October 2001 Newsletter


Thanks to all that attended Porsches and Pastries. We had forty-five 356s here for “Drive Your 356 Day” and over 100 guests. Jen made 650 individual pastries and only 30 were left at party’s end. So we know you enjoyed the pastries and you must have enjoyed the Porsches, as one changed hands.


Most of the time was spent getting the shop ’60 Coupe ready for sale. This was bought by the wife of the previous owner as a surprise birthday present for her husband. They were reading this newsletter when he said he sure missed his 356 which he had sold to me last year. Surprise, surprise, you got it back!

With the ’60 sold and Miles’ Cab off to the painter for finish body work, it was musical cars. The Shop ’64 was moved down to the shop and the Topeka chassis picked up at Bill’s and put in the storage building. My ’63 Coupe also went into the storage building, so now all the 356s are under cover.

We pulled some remaining parts off the Topeka chassis and will probably have it blasted and cut off the clips. The alternative is to sell it for a race car. We were able to salvage the steering wheel and column, gas tank, steering box, and lots of small parts that can be restored. These will go to the L.A. swap meet scheduled for February 10, 2002.

We finished the interior and bottom paint, caulk, and undercoat on the ’60 Cabriolet (which BJ calls Frankenstein) and started dry fitting parts. We had most of the parts on the shelves. I was quite happy that the Cabriolet door parts fit on the Coupe door that I modified. I don’t know if this had ever been done, but now I know it can be. I thought it was possible as the Pre-A Coupe and Cabriolet doors were the same. The major modification is to pull the Coupe door skin out at the rear to match the Cabriolet fender curve.

We purchased some welding blankets from Harbor Freight and they do a good job of protecting the new shop floor. We plan to install a ceiling in the shop, but have to wait until the upstairs kitchen remodel is done.

Plans are to send Frankenstein to the painter, start metal work on the ’64 Coupe, prepare the Shop ’56 Sunroof Coupe for paint (I’m thinking Aquamarine Blue) and get the Shop ’61 Roadster ready for blasting. Also need to finish the Shop ’56 Speedster.

Tech Tip

To really get your 356 glass clean, use super fine steel wool with your favorite glass cleaner. Does a great job. When dry, treat with Rain-X, which really fills in those small chips.

Reality Check

Our 356s are 35 to 50 years old. Many shops that serviced and restored these cars have gone out of business, and those in business no longer have the skills or knowledge to work on them. Parts are also a problem. Many replacement parts do not work, rebuild kits are incomplete, reproduction parts do not fit.

Here are some recommendations. Learn how to do your own service. Buy and read your Owners Manual. The Owners Manual makes recommendations based on mileage. but if you are not putting many miles on your 356, go by time. At the start of the driving season, change your oil and filter. At the end of the driving season, change your oil and filter. Bleed your brakes at least once a year. Know how to set your valves. Lubricate your 356 per the Owners Manual.

Check and replace as necessary your fuel lines. Don’t forget the ones under the tank and in the tunnel!

If you don’t know how to do these procedures, buy a copy of the “Technical and Restoration Guide”. Check the 356REGISTRY.ORG web site for vendors. This guide is a collection of all the technical articles written in the 356REGISTRY for the last twenty years.

For parts, continue to get them from the knowledgeable vendors like Stoddard, NLA, International Mercantile, and Autos International. I no longer recommend Tweeks. (As a side note, I got a call from a shop in Wyoming. They were trying to put a windshield in a ’54 Coupe. They knew how to do it but had failed five times. I told them it was probably the seal and to order the correct one from International Mercantile. They did, and were nice enough to call back and say the new seal worked perfect.)

Patronize the vendors that advertise in the 356REGISTRY. These are knowledgeable people that support our interest in these great cars.

Start building up your spares inventory. If you are pleased with a replacement part or repair kit, buy another as a spare. Many parts are going NLA – No Longer Available.

One of the amazing things about the Porsche 356 is that they can still perform even though neglected. I have plenty of stories of neglected 356s that still drive great, but their value has diminished and something serious is about to happen. You have to drive your 356 and listen to it. it will tell you when something is not right. Note – I write the above sermon because I have learned that two of the best 356 mechanics that I depend on are either curtailing their work or moving on. I am going to have to spend more time on mechanical issues. This is why we say, “Keep the 356 Faith”.