Restoration Question for my 1963, 356-SC

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Monte Turner
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Restoration Question for my 1963, 356-SC

#1 Post by Monte Turner »

This is what my car looks like right now
This is what my car looks like right now
Back end, original California 1963 license plate
Back end, original California 1963 license plate
Hey Everyone,

I'm doing a "Sympathetic Restoration" on my 63' SC. Very little rust in the front interior floor pan. No other rust!

I just finished the front-end and the back-end bumpers, external lights and chrome. (See photos above)

- The short history is that I purchased the car this year, it was painted sometime in the past 35 years and never was put back together (Paint is kind of rough in some areas). All the parts were in boxes and labeled. The engine, transmission and body are original matching numbers and have never been out of the car as far as I can tell. All the suspension and drive train are intact. Original wheels dated 7/63 and tires are date coded 10-1974.

Last State sheriff inspection date = Dec. 75'.

- I'm replacing/restoring everything that is bad including the carpet. Since the car was painted a different color (Orig. Color = Champaigne Yellow) (New Color = Ivory Light, German original color for a 63') the car is already not completely original/stock. The seats are in great condition and original.
All that in mind, for the purists out there, should I replace the carpet with the original color?

Car Original Info:
  • 1963 - 356C/SC Karmann Coupe
    External Color: Champaigne Yellow (Now, Ivory Light)
    Carpet Color: Dark Blue
    Interior Color: Black Seats, doors panels, etc...
    Headliner Color: White
Questions for the group:

I was going to purchase the Charcoal Black Carpet German Weave from H&K, (Which I think looks very nice with the other black interior items, (I received a sample of it and the dark blue), but after reading about some restoration processes out there and them talking about keeping the original interior aluminum thresholds, speakers, knobs, etc..., I'm leaning towards putting the original carpet color back in and keeping some of the "not so nice" items just because they are original. I haven't started on the brakes, suspension or engine yet.

Any thoughts out there?

Thx -Monte
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California Inspection Sticker on Car
California Inspection Sticker on Car

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Doug McDonnell
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Re: Restoration Question for my 1963, 356-SC

#2 Post by Doug McDonnell »

Since you are not going back to stock colors, which is fine by me, do the carpet the way you want it. You are the one who will live with the car. My 2 cents only.
1965 356C 2000 BMW 740i Sport 1967 Honda CL77 There is never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it over.

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Ronald Sieber
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Re: Restoration Question for my 1963, 356-SC

#3 Post by Ronald Sieber »

My interior carpet was not specified on my CoA and Kardex, so I went with charcoal carpet and never looked back on that decision. Charcoal gray/black is very versatile and complements almost anything that is on or around it. Never shouts for attention, cleans up nicely, not too dark so you can find your keys when you drop them on the floor.
=rds

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Al Zim
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Re: Restoration Question for my 1963, 356-SC

#4 Post by Al Zim »

You should SERIOUSLY CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING: A FULL ENGINE REBUILD...everything before anything fails and punches a hole in the case. Remove an open the transmission gears only to look at the interior. Pull the drain plug and stick a magnet on a wire into the transmission looking for parts. A full bake system rebuild. Everything on the front end suspension and steering should be apart and carefully looked at. All new parts. Clean the Axle tubes. Complete brake overhaul...EVERYTHING. dual master cylinder . Rear suspension replace bushings on the trailing arms. This is 40 to 50 K worth of work that needs to be done by a competent shop! You cannot do this yourself! This is at least a 1 year time frame at a shop that is competent with 356 work. Probably more if we are doing it! Zim
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Doug McDonnell
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Re: Restoration Question for my 1963, 356-SC

#5 Post by Doug McDonnell »

Al Zim There are many members here who have done nearly everything you mention. Yes it takes time and money and most importantly a desire to do it right. And many more of us who have done most ourselves. I did have a professional rebuild my transmission ( A guy named Vic). As the son of a mechanic, who has always enjoyed working on my 356s since 1979, please don't assume all work has to be done by a specialty shop.
1965 356C 2000 BMW 740i Sport 1967 Honda CL77 There is never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it over.

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Wes Bender
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Re: Restoration Question for my 1963, 356-SC

#6 Post by Wes Bender »

The record is stuck. 78 rpm too. Hoping the needle wears out pretty soon.

Monte, if we didn't say so previously, welcome to the forum. Doug is correct. Pick the carpet that you like. That charcoal looks good. I had a new Champagne Yellow 356C in '64. Had black vinyl interior. I can't remember exactly what the carpet color was, but it went with the black interior as I remember. Back then, unless you special ordered colors and were willing to wait, you pretty much went with what your patience would allow. You have the chance now to pick what you want. Re. the mechanical items, if you have mechanical skills and access to the books, you should be able to rebuild the brakes and engine yourself. As Doug mentions though, the transmission might be better sent to a qualified rebuilder who has the tools and expertise.
Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints.....

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Ken Tuvman
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Re: Restoration Question for my 1963, 356-SC

#7 Post by Ken Tuvman »

The Ivory looks really nice - my car is red but originally was Ivory. Like it!
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Mike Wilson
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Re: Restoration Question for my 1963, 356-SC

#8 Post by Mike Wilson »

I have the charcoal carpet in my skate gray '63 coupe. It originally came with red carpet and interior but a previous owner spilled a gallon of white paint in the back seat and changed the interior color. Doug and others are right; chose a color you like. Do keep in mind a lighter color will show dirt more.

Mike
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Vic Skirmants
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Re: Restoration Question for my 1963, 356-SC

#9 Post by Vic Skirmants »

The record is stuck. 78 rpm too. Hoping the needle wears out pretty soon.
Thanks, Wes. Couldn't have said it better.

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John Hearn
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Re: Restoration Question for my 1963, 356-SC

#10 Post by John Hearn »

To quote the broken record " This is 40 to 50 K worth of work that needs to be done by a competent shop! You cannot do this yourself! This is at least a 1 year time frame at a shop that is competent with 356 work. Probably more if we are doing it! Zim"...............
A competent 356 shop could not do that work in a year, really?
Time to replace the spring on the gramophone with a 12 volt one and get a replacement Caps lock key.
Just saying......
KTF
John

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Al Zim
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Re: Restoration Question for my 1963, 356-SC

#11 Post by Al Zim »

This is the way we do business. You can count on our experience or you can read extensively from experienced shop owners that can explain to you how to do what or Zim's does. Any time you would like to, walk in the front door (including Saturday by appointment ) I will be here and show you how to do the work we do. You can look at the equipment we use (take pictures if you wish) check our new and used parts inventory and ask as many questions as you need to do to get started on your project. We have some duplicate factory equipment for 356. EXCEPT FOR LUNCH HOUR THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE HERE. Al Zim
John, if you fly in I will be glad to pick you up at D/FW airport for the 10 minute drive to the shop. If you land from the South and are sitting on the West side of the aircraft you can clearly see us at the division of Freeway 121 and 183.
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George Krompecher
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Re: Restoration Question for my 1963, 356-SC

#12 Post by George Krompecher »

John Hearn wrote: Sat Jan 14, 2023 1:32 pm To quote the broken record " This is 40 to 50 K worth of work that needs to be done by a competent shop! You cannot do this yourself! This is at least a 1 year time frame at a shop that is competent with 356 work. Probably more if we are doing it! Zim"...............
A competent 356 shop could not do that work in a year, really?
Time to replace the spring on the gramophone with a 12 volt one and get a replacement Caps lock key.
Just saying......
KTF
John
Amen. I should be dead by now......

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Monte Turner
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Re: Restoration Question for my 1963, 356-SC

#13 Post by Monte Turner »

Well, these are all great comments, and I'm going to execute soon.

I've been building/Rebuilding Type-4 engines for a few years now and have a couple in my shop right now (2056 & 1.8L) all 914's. And I worked in a wheel and brake shop in my early 20s working on mostly 60s, 70s cars and VW's. I'm tackling the things I can by myself. Brakes are no problem; Transmissions are a different story!

Thx Everyone.

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Wes Bender
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Re: Restoration Question for my 1963, 356-SC

#14 Post by Wes Bender »

Looks like you have a good plan Monte.
Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints.....

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Al Zim
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Re: Restoration Question for my 1963, 356-SC

#15 Post by Al Zim »

As a for instance let take the front end of a 356 just the king pin carrier with the king pin in place. We recently received a set of running gear to evaluate.
WE have all the Porsche and VW tools that are necessary and shown in the 356B/C shop manual. Disassembly revealed that this well known shop did not have a lathe to properly set the spacing on the king pin. The factory provides a white Plastic bushing which IMMEDIATELY starts to wear out. As the bushing deteriorates it deteriorates faster. The technician stacked a bunch of link pin shims around the king pin but there was still space for movement. It starts wearing out immediately Without making a proper brass spacer (large washer size) EVERYTHING will wear out more rapidly. With machinist measuring tools we were able to ascertain that the surfaces where the link pin shims attach to their king pin holding device were worn and the camber of the front end is not correct. We used the vertical mill and tooling we developed to rectify this situation which adds a little more camber to the front suspension. Many enthusiasts state that the 356 suspension does not wear out. If not why did the factory provide complicated measuring devices. NEVER HAVE I ENCOUNTERED ANYONE WHO HAS HAD THEIR FRONT END FEBUILT AND HAD THE TORSION BARS SWABBED CLEAN. NOR HAVE I EVER ENCOUNTERED ANYONE THAT IS KNOWLEDGABLE ON RESTORING THE BEARING RACES FOR THE TRAILING ARMS. NOR HAVE I EVER ENCOUNTERED ANYONE WHO HAS MADE A CONCERTED EFFORT TO PURCHASE ALL THE USED 356 FRONT END PARTS THAT ARE AVAILABLE.
Conclusion: You can do this at your home or a VW/Porsche shop with questionable results. al zim
Last edited by Al Zim on Mon Jan 16, 2023 11:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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