September 2012 Newsletter

newheaderPorsche and Pastries and Twentieth Anniversary
There is a lot of buzz about our twentieth anniversary celebration. We expect a big turnout. We will start at 10:00 am on Saturday, September 22nd. It’s open house so come when you can. As before, 356s park on the upper driveway, others park on the grass. Plenty of food and drink and a gift for each family, plus lots of freebies.

Twenty Year Reflection
It was twenty years ago this month. I was driving my 1963 Sunroof Coupe to the vintage races at Steamboat Springs. I was chasing Rich and Paulette in their 914. On the straight sections, I thought about the future. I had just been told to take an early retirement from my position as software manager for Control Data Corporation. I was in my early fifties, health was good and we were financially secure. Did I want to update my resume and hit the streets? What did I really enjoy? Well restoring Barb’s Twin Grille Roadster and writing about it was enjoyable. How about a business restoring Porsche 356s. We could call it 356Restore. But first, I better discuss this with Barb. She agreed but probably not knowing the sounds and smells that would emanate from her basement. So I got a business license, printed up some business cards and started a newsletter. I used all the 356 owners in the RM356PC and Rocky Mountain Region of PCA for the initial newsletter.

Our first customer was Lauren who lived up in the mountains. We called him “Mountain Man”.  He worked on VWs and drove a snowplow. He had a ‘59 Sunroof Coupe that had been stored outside but with the sunroof open a crack and the 356 on a slope. Rain started rusting out the driver side foot area and into the front strut. It was basically clean the area and weld in new metal; paint , caulk and under coat. Another customer at this time was Gerry, a neighbor who needed a roll bar installed in his ‘59 Coupe race car. We also installed a front oil cooler in the front of the battery box which is below the front clip on Pre-As, pretty effective.

At this time we were asked to restore an Austin Healey and Studebaker Golden Hawk. We said no, wanting to stay with the classic car we enjoyed most– the Porsche 356.

In twenty years we have worked on over one hundred and twenty Porsche 356s. Our eighty were full restorations. Most of these were projects that the owners bought cheap as a project or a driver. Some were original owner 356s that needed work. We also bought Shop 356s which were usually projects that never got completed. At that time we were buying Shop 356s for around $3000 and selling them for $8,000-$10,000 which was the market. Most of these projects were complete and mechanically sound.

With over 100 customers we have had only three horses rears (you know the word I wanted to use).
On reflection that is pretty damn good, of course the horses rears stay with you and its easy to forget the good folks. I mentioned one of the horses rears to Tom Conway once and he said “Jim, sometimes you just have to fire the customer”. This had not occurred to me and made life more enjoyable. Many, many stories of 356s and people over the last twenty years but lets get back to the present.

Basically, the two big projects underway this month, BJ has just about wrapped up the extensive metal work on Sam and Sally’s ‘59 Sunroof Coupe and will start the body work soon.

It has been great having Sam and Sally’s disassembled 356 here as we can use it for measurements as we work on Jim’s Project ( we discussed the reason for this name last month). With Jim’s Project on the frame jig the only usable area was the right side inner longitudinal. All the rest of the chassis structure was gone. But starting with a floor ledge on the right longitudinal we could work back and then to the left side and to the front. With a level floor we could continuously take measurements. Of course if we are off an eighth an inch when we start , we could be off an inch when we get around the 356.

Tuesday, August 14th we know it is going to work! Using the left side pieces from our parts car we get to the front and it lines up. Actually it was off a quarter inch but the use of a come along pulled it together and we have a 356!

During this period our twenty year old MIG welder was acting up and we could only use tack welds. BJ suggested a new roller wheel which solved a similar problem on his newer MIG. We got a new roller which feeds the welding wire and could see twenty years of wear on the old one. Now we weld great and the floor and tunnel are in Jim’s project.

A week after Porsche and Pastries is the RMVR Enduro at High Plaines Raceway. Come out September 29-30 and enjoy the vintage races.

Grandpa News
Alex had her 8th birthday party at the local bowling alley with about 8 of her best friends. Pizza and cupcakes was followed by the gifts. Alex asked all of her friends to pick from the Denver Dumb Friends League needs list and bring those items to the party instead of gifts for her. There are going to be some very happy puppies and kittens. However Alex did get some fun presents for herself from Grandpa and family.

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