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  • Coupe into Speedster Conversion

    2/21/13 My new project arrived today by truck. (as if I didn't have enough to keep me busy ) This is a side job I have taken on to both help a friend with a dream and to finance my on going projects. My friend is a surgeon here in town who I have trained for going on 10 years now. He's an avid car guy who up until recently had only a passing interest in old Porsches. I guess talking and hanging out with me all these years has rubbed off. He of course gravited to the speedster model. While he can afford just about any speedster he wanted, he got interested in a full conversion of a coupe giving him the ease of mind to really use and enjoy the car without the worry of sinking 250K+ in a real speedster. This car will be a full and proper conversion but will keep its original identity as coupe with its chassis#. Here are few photos from today.
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    Donor chassis being uncrated. Took a while but we finally found a suitable platform. Ric at "Rusty Tubs" hooked us up with this one which was nicely crated for the long journey across the country. We had it media blasted before delivery which is a very nice luxury!
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    Plenty of corrosion damage but still has some good metal left to weld to.
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    Rear pan is shot.

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    Lots of old cancer; this definitely would have been a car destined for the crusher 25 years ago but is a viable project car now. First order of business is to get the chassis square and set then weld in a subframe to hold it while the repairs are done. Fortunately its never been hit hard so this will be straight forward. After that the battery box will be built so I can get it on my hoist to get at the floors and longitudinals. Another journey begins. Thanks for looking! Justin
    Justin Rio

  • #2
    Justin,

    Oh my goodness, what a great idea. I will be pleased to follow your progress on this project to its conclusion. The rear end will be interesting body work wise as will the doors. This will not be an easy job but if anyone will manage it, I reckon you will. I hope your surgeon friend wears good thick gloves, they need good quality hands and fingers to to their work and there is a lot of cutting on this car to do. Tell him to be careful!!

    Are you going to try to locate exterior body panels to repair possibly? The chassis parts I have no doubt you will do very well but the crafting of the rear will tease your's and your friends brain for certain.

    I really look forward to seeing the pics as you proceed. Have you any idea of the time span to do this?

    Super project for this forum,

    Roy

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    • #3
      Thank you Roy!!

      The Doc's hands should be okay considering they will be across the valley. 99.9% of the steel work is going to be just me, but I'll be sure to wear thick gloves just the same. All the conversion sheetmetal is going to be from Steve Hogue. Time wise I believe a minimum of 8 months but it all depends on Steve's schedule to complete the new parts. Chassis repair is of course first and all those items are pretty much readily available so things will move forward quite regularly during this phase. Thanks again for all your support Roy!
      Justin
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      Justin Rio

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      • #4
        I have a pre a speedster dash that I may be able to part with..


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        • #5
          Hey Chad, Thank you for this great offer! I sent you an email...

          2/22/13
          Spent a couple of hours both planning the sub frame jig and removing the dash face and cowl. Also took some rough measurements from my coupe's chassis to compare with this one. Both side came back all within an 1/8 of an inch which was great news! Just have to make sure both front and rear beams are even with one another it will be set. While this new chassis jig must hold everything in place as work progesses it must also be out of my way once I start rebuilding the longs and installing the floors. Can't even consider removing it until these items are fully welded in and rebuilt.
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          I decided the basic front to rear runs of this jig will mount high to the trunk wall/bulkhead then tie into the rear torsion housing. Their will be out rigger sections that will also tie onto both threshold areas. This will develope more as that goes but for now the dash face and front cowl could come out for a clean shot at the bulkhead. Cowl cut at the fenders along the factory joint and removing the dash face first here.
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          Thankfully no pesky spot welds to deal with to remove the face. Just had to grind back these stitch welds along the seams then split them back apart.
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          A long seam stitch here where the dash edge and seal channel/flange meet. This flange will be reused so I had to grind back carefully.
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          Cut the welds on the column support and opposite tube support. Just took a little wiggling to finally break it free.
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          Now the teadious task of drilling spot-welds all along the leading edge of the cowl/ trunk jamb. the flange its welded to will be reused so careful removal is needed. Working on the rest tomorrow.
          Thanks for reading this! Justin
          Justin Rio

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          • #6
            2/23/13
            Continued preperations for the sub-frame/holding jig with the original front dash cowl now removed.
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            melted off some of the original lead to get a clear shot at the corners with my Zip-wheel. Original lead is suprisingly thick here to create this contour at the lower windshield.
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            Some patients required to get all those spot welds broken but the cowl was finally cut loose here. The welds at the lower wiper motor bracket are easily overlooked but make themselves known quickly once you try wiggling the cowl free.
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            With the cowl out of the way a plan is formulating as to my attachement points for the jig. The defroster tube leads are looking like a potential tie-off point;one of several anyway. I am seeing small patches of original paint in here;this coupe was originally Miessen Blue.
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            Now that the old cowl was gone I mocked-up the Dash and doors from my "coupster" project: http://porsche356abcgt.com/forum/6-Hot-Rod--Modified-356/23-HotRod-Coupster-57976-coupe-into-full-speedster.html
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            We are hundreds of miles away from permanently mounting anything resembling a speedster part but its fun to dream.
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            Will be removing sections of the rear seat pan tomorrow to get a clear shot of the torsion housing. My rear attachment point for the Jig.
            Thanks for stopping by! Justin
            Justin Rio

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            • #7
              Justin,

              Very interesting work. First, great you are involving Steve Hogue to fabricate some panels he really impresses me with his work. I have watched his 'you tube' video's and this guy really knows what he is doing with metal sheet. Amazing guy.

              Secondly, I have never taken off an instrument panel but know of several who have to change from left hand to right hand drive. The first series of 356 were bolt on jobs only with the 'A' was it welded. But I never knew where the stitch welding was. You describe it well and the lead thickness shows they had to sometimes do more on one car than then other. I know I found factory lead on the rear panel under the rear licence plate light. The panels are factory but for some reason it needed lead.

              Nice to see the mock up it shows you are on the right track.

              And of course to see Meissen blue Ah.... speak to the surgeon he might want silver but Meissen blue .... it looks great on a speedster
              I have seen one. But of course I would say that wouldn't I.

              Roy

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              • #8
                Thank you Roy! Yes, I am very excited about working with Steve on these panels; not only is he very talented but a hell of a nice guy too! The lead you described under the license plate was to finish the spot-weld deformation from the reinforcement bracket originating off of the frame cross-member. Have the same problem when I reattached mine. I'll run it by him; Meissen Blue is a nice calming color and I like alot more than I used to after seeing your car. Thanks again roy! Justin

                2/24/13

                Rear seat pan prep and torsion housing upright fabrication
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                removed what was left of the parcel shelf and cut the forward edge of the seat pan out to expose the torsion housing.
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                As severely rotted as this shelf is I was amazed to still find virgin silver steel on the underside. I was expecting it to be completely covered in rust.
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                Now that the housing was exposed I went to work fabricating the upright connection for the new frame jig. I chalked up the chassis so the housing set at "level"

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                Extra time and care was taken to make sure this upright was built sqaure and then dead level with the housing below. This is going to be my reference point later to ensure the front housing is also squared up with it when I weld the front portion of this jig to this upright. More jig fabrication tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by! Justin
                Justin Rio

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                • #9
                  Justin,

                  Thanks for letting me know why they used lead under the licence plate, I could not at the time understand why. Its clear now. In the 70's when I exposed my the inside area of my original longitudinals with a powerful light I was amazed to see almost as new sheet metal. The heater tubes were perfect. I spent some time painting these with aerosols and long brushes before welding up the end areas and places I patched. So to see your silver original sheet metal made me think of that. But a question... The area not really rusty was the area over the transmission it looks as though it was never even given a coat of underseal??

                  The frame you are making will be interesting to see. I quite understand you need datums to work from and I presume much of the original front end will need a lot of work but I can't yet imagine the frame you are making. I will be looking though!

                  If you mention Meissen don't forget it has has to have red seats though to make the correct 1950's statement

                  [attachment:1]resize backseats.jpg[/attachment]

                  Roy

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                  • #10
                    Oh.. no picture on my last post, can't have that try again I say.

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                    Roy

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                    • #11
                      Hi Roy,

                      That is a pretty combination. I'll be sure to forward shots of your car along to the Doc. The sub-frame should take shape here shortly and then it should make sense, I hope. I wanted to remove the front fenders today to give myself a clear picture yet. Here are a few from this afternoon.

                      2/25/13

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                      Spent most of the afternoon just drilling spot welds and splitting this seam apart.
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                      Sure was happy to be done with spot welds for today. This chassis is looking better all the time. The more rusted and damage parts you remove the more clearer it becomes...
                      Thanks for looking! Justin
                      Justin Rio

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                      • #12
                        Hello J. I like the simple approach to your strip down of the chassis. I would have to pop some Aderall to come close to the level of patience you have. I check in to see the progress, and it is amazing how quickly this transformation happens.
                        I have a 1955 that needs the same type of work, but my chassis is pre A. I would like to buy original parts for my car, especially metal parts.

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                        • #13
                          Thanks Manolin! Aderall is actually my trade secret for patients
                          Best of luck with your pre-A project and the search for parts! Justin

                          2/28/13
                          Picked up some square stock so I could move forward with the Jig and got the basic frame installed today.
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                          Had to make my move to the steel supply house today and pick up this square stock so I could move foward.
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                          The first order was to make sure the front and rear beams both sat at level with each other. Fortunately this required very little chalking to get them there. Front beam is reading level here.
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                          Went to the back to check it for level. Also now reading level here. went back and fourth a couple of times to recheck to be sure.
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                          Now that both ends of the chassis were level I went ahead and angle cut and installed the front cross-member. Tacked in position here and it too is also set at level. Everyones level!
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                          With the front and rear cross-braces in it was now time for the side runners. Before install several frame landmark measurements were taken from my coupe and cross checked to this chassis. I had to be certain that this frame was not "sprung open" or collapsed in the center due to its missing roof and severely rotted frame. They all came back within 2-3MM of each other. The tube lengths were cut to exert a little tension to push the frame a little closer still to the dimensions of my coupe chassis measurements.
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                          Threshold averaged level on both sides.
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                          Length runners were also tacked in at level as well.
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                          Basic sub-frame now tacked in. I am very comfortable that this chassis sits square and even. However I will be rechecking it as the jig progresses.
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                          a very quick mock-up of the additional triangulated cross-members and supports still to come.
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                          Working on these tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by! Justin
                          Justin Rio

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                          • #14
                            So you are a Doctor? Patience for your patients. In our country it's easy to pay cheap labor, but seldom can we find someone of your caliber with the $kill needed to reverse engineer and make it like new. It's always a nice surprise with our time zone difference to see the progress on this project.

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                            • #15
                              No, if I was a Doctor I would have written patience in my prior post like I should have... Thanks for the English lesson!

                              3/1/13
                              additional connection points and triangulation bars today.
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                              lateral out riggers and front diagonals were the accomplishment for today. Lots of time spent thinking and rethinking what exactly I was going to do. Then of course there were angle cuts to make. Tied into the defroster stand-offs as I planned to earlier.
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                              A couple more bars to finish up the rear but this chassis already feels solid and stable once again. Just about ready to address the battery box. Thanks for looking! Justin
                              Justin Rio

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