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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 4:57 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2011 11:00 pm
Posts: 16
Hi all. - 1954 Pre A 1500 Cabriolet - with matching numbers - BTW. I have own my Porsche since 1970.

First. 1500 Engine.
I need help and advice restoring my 1954 1500 engine (and all the car).
The first advice would be where to buy engine parts (everything) obviously at good prices.

Second. Upholstery.
I will need to buy: a) carpets and b) the convertible top (canvas and inner fabric). Can somebody recommend me the best supplier (and good price)?
One more question. Can somebody tell me how was the original plastic rear window for this convertible top?

Third. Color.
The original color of my car was red (I have the 1954 original invoice). Therefore a visited Jim Willhoit and I purchased a sample of red. John said there was only one red for that year. However the man that is restoring my Porsche told me that the sample I brought from Jim Willhoit doesn´t match the original red that it still can be seen on some parts of my car. Any comments?
Jim Willhoit sample number is Signal Red. Rtr. #601 / Por #6211

Fourth. Miscellaneous.
Regarding my 356 body, electrical, upholstery I will also need advice. I am already restoring (locally) all these parts. My belief is that my mecahanic is doing a fair job but he is not a Porsche expert. Therefore your comments will be more than WELCOME).
Note.- I am in Mexico where it is almost impossible to restore Porsches (I don´t know exactly but my guess is that for each 356 in Mexico there must be a few thousands in USA).

Fifth.- Parts.
Regarding parts I purchased some of them in Sierra Madre Collection, Pasadena (excellent service) but I am somehow disappointed, for example... the battery cover was delivered to me in cardboard and not in metal (my mecanic already did it in metal and it seems to me he did a great job). And some other parts they really look fake!!!

Sixth.- Other cars.
I own other cars. I don´t know if I am allowed tos include this in this blog, but here I go...
- 1954 Mercedes Benz 300 Adenauer. Would somebody recommend me where in USA to overhaul my engine?
- 1954 Jaguar XK120. Same!!!
- 1956 Solana. My mecahanic just finished restoring a 1956 racing car that was raced by Moises Solana (a mexican Formula I racer). This car was built in Mexico in te 50´s. It is not a Porsche but is a unique car. It was the only "Solana" built in the world. That way you guys can see the restoring quality of my mechanic.
Thank you in advance for your answers.

Can somebody help me?
My e-mail is
Regards. Antonio

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:36 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:15 am
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Location: Baltimore, MD
Hi Antonio,

Restoring a pre-A is a big project! You have many questions!

I will get you started.

1) Engine parts. Some are VW parts, most are special Porsche parts specific to the 2-piece case engines. What do you need?

2) Upholstery. First you need to find out what the original colors were. You should get the report from Reutter for this. See here. Once you know the colors, then you can start to find suppliers. The carpet is German square weave, and it is "fine" weave. For the top, the fabric can be purchased from Germany, but again, you need to know the color. Building the top is quite a challenge, and having someone do it who has done it before is a good idea. Cabriolets had a mixture of leather and vinyl. Modern leathers are not good - they don't look like the original leather, which was a vegetable-tanned and surface pigment colored. Do you have any of the original carpet, leather, and top material for your car? Did you take lots of photos before and during stripping it?

3) There were a few reds used. The most common for 1954 was Strawberry red (Erdbeerrot) C524. C524A was with a light beige interior and a black or light beige top. C524B was black leather with black or grey top. Again, the Reutter report can help you here. Other reds were Pascha red (Pascharot) and Turkish red (Turkishrot), though I think Turkish red was started on cars a bit later in 1954. Strawberry red is a medium red, and Pascha red is a dark red. Signal red was never used on pre-A coupes or cabs.

4) Restoring your car in Mexico should be fine, but having someone do it who doesn't know Porsches and doesn't know pre-A Porsches is a recipe for disappointment I think. If your body man is very good, he can replicate all the body and chassis panels he needs from the damaged or rusted originals. But other things such as wiring, upholstery and trim require expertise. How complete is your car? If it is very original, then you can just put it back together as it originally was. I hope you took lots of detailed photos when you disassembled it. If not, then you've got a lot of research and work to do. And a lot of headache.

5) Parts. You can't rely on any of the normal Porsche vendors to know anything about pre-A Porsches. Even the well-known suppliers in the USA and Europe. You have to find out for yourself what is the correct part and then find a vendor (or usually another Porsche owner) who has it. That said, there are some that know pre-As better than others. Classic Parts France is good, for instance. As for the battery cover, you already had the original, so why buy a new one? A general rule for pre-A Porsche restoration - don't buy new parts. They're probably wrong. Especially body panels. Repair the original parts if you have them, or use the original parts as models for making new ones. If you don't know where to find a part, use Google to search this forum. It has probably been discussed before. In the Google search form:

Code: my search terms

You have to be a bit crazy to want to restore a pre-A Porsche. But there are many of us. =)

Post some more pictures of your car, and ask specific questions. There's a lot of knowledge in this group, and we all love these cars. We're happy to help. And we like photos. =)

Hope this helps!

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 1:40 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2010 6:58 pm
Posts: 431
Location: Southern San Joaquin Valley, California
Antonio Vilches wrote:
Hi all. - 1954 Pre A 1500 Cabriolet - with matching numbers - BTW. I have own my Porsche since 1970.

Hi Antonio,
Your photo looks like a '53 cabriolet with no horn grills. Horn grills were added starting with cabriolet no. 60550. Perhaps your car was a '53 model made in January or February of 1954?
You can check the model year of your chassis number and engine number here:

Spencer Harris
San Joaquin Valley, CA.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:08 am 
356 Fan

Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2008 4:34 pm
Posts: 103
Location: mount clemens, michigan
Dear Antonio:

I STRONGLY recommend that you take advantage of the literature that is available to you and which can guide you in your restoration. I would start by getting a copy of Ron Roland's book, "Restored By Hand." It is the nuts and bolts of Porsche restoration and tells you how to do so so as to replicate what was done by the factory from installing a floor to the issues of the wooden rear bow reconstruction. Another book by, Dr. Brett Johnson, gives you pictures of all the parts of Porsche 356 models, showing you the differences by year and model. Very good. And if you want to see one of the great shops doing restorations, and which can also guide you or your repair shop in techniques and reconstruction, go to John Wilhoit's website:

Good luck!

paul r. vantol

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