Porsches and Rubbers
Yes, we like a ribald story as well as anyone but this isn’t one. Barb and I were driving the ’63 Sunroof Coupe recently and got caught in a heavy rainstorm. The wipers worked, but on full speed the driver side wiper started to separate but still worked. The rain got heavier and the wiper blade flew off. We had to shut off the wipers so we wouldn’t scratch the windshield ($500.00). Now, its hard to see and water is coming in under the dash and on our feet. We made it home safely. The water coming in was under the rubber wiper posts. How old were they? Twenty seven years old, that’s when we restored this 356. Time to replace them. The wiper blades were at least ten years old.
The Magnuson’s ’59 Sunroof Coupe has Michelien XZX tires, We know this is a period correct tire but old, we checked the date code. They were manufactured in the twenty seventh week of 1994! Almost twenty years old! Tires are unsafe after nine years. They may look good but are dangerous. We have heard horror stories of 356 damage and injuries. On your tire, usually on the back side is the marking DOT and some characters and numbers.
Prior to 2000 it looks like
DOT XXXX XXXX XXX
The last three are xx week of manufacture and x the year. The Magnuson’s code was DOT FHTB DA4M 274. From 2000 on the code is DOT XXXX XXX XXXX where the last four are XX week and XX year. The other characters are for the manufactures use. Check your tires before heading to Santa Fe!
The Magnuson’s ‘59 Sunroof Coupe is waiting for the engine to be delivered. It has been detailed and will be checked out in a test stand in Wyoming. If it checks out, we will install it and take it to the mechanic for mechanical check out and tune. While waiting, we turned our attention to the Shop ‘58 Cabriolet. As you may recall, we were just about done with the restoration when we noticed shifting problems. It was off to the mechanics and required a transmission rebuild. It was gone for quite a while. When we got back to it we couldn’t remember where we left off. It had a new tan top which looks great on the Fjord Green body but still needed the rubber seals that go around the side window opening.
On Cabriolets, this rubber seal is grey. On Convertibles and Roadsters these seals are black. We did not like the look of grey with tan and Fjord Green. So we went with black seals. A future owner can change them out. Installation of the seals is time consuming. Each of the three seals on each on each side slides into an aluminum channel. If you have the original channels, no problem. Just buy a new set and cut and drill the holes for the screws per the original. If you don’t have the original, which we didn’t, you have to estimate the channel length based on the screw holes in the top frame and windshield A pillar. In our case many of the screw holes had snapped off screws in them. New holes had to be drilled and the aluminum channel has to be correctly oriented i.e. at an angle to meet the side glass. An interesting project but we got it done.
Then we noticed we had yet to install the rear most engine cover plate. The one that includes the carburetor preheat air ducts. This cover plate is hard to find and expensive. We had one that we had repaired but it took some work to fit as it has to match the screw holes in the other cover plates. We had to order new rubber engine seals as those in our stash were old and inflexible. See previous comments on old rubber. Trimming rubber pieces to fit requires a sharp knife. We use a utility knife and about six blades doing both the rubber side window seals and engine seals. Our only serious injury in over twenty five years restoring the Porsche 356 was due to a dull knife blade cutting rubber. Utility knife blades are cheap; they come in a package of one hundred.
We are going to change the name of Jim’s Project to Jim and BJ’s Project. BJ is spending a lot of time getting the 356 body to be correct. With every panel on this 356 being replaced or repaired it takes a lot of work to make the body correct.
We still have plenty of future projects i.e. assembly of the Shop ‘64 Coupe and metal work on the ‘61 Coupe plus the dry fit on Jim and BJ’s project. Bill Frey will be assembling the engine for the Shop ‘52 Coupe race car which we will take to Austin, Texas to compete in the U.S. Vintage Racing National Championship. Bill has had the heads done by Competion Engineering, the throttle bodies and velocity stacks machined by Martin Willis and had the engine interior pieces coated with a thermal barrier ceramic coating. With Porsche 356s having been raced for over sixty years, there is a lot of knowledge on how to keep a 356 competitive.
We don’t have the race details yet but in addition to our group race, there will be an enduro combing four other race groups. This could be two hundred vintage race cars on the track!
The 356Restore.com web site has bee updated and now allows social media contacts and smart phone interfaces. We will continue to update the website and can now report on usage statistics.
Very sad news is the passing of Jerry Schouten due to a racing accident in his Porsche 911 at a PCA race. Jerry also had a ‘58 Porsche 356 A Coupe and had recently let us study its interior for a project we were researching.
Samantha has become known as Sammy and her picture is included with this newsletter. She waves at me, blows kisses and gives me hugs.