show dash items that we had for sale. But it was hard to transport and display plus we sold most of our dash items. So I was going to sell the dash until I saw the pictures of Rob’s 356. What is great about Rob’s ’64 is that it has a Trevor engine and transmission which was undamaged. Plus Rob was a stickler about maintenance. We have a frame dolly to ensure Rob’s ’64 will be square as we do the work. But this won’t happen until after Gene’s, Michael’s and George’s 356s are done.

Bill continues to move parts from our ’58 Race car to our ’52 soon to be Race car. This is more than just moving parts. There is a lot of fabrication required as the ’52 has a lot of early Volkswagen parts that need to be upgraded for reliability and safety. Some preliminary checking indicates when the ’52 hits the track it will be one of the earliest Porsches racing.

My restoration book titled “Porsche 356-Guide to do it Yourself Restoration” is in final layout with some illustrations finally completed. After layout there will be one last review and then off to printing. When I get a print date I will announce it here and tell you how to order if interested. I’m guessing this will be after the first of the year.

We had a call from John McConnell who moved from Denver to Wisconsin after he and Carol had both retired from teaching. John was racing his 356 and had an “incident”. Fortunately only 356 damage; but John has decided to retire from racing. His call was to see if we had parts to repair his 356 and turn it back into a street car. We have most of the needed parts and it will be a pleasure to help him out as he helped me out when I started racing a 356.

The racing schedule for next year is just about final and we will provide details next month. We also hope to have more details on Rennsport II in April being held in Daytona Beach. BJ and I had a great time at Rennsport I and can’t say enough about this event-but all things connected with 356 are great!