July 2020

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Page 18 of 47

JULY 2020 WWW.PNWR.ORG 19 with a five-part series, organized to match the phases of the project. This first article has a little background on how I came to own my 356. It will also cover how I decided to what extent of restoration, or level of investment I made into it, including some before and after pictures. The subsequent articles will appear in the order the work was done; #2 – body work, #3 – paint and reassembly, #4 – engine building, #5 – interior restoration and engine break-in. So that is the plan. Let's move on to how I found my 1964 356C! I am a retired Microsoft software engineer, so everything I know about cars has been learned as a hobby that started over 45 years ago with my first car and a father in the car repair business. My first car in 1975 was a 1962 VW Beetle, so my first full "off the pan" restor- ation project in 1990 in my first garage was a 1963 Beetle convertible. Between then and this 1964 356C I've done dozens of car restorations and still own 11 cars, half of them Porsches and the other half Volkswagens. Around 2005 I purchased my rusted out 1966 912, originally owned by Al Caldwell and was deep into replacing the floors and rocker panels in 2007 when I found my 356C at John Walker's shop. It happened while I was working part-time for my good friend Jack Morris, as an "apprentice" in his shop, Wolfsburg Motorwerks in Ballard with the goal of learning how to rebuild my 912's motor. Jack Morris taught me a lot about air-cooled Porsches so a 356C project was the perfect one to follow a 912. I also became good friends with the late, upholstery master Steve Shepp, who ran his shop out of the back side of the Wolfsburg Motorwerks building. In 2007 I had just lost my first wife after a 16 year battle with cancer and my only daughter was off at college, so I had a lot of time on my hands and hanging around with car guys in Porsche shops was like a salve for my soul. I had admired this barn find 356C in John's shop for months when one day he said he was thinking of selling it. The car was a little rough, the original engine was long gone and it had 1976 Oregon license plates on it, indicating it had sat for over 30 years. Luckily it was kept in a dry and rodent-free garage because there was no visible rust on the car. The original leather interior was somewhat still there and traces of red showed here and there under black dye. The body was straight but there were quite a few spots covered with rattle can primer, indicating some prior owner had attempted their own repairs. The original metallic silver paint was oxidized to the point it almost looked like the color was gray on the outside of the car but the paint on the dash was still intact. The bumpers were removed from the car, but they and everything else off the car was all there in boxes. I noticed the front bumper bracket holes looked a bit mangled and the hood slightly bowed indicating that the nose had taken a bump. Other than that and the primered areas, nothing else indicated serious damage. John had already redone the fuel system and brakes, plus put a 1965 356C engine in it so it was drivable. It also was wearing a set of rare 1970 "deep six" Fuchs, so the car was 'tarted-up' to look more 'Outlaw' style. Back in 2007, 356 prices were still quite reasonable, so when John and I agreed on $20K I quickly ran to my bank and came back with a thick envelope of $100 bills! I first drove the car down to Wolfsburg Motorwerks to show my buddies my new 356 and then I drove it home. I was grinning like the first time I drove my 1962 Volkswagen solo with a new driver's license! Once I got the car home, I raised the car on my four-post lift to take a good look at the underside. It was amazingly rock solid except for the bottom of the battery tray, which had the usual rusted through spot. It was also clear that there was a lot of pink BONDO in the nose and left rocker panel. I remember some of my own DIY body work back on my high school and college cars where a screw on the end of a slide hammer was the way to pull dents and the pink BONDO oozed through the holes like a PlayDoh Fun Factory! There were quite a few of these oozing BONDO holes visible under the right side of the nose, plus there was a big crack, so I knew that was going to need a lot of attention. The most troubling discovery was the front bumper holes didn't line up with the bumper brackets, which was why the holes were lengthened downwards. It was clear the whole nose of the car was deformed so I had my work cut out for me. One of the reasons 356 owners use "nerf bars" on their Outlaws is because the stock bumpers draw attention to accident damage continued on page 21

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