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58367 The $75 Junkyard Carrera coupe restoration

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  • 58367 The $75 Junkyard Carrera coupe restoration

    Barstow Ca. 1968

    My father had taken up work at a plant called Western Talc in this high desert area of California right smack in the middle of nowhere between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. He had his '66 911 by then but was always passively on the lookout for a 356. During one of his trips into Barstow he passed by an automobile Towing/wrecking yard called Lloyds Auto which was located on the outskirts of town just East of the old train station. He remembers first seeing the car from the road behind their chain-link fence just to the side of the front gate. My old friend and fabricating mentor Greg Parker a 40 year resident there also remembers seeing it by the front gate. Greg told me it sat there for quite a while; several months at least. My Father described looking at it for the first time; the 4-cam motor and transmission were gone by then and the rear of the car was set up on cinderblocks. He had no idea what a Carrera was but thought the emblems on the front fenders were sorta cool. He immediately went over to the office to see if it was for sale. He had caught its owner Lloyed Glenn at just the right moment I guess. Lloyed must have made his money on the sale of the engine and had his fill of the car after a failed attempt to install a Corvair drivetrain in it at some point afterward. During their brief conversation my dad asked how much he'd take for it? He said Lloyed sort of shook his head, exhaled deeply and replied "give me 75.00 bucks and get it out of here." My father always jokingly said he was reaching for his wallet before he finished that sentence.

    The Story of how ole' Lloyed came to own this car is a bit sketchy but my father remembers hearing that the owner was from L.A. and was either on his way to Las Vegas or on his way back home when its motor began running hot, leaving him stranded just outside of Barstow. Lloyed towed it in and weather it was sold to him for the tow bill or just completely left abandoned is unknown. Sometime after taking possession its original 4-cam motor was pulled and sold to the owner of a local steak house called the Idle Spurs. It was installed into his Manx dune buggy with very poor and temperamental results. A Los Angeles VW performance shop owned by Andre Weir and Al Cadrobbi called A&A trans. was contacted for help. They told him "you don't want unreliable 4-cam in there, we'll set you up with a solid 1600VW motor in trade". He was soon snookered out of it. That story was relayed to me by Greg who ran in the same group of off-roaders at the time.

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    Here she is shortly after my father got her home and Mounted up on wood planks under the patio of the house he and his father were renting at the time. Just rough old abused car with a cheap and faded "door-slammer" British racing green paint job with spots of primer. You can see the original silver paint on the underside of the trunk lid here. Car was being prepped for the type 1 VW swing-axle and 40 horse motor he had purchased for it.
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    Still in the same spot under the patio. VW transmission looks like its mounted and the new VW motor is ready to go in next. That's my grandfather messing about in the engine compartment and my mother is sitting in the drivers seat.
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    It Runs! Its pictured here at the Talc plant parking lot next to some sort of large storage container. This was his daily driver to work...


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    A road trip up to San Diego. Thats my mother; I think just 24 there and just dating my dad at the time. My mother was living in San Diego and my dad would drive up on weekends to see her. Checkout all the Brand new 911's on the lot for 1969!

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    My father's memory is fading so he can't explain this picture. It actually had a 356 engine in it at some point. It must have been a loaner because there were no signs of it anywhere growing up. Look at the Vice-grip on the reverse light. I had victor Miles restore it so its days as a tool caddy are over!!! Like many early 356's this one too was retro-fitted with teardrop tail lights. Fortunately who ever did this was very conservative and cut-out only what was necessary. The original Beehive mount holes were still there for correct replacement.
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    Update: 7/14 Old receipt found! Dated Feb. 25, 1970 for a 912 engine out of Long Beach CA. for 395.00.(way more than my dad paid for the car!) Balance was due March 12, 1970. This has to be the motor pictured in the car above. Was very happy to find this.

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    Shit!! This happened while it was parked. My father would car pool some days to work. It was sitting on the street in front of his co-workers house which also happened to be at the base of a hill. A single mother with six kids parked her station wagon up this hill and forgot to set the parking brake. It soon rolled down the hill and nailed the right fender cue-balling this poor out matched car into the middle of the street. When My father arrived the the lady was very sorry and apoligetic. He soon learned she was uninsured and was just getting by in life. So he felt bad for her and didn't persue the matter. I've been told it was actually more smashed in before this shot was taken. Fortunately this did not get into the chassis. I've looked it over several times for any deformation. He pulled this fender out by secruring the car to a tree ; put two eye bolts in the fender with big washers(holes next to the headlight opening) hooked a chain to them and yanked it out several times with an old ford tractor we still have. "shadetree time"
    Update: 7/14 Also ran across these three old estimates from area body shops to repair this damage. I asked my dad about this again and he said that his intention was always to fix it himself but apparently the lady did offer to pay for the damages provided he get three estimates; so that's what he did. He showed them to her and she did give him what she could spare which was 160.00. She told him to come back next month for the balance. He went back the following month and she said she didn't have it and to come back on the first of the next month. He again went back and she said Look I'm really sorry but I just don't have it to spare; you can have one of my kids instead... This is when he dropped the matter all together. So he did at least get 160 bucks from her.
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    This one is the most water damaged but is the most important one to me and I'm so happy to have found it before it was entirely too late. Its dated 11/69. Its from A1 Body shop right before it became Towing & garage. The signature on the bottom reads: "Greg". This estimate was performed by my great late friend and mentor! He was an early 20-something kid and just back from his tour in Vietnam when this was filled out. So interesting how life can move in small circles. Greg needed 387.05 to take on this job. labor was 288.25 and parts where only 88.24!
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    Dated 8/29/69 Sherwood needed 398.78
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    The last one dated 9/11/69 was the cheapest at 311.50
    Talking with my dad about these got us speculating on what kind of repairs these would have been?? All the estimates stated "replace fender" If that would have been the case it most certainly would have been the famous double-skinned-brazed on replacement fender that where the norm of the day. So glad my father was too cheap to have them do it.


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    For not being a body man at the time with only improvised tools and techniques he got it pretty close! That's my little old grandfather again; been gone since '77.

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    Went as far as he could on metalwork I guess. Its now coated with either bondo or primer here, can't really tell. After looking at these old shots one very fortunate thing did happen; that wagon missed that nerf-bar! Things would have been so much worse had that been driven back as well! The battery box would have been twisted etc. etc. I hate to even think about what might have been...
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    Headlight bucket back in and ready for another fight!! What a poor old bruiser this car has been.. I think that chunk of bondo under the hood lip fell out from the impact on the fender...
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    taken after the right fender was crunched and pulled out in probably early 1970. Photo was shot on a frontage road just outside Barstow CA. just off of route '66. The VW motor in it here would soon give up and the car would sit in our yard once again for another 9 years. I think back to playing and nosing around in this car during that time and remember being very annoyed when that grey primer would coat my hands or clothes on contact with it. This didn't stop me though nor did the black-widow spiders I was constantly being warned about. The car always had several but they were found in the trunk, engine compartment and around the suspension and inside the brake drums. Luckily I never ran across one in the interior, luckily! I loved mousing through this car as a kid. It doubled as my dad's office file storage so there was a lot to nose through. I remember there being all these manila envelopes and boxes of paperwork along with dark brown storage bottles from the Lab he worked in. The glove-compartment was of most interest after finding my dads pipe and a stale old bag of captain black tobacco. I also remember running across the "Carrera" fender emblems in there which is where they were always stored since the car was never nice enough to mount back on. Funny the things you remember as a little kid.
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    Oh yes, The summer of '79. The summer of love; for me! I was 8 and this is when I fell in love with this car. My dad bought another 40HP VW motor to get her up and running again. I remember going with my dad to buy the engine. I remember this car with its tail end way up in the air in the middle of my dads workshop. I spent all my free time watching and poking around the car. I can remember even then thinking it was very similar to our '66 911 daily driver but much smaller and more primitive even though I didn't have a word to describe it then. My dad was an extremely slow worker (probably where I get it from)and being a little kid with no patience made the anticipation of going for a ride very painful! I'm sure I drove him nuts asking "when was it going to be done" every five minutes. It finally did happen though! I don't remember it being powerful or super fast just really small and loud. (stinger pipe with no muffler) I thought it was the coolest car ever! I can still remember several trips in it. Shortly after my dad stripped it to bare metal; the crank broke coincidently on the way home from Las Vegas after dropping my mother off at the airport. He did manage to limp it back home under its own power though. Back to sitting idle in the yard it went and the body was left to rust over. Wish I would have taken a picture of that before I started cleaning the rust off in '87.

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    Here is a shot of me, my old pal Benjy and the car just off to the right. My memory of this time was very exciting and magical in a way. The old AM radio was on the entire time in my dads shop. To this day if I hear "the sultains of swing" by Dire straights," Reunited" by peaches&herb or "heart of Glass" by Blonde to name a few; I am transported right back there! The smell of old bad gasoline will take me there too!

    Fast forward 8 years to 1987:
    I was 16 years old at the time and finally worked up the nerve to ask my father if I could have this car or at least fix it up a little and drive it. Growing up my father prided himself on telling me no pretty much every time I asked for something like a toy or model so by this time I was very much conditioned to that response. My Dad had accumulated five Porsches by this time; 3 911's and two 356AT1 coupes. I remember weighing my choices before hand on which car I had the best chance of getting a yes on; even though I thought a yes was a longshot period. I decided on this one because first I liked it best since '79 and because it was the roughest with no Porsche engine. Little did either one of us suspect that it would eventually become the most valuable of the bunch.
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    These shots were taken during the summer of 1987. Unfortunately I did not think to take shots of it once pulled out from under the old chicken coop with the body completely covered in surface rust. By this time we had about a week invested cleaning the body in sections using Muriatic acid. Its first base coat of DP40 was just about to be completed here.. Little did I know that I would be continuing this journey off and on for the next 25 years.
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    Getting back to my father, once I had worked up the nerve to ask him about the car ( I remember this huge wave of nervous energy welling up right after I said," hey dad, can I ask you something? ) I gave him my best sales pitch and in response he just sort of put on a serious face and said "let me think about". That was my dads standard response back then but at least it wasn't a "no" just yet.
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    Several days later he and I were on an errand to the hardware store and while we were pulling out of the parking lot he decided to give me his answer: "You can have the car to work on and drive "BUT" you cannot sell it. If you decide to change your mind you have to give it back to me and I'll buy you out for what you have put into it." It sounded more than fair to me so it was of course a deal! I'll have to ask him if he's still interested in buying it back..
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    These outer surfaces are of course the easy and fun part. The next order of business was to incorrectly patch repair both longitudinals and the battery box floor. All the while scraping old tar and treating surface rust in the wheel wells etc. A horribly slow and dirty process.
    Justin Rio

  • #2
    Through the fall and winter of '87 we poorly patched the longitudinals and battery box. During this time I wasn't getting very far removing tar and rust from the underside by hand. Coincidently a buddy of mine was building a '55 chevy pickup with his father and introduced us to the magic of a commercial sandblasting unit which they had rented for the day. They had his entire truck stripped clean in an afternoon. Once I saw that I wasn't spending another second going about it the way I had been. We then set about prepping this car for the same procedure and by late spring '88 it was ready to go.

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    That rented a full on professional diesel powered air compressor and sandblasting outfit was more than worth it!!!! What would have taken weeks if not months took only a couple of hours with a far superior cleaned result. We did not blast the interior or trunk but I did have it done on the second go around eleven years later in '99.
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    While planning this day I thought we were going to build a nice rotisserie. My dad had other plans as you can see. He figured his engine hoist would be more than strong enough to lift this shell up enough to get it on these stands he had laying around. I was scared to death to do it but he was in charge.


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    It cleaned the underside up so quickly that we still had time on the rental to do his other two cars.
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    End of a long full day with a clean underside. I remember feeling extremely content that evening. That buddy with the '55 truck stopped by for a look so I had him stand next to the car for some scale as to how high we had it up there! Going up was scary enough; bringing it down was even more frightening! Every time the winch click down the whole building rattled and shook! I thought the whole damn thing was going to come down. I was really concerned about my dad because he was up there operating the winch. If it failed; that would have gotten very ugly to say the least. Fortunately it was a happy ending! I think we should have been nominated for the Darwin award that year.
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    The body wasn't taken down immediately afterward. My dad attempted to metalwork the fenders a bit more as best as he knew how and as you can see we also started applying the mud. The under side had also been undercoated by this time as well. What can I say; Just a couple of amateur hacks feeling their way in the dark and doing things out of order. (This is how I learned though) In preparation on getting it back on wheels we had also installed these C disc units.

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    This also included mudding this stretched rear fender which I would of course be redoing on page 68.
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    Another chore addressed was installing this bad seat pan repair patch which would be my first redo once getting the car back to my new shop here in town. (page 2) Again lots of rookie mistakes made the first time around...
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    Safely back on the ground with wheels. All through the summer of '88 My education on panel details like waves and irregularities in the reflection was just beginning. It was the summer of the "block sand" This is the department where my dad really shined and gave me the critical eye for the small details.
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    It was the seemingly endless cycle of bondo, block sand, primer, block sand, tracer coat, block sand and then repeat. Through each stage my dad would come over and rub his hands over the area with his eyes closed and go "its still low, here, here and over here" while high lighting them with a magic marker. We'd get the hose and wet the panel to mimic shiny paint and sure enough the wave or low spot was right where he said it was. "another swatch of filler coming up" I thought it was never going to end... but again this is how I learned!
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    I can't say for sure how many hours I had in this stage but it was many!
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    Another problem we both overlooked was the right side upper corner of the rear window opening; see how its lower than the left? My father remembers it being due to a couple of neighborhood kids in the late 60's climbing on the roof and trying to use it as a slippery slide. I jacked it back out last year. I tell you for about the first 20 years of this cars existence it received very little respect!
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    I remember getting up just after dawn almost everyday to get a jump the mid-day summer heat of 105+ degree desert temps. It sure was beautiful and nice out for most of those mornings and I have a lot of good memories. Another one of my most cherished things in life is pictured above to the left of the car; my little dog Sammy. He was cute and smart as a whip! A relentless ball and stick fetcher to the point of being a pest; how I miss that!! I lost him in '90 and was devastated! Put it this way I haven't owned another dog since...
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    Another example of our inexperience: The body is in final paint here but this door was obviously not finished simultaneously. As you can see I'm block sanding with duct-tape on the body to keep from damaging the finish. Its funny how my dad was a stickler for getting panels straight separately but not as a unit. I'd later learn the importance of working the panels together from my friend here in town.
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    There they are... the two culprits who's well intentioned sub-par steelwork I've been correcting for the last several years. Me and my old man in early 1989.. (little Sammy once again not far and off to the lower right there)
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    Sort of an embarrassing one but what the hell. Young and dumb 18 year old kid who really believed he was on the downhill side of this little restoration project. There's my faithful restoration buddy Sammy once again in the background.
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    The transmission was out for a reseal but that was the least of its problems as I would later find out on my little test drives. There's my pop helping me install the new headliner which was black perforated vinyl. It will of course be correct off-white this time around.
    Justin Rio

    Comment


    • #3
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      I wanted to run Porsche Alloys and was only able to get my hands on a set of front C disc units at that time. We knew a really talented retired machinist from Lockheed who live right down the way. It was Ole' Ike that turned these drums and spacers for me. He also drilled them for the close lug pattern. More silly things you do when you're young with limited funds. I was in process of painting the outer edges black.
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      Once painted, I polished the centers so it would sort of look like a disc in there behind the wheel.
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      I should have stepped up and found rear disc units.. Note those poor inconsistent body line reflections across the door gaps.
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      I had polished this set of 5.5 fuchs and was saving up for my new set of BF Goodrich Comp TA's. I ended up buying the 195-50 series because the low profile looked cool. However, after seeing them on the car I felt they were just too small of a tire especially at the rear and looked weak in there.
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      Only one lousy blurry photo of the 912 engine before we put it in.
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      Summer of 1990. After 4 years steady years of work I had a shiny new paint job and fully re-undercoated chassis. I was so proud of it at the time. At best however,it was just a fundamentally okay restoration with loads of rookie mistakes. Especially concerning the rust repairs but this car is where I learned how to do bodywork and how not to do steel work.

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      Red engine compartment, YUCK! There is my chrome plated 912 engine I found at the Pomona Swapmeet. I was so happy and excited when I brought that home! I bought it complete with everything chrome for 300 bucks with a broken crank. Smoken deal, even back then!

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      This is as far as I got with the interior. THANK GOD!! Everything red in here too! Steering column, gearshifter, door tops, JEEZ! I forgot about the MOMO wheel I had in there. I think at the time I was looking to put a pair of Honda Civic bucket seat in it. What can I tell you; this is all the silly stuff you think is cool when your a 19 year old kid.

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      The car ran but everything and I mean everything needed sorting. The ride height was wrong,nothing electrical worked properly, the brakes pulled,could not get the trans to stop grinding from 1st to 2nd and the list went on. After a couple of disappointing testdrives I was all out of patients,time, and money for this car. Looking back on it now with my skill and experience level at age 19 I really had gone as far as I could take it on my own. Just barely capable of producing a shiny "roller" at best. It was someplace to start I guess.

      I moved to Las Vegas for school shortly after these shots were taken. I left it with my parents and it was parked under that old chicken coope where my other current 356 project car was to keep the direct sunlight off of it. Even if the car ran great it was never going to be my daily driver; even at 19 I had that one figured out. I could just see it in the parking lot of the old apartment complex in las Vegas. After about 4 years I moved it to Gregs shop and into that back room untouched and almost forgotten until '99 when I got back into it again.
      This was about the time I met a local 356 restorer here in town through a client I was training. We became quick friends and would stop by for a visit at least twice a week and some weeks more. I watched several of his project 356's go through the typical rust repair stages. I was quickly educated on the importance of proper factory replicated metal repair work. If it doesn't look factory no matter how nice, its going to kill the cars value in the end. An educated buyer is going to ding you hard on price if he has to pay someone else to correct your old work and metalwork on these cars ain't cheap!

      Fast forward to 1999:
      After several months of hanging out at his shop and talking 356's I got the fever to start back on it again. This time more educated on 356's also a little older and wiser. I began weekly 4 hour round trip visits to Greg's shop to begin pulling it back apart and stripping it down. I was done with that red paint I chose as a kid. I have no desire to own a red Porsche. My colors of choice now are: Silver, Black or B.R. green. I chose silver for this car because that is the way it came.
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      At this point the car has already been media blasted for a second time. (trunk, interior,and underside) The old red paint on the skin has been blocked down and coated with a light color. All I need now is a rotisserie so I can get going on the longitudinals.

      I can't explain why but I really hated the fact that I sprayed this car red and that it was everywhere! I painstakingly hand stripped all the nooks and cranies to bare metal; headlight buckets, undersides of all the body panels, doorjambs, dash, dash top, windowframes and gutters even the lower lips of the front and rear end. I also did want the paint thickness to get out of hand but I really just wanted this mistake wiped clean. I was tempted to strip the body skin down as well but I had way too many hours in the bodywork. So I aggressively leveled it wetsanding with my plasic board and 80 gritt. I took it down until I was seeing lots of steel wearing through. Did the whole body this way but ran out gas on the right rear quarter panel. Took another 12 years to finish that up. With the body sprayed with a light coat I wanted to get rolling on the steel work.

      There was no way around it I had to get this thing on a rotisserie to do it right and thoroughly. Of course my friend Greg came through for me with the answer; as usual! During the 70's and 80's Greg and his brothers were active off-road racers. By the time I met him that stage had long since past. However, his place was loaded with Handmade specialized tools from those old racing days. One such tool was a really cool frabricated rotisserie with a simple but ingenious positioning mechanism which they used for thier off-road chassis. It was just sitting out in the impound yard collecting blow-sand. All I had to do was build a couple of interface brackets to work with the 356 bumper mounts and it was ready to go!

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      Mounted on the hoist and working beautifully! What a luxury these things are! Greg wasn't my fabricating mentor for no reason. He had a brilliant mechanical mind and was always thinking outside the box; On practically everything.

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      Built purely with scrap on hand! The main assembly is just an old standard VW IRS hub assembly. The handbrake lever and upright bracket are from an old Army trailer. Bracket is welded directly onto the backing plate.

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      In the "locked" position here. There is an actuating rod that connects this lever to the vw parking brake mechansim inside the drum. The tension/clamping force is also easily adjustable. If you need it to bit harder you just turn that knob on top to the right and it raises the rod and leads the shoes a little more before the lever is locked over center. Just a parking brake! Simple but the initial idea is what I was impressed with. Note the CV flange welded directly to the mount plate.

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      backside is just an idler which uses a trialer hub assembly. After Greg passed Betty his wife was kind enough to let me have several items from the shop including this rigg. While a valuable item in terms of utility it carries more in sentimental value now and is my physical link back to the good old days with Greg!
      Thanks for reading this! Justin
      Justin Rio

      Comment


      • #4
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        I had already removed our old patch repairs from '88 on the longitudinals and the battery box to give my media-blaster access to the surface corrosion in these compartmnets. All set on the rotisserie here and am ready to begin removing the rockers to gain access to the upper portion of the longitudinals.
        *Left Longitudinal repair*
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        Found a few timebombs we missed in '88. The entire compartment floor of the door well area was rusted out and thin. Took several generations of cardboard templates before I was ready to make one from steel. Even being a desert car most of its life the corrosion still found a way.

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        Inner compartment cleaned primered and ready for a sealer coat of paint. The repair floor for the door well is complete as well; the fuzzy thing to the right side of this shot. All the original bulkead reinforcing plates were fine and needed no repair.

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        One more shot.

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        New closing panel fitted with all holes punched along the perimeter for the plug-welds. Tons of trial fitments and fine trimming before this piece was ready.

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        Panel now completely welded in and the plug welds have been dressed down smooth.

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        To replicate the factory spot-welded look I went over the smooth plug-welded perimeter with my panel welder. (spot-welder)
        Justin Rio

        Comment


        • #5
          Nice work Justin, Your skills have progressed nicely thru the years. Its wonderful to have a car that has so much history with your father & friends. Keep up that excellent work, we'll be following your restoration.

          Best Max H.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thank you Max! I really appreciate your support and for following this whole build. I also appreciate you being here! Best Regards, Justin


            *Right Side longitudinal repair*

            The right side did not have the amount of rust the left did. Only the three bulkhead supports needed replacing

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            A lot of time spent preping these inner cavities. Hand sanding and cleaning up a few spots the media blaster had missed here. The real time was spent cleaning up our poor repairs from the 80's. Spent hours on both sides grinding down the caterpillar sized seam welds running the whole length next to the floor pans. Like I said before; two Yahoo's with a wire welder!

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            Area ready for the new bulkheads now. You'll notice in this shot that I left the corners of the rocker panels alone. I had planned on using brand new rockers but I still did not want to disturb the rolled wired lips on the fender wells. I made the cut here at the splash pan flange to help conceal the weld joint from behind.

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            Primered and new Zims bulkheads in final position. I cut the bulkheads not the heater tube to install these. Cut just enough out of the outer shoulder to slip these in. Once there I rewelded the new pieces. You can see the longitudinal cover there in the middle of trial fitments.


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            Again, repeated test fits and fine trimming.

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            Right panel now fully welded in.

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            Replicated spot welds finished and also seam welded where it should be. I can remember helping my dad weld in this knarly 16 guage patch panel here and running two huge beads of weld down both sides. "This is stronger then it was new" he'd say. I sure felt good about it the day we were installing. I sure lost my good feeling as I was grinding off that mess and onto my third grinding disc. Just did not know any better at the time. I embossed these drain holes and positioned them under each bulkhead compartment. Copied this from a '65 coupe with perfect original longitudinals. Not factory correct but I want any water that may find its way in here again to have somewhere to go! I remember the day we first opened these; there was a water line about two inches high up the inner wall. These old original pitted panels are not going to tollerate standing water in there again.

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            Longitudinals done!

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            Did not take any photo's of the process but I had already finished the second attempt at repair on the battery box floor. Though it was better then our first attempt I had used a T-2 zims replacement floor with the incorrect center rib pressed in. I would be cutting this out as well and doing a third repair 10 years later.
            Thanks for reading this! Justin
            Justin Rio

            Comment


            • #7
              Shortly after finishing the longitudinals and the battery floor my buddy Warren had completed most of the cage work on my Coupster and the car was ready to come back to me. I was more anxious to get to work on that rather than to continue the steel work on this car. So Greg helped me fabricate this storage dollie and we then removed it from the rotisserie so the coupster could go in its place.

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              2002 Now sitting atop its new resting place for the rest of the decade. At this point I believed I had most of tough steel work completed. How wrong I was. Note the hole in the right corner of the seat pan yet to be repaired.

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              A nice clean shell with a good head start but I just was not interested at the time. I had also started the second attempt at repairing the right lower door skin. Could not bring myself to start stitching it together.

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              Like I said a great place to begin. All the old tarpaper and surface rust cleaned with a quick topcoat for protection.

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              Still had some red paint to remove on the dash and lots of small missed sections of undercoat in the fender wells.

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              Other than a botched attempt at repairing the tail light holes(cut and redone later)I would do no more on this shell for another 8 years. Time sure gets away!

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              Quite literally on the "back burner" as I focused all my energy on the coupster project.
              Justin Rio

              Comment


              • #8
                On September 12, 2005 my great friend and mentor Greg Parker passed away from congestive heart failer. He was only 58 years old. This devastating loss was as if I my own father had died. It was not just me either there were literally hundreds of people he had touched that felt exactly the same way. After the 12th everything just ground to a halt. His wife, Betty, was gracious enough to let me keep my key and have access anytime I wanted. However my visits from then on were just too depressing and I had no desire to work on old car bodies. Betty gave me all the time I needed to get my affairs in order and find a new home for all my junk i had there. By June of '06 I had rented the shop I'm still in now.

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                My favorite picture of Greg. Taken on one of our many Sunday Morning hikes through desert to see little known old historical sites, indian petroglyphs, old Volcanos & lava tubes. Old stagecoach stops located around these natural springs.ETC. ETC. Greg had a vast knowledge of the high desert and the conversations were always interesting. More than just a great gearhead. Still missed tremendously! Rest in Peace Greg...

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                My good friend and porsche Guru Craig Stevenson was nice enough to give me a hand the following December in moving this old shell to my new shop. Finally leaving that old tin building where it had been stored for better than 15 years.

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                This picture is part of the motivation for finishing this car. Craig, pictured here helping me move after my friends passing has since passed on himself. It is a reminder of how short life is and to get things done while you can. Its much later then you think. Rest in peace Craig...
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                Ready to head out the front gate for the 2 hour trip back home.
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                Greg and his brother Eddie's yard art built in the 80's. I tell you if you were a gearhead metal fabricator this was a fun and creative place to be.

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                The old shell delivered safe and sound to its new home.

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                At the same time I had taken on this side job to repair this old nasty speedster.

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                This poor car would sit neglected yet again for another 3 years.

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                It was late 2009 and the speedster was now gone. I was turning 40 in just over a year and was tired of looking at this car as a project shell.
                I made the decision to finally finsh it no matter what. I put it back on the rotisserie and began addressing the rest of the steel work.
                Justin Rio

                Comment


                • #9
                  Justin The car is looking good going to be a real hoot to drive. Thanks for sharing. George

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thank you George I hope it is. Great having you here! Thanks again! Justin

                    After almost 10 years I was back on it. The first metal repair project was to correctly patch some very old damage to the right side of the seat pan. This damage was not due to rust but a severe hatchet job by the guys at the wrecking yard whom my father had bought the car from. After they sold the original 4-cam motor to local guy for his Manx dune buggy they decided it would be a great idea to shoe-horn a corvair drivetrain into this body. They set out to do this by hacking out the rear crossmember and most of the rear bulkhead wall. Bulkhead face of the transmission tunnel was also cut-off. Lastly they punched multiple slits into the right side of the seatpan as reliefs then took a large hammer and bashed it in probably for starter motor cleanance. Who knows? In 1988 during out initial father-son restoration on this car we attempted a patch repair of this area.

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                    The area was just too mangled to fix. Did not get a shot of the damage before but this is the repair afterward. The patch needed a complex shape. The closest thing we had was a green VW bug fender. It fit in there pretty well and I thought it looked great at the time.

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                    Once I learned that all metal repairs have to be correct this patch came back out along with longitudinals from page one and many others to follow.

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                    My perfect donor patch came on this dead chassis from hawaii. Everything on this clip was pretty much shot but the section I needed was fine.

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                    The patch was cleaned of rust, trimmed and fitted to the old pan. Still have some touch-up welding to do in a few places here. Shorty into the fitting process it became appearant that it needed to be welded from the top. This meant removal of the package shelf inside. More work of course;spot weld drilling and careful removal.

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                    This clean overlapped border is what I wanted to recreate.
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                    All the correct details are back. Rolled strengthening ribb, the lapped edge again, even the tang for the wiring harness. All the things lacking with the old VW fender patch-job we did.
                    Justin Rio

                    Comment


                    • #11
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                      All welding complete. Area cleaned of all surface rust also vacuumed about a cup of fine blow sand out of both corners that had accumulated. I was glad to get that out of there;a moisture absorber for sure. Primered and all seams sealed in 3M heavy drip-check. Note the old bullet hole in the corner; installed before we owned it. Not hurting anything and I found it kind of funny so I just left it. I can imagine its only reason for being there was an inexperienced person with a loaded gun who engaged it and did not know how to release it. So they pointed it down and away and fired. Just a theory by the way.

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                      Compartment ready for a coat of paint.

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                      both surfaces in final color and shelf ready to be welded back into position.

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                      Jumping serveral months ahead; here is the area in final paint. some scars remain but nothing serious. Really won't matter after upholstry.

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                      Again a much later shot of the underside in final paint. Just a wisper of the old damage but more importantly it looks factory correct again. Thanks for reading this! Justin
                      Justin Rio

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        With the rear seat pan repair complete my next project was to get the rocker panels back on the car. In order to do that the jack spurs had to be installed first. When I began the longitundinal replacement in '99 both pieces were of course brand new vendor items. I also thought it would make a really clean job to go ahead and use brand new vendor jack spurs and rocker panels as well. What could beat brand new fresh sheetmetal? With this mindset I carelessly and agressively set about removing the original rockers and jackspurs with my die grinder. A move I would thoroughly regret now. Did I mention something about being older and wiser when I set back to work on this car?? Maybe I was a little but I sure had more to learn!

                        In 2005 While the car was still sitting idol on that old cart, (The "Back-burner") I became very good friends with the late Craig Stevenson. I'm sure many will recognize the name. He was a long term California 356 restorer from way back in the day and an expert involving anything early Porsche related. Looking back on it now it really is a shame that so much 356 authenticity knowledge went with him.
                        He had a really cool shop at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway loaded with many really neat and rare parts. Several really nice 356's one of which was Doctor Porsche's personally owned and special ordered Carrera 2 Cabriolet. I would visit weekly and learned a great deal from old Craig. During one of our discussions he advised me to restore this car with as many of the original components as possible. To make it goal to use as many factory used or new parts as I could find. Once I heard that it made perfect sense and I really liked that idea. So with this new philosiphy I am repairing and reinstalling the original jack spurs and rocker panels to this car. Defintely not a feasable option especially if your paying a pro for his time to do it but this really is a labor of love and I'm up for it so here goes.

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                        Here are both original spurs. Both are solid with no severe rust just a little bent on the bottom from floor jack usage. I really butchered the top of the left one with my hasty removal. Very regretful! Always learning and gaining better perspective. At least I hope!

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                        I'm doing the left side of the car first so I repaired that old die grinder damage. Fortunately I had all the original pieces to reattach. Its also been acid dipped to clean it of all rust and now primered. The center seam where to two halves join at the bottom only has also been sealed with 3M heavy drip check.
                        Justin Rio

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Left jack spur ready to install.

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                          Longitudinal and the inner cavity of the spur now in a sealer coat of paint. Just some old stuff I had on hand that I was gald to use before it turned to jelly. I realize that is all overkill and that this car will never be exposed to moisture and the eliments like in years past but I just feel better about doing it anyway.

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                          Paint is dry and all the weld/contact surfaces are clean and ready to go. The date I wrote in the spur was November 17, 2009. How time flies! Like anything to do with the 356 it never is easy and straight forward. The spur can mount flush in several slight angles of adjustment. Hanging out with my buddy watching him do steel work all those years back sure paid off by making me aware of this easy mistake. If the jack socket is too high the bottom of the rocker panel is going to interfere once installed. If its too low its going to look completely amaturish and odd to anyone who knows what they're looking at. To get the correct elevation the rocker panel had to be mocked up. The left door also had to be installed to set the proper gap for the rocker. These three items all had to be adjusted correctly before I could weld the spur on. This whole process burned an entire afternoon alone.

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                          After that long session I was finally able to weld the spur on. Its fully plug-welded on here and I reinstalled the rocker just to double check.

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                          The plug welds where dressed smooth. I again went over the contact flanges with my spot-welder to replicate the factory welds. I get hung up on small details, which is why this is also taking so long. The joints here have also been sealed in drip-check.
                          Justin Rio

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                          • #14
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                            Went ahead and resanded this longitudinal area and prepped it for final paint. I wanted this in its final color coat before the rocker installation to ensure a nice uniform coat at the top of the spur and the pinch flange at the top where the rocker will mount to the threshold run.

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                            Spur is basically straight but some old scars remain. My restorer friend here in town thought I was crazy for reusing the old stuff because of all these dings and dents. I told him this was exactly the reason why I wanted them. Looks more original because they are original.

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                            This is a left side spur from these dings and dents found only to the one side here from all the years of rocks getting zinged at it from off the front tire.

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                            I'm going for the GT look with this car so NO undercoating. I want the bottom to look as nice as the top. I know it won't last but I want it nice for now.
                            Ready for the left rocker. Thanks for reading this! Justin
                            Justin Rio

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Looking pretty dang good I agree with you use as many parts as you can and like as they ar original only once. My Speedster isn't concours and has many battle scares from years of use and never being restore but every part on her is what was on her when I bought her is 1965 except for the interior and exterior paint. I happy with that and so if your happy with your car that is all that matters. Good luck with it and keep up with the good work. George

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