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 Post subject: 55 Coupe project
PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:37 pm 
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Location: Off Interstate 75 Midway between Chattanooga and Atlanta
Well, I finally got to restoring the 55 coupe I have had for over twenty years in boxes. I bought it from Lowell Sivey back when I was twenty something when my brother in law called saying "Lowell has this car here, and it's all apart, and the guy has bailed,...get down here..."
I did, and bought the car that day. I wasn't a Porsche guy, but I was a car guy, and I thought the car was the coolest thing I'd ever seen, even in that condition. At the time, you'd easily spend twelve thousand dollars restoring a car that was worth ten. But I didn't care and figured this was the only way a regular schmoe like me would get to own something like this. All glassie eyed I brought the car home, joined the club, and then proceeded to college, girlfriends, vintage racing, more girlfriends,,..marriage,..aircraft mechanics school,..etc... you get the picture. The car sat with me for all that time and I never did anything with it. Over the time I never seriously thought of selling it, always making sure it had dry storage, and believe me, that was a challenge at times

So, I learn a few things along the way, restore a few cars, motorcycles, and finally a pre war wooden boat that took three years. The club's 356 restoration guide mentions somewhere in one of the articles that the only people more gluttenous for punishment than Porsche people were wooden boat people and it's true. So, I finish the boat, and it's finally the Porsche's turn. I check back in to the club and,...am I seeing the same cars? I can't believe it,...the old coupes are actually worth restoring these days. Yippee... I finally won one.

I started by looking up Lowell and find him in Ohio, still doing Porsche's. Go out and visit and, you won't believe this,..he roots through a box, and actually finds the key to my car, the one that I didn't get all those years ago. What a hoot. Well, I get started, with a lot of encouragement from Lowell, and the economic downturn affords me ample free time :D but no money :( to make progress. Things have moved fairly quickly since last August 09 and I'm now getting excited because I see the end in sight. There are a few things I still need to buy for the car but I'm just glad I got what I did when I did because it'd be a hard row to hoe now if I hadn't. So,.. here are a few pictures of what I've been up to.

I'll add a few at a time till I get up to the present. I'm on dial up and it takes a looong time to upload a picture. Here goes.

The Good:

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The Bad:

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The Ugly:

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Last edited by Steve Harrison on Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:49 pm 
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Location: Off Interstate 75 Midway between Chattanooga and Atlanta
Yes, that is bailing wire holding the Bondo Special rear end clip repair together.
Not a pretty sight.

But instead of starting there, I decided to start inside at the core of the shell and work my way outward. I find this helps because at first enthusiasm is high and you can slog through all the drudgery of the inside panels that will never be seen, and as things progress, you get to the things on the "topside" that can be seen, and it goes an enthusiasm boost.

So,..I started with pan edges and inner wheel well areas. I have decided to save all the rusty metal and weigh it at the end of the project. Quite a pile thus far. Now, there are some who wouldn't restore this car due to all it's problems,..but like I said,.. I just finished a three year boat project, (and haven't even put it in the water yet, due in part to getting started on this car) So, I know crazy.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:56 pm 
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Location: Off Interstate 75 Midway between Chattanooga and Atlanta
Yes, this guy had patched over rust with old signs and rivets. All that had to go.

Then fabrication got going on repair panels.

I find it easier to make a template out of thin sheet stock, then transfer it to thicker gauge metal and go from there.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:05 pm 
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Location: Off Interstate 75 Midway between Chattanooga and Atlanta
Same with rocker sill tops

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And so on.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:19 pm 
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Location: Off Interstate 75 Midway between Chattanooga and Atlanta
Open up the rear closing panels,...more ugly.

Those heater tubes are really a problem. Convoluted and rust prone. But it had to be done.
One side wasn't too bad, I was able to get to it and work with what was there. The other side was too far gone so I had to dig it out and fabricate the twists and turns of the last foot or so. Not an easy deal.


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This is the slogging period where all the work you're doing will never be seen, but it has to be done.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:37 pm 
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Location: Off Interstate 75 Midway between Chattanooga and Atlanta
Here's a patch job done by PO typical of what was on this car.
Get an old sign.
Cut it to fit OVER the rust.
Rivet in place.

They all had to go.
Then butt weld in new panels.

I did this type of thing all over the perimiter of the interior of the car in various places.
Oddly, I was able to save the pans. They weren't that bad, just a little rough around the edges. The rust was mostly in the confined spaces. New angle pieces were made and butt welded at the top, and lapped under just a hare on the bottom to clean up the pan edge.



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Yes, I had to weld up the old rivet holes and grind flush, and it was a pain, but I think worth it to save the pans. But the fact that the metal was good enough to do that is an indicator that the pans were worth saving as a whole.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:57 pm 
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Location: Off Interstate 75 Midway between Chattanooga and Atlanta
Well, with the inside work mostly done I got started on the outside.

The passenger side headlight bucket had the typical rust, so out it comes.

I had to fabricate a new ring and weld it in.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 3:14 pm 
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Location: Off Interstate 75 Midway between Chattanooga and Atlanta
Now things are heating up. I have been at the car for about a year at this point.
I try to get five or six hours in a day. It's amazing how much time you can spend working on something and it seems progress is going so slow. The pictures are just highlight's really. And my camera broke soon after I got to fabricating for the rocker panel tops so there is a lack of pictures for a while.

Back at it. Also, got a new camera.

The drivers fender was crushed badly in it's dim past. I had a good replacement and as much as I didn't want to do it, I had to cut out the old one. This took some careful measuring, leveling, fitting, measuring, and measuring some more.




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Now here's a viewpoint you don't see every day. It was kind of scary seeing the car opened up like that. But it was all for good.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 4:43 pm 
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Location: Northern NY, 1k Islands
Wow Steve, that's an ambitious project, but it looks like you're off to an impressive start! Good on ya!!

Great to see another car being saved that might have been turned into a "parts car".

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Reutter Coupe #131645 since March '75


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:56 pm 
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Steve,
Delighted to have you join us here in "project world". Neat car, neat story, neat repairs! Oh man, can I ever sympathize with you on those heat tubes. So simple, yet so complicated. Looking forward to watching the story unfold.
DG

p.s.- maybe the 356Talk powers-that-be will someday see fit to give us our own space! (hint, hint, Barry)

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:04 am 
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My favorite part is where your trained circus dog is about to jump through the hoop!

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 7:17 am 
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Location: NE Michigan, lower penn.
Steve

Great job on the 55. Some of the areas you repaired were worse than on Foam Car, our 63 coupe. Nice to know I'm not alone in removing door hinge base to repair rusty metal behind it.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:35 pm 
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Location: Off Interstate 75 Midway between Chattanooga and Atlanta
So right Phil,

That door hinge base can be tricky. Why I did it that way was a little more subtle than the picture suggests. What I didnt' really want to do was to start again with the registration and location of the hinge mount, so I just cut free the forward part of it leaving the rear welds in place. They were rock solid. Then using a torch it was easy to heat up the hinge and actually bend it out of the way like you see in the picture. When all the "onion layers", as David so perfectly put it, were put to right, then the hinge was heated up red again and reformed back to position. You get it good and hot and it will do what you want. This was an easy way to cheat the hinge mount registration back with little effort. The door went back with the original two shims it came with.

You may notice that my car isn't as "clean" as some of the other restoration projects, and my hat's off to all of them, :) ... but what I have learned is that with this Georgia humidity, and the wild swings of temperature from morning to afternoon, flash rust is a problem. And that gets annoying. So what I do is strip when and where I need, then do the work, and then wash it over with metal prep, (phosphoros based from PPG) This accounts for the general "scrubby" look of most of the car. And the dull mottled gray color is what the prep treatment leaves. Shiny parts are lead.

I'm going to the library (high speed internet is a wonderful thing) Monday and will post some more current pictures that may bring things up to the present.

And Jack, I've always thought that's a funny picture also, but you know what?,.. I didn't even know the dog was in there until I downloaded the pictures and saw him. I wish I could say it was my doing but I can't take credit. His name is Sammy, and sometimes I think he's smarter than me. He's also a ham, a good buddy, and a nuisance, all at the same time. Wouldn't trade him for the world.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:46 pm 
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Location: Off Interstate 75 Midway between Chattanooga and Atlanta
The trailing edge of the front fender is a common rust prone area. So when the wheel well is all opened up its time for that to get fixed. I know what David means about the pictures being hard to get in order. Seems everything's a bit jumbled up, it's impossible to have a straight story line. But this is a highlight's reel anyway.

Here again I had an idea of how to register the gap for the door quickly using the old closing panel as a jig. First I uncrimped the rusty fender edge, leaving the old fender closing panel. Then used the factory edge with it's correct orientation as a guide for the new fender edge. When the new edge is in, then the closing panel is cut out and replace with a Stoddard panel.
The pre a panels Stoddard sold me worked really well. There was a LOT of extra material at the top which made me wonder about it's fitment at first, but after getting it cut down to size using the old one as a guide it went in surprisingly well.

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I know it's a kinda odd shape for the cut line but I wanted to get ALL the rust while I was at it. If you look closely you can see the factory holes for the Continental script.


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Dry fit.


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Tacking in place.



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The putty is a heat absorbant that I like to use. It minimizes heat warp.


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From here it's just more spotting until all the gaps are welded. I jump around a lot, again, to keep heat warp down. It takes forever, but eventually the whole cut is welded tight, then dressed with grinder, and finally with a flap wheel. I realy like flap wheels.
I noticed in this picture that the door gap looks weird, but I guess it's the flash or the angle because it came out right on.
I've got some later pictures of this area finished I'll post when I can find them.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:54 pm 
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Location: Off Interstate 75 Midway between Chattanooga and Atlanta
Just for kicks I wanted to try making the corner brace for the underside front. I know Stoddard and others sell these, and they're not that expensive, but I thought it'd be fun to give it a whirl at making them. They're underneath and get covered with undercoating anyway. I just wanted the satisfaction of making them for fun.


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A great use for the red Georgia clay dirt around here


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A little heat and a little hammer work and they came out not half bad.
A fun project.


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