November 2010 Newsletter

A few weeks ago our air compressor failed. It is hard to be productive without air tools. For grinding we can switch to electric grinders but for cutting we need the plasma cutter and for sanding we need air. Hand sanding is a chore.

The technician thought it was the motor and said to get seventeen years was great as ten years was average. So a new motor was ordered and a week later with it installed it still didn’t work. So it was the pressure switch and with it cleaned it worked even with the old motor. (saved $600). A week later we had to replace the pressure switch. Now everything is great.

BJ has the Texas “Goat car” just about ready for the painter. We took the Oklahoma Twin Grille Roadster to the painter so we moved the Shop ‘60 Cabriolet into the shop.

If you remember, we had solved the top closing problem before we stopped working on it to work on customer 356s. With the top closed, the side windows did not seal to the top. Since the doors and parts were from our parts collection (Remember it was an abandon and stripped 356 from Carbondale) it was not to be unexpected and pointed out how original parts were hand fit. With a days work we were able to adjust the window regulator to get the glass to seal. Then with the door seals installed the doors wouldn’t shut tight. We have solved this problem many times and the doors now shut but not flush at the lower rear. We will add a shim to the top hinge and this will bring the bottom rear in but will probably mess up the gaps. We probably should have dry fit all the door parts and seals before paint. We took the Shop’60 Cab to the mechanics for linkage adjustment and engine start and tune.

We also took the Shop ‘58 Cabriolet to Blast Tech. This was the 356 we recently purchased which was really rusty and was on a dolly if you saw it at Porsches and Pastries. Before going to Blast Tech BJ put some duct tape over the yellow crayon marking on the top of the dash. It read 3.12 and lw. Don’t know what it means but it was marked at the factory and we try to save these factory marks which we have seen before particularly on doors. We also removed the Cabriolet top covering from the frame and took it to Blast Tech.. We will need the top frame as an additional jig when we start the metal work. You can’t believe how many tacks are used to secure the top material to the frame. There are wood tack strips at the front and rear of the frame. The headliner is tacked with probably 150 tacks then the padding is installed and then the top is secured by another 150 or so tacks. We had to buy a tack puller at the hardware store.

So with the Twin Grille Roadster at the painters and the Shop’60 Cabriolet at the mechanics we put the Shop ‘54 Coupe in the shop. When we left this project we had started on the electrics. Using Joe Leoni’s book we soon learned this early 356 had some differences. Since early 356’s used the same colored wires for different functions i.e. yellow with black tracer for both lights and horns and many red wires for power, it became obvious we would have to trace the wires. To do this we had to cut away the cloth covering on the wiring harness. This allowed us to trace a wire from the fuse box to the switch location and other locations. We got this done and installed a battery. Headlights worked but nothing else. The key in the ignition switch didn’t seem to turn correctly. On a Pre A the ignition is off or on. You have a starter button to start the 356. So off to the local locksmith. He checked the computer and said keys are not available and we should get a new switch. I said they are not available, could we try a repair? So we opened it up and tried to modify the switch to make the key work. No good, so I said lets remove the guts as it only has to be off or on. We did and we checked continuity and it works. Of course the key will fall out as there are no guts but we can solve that some how. So forty minutes and ten dollars and a bit of fun working with an experienced locksmith, it was back home and time to test it. It works! The red generator light comes on and the starter turns over. Now we have to figure a solution to the turn signals problem as we don’t have the correct turn signal switch or flasher. Will probably have to ask Joe Leoni for help.

It was embarrassing! We were showing off the 356’s in the storage building to visitors when I lifted the hood on the Shop ’54 Coupe, four mice were running around. On the early 356s the tunnel goes right though to the front storage compartment so they had the run of the 356. We checked the other stored 356s and found mice evidence. Now we know why the cat wants to get in the storage building. Because of the cat we don’t use traps or poison. But the next problem is the car covers. They provide the perfect dark environment for mice. So we are going without car covers and trying the ultrasonic rodent repellers.

Barb made reservations at our favorite spot in Maui for our February vacation. Looking forward to it as it has been a busy year. Check out the Maui beach on the webcam at

Grandpa News
Alex has moved up to level five in swimming. She has mastered the breast stroke and is learning the dolphin kick.
Alex has enjoyed all the Christmas toy catalogs. She has gone through a lot of markers circling what she wants. Alex will be an Angel (of course!) in the church Christmas play.