WCSTA -09- Coupe into Speedster conversion

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Justin Rio
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WCSTA -09- Coupe into Speedster conversion

#1 Post by Justin Rio » Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:51 pm

While this project has been on going for 2 years we wanted to take our shot at this very generous prize in hopes of taking a little expense off of what remains left to purchase on what has turned out to be a very extensive conversion. This project car belongs to a local friend of mine who sort of late in life caught the 356 "bug" from hanging out with me over the last few years. He of course found himself wanting a Speedster but with these cars now well into the quarter million dollar+ range he wanted to explore other options. He finally settled on building a coupster as it would be something he could jump in and drive anywhere without the stress of such a large investment at risk on public roads as he wants to actually use this car...a lot. Besides his wife was would never allow him to spend that kind of money on a car. As we talked about the project I made clear to him that if we were to build such a car from a coupe donor then it was all the way or nothing. Anything short of a full and complete detailed conversion would be an enormous waste of both our time, his money and a donor 356 chassis. If its a custom Hot rod then you certainly have latitude on what you're going to do but as he wants it completely stock correct then I told him its all or nothing if you ever hope to cash out ahead of the game if and when you decide. So by the end of this build the intent is to have a car that is a correct original Speedster in every respect and detail save for its coupe chassis #. By the end of the build Dr.John should be just fine with his investment as original speedsters continue to climb in value this car will most certainly ride their coattails and will be capable of commanding a strong percentage of what a real speedster is currently going for as its still a real Porsche 356 and again will be a speedster in every detail except for its chassis number. Once our game plan was set I contacted Rusty Tubs for our donor car. After picking out the one we wanted they were good enough to arrange for media blasting so I could hit the ground running when it arrived and then finally crating it up for shipment out West to us. Our clapped-out '59 donor coupe was in the mail to us a few weeks later.

Here are a few shots of it the day it arrived. More shots of it can be found here: http://www.abcgt.com/forum/14-356-Resto ... oject.html
Thanks for looking and your consideration!
Justin
Attachments
A chassis 003.JPG
unpacking our prize from Rusty Tubs.
A chassis 005.JPG
One 1959 Miessen blue donor coupe
A chassis 014.JPG
A chassis 012.JPG
rear half of the chassis fared far worse as the cancer ran deeper into the frame than originally thought.
A chassis 019.JPG
Just enough left of it to weld new panels to.
A chassis 021.JPG
A frame that would certainly not have been worth the cost of repairs several years ago now the perfect candidate for our conversion.

Per Schroeder
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Re: WCSTA- Coupe into Speedster conversion

#2 Post by Per Schroeder » Fri Apr 03, 2015 9:15 am

This is awesome! Definitely in the running…

is this the current state of the car? any more pictures?

thanks!
Per Schroeder
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Re: WCSTA -09- Coupe into Speedster conversion

#3 Post by Justin Rio » Sat Apr 04, 2015 2:14 am

Thank you Per!

After getting it uncrated and into my shop the first thing was getting the chassis prepped and stabilized with a sub-frame/holding jig. Not much integrity to speak of with the frame so rotted and the roof removed. Below are a few shots of that phase. If you care to see and read more about it you can look here: http://www.abcgt.com/forum/14-356-Resto ... 6&start=12 As of this entry the frame repair has been completed and am into the actual conversion phase of this project. Thanks again! Justin
Attachments
A chassis 034.JPG
prepping for the Jig began by removing the old dash for clear access to the forward compartment.
A chassis 042.JPG
With the coupe dash gone it was possible for quick mock up using the dash and doors from my own coupster project. A million miles away from mounting anything speedster related on for good but it was fun to dream.
A chassis 063.JPG
Next was chalking the frame up for square. It took some doing but eventually both the front and rear torsion housing were set level with one another.
A chassis 064.JPG
With the torsion tubes set at level the forward cross-member was tacked in at level as well.
A chassis 065.JPG
Rear cross-member set and checked for level.
A chassis 073.JPG
Length runners in and cut the length to pre-load the frame on the open side a few mm's based on measurements from my coupe. Basic jig now set and in at level in relation to the chassis. This was a must as I also wanted to be able to use this sub-frame as sight marker if necessary.

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Re: WCSTA -09- Coupe into Speedster conversion

#4 Post by Justin Rio » Sat Apr 04, 2015 2:40 am

Frame jig complete.
Attachments
A chassis 085.JPG
Triangulated struts were added in next. A lot of preplanning went into this as I wanted this sub-frame (least most of it) to be able to remain in the car through the entire duration which meant it had to be clear of eventual door fitment, floor and tunnel installation etc.
A chassis 113.JPG
Once the subframe was complete I started on the battery box in preparation of getting the frame mounted on the rotisserie.
A chassis 262.JPG
Battery box just about built here.
A chassis 094.JPG
Once the box was complete it became clear to me that it would be far better to bring back as much of the frames structural integrity as possible be fore exposing it to the leverage and forces of it hanging off my hoist. It was still light enough for me to move and flip over by myself so why not get the longitudinals and frame runners built right here on its side in a nice relaxed and supported position.
A chassis 278.JPG
Began cutting the rot and re-flanging the forward right runner first.

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Re: WCSTA -09- Coupe into Speedster conversion

#5 Post by Justin Rio » Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:38 am

The longitudinals on this chassis were severely rotted so I was in no real hurry to open my first one up. I decided to work my way back to them by first addressing the forward compartment from the toe-board bulk-headwall to the front torsion tubes. Below are a few shots of that process. More details and photos of this phase begin here: http://www.abcgt.com/forum/14-356-Resto ... 6&start=60
Thanks for looking! Justin
Attachments
A chassis 341.JPG
Forward Right lower frame flange as repaired first then the toe-board bulk-head/closing wall.
A chassis 351.JPG
Chassis was then flipped over to repeat on the left.
A chassis 369.JPG
Since the cross brace mounts directly to the bulkhead flange now was as good a time as any to get it installed.
A chassis 381.JPG
Seam welded with my gas welder where needed to replicate what the factory did. BTW: not only am I converting this frame to a speedster but the owner also wants a T1 Speedster so all frame details of this T2 chassis is being changed to t1.
A chassis 382.JPG
Fortunately I have my coupe here with its original floor and 90% of its original details intact for reference. I would have been at a loss without it here.
A chassis 399.JPG
With the forward frame runner flanges repaired on both sides I was gradually moving into the longitudinal section. Each compartment on this car has literally been a fresh can of worms. Thanks for looking! Justin

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Re: WCSTA -09- Coupe into Speedster conversion

#6 Post by Justin Rio » Sun Apr 05, 2015 2:37 am

Begin left longitudinal repair. A brief description of a very long and involved process below. If you would like to read more it begins here:
http://www.abcgt.com/forum/14-356-Resto ... &start=108
Thanks for looking! Justin
Attachments
A chassis 409.JPG
Begin removal of the original rocker panel. Though not considered a structural frame component I think at this point they were definitely adding strength which is why I put off removing this first one until it was absolutely necessary.
A chassis 413.JPG
Rocker out of the way and now ready to remove what's left of the outer closing panel and the spur.
A chassis 416.JPG
About as bad as it gets before you really have nothing left to attach the repair metal to. Door well floor/closing walls (v-shaped panel)are shot along with the defroster closing floor which still carries its cash of pine needles.
A chassis 417.JPG
You can just tell the cancer runs through and through in and around the heater tube.
A chassis 419.JPG
Tube removed and begin prepping for the new lower flanged section.
A chassis 441.JPG
New lower section in process of being fitted. Thanks for stopping by! Justin

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Re: WCSTA -09- Coupe into Speedster conversion

#7 Post by Justin Rio » Tue Jun 01, 2021 4:31 am

Sharing the completion of this story; at least as far as I am concerned. My involvement was to complete the repairs on a severally rusty Coupe donor chassis and assemble a new Speedster body on it. My part was completed a few years back and this car is now in Wisconsin at a specialty restoration shop for final body work and paint.
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Photo taken on the night it finally came off of my rotisserie for good.
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Tubular sub-frame/ holding jig finally removed after about 5 years of extensive metal repairs.
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Very little of the original back half of the chassis remains.
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All the closing panels were added on to complete the picture.
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Gaps are basic and raw.
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All openings will be leaded for a final gap once the body is media blasted clean again.
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No filler on this body yet...
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just a flash coat of epoxy but it will most definitely need a skim coat to be perfect before its in final paint.
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The following day I staged the car with every original speedster part that I own to give a more complete picture as to what the finished car will look like. Rule number one for this project was that it had to be a fully completed conversion in every detail possible and its ability to accept a real Speedster windshield and top frame assembly an absolute must. The final body and underpinning details had to pass the smell test and its original coupe chassis number becoming its only real giveaway at the end. Anything short of that was a waste of all of our time and effort I stressed to my buddy. Anyway, another derelict 356 saved though it will be spending its second life in Speedster form.
I'll post my mock up shots of it next.

Thanks for looking!
Justin

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Gordon White
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Re: WCSTA -09- Coupe into Speedster conversion

#8 Post by Gordon White » Tue Jun 01, 2021 8:31 am

Justin
I had forgotten about this project.
Thanks for the update. awesome metal work and detail.
Gordon

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Re: WCSTA -09- Coupe into Speedster conversion

#9 Post by Puygranier Antoine » Wed Jun 02, 2021 7:55 am

Beautiful work, thanks for the update 8)

Antoine

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Re: WCSTA -09- Coupe into Speedster conversion

#10 Post by Justin Rio » Sat Jun 05, 2021 2:51 pm

Thanks Gordon, it was a real learning experience for sure.

Thank you Antoine.

The following shots with the top up:
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Woops...Wrong one
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Again it was just a roughed in body at this point. A lot of lead and finishing bodywork remained.
Top down and interior/closing panel detail shots next.
Thanks for looking.

Justin

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Vic Skirmants
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Re: WCSTA -09- Coupe into Speedster conversion

#11 Post by Vic Skirmants » Sun Jun 06, 2021 8:01 am

You scared me with that first photo! :shock:

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Re: WCSTA -09- Coupe into Speedster conversion

#12 Post by Justin Rio » Sun Jun 06, 2021 5:41 pm

LOL, well then it served its purpose Vic...

opened closing panel and interior shots:
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T1 details also included adding in the holes for the 4-cam oil tank and removable fender brace.
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Chassis began life as a '59 T2 coupe so all chassis details were changed to T1. Original tunnel was rust repaired and convert to T1 configuration.
Corners of the dash and A pillar left raw and rough. These areas would be coated in lead originally and will before its all over.
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Dash was set up to work with all original speedster components.
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Lock posts will only need a skim coat of solder to finish out the lines.
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As with the dash the rear cowl was set up to work with all original speedster components. Mocked up here with an original Low bow Speedster top frame and belt line trim. Top frame resting hooks where replicated and mounted to the closing walls as originally done.
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Hood hinges and hinge mounts were also modified to allow the hood to rest low. A detail specific to all Speedsters and later Roadsters.

Top down shots coming up next...

Thanks for looking!
Justin

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Bill Waite
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Re: WCSTA -09- Coupe into Speedster conversion

#13 Post by Bill Waite » Mon Jun 07, 2021 10:50 am

Looking great! For the results of a similar project, check out this Jay Leno video...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxSKO3Er-Yg

Bill
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1965 356C Coupe "Reversible Outlaw"

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Re: WCSTA -09- Coupe into Speedster conversion

#14 Post by Justin Rio » Fri Jun 11, 2021 6:16 pm

Thanks Bill, I've seen that episode a couple of times; a great build.

I'm one of those weird guys that prefers the look of these cars with the top up but here it is with the top down:
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Again just a roughed in basic body at this point that will require hours more of lead and bodywork to perfect the closing panel gaps and body lines.

Thanks for looking!
Justin

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Re: WCSTA -09- Coupe into Speedster conversion

#15 Post by Justin Rio » Sat Jun 19, 2021 5:30 pm

A final overview and summation of all that went into this build:
A chassis 004.JPG
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Donor chassis on the day it arrived.
A chassis 066.JPG
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Chassis was set then confirmed squared at the torsion tubes and a tubular holding jig installed to supply integrity through the entire build.
A chassis 963.JPG
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Battery box and longitudinals fully rebuilt by this point with forward pan section just installed.
A chassis 1108.JPG
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The back of this chassis was more deeply rotted and compromised than initially thought. It had to come off of the rotisserie to allow just about everything from behind the rear torsion housing to be removed.
A chassis 1391.JPG
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Back on the rotisserie after new/old donor seat pan, crossmember/ motor mount etc. installed.
A chassis 2132.JPG
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Once the chassis repairs where completed it was onto building the body. Began with a pair of original Speedster now set and leveled with the frame and ready to build outward from them.
A chassis 2226.JPG
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Developing and building the windshield frame mounts here.
A chassis 2665.JPG
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Firewall assembly was mounted first then it was onto lateral closing wall sections.
A chassis 3753.JPG
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Windshield frame and dash mounted and set by this point. Initial top frame mock ups to plan a few steps beyond. The new supplied pieces are very basic and raw so you can imagine all the prep and planning it took to get all of this to fit together properly.
A chassis 4102.JPG
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Lock posts and lateral closing walls installed. You can see some of the heat and manipulating it took to get those walls in. Ready to begin building on top of them now. Rear cowl being fitted first and will build outward from this panel.

Part 2 coming up shortly.

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