New to the 356 scene, 1959 356A Coupe

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Robert Calhoun
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Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:37 am

New to the 356 scene, 1959 356A Coupe

#1 Post by Robert Calhoun » Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:01 am

Howdy everyone, I have the exciting pleasure of digging into my very first Porsche project car ever. Totally new to this chassis. I do have decades of automotive experience and owned my own classic BMW garage for some years, so I know my way around a car. I do have limited experience with total from scratch restorations. Having done a few BMW race cars, I know about stripping them down to a bare shell and putting them back together, but again without the finesse of a very valuable classic Porsche.

The car I have the pleasure of working with is a 1959 356A Coupe. It belonged to the owner since college and has been all across the country and has not been actually driven for at least 20-30 years. Back in the day he used to do time rally's, autocross, and some road racing with it. The current condition of the car is as such. A few years ago it was stripped down and painted and undercoated. There was some kind of disagreement and the car was returned and dropped off in the owners driveway and it has sat like this for the last 2-3 years.

In the process of stripping it down they neglected to strip the dash and paint with the rest of the car. The center console piece is still installed with stripped and rusty screws, you can see where they simply cut the carpet away. The undercoating appears to be sprayed on quite thoroughly. Unfortunately it is covering everything, the control arms, sway bar, swing arms, wiring, cables, grease fittings, steering box, master, brake lines, etc..even the clobs of grease squeezing out of the front torsion arm/link arms. Hopefully they actually repaired any rust damage as opposed to simply covering it over. There does not seem to be a major amount of rust that I can see visually. There is some rusting in areas of the center channel, some surface rust on trans mounts, etc.

I am not sure why such short cuts where taken, but I have to now go through and completely strip out everything and start from scratch, but at least it has a nice coat of paint. It seems to me that every last component is going to have to be removed, restored and/or replaced. The owner does have the financial power and motivation to complete the project to finish. I am hoping for less then a years time frame.

I am going to need guidance along the way for sure. I have already looked into a few books to get me started, but the owner says he has several, so I will see what he has first before I go and start buying books.

The engine was out of the car and supposedly in good condition, but after decades of storage, everything is pitted, corroded, surface rusted, etc..It will go up on a stand and get stripped to a long block and then carefully inspected via bore scopes through spark plug holes, sump cavity, intake and exhaust ports, etc. If all looks good then it will be a cosmetic overhaul.

I pulled the tranaxle assembly out last week. The drain plug magnet looked like margret simpsons beehive hairdo, there was less then a quart of molasses that drained out and a big slurry of grey mixed in. To say the least it will be going out for a overhaul, drivers side wheel bearing is missing several rollers and lots of cage fragments destroyed the seal, brake shoes soaked in gear oil.

Oh ya, ordered the complete wiring harness from y&z and should have that in a few weeks. All the wiring is brittle and cracking.

So anyways that is about where things stand at the moment. I will use this one thread as the project thread.

Here is how it sat just before I got it up on stands and pulled the trans.

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Mark Pribanic
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Tag: Drive 'Em!
Location: Neptune Beach, Florida USA

Re: New to the 356 scene, 1959 356A Coupe

#2 Post by Mark Pribanic » Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:09 am

Welcome! You've come to the right place.

Mark Pribanic
Registry# 13617
Florida Owners Group Trustee - 2008-2010
Neptune Beach, Florida USA
Instagram: Mark.Pribanic

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Doug McDonnell
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Location: Augusta,Michigan

Re: New to the 356 scene, 1959 356A Coupe

#3 Post by Doug McDonnell » Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:15 am

Welcome. A friend restored the 59 his dad bought in 61. Take your time to do it right. This forum is where you will get the help you need.
1965 356C There is never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it over.

Dick Weiss
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Re: New to the 356 scene, 1959 356A Coupe

#4 Post by Dick Weiss » Fri Mar 17, 2017 9:10 pm

Wow! Those carbs are the largest I've ever seen for a 356--definately not correct!


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Kathe Barnett
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Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:00 pm

Re: New to the 356 scene, 1959 356A Coupe

#5 Post by Kathe Barnett » Fri Apr 06, 2018 9:06 pm

Wow. Same deal here. ruby Red 59. Just had engine tested. transaxle serviced. Looking to find correct seals and boots for rear body tunnel presently. Just got done blasting/ painting where driveline goes in.
All the knobs are missing, so looking for replacements.
Yours coming along?

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

Re: New to the 356 scene, 1959 356A Coupe

#6 Post by Vic Skirmants » Sat Apr 07, 2018 7:34 am

Robert; welcome.
If those are Weber 48mm carbs, that's too much to be driveable.

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Charles H Jacobus
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Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 5:02 pm
Location: Dallas, TX

Re: New to the 356 scene, 1959 356A Coupe

#7 Post by Charles H Jacobus » Sat Apr 07, 2018 7:52 am

Welcome to the forum, Robert. You have picked the right place for advice - I have never seen this much technical and historical expertise anywhere! I would love to know total cost when you are done. Mine was done in 2004 and they spent $60K (not counting the cost of the base car). It seems like parts prices have gone up significantly since then.

2012 Silver 991
1995 Midnight blue 993
1965 Red 356C

Fond memories of 14 others (including a '63 Normal and a 61 S90) :)

Rusty Ferrell
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Location: Virginia Beach,VA

Re: New to the 356 scene, 1959 356A Coupe

#8 Post by Rusty Ferrell » Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:46 am

Lotus and Morgan signs on the wall! Welcome, I have the same Weber setup on the shelf with the scat to Solex manifold adaptors, they came off a completion 912 engine. They look cool but I’ve never had anything to put them on.
Welcome Robert, you’re in for a lot of fun with this group.

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