November 2004 Newsletter

Shop Cars
Well I did it again! Bought another shop car. A shop car is one we buy and restore to sell. Hopefully we buy at a small cost, invest our time, pay others for parts, paint and interior and then sell at a profit.

This one is a ’55 Sunroof Coupe. I use to say that a sunroof added two thousand dollars to the value of a 356 Coupe. Now I say at least four thousand dollars as sunroof clips, if you can find them, go for three thousand dollars. This sunroof shop car has lots of rust underneath but is complete and the gaps are good. Good gaps mean probably no collision damage but you can’t tell until the 356 is disassembled and media blasted. So this shop car will join the list of others to be restored.

I had to stop and think about our 356 inventory.

We have:
’52 Coupe Racecar (will probably keep until racing is no longer fun.)
’54 Coupe-(not really ours until we finish the owner’s ’55 Coupe.)
’55 Sunroof Coupe – (just bought.)
’57 Carrera-(close to being ready for paint).
’58 Coupe Coyote-(need to add engine and turn into street outlaw).
’58 Cabriolet-(painted Meissen Blue; being assembled).
’60 Outlaw-(top has been chopped for Speedster windshield but needs more mods).
’62 Twin Grille Roadster-(Barb’s 356 will stay in family).
’63 Sunroof Coupe-(my 356 but may sell if I like the ’64 Green Coupe better).
’64 Green Coupe-(has Al Lager engine, just about ready for road test).
’64 Coupe-(the one we got in Albuquerque, metal work started).

So we have eleven 356s. We will only keep two or three as we are not collectors. The problem is finishing the shop cars when customers need work. While we have tried to slow the customer work we still have some customer commitments.

As noted above, the Shop ’58 Cabriolet is back from Don, the painter. It is beautiful! Meissen Blue is a soft blue gray and will look great with a red interior. The issues are many parts are missing or there are parts from other 356s. We have parts from two broken soft top frames and have to fabricate parts to make one good frame.

I started on the metal work on the ’64 Shop Coupe from Albuquerque and have the floor pan in; the right longitudinal and threshold in and the front of the right side door repaired. It still needs a repair to the left longitudinal and numerous rust areas. (Blast Tech really helped out and got the ’64, the ’54 and the ’55 blasted in just two weeks!)

BJ continues work on the ’57 Carrera. The hood was full of bondo and when he opened it up he found fiberglass over rust, previous brazing and missing seams. He has done an excellent job of restoring the hood and other areas of the 356. I just realized we have to find and fit the bumper overriders before we can paint the Carrera. Will check with vendors next week.

While we had checked out the electrics on the ’64 Green Coupe we still had problems as I was getting it ready to go to Tevor’s for final tuning. The lights wouldn’t work and they had before. Time to call Joe Leoni. After doing the obvious checks, Joe found power going into the headlight relay but none coming out. The problem was a very small rivet in the relay body that was loose and not making contact for ground. A little cleaning and a drop of solder and we had lights! Seems like every time we have to call Joe for an electrical problem it is a ground problem. Just can’t understand how 40-50 year old parts fail. (Maybe a winter project for you would be to clean and check all the grounds on your 356; not just important for lights but also for engine performance.)

Customer commitments include assisting Michael assemble his Coupe and assembling Mathew’s ’59 Coupe after paint; also doing restoration of Scot’s ’55 Coupe and doing the metal work on Andy’s ’62 Coupe. A couple of reasons we are able to complete a lot of 356 restorations is we have the 356s blasted so we can see all the required metal work; we know how to do the metal work correctly and quickly and we have had two painters that do the final finish and paint. Both Don and Vern do excellent work. Unfortunately, Vern is having problems with his shoulders (important when hand sanding/blocking a car) and he will have to curtail work for awhile. So Don will have to pick up the load but says he is up to the challenge.

Our thanks to Phil Carney for submitting a picture to the 356Registry of Porsches and Pastries on Drive Your 356 Day. Our thanks also to Bill Block for again recommending our 356 Restoration book in his book review column in the Registry. The first printing of 1500 is just about sold out so order now for Christmas.