My 57 356A

Share progress on your 356 related project or full restoration with others!
Post Reply
Message
Author
Mark Erbesfield
356 Fan
Posts: 410
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:21 am
Tag: Project Meister
Location: Atlanta, GA

My 57 356A

#1 Post by Mark Erbesfield » Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:34 pm

I would like to introduce myself and my car. Sorry if this is too long. I am new to the 356 scene, though I have been a lurker for many years. I have always wanted the proverbial Bath Tub 356 Porsche for as long as I can remember. I have owned many 911s over the years but never a 356, until now. The story for this car started for me a little over a year ago. I had been looking for just the right 356 to fit my specific requirements and was only interested in A’s. I can’t remember how I first got wind of this A, I think it might have been through Adam. If it was, thanks Adam.

Anyhow, I got word of a nice 57A for sale. I made a call and got in touch with Mr. Don P. Connor. Don is a super nice guy and had owned his car for over 20 years. We had many very nice long conversations about the car, exchanged emails, pics the usual. In the end Don was not ready to part with his baby, so he apologized and took the car off the market. He promised me I would be the first person he called when he was ready. In the mean time I found a very nice two owner 73 911S, also high on my collectable list, and bought it. Well, a little over a year went by and Don called just like he said he would. More long discussions and the decision was made to go look at the car. The only challenge was that Don lives in Minnesota and winter was coming in fast along with holiday obligations, so a quick road trip was planned. I bribed my buddy, Scott Houser, into riding with me. Not too much bribing was required because Scott is a major Porsche nut as well, plus who could pass up something this fun. So, we drove 20 hours straight to Andover, MN and met with Don and his lovely wife Shirley.

Don and Shirley welcomed us into their home with hot coffee, awesome Hash Brown casserole and tons of homemade sugary treats. Well, the car was even better than I could have imagined. Don was very honest about the way he had described the car. There is some rust in a few spots, but all very easily accessible and truly minimal. Someone a long time ago was very smart, maybe the factory, but I don’t think so? This car has a ton of undercoating applied and I am not talking about the type that is applied to cover rust after the fact. This stuff was applied a looooong time ago. Since getting the car home, I have thoroughly inspected the car and even after scraping off some of the flaking undercoat, all that is there is surface rust. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying this is a “rust free” car, these words cannot be used in the same sentence with the word “Porsche”, but as far as what I have seen, I would consider this to be one cherry 356A. This condition is also attributed, I think, to the fact that the car has been in dry storage for 30+ years, 20 under Don’s care and 10 from the previous owner (Abb W. Ansley III). With info provided by Don, I have traced the original owner Dr. Lewis Lauring of Tampa, FL, but unfortunately, he passed away a few years back. Dr. Lauring was an Optometrist. His affialtion was with St. Joseph’s hospital in Tampa. Still on the front bumper is a parking pass for St. Joseph’s Tampa, FL. The funny part of this is that Don use to live in Atlanta, GA. He bought the car in 1990 from Mr. Ansley in Flowery Branch, GA so this car was originally a GA car, went all the way to MN only to return home 20 years later. Don even gave me the original Atlanta Journal advertisement from when he found the car as well as a picture of the car on a trailer behind a U-Haul when he moved up north. From the pictures it does not look like much has changed on the car. Don hand stripped the car and then life got in the way like it sometimes does. With no paint on the car, I was able to see that it has never been involved in any sort of collision. The only damage is door bottom rust, which was repaired horribly by some PO. I am not planning on fixing this any time soon.

The car does not have its original motor, which is fine with me. It has exactly what I wanted, a 69 912 engine. I did not want an original numbers matching car, I wanted a hotrod. I have done the concours Qtip thing before and it does not interest me. I am too anal, I end up not having fun bc I am too concerned about every detail. That is not to say that this car will not get the royal treatment, but my intentions are to have fun and keep it as a mild Outlaw style car. For now I am going to concentrate on mechanicals, get it back on the road, and drive it like I stole it. I currently have two major restorations going, Porsche 912 and Toyota Land Cruiser, so I definitely do not need a third. I am a hands on guy and like to do as much of the work as possible, so things move slow sometimes. I am not sure how to protect the “Rust Patina” and prevent any future damage. If anyone has any suggestions let me know.

The car was originally Black/Tan, but somewhere along the road it received a Champagne Yellow re-paint, yuck. No idea why someone would do that, but to each his own. It will go back to Black someday. Almost every original part from the car was carefully removed by Don for painting, carefully labeled and stored. Don placed all the little precious items in a wooden tool box. I received all his documentation along with his entire library of Porsche books, repair manuals, even his toy Porsche car collection. He also had many very rare hand tools, which I purchased. He even gave me some pictures of him and his sister sitting on the bumper of a Speedster taken in Germany at a VW dealership. Obviously, Porsches have been in Don’s blood for a long time. I feel honored to be the next care taker of this 57A.

So far all I have done is remove the loose undercoating so I can treat the surface rust and clean up under the front fenders in preparation of restoring the braking system. I wish I could leave the undercoating alone, but original or not, I cannot allow any rust to go unchecked. If the undercoating is supper strong it will be left alone. Any undercoating that is loose and flaking will come off. I realize that some people think it should be left alone, but not on this car. Another thing that might have helped this one survive was the fact that it was Ziebarted long ago as evidenced by the little plugs. I am not a fan of drilling holes in cars, but in this case it seemed to have helped, though not so much in the door bottoms, which is where the majority of damage is. We tried to start it and it almost started, but the battery died. It was only 10 years old! Don called some of his strong neighbors over to help with the loading. I had to apologize for taking them from the football game. Once loaded we cruised back home with no drama. It is now on my lift with the wheels pulled. I will post here as I progress. Thanks for looking, Mark
Attachments
IMG_5828.jpg
IMG_5827.jpg
IMG_5817.jpg
IMG_5797.jpg
IMG_5770.jpg
IMG_5792.jpg
Last edited by Mark Erbesfield on Sun Dec 18, 2011 12:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
57 356A
68 912
73 911S
66 Land Cruiser FJ45LV
71 Land Cruiser FJ40
79 450 SL

Mark Erbesfield
356 Fan
Posts: 410
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:21 am
Tag: Project Meister
Location: Atlanta, GA

More pics of my 57A

#2 Post by Mark Erbesfield » Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:37 pm

Some more pics.
Attachments
IMG_5835.jpg
IMG_5833.jpg
IMG_5831.jpg
57 356A
68 912
73 911S
66 Land Cruiser FJ45LV
71 Land Cruiser FJ40
79 450 SL

Mark Erbesfield
356 Fan
Posts: 410
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:21 am
Tag: Project Meister
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: My 57 356A

#3 Post by Mark Erbesfield » Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:50 pm

Unfortunately, someone along the line decided to "update" the tail lights on this to tear drops. Not sure if worth the trouble to go back to bee hives.
Attachments
IMG_5825.jpg
57 356A
68 912
73 911S
66 Land Cruiser FJ45LV
71 Land Cruiser FJ40
79 450 SL

User avatar
Gordon White
356 Fan
Posts: 50
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:19 am

Re: My 57 356A

#4 Post by Gordon White » Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:49 pm

Mark
Great story.
Good luck on the A.
Gordon

User avatar
Adam Wright
356 Fan
Posts: 8348
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2008 1:00 am
Tag: KTF

Re: My 57 356A

#5 Post by Adam Wright » Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:05 am

Mark-
Glad you could make it happen with Don. Ironically, I just pulled a car about an hour north of you, in Cleveland, GA. Sitting on a mountaintop. In the pictures the car had no wheels but the guy assured me he had wheels so I could get it on the trailer. But he seemed to forget that he had no tires, so this is what we were left with...

Good luck on your project, keep us posted.
Attachments
56coupemist.JPG
I always need stories for my Barn Find column in the magazine, if you have a good story to share, please let me know.

Mark Erbesfield
356 Fan
Posts: 410
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:21 am
Tag: Project Meister
Location: Atlanta, GA

My 57 356A

#6 Post by Mark Erbesfield » Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:44 pm

Did a quick run through of parts today. Here is what I have noticed I am missing. If you have any of these parts please let me know.

Major:
1 Left Tear Drop turn signal assembly. All red. SKWK3260.
1 rear small glass rectangular reflector. One of mine is cracked. Yes I know, rare.
1 Rt door top chrome window trim assembly. (done, thanks Justin)
1 cigarette lighter
1 Period correct radio (not too worried about this)

Minor:
Roll pins to reinstall door handles, should be easy once I know the size.
Speed nuts to install emblems
One stub is broken off of front turn signal vent moulding, might be able to drill and tap for stud.
One front turn signal housing is blemished, could be re-chromed, but may be better to replace.
1 carb warming tube

Thanks for the help, Mark
Last edited by Mark Erbesfield on Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
57 356A
68 912
73 911S
66 Land Cruiser FJ45LV
71 Land Cruiser FJ40
79 450 SL

User avatar
Vic Skirmants
356 Registry Member
Posts: 6850
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 5:02 pm
Location: SE Michigan

Re: My 57 356A

#7 Post by Vic Skirmants » Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:53 pm

Speed nuts were not used to install the emblems. There were spot-welded back-up plates on the body to push the emblem studs through. Take a look; maybe yours are still useable.

Mark Erbesfield
356 Fan
Posts: 410
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:21 am
Tag: Project Meister
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: My 57 356A

#8 Post by Mark Erbesfield » Sun Dec 18, 2011 8:00 pm

vic skirmants wrote:Speed nuts were not used to install the emblems. There were spot-welded back-up plates on the body to push the emblem studs through. Take a look; maybe yours are still useable.
Vic, one of the many things I have to learn. I will look at the back side. I have been reading the Technical and Restoration Guide. I feel so lucky to have acces to guys like yourself who have so much knowledge to offer. Thanks for the help.

I have a question about brakes. I need to go through the brake system. Normally I would order all the needed parts prior to tear down. With the 356, do you recommend doing that or first disassembly then access needed parts? How hard is it to get these parts? I also plan to make the dual circuit upgrade.
57 356A
68 912
73 911S
66 Land Cruiser FJ45LV
71 Land Cruiser FJ40
79 450 SL

Chris Mann
356 Fan
Posts: 103
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2008 4:56 pm
Location: Mid coast Maine

Re: My 57 356A

#9 Post by Chris Mann » Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:43 pm

The bee hives were changed to teardrops in 1957, yours may be factory. Not sure of the cut off date or VIN #.

Regards
Chris Mann

Mark Erbesfield
356 Fan
Posts: 410
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:21 am
Tag: Project Meister
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: My 57 356A

#10 Post by Mark Erbesfield » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:23 am

I spent a few minutes looking under the A tonight. I am so amazed at how rust free this car is. After cleaning some of the road grime off it looks like some of the rubber bushings may have been replaced? Look at the pics and tell me what you guys think. Maybe they all look like this after you clean them? I know Don did not do it so if they were done, they are over 20 years old at best, but they do not look worn and old like I would have imagined.
Attachments
IMG_5877.JPG
IMG_5902.JPG
IMG_5901.JPG
57 356A
68 912
73 911S
66 Land Cruiser FJ45LV
71 Land Cruiser FJ40
79 450 SL

Mark Erbesfield
356 Fan
Posts: 410
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:21 am
Tag: Project Meister
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: My 57 356A

#11 Post by Mark Erbesfield » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:28 am

Chris Mann wrote:The bee hives were changed to teardrops in 1957, yours may be factory. Not sure of the cut off date or VIN #.

Regards
How would I find out? The reason I thought they were not original was the PO said something about it and the opening in the body looks like it has been altered. There are some holes that were bondo'ed over and the little slots for the tear drops do not look like others I have seen. I keep forgetting to get a closeup picture of that area. This is the best I have right now.
Attachments
IMG_5825.jpg
57 356A
68 912
73 911S
66 Land Cruiser FJ45LV
71 Land Cruiser FJ40
79 450 SL

Mark Erbesfield
356 Fan
Posts: 410
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:21 am
Tag: Project Meister
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: My 57 356A

#12 Post by Mark Erbesfield » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:31 am

Are these the correct wipers?
Attachments
IMG_5844.JPG
IMG_5843.JPG
57 356A
68 912
73 911S
66 Land Cruiser FJ45LV
71 Land Cruiser FJ40
79 450 SL

User avatar
Jim Karaba
356 Fan
Posts: 1049
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 12:34 am
Location: Lafayette, LA

Re: My 57 356A

#13 Post by Jim Karaba » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:38 am

Give us the chassis number, that is the first place to check for the tail light change-over. Maybe a shot of the dash to see where the ash tray is mounted. 57 was a T-1 to T-2 change over year and many things were changed this year. And to confuse things all were not done at the same time.

Mark Erbesfield
356 Fan
Posts: 410
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:21 am
Tag: Project Meister
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: My 57 356A

#14 Post by Mark Erbesfield » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:50 am

By chassis you mean VIN? 58648. I will post pics of dash tomorrow, but I think my car is a T-1.

PS, just checked the data base and my car is a T-1.
Last edited by Mark Erbesfield on Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
57 356A
68 912
73 911S
66 Land Cruiser FJ45LV
71 Land Cruiser FJ40
79 450 SL

User avatar
Sebastian Gaeta
356 Fan
Posts: 2543
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:50 pm
Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Re: My 57 356A

#15 Post by Sebastian Gaeta » Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:08 am

Mark Erbesfield wrote:Are these the correct wipers?
No, this is what your car would have had, the HTF "pickle fork" wipers.

Also, if I were a betting man, I'd say that the cutouts for your tail lights look like they were modified to accept the beehives, not an uncommon upgrade back then.

Great looking project, by the way :D
Attachments
pickle fork wipers.jpg
Sebastian Gaeta
www.arbormotion.com

Registry #8339

'65 C coupe
'64 C cab
--------
2001 996 C4
1998 Boxster
1967 Karmann Ghia Convertible
1966 Ducati Cafe Racer
1963 Beetle

Post Reply