September 2001 Newsletter

Road Trip

One of the readers of this Newsletter saw that I needed 356 A parts. He e-mailed and said he has some left over from his restoration project. He also knew of a ’64 C chassis for sale at $200. It also had disc brakes parts. I called and asked how much did the owner want for the disc brakes. The answer was $200 for both the chassis and disc brakes.

So I’m off to Topeka! The tranny was out of the 356 so I loaded up my rear end dolly (no comments!); hooked up the trailer and drove east on I-70 to exit 356 (no kidding). The next morning I drove to Robert’s house and picked through plenty of parts. Next, was to pick up the ’64 chassis. It was located in the small back yard of a small house on a busy street. The gate was too narrow for my trailer and worse yet the rear trailing arms had been cut in half and there was no way to attach my dolly.

But Robert had a drill and some sharp bits and was able to attach the dolly while I fit wheels to the front hubs. After we jacked it off the railroad tie and truck tire underneath, the 356 rolled easily out the gate and on to the trailer. Another eight hours and I was home.

When these deals pop up you have to jump at them. The chassis is in above average shape and still had a few parts. The steering wheel and gas tank were there and of course the brakes. This was a good deal and the 356 will probably be a future vintage racer.

Another Shop Car

No sooner did I get back than I got a call from the owner of a ’61 Roadster that I had looked at six months ago. I had made a fair offer considering he had $5,000 into an Appleton rebuilt engine. But I never heard back. Now he calls and needs some money for a business deal. Is my offer still good? Yes, I say but I’m filled up with 356’s and can’t come get it for over a week. No problem he says, I’ll bring it down tomorrow. The ’61 Roadster is complete including two of the rare Porsche wrenches in the tool kit. Only one longitudinal, jack spurs, partial battery floor and closing panel repair is needed.

The problem is the ’64 Shop car is due back from Blast Tech and the Shop ’60 Coupe is due back from the paint shop. This means I will have fifteen 356’s here and I only have room for thirteen if Barb and I don’t park our cars outside.

So BJ and I have to make room in the storage building by discarding about fifty old tires (they are not safe after 20-30 years-but we saved a few good period tires as spares.) Then we moved stuff around and made room for the Shop ’64. We left the Topeka chassis on the trailer at Bill’s-Thanks Bill!

So the net is, we are full of 356’s and will not be accepting any new work until next summer. Unless someone buys the ’56 Speedster and the ’60 Coupe.

Winter Projects

In addition to 356’s to restore we also have a lot of small restoration projects. If anyone out there has time this winter I could use some help on parts restoration. I would pay a fair piece work price. The projects are:

l. Rebuild and test about twenty fuel petcocks.

2. Rebuild and test a dozen master cylinders.

3. Clean and polish numerous pieces of aluminum trim.

4. Rebuild and test about a dozen fuel pumps.

5. Rebuild about a dozen Zenith carbs (I would like experience on these.)

I would provide repair kits and training; you provide the labor. Call if interested.

Vintage Racing

You know how I enjoy vintage racing and particularly watching 356’s beat 911’s! Well, RMVR had a race at Second Creek and they were going to run it backward. While I was interested I had other weekend projects. But BJ called from the track where he was working corners and said Mike Wilfey was running his Speedster in the big bore class and was killing the 911’s, Corvettes and Camaros. His nemesis was Chip Hanes in the Mustang 350.

So I got out there Sunday morning; Mike had qualified fourth but in the first race was able to pass two Camaros and finished second to Chip in the Mustang.

For the second race Mike asked Chip for a faster start so he could get his revs up for the long straight. Chip obliged and it was Chip into the first turn but then Mike passed! And then it was Chip passing on the straights and Mike in the turns. At least twenty times! The last turn and Mike braked late, got underneath Chip and a drag race to the finish. Mike won by two feet! God, I love it when a 356 beats the big boys.


BJ made progress on Frankenstein and it is just about ready for paint. I will recommend to Keith that we find and dry fit all the missing parts prior to paint. When a 356 needs parts from other cars this is best. Other shop work was delayed as we cleaned the shop and put down a new black/white tile floor. My shop floor did not have a moisture barrier underneath and we have had paint problems over the years. The new checkered flag pattern looks great. Hope it holds up under the cutting, welding and grinding.

Hope you all drove your 356 on Sept 16. That was designated as “Drive your 356 Day”