September 2007 Newsletter

Vintage Racing
Bill Frey flat towed his 356 back to New York as he has a cabin there and the Watkins Glen race track was celebrating Porsche. Bill participated in the driving and historical events.

BJ and I went to the new MPH race track; BJ to work race control and I to checkout my new Airstream camping trailer. MPH is a 2.33 mile, thirteen turn race track. While it is flat the drivers said it was fun. We had 150 vintage racers and a great event including a reception with hors d’oeuvres/beverage and a steak dinner. Boy, that Nebraska beef is good. Yes, Nebraska. MPH stands for Motorsports Park Hastings. Hastings Nebraska is midway in Nebraska just south of Grand Island. A town of 25,000 and really nice people. It is a six and half hour drive but with no race tracks in the Denver area it is worth the trip.

Racers have lost Second Creek, PPIR, Mountain View and the Stapleton track. Developers and politics have closed the tracks. We still have La Junta and Pueblo but you can only run them so often a season.

The Colorado Amateur Motorsports Association (CAMA) is building a new track up by Byers. We have 460 acres and it is not all flat. The race track has been designed and features 15 turns and some seventy foot elevation changes. The track will be one hour east of Denver and there is no threat of developers. All of the political bodies have approved and ground breaking will be this fall and we will race next season.

Funding is proceeding quickly and the three million dollar goal is within reach. If you have enjoyed participating or watching at vintage race events (remember Steamboat) and want to contribute you can do so at

I finally finished all the metal work on Speedster 80013. This was ten weeks of work. A lot of it was repairing previous poor work. The advantage having a 356 media blasted to bare metal is you can see all the metal that has to be repaired. When 80013 arrived and we did our evaluation, we could only see about half the repairs needed. The rest were covered by metal patches, household caulk and undercoat. This is why we insist on media blasting and after blasting can give an accurate estimate of metal repair.

When we thought we were done with metal work we painted the engine compartment with two part black primer. Right away we could see the engine tray was dented and wavy. Since this area is hard to work with a body hammer and dolly, we could cut it out and work it on the bench or replace it. We decided to replace it. Of course no one makes a one piece Pre A engine tray. We had to buy a two piece and make it work.

The bumpers that came with 80013 were later A style and would have to be modified or reproductions purchased. We now have good reproduction bumpers available but we discovered the bumpers from the Shop ’54 Coupe were a perfect fit. So we made a swap. The front bumper brackets are on backorder. There seems to be a lot of 356 parts on backorder; must be a lot of restoration due to the increased value of the 356s.

However, the new wiring harness for 80013 was delivered in three weeks. We have waited up to six months for a wiring harness in the past. It is not often that we order a wiring harness for a 356 restoration. I think we have only bought four. Usually only the wire ends of the original wiring harness need repair. If the original wiring harness was modified it is usually with add on wires and the original wires are still there. We really thank Joe Leoni for his research and documentation of the wiring in all the various 356 models. Joe’s books have saved us hours of work.

So we are now finally doing the metal work on the exterior of 80013. We say finally because folks always look at the fit and finish of a 356 first. We have been working underneath 80013 for ten weeks but nobody will see the work, they only see the exterior and its issues.

Well, we are now making the exterior perfect. The gaps will be flush and correct. The gaps will be 3 mm prior to paint and 2 mm after. The exception is the bottom door gap which should be one mm after paint.

Some of the problems with getting panels to fit flush is the door and good seals. There is only one manufacturer of most of the 356 rubber seals. Another manufacturer makes some of the seals. The problem is quality. The manufacturing process allows a wide variant and some seals are too thick. You will see hoods that are not flush and doors that won’t fit flush. When doing exterior metal work on a 356 you have to use the seals to get panels flush. It is too late after paint.

While working on the passenger door for 80013 we saw that it wasn’t flush with the rocker panel. No problem, we will just remove a shim. But no shims, what to do? Well we got our big hammer and with a few whacks on the lower hinge mount the door fit flush. Usually you see one or two shims on a door hinge. Since 80013 was never in a collision the absence was probably original. If you see a lot of shims on a door hinge it means the 356 likely has been in a collision and there may be more problems than just door fit!

So we are probably a month away from getting 80013 to the painter. BJ will have the Shop ’54 Coupe also ready for paint. We expect the Shop ’58 Outlaw and the Shop ’57 Sunroof Coupe back from Autoweave and the Shop ’58 Coupe back from the painter. So lots of fun projects continue at 356RESTORE.

Grandpa News
Well, Alex had her third birthday the beginning of Sept, so we had 3 different birthday parties-play friends, nursery school and family; so next year at age 4 will she have four?