Samantha is here! BJ, Jen and Alex brought her home from China August 10th. She is a darling, intelligent two and a half year old. She has a cute laugh and is adapting well. One issue we did not know is she had never seen a man. BJ is taking it slow. She allowed him to give her a bath and he is already teaching her how to swim. Alex gave Grandpa and Grandma a trip report. It was hot and dirty in China and it made her appreciate Colorado more. She took plenty of pictures with her IPod. She went to Wal-Mart in China and took pictures of the American products i.e. Pepsi, Hershey’s, etc with Chinese labels.
After five months, we finally closed on the property next door. It took so long as the mortgage had been bundled into a equity sold by Wall Street to an investment firm that may have gone out of business. While we were waiting , we contacted the contractor that had done some excellent work on our present home and he recommended an architect. Barb has been working with the architect on what will be our single level living space. Jim gets to plan the 2700 square foot unfinished basement. It has a patio door to move in 356s for disassembly and assembly. The goal is to have no noise or smells under the living space. The shop will be in the three car garage which will be sound proofed. It has a sixteen foot ceiling so we can have a lift. No ramp to the basement, just stairs. We will add a two car garage which will connect to the living area. We will also invest in a rotary screw compressor which is rated at 60 db, so it should be quiet.
While the 2700 square feet sounds like a lot, at the present we have a 1200 square foot storage building plus the basement shop at 1700 square feet. Plus we have to add a bathroom to the basement plus a washer and dryer. (Remember, while we no longer do lead work in the shop. We do remove lead from the 356 when doing restorations. With two granddaughters now, shop clothes are washed in the shop and shoes stay in the shop. No lead residue will be tracked home to Alex and Sam.)
There are also utilities in the basement so it will be tight to get 356s and parts arranged in the new shop area. Both Barb and I like this kind of work and it is fun. Progress in the shop will be slowed as Jim will be spending half days on the new shop and improving the landscape at the new house. Then half days on 356 restorations.
We expect the engine for the Magnuson’s ‘59 Sunroof Coupe to be delivered and we will install it and take it to the mechanics for checkout. This will be the last customer 356 for a while, as noted above we will be busy with the move. We did have one final electrical issue on the Magnuson’s ‘59 Sunroof Coupe. It appears the wiring harness may have been from a later 356 as there were many extra wires. They might have been for an option that had been ordered. Anyhow , we had to call Joe Leoni back to help us sort out the issues. Before BJ left for China he got the underside, front compartment, interior and rear compartment of Jim’s project painted and caulked. We use a two part epoxy paint. After Jim’s project is painted White the original color, we will go back and lightly undercoat the underneath, then spray with Satin Black to cover overspray and seal the undercoat.
When we previously worked on 356 Speedsters we were able to collect samples of the original undercoat. Yes, they did have undercoat but not much if any, body insulation. The undercoat was a very light coat compared to other models. We made spray patterns and are able to duplicate the original undercoat.
Other progress has been made on the Shop ‘52 Race Car. Bill Frey has been working with Competition Engineering and Elgin cams to get the correct specs and engineering for the rebuild of the race engine. We blew out a spark plug last year and the head was damaged. Fortunately, we had some spare 912 heads and that’s what Bill had Competition Engineering rework. Bill also found some minor issues upon teardown which will be corrected. Competitive racers will teardown and rebuild 356 race engines after every race. Jim pulled the transmission from the race car so Trevor can check it out. The race track at the Circuit of America in Austin is 3.41 miles long. There is a long back straight (Formula 1 cars hit 196 mph) and we are not geared for it so we will have to take it easy. We will have check in and tech inspection on Wednesday, October 23rd. On Thursday we have two practice sessions there are ten other race groups. Friday we have two qualifying sessions. Saturday is a one hour Enduro with the other groups; so there should be over a hundred vintage race cars racing together. We finish with a feature race for the National Championship for our race group.
October will be a busy month. We start with the RMVR Enduro on October 5th and 6th at High Plaines Raceway where we plan to test the Shop ‘52 Race Car. Then it is off to Santa Fe for the West Coast Holiday October 9th-13th. There are over 250 356s already registered so the Concours in and around the Plaza on Saturday, October 12th will be huge. Worth a drive down just to see all the 356s. We will probably flat tow our ‘63 Black Sunroof Coupe as we want to take parts for the swap meet. Our technical presentation may be a panel discussion so we may not need to take parts for an individual presentation. After Santa Fe we load up the Shop ‘52 Race Car and head to Austin, Texas.