My organization of parts and boxes of parts might be a little less than stellar. Perhaps because I have all the books and manuals and have done most of the restoration work before on other cars, I rely a bit too much on memory. However, sometimes this organization fails me when I absolutely cannot find a part that I know I have.
I was getting another batch of chrome ready for Art Brass this week, and could not find the reflector chrome consoles- the small base that the rear reflectors mount too. After looking for over an hour, I threw in the towel and was communicating with friends about the missing parts. I wanted originals to re-chrome, not reproduction, and was disappointed about losing the parts.
Then, an offer came from Bill Waite, who is also restoring his Irish Green C coupe. He offered his original reflectors to me, for FREE! Reminds me of the saying the 356 Registry has/had: Come for the cars, stay for the friends.
Many thanks to Bill and a little tribute song below.
The hinges on the seats were by far the worst chrome on Miss April. Rust and pits galore. Sent them to Art Brass in Seattle who has done all the other chrome work, and they performed their magic.
First photos below are the "before" pictures- taken back in January.
Next photos are as taken from the box yesterday. Very excited about the quality of this work.
Typically when a PORSCHE enthusiast says his car is "numbers matching, he means that his car has it's original engine, transmission, paint color and interior color scheme. That is the information found on a factory Kardex, and Miss April passes with flying colors- they all match. The completion date for Miss April was February 16, 1965 as shown on the Kardex below.
But lets dig deeper....
Back in the 50's and 60's, many German manufacturers had a quality control system of which part was to stamp the month & year on the device. Sometimes it was a direct stamp of month and year, sometimes a date was "coded" but it still represented the date of manufacture. If there were ever problems found with the parts they would know when it was made, and solutions would be implemented.
I wrote an article about these manufacturing date codes, and you can find it on this website. Here is the link, but before clicking, read on for more information on "numbers matching" specific to Miss April.
Date codes found on a car will all be before it left the PORSCHE factory (obviously). The time between the manufacturers date (code) stamp and the car leaving the factory varies quite a bit, but anytime from the same month to well in advance is very normal. In a nutshell "numbers matching" for date (code) stamps, means that the stampings are in concert with the date the car was manufactured. It does not mean all numbers are the same, but that the stampings are logical to the production of that particular car.
Below are photos and descriptions of some of the date (code) stamps on Miss April. There are more to document, I haven't gotten to all of them yet. As example, the starter motor has not yet been removed for restoration/cleanup, so I don't know the date (code) stamp--- yet. I can think of about 6 more places to check- can you?
Enjoy the photos!
Been thinking about the restoration of Miss April and how far to take the originality quest. Whenever possible, I repair what original pieces can be restored- like the chrome. By the way, I hope to get the seat hinges back later this week.
However, sometimes a part simply has to be replaced because no repair is possible. The steering coupler is an example of such a part.
What I was thinking about is how far to take the originality plunge. The steering coupler cannot be seen once it is installed. There are several versions of couplers that are being produced that are much less expensive than buying an original OEM part from PORSCHE. In fact, the new designs might be better than the original. So, is it better to get a newly designed part and put it on Miss April? No one would ever know, and the replacement part would cost more than $150 less than the OEM part from PORSCHE.
I guess the photo below shows how I am answering this question. Having gone this far repairing original parts or finding NOS parts, might as well do the same thing even when the part cannot be seen.
This does not make Miss April better, it just makes the car restored the way I want it to be.
There will be more parts on the car done this same way.
Fuel lines made back in the 50's and 60's are near worthless today. The rubber is old, and it was not made to withstand today's modern fuels.
Being an originality buff, I have decided to continue to use one piece. That is on the vent line for the gas tank I just installed. It normally has no gas in it, and is only designed to carry out fumes on a normal basis, and very slight spill over if the gas in the tank is super full and you're cornering at over speed or hitting a pot hole the size of the car.
Not much of this original hose left out there, but Miss June will wear this little section with pride.
As an aside, I am considering manufacturing this hose with the correct braid and blue plastic tracer. Others have attempted, but they did not use correct materials to give an original appearance. Let me know if you are interested.
Before reading the text below the photo shown under this sentence, do you know what the equipment below would be used for on a 356? Yes, that is a propane torch.
Some time ago I bought the tar based covering for the 356 C gas tank. This is a very well made part that closely replicates the original material, thickness and pattern of the original mat. The underside of the mat is covered in tar. Application is to lay the mat on a safe/flat surface and heat it with a torch! The tar melts and then using gloves designed to withstand the temperature, pick up the mat and place it on the tank. The pattern you see on the mat are as found on originals. Very happy with the result.
I am also showing a photo of the date code on the tank. FR65 is February (Februar) of 1965, the month Miss April was completed.
Theorem- A general proposition not self-evident, but proved by a chain of reasoning; a truth established by means of accepted truths.
Hatfield's Theorem of Lubrication- 50 year old grease does not lubricate- it changes state so as advance mechanical wear between moving parts.
Ok, heck, it catches dirt and can turn quite hard! Here is a great article on how this happens.
As you can tell from previous posts, I have been working on chrome and getting ready to install door windows and quarter windows. Part of the preparation is to clean up the windows- no big deal until I actually touched the area at the base of the windows where the wheels of the winder mechanism roll. The grease seemed more like a hard varnish. This out of sight area is almost never cleaned and lubricated- that is until the winder mechanism fails and the window will not go up and down! There are parts sold to repair the damage, but the damage is avoidable. Take off your door panel and do a serious cleaning of these channels and lubricate again.
First photo in the series below show two window channels- one channel as found and the beginning of cleaning the other. The material you see in the channel was very hard and difficult to remove. Next shot shows a totally clean channel. Last photo shows this is all on original Sekurit glass.
Solution to deal with the Hatfield's Theorem of Lubrication- Get rid of all original factory grease, clean and re-lubricate!
The 4th is coming and it's time to celebrate our country. Fly those great American flags this weekend!
As for the car, well, I hope to have a happy 4th sometime later this year. By that, I mean driving in 4th gear! Most parts are on order now other than chrome, so soon it is time for serious assembly. This includes the little window sticker showing the shift pattern for the 356, which I never had on my last C coupe.
So, again, Happy 4th! Celebrate!
The chrome shop I have been using has been doing a very good job. I can recommend them to others based on their prices and quality of work. The shop is Art's Brass, located in Seattle.
That being said, we struggled to get the little dash plate done with an appearance as originally appeared on the 356 B and C cars. They issue is the strip that runs East/West on the plate that is NOT supposed to be bright shinny chrome. It is chromed but the finish is to be a matt finish. This is difficult to do because the rest of the plate is like all the other chrome- bright, smooth, and highly reflective.
It took 4 attempts, but they kept working with me, and it is finally right!
It arrived here by UPS last night and I just had to share a photo.
A full restoration of the 1/4 windows is a very time consuming, and somewhat expensive task. The chrome work is expensive, but after that you still have to buy the rubber that holds the glass to the frame, the rubber that goes around the outside of the frame, and then the rubber that attaches to the car body. Not cheap.
When doing an assembly of the parts, many have commented over the years that you need a fixture or 4 hands. All true, because after you place the rubber on the glass and attempt to slide it into the frame, the rubber is busy sliding off. I use liquid soap as a lubricant, which works well, and was fortunate to get them assembled on about the 4th try on each side- no fixture and no other hands.
It is important to make sure that the straight vertical chrome piece goes back to the side from which it came, otherwise you might not get nice tightly mitered corners. I have included a photo of one of mine.
Also of note, is that the chrome will have built up on the surfaces, despite the best efforts of the chrome shop. Openings & mating surfaces may need light filing- mine did. All of this takes plenty of time and patience.
During the assembly, I lost one of the tiny screws that holds the knob to the latch assembly. They are magnetic, but I gave up after about 45 minutes. Consider little things like this if you tackle the job.
I still have the rubber to frame piece to fit, and the rubber to body as well, but while those are tricky (like cutting around the hinge), they are more time consuming than difficult.
I also decided to use my original glass. It has slight bubbling at the edges that can be seen in you look carefully, but hey, Miss April deserves some patina.
Overall I am happy with the progress. These take way more time than installing a windshield!
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