One of those things that immediately grabs your attention when you open the engine bay on a 356 are the air filters. The original Pre-A's used dual single Solex carburettors moving on to the two barrel P40 Solex carburettors for the later 1600's and both setups used Knecht air filters which are visually distinctive in both cases both having the raised pressed Knecht logo on the top of the filters.
I finally pulled the trigger on a set of beehives. I've long wanted to replace the not-quite-correct Lucas style 'beehives' with the correct style units and could resist no more when I saw these for sale.
For an authentic looking engine bay a Fram or Mann style bypass oil filter is a good nod to the original 356 engines and will definitely help give your engine bay that vintage Porsche look. Bypass filters are often dismissed as old hat and inferior to full flow style filters, but is that actually the case?
Been a bit flat out with work so no real time to do anything on the build but have been doing a bit of daydreaming whilst standing at the lathe. I've somehow convinced myself that I should put together my Okrasa engine for the Speedster.
After completing the collector for my DIY Sebring exhaust the next part that I need to tackle is making the silencers. I have already spent a bit of time doing some research to try and find some off-the-shelf items but due to the small size needed I could not find anything available that could be used without having to modify it. This means that the only option left is to make them myself.
Managed to scrounge a few minutes to finish off the collector for the Sebring exhaust tonight. I had ran out of gas when I was initially welding up the collector and so still had to join the two halves together. Today I managed to get a few minutes to finish them. I spent a little time tidying up the insides so that the two halves were symmetrical and then welded the two halves together to finish off the collector. I also trimmed down the uneven ends so that everything is ready for the next stage.
Many 356 fans will know of the name Reuter, the coach builder responsible for the manufacture of the Porsche 356 from 1950 onwards, but many do not realise that initially Reuter did not have the capacity to build the convertible models so this task was awarded to Glaser, the renowned East German coach builder.
If you read my previous post Sebring Exhaust Part 1 you would know that I have decided to build my own Sebring style exhaust.
This evening I managed to get a little time to make a start on it.
Got some more goodies today, my new front brake discs. These took a while to source as everyone has been out of stock since before Xmas.
A Sebring style exhaust is something that I have been planning for a long while. Whilst it's not the best style of header to use from a performance perspective, it does have that iconic Porsche racing style to it and so is the perfect choice for a period looking car.
Building an early replica has been a bit of a challenge in some areas. The Late 50's cars have a pretty good availability for trim and parts as most parts are now remanufactured. The early cars however have a number of differences from those late parts which means that in many cases, to be correct the late parts cannot be used. One such case is the Porsche scripts.
It seems to be a tradition amongst replica 356 owners to have a period grille badge. Not being a fan of fake Outlaw 356 or Cliche'd Nurburgring badges I've been on the lookout for something more suitable.
Some of you may know that I'm trying to make my car look like a 'missing-link' car, something that might have come between the Pre-A cabs and the Speedster. Whilst the Max Hoffman commissioned America Roadster (shown below) is the actual link between these cars, it has very different body lines to either the orignal convertibles or the Speedsters and to me seems very out of place in the family tree. There are actually a few cars out there that fit in with this genealogy much better than the America Roadster; Take a Pre-A cabriolet and fit a low style windscreen or aero shields instead of the original and you have a very convincing missing-link car, a car that fits in much better than the America Roadster.
I've long wanted to make some original style steel door cappings for my speedster. Whilst repros can be purchased they seem to be almost as expensive as my car. Karmann Konnection in the UK have some listed at AU$1k for the pair. Far too rich for my taste.
So I decided to make a small test and build a prototype to see if I could figure out the best techniques for making them.
Just a quick update. Not much has been happening on the project as I've been tied up with work. But I did manage to grab a quick 5 minutes today to make a start on the fuel tank...
The great thing about non-standard parts is that somehow you need to make them fit.
You will recall in previous posts that I've been chipping away at making the steering wheel fit. First making it fit the column, then making the column support, then making a nice fancy horn push and now the ultimate culmination of the steering wheel saga making the steering column fit the car.
Not too much progress to report. Although I did make a steering column bush for the hybrid steering column setup I'm building.
I'm not 100% sold on the black nylon, however the white was simply too white and new looking. I figured black would look a little more like bakelite.
Now all I need to do is cut and shut the crash can and hook the column up
A while back I bought this awesome three spoked steering wheel from Ned Faux. It's much like a barndoor or early split bug wheel but not actually a VW item so unfortunately doesn't fit a VW steering column. But as I'd been looking for a barndoor or country buggy steering wheel for a while and figured that it was too good a price to turn down, so somehow I would make it fit. Plus it has an awesome patina to it, which will look just right in the speedster.
Rollin, rollin, rollin...
I had a bit of a brainwave. I've pretty much decided that the car is going to be finished in a faux-patina and hopefully emulating an original survivor speedster / race car / outlaw. I may paint it properly later, but for the time being it's going to be the quickest way to get it presentable(ish) and on the road.
Managed to trade for an second early style Bosch symmetrical headlight lense. I already had one of these but was missing it's partner.
Now I have two. :)
I'll swap the slightly later hella ones I have on there now out for these period correct ones.
One thing that I dislike about the VW based speedster kits is that they all have the handbrake in-between the seats, rather than under the dashboard like the originals, which is an obvious giveaway on its provenance. So this has always been on my list of things to change with my kit. Of course it will only fool the casual observer but it's these small details that set some projects aside from others.
After a four month wait my hood frame, windscreen frame, side screens and hood cover has finally arrived. Happy days. Now I just need to figure out how it mounts in the car. Looking forwards to getting the hood frame installed so that I can make the car weatherproof.
Finished off the gauges this evening. Scaled the fascias down to fit and printed out a few test prints. I initially tried to print onto transparent water decal paper but found that the ink was not vibrant enough and did not show up that great on the black background. This was a shame as the transparent decal paper works a lot better then the white.
So unfortunately I was forced to use the white paper so that the green numerals were visible. This had one unfortunate side effect - that the white edge of the paper was clearly visible in a few areas against the black background.
Sanded the faces back last night and offered them up. Pretty stoked with how they are looking so far. Just need to scale the decals and print them out. Not too sure how the green will look over the black face. Guess I will soon find out.
Made a start on the gauge faces today. I tuned down some bezels for the centre of the gauges. The bezels are to make the 914 gauges look more like the original 356 style of gauges. I made them out of aluminium stock which will polish up nice and easily. I spent a bit of time and cut out the individual odometer and trip counter holes on the speedo bezel. I also stripped and painted the gauge faces. Once the paint has had a chance to dry I will sand back the paint from the rim of the bezels and give it a bit of a polish.
A little more progress, removed the red screen from the kombo gauge to install the 911 temp gauge. The gauge pod and temp insert are a direct swap, the only real difference is that on the 914 the gauges are arrange on top and bottom whereas on the 911 they are side by side. The 356 shares the top / bottom orientation and has similar warning light locations so I will use the 914 pod and fascia. One interesting thing that I noticed when I removed the gauge was that hidden behind the fascia at the very top of the gauge face there are numerical temperature graduations. evidently 150 is regarded as too hot (the beginning of the red zone). The 911 style white bars will be replaced with the early style 356 green numerical style when I redo the faces.
Finished off the gauge faces today, now I just need to print them up and try them out. Also received a 550 style flip top filler cap in the post courtesy of Ebay. Need to make up a new filler neck for the tank and cut a hole in the bonnet to fit this. For some reason, whilst my tank has been converted to a central filler location it does not stand upright (see photos above) not a massive drama to sort and will give me a chance to make up a proper rain tray. The cap is made from aluminium so will polish up alright but to tell the truth I'm kinda digging the patina on it.
Started to draft up the images for the replacement gauge fronts, so far I have managed to get the tacho done. The process basically involves scanning the original face to get a basic image showing the locations of the markers. Then drafting a new image using the old markers as a point of reference. I've matched the font to one very similar to the original 356 A gauge font and also take a grab of the colours. The end result is an image that looks very similar to the original style gauge but with the correct scaling for the 914 gauge. The centre tacho in the image is the new version, the outer two images are early and late style facias.
I found a cheap set of early 914 gauges on Ebay that were simply too cheap to pass up. The plan is to give them a bit of an overhaul and update the faces to match the original 356 style. The tacho on the 914 is slightly larger than the other gauges whereas on the 356 they are all the same size. Having seen 914 gauges fitted to other 356's it doesn't really notice too much. North Hollywood Speedos can convert these to look like 356 gauges but at some around AU$1k it would be cheaper to buy some reproduction gauges. The thing that has really turned me off of getting repro gauges is that the trip meter and odometer is a nastly little LCD screen. Yuk.
If you read my last post - 'Hydraulic clutch slave' which was about fitting a hydraulic clutch to a Porsche 915 gearbox you might have thought that it was a good solution to an otherwise difficult issue to solve. Well that is what I thought until I tried to fit everything together. What I actually found was that the slave cylinder that I used was too long and meant that it fouled on the clutch assembly when the engine was installed in the gearbox. With limited time to buy and fit another shorter unit I decided to look at converting the old pull style 915 clutch release to a traditional push style.
After recently going to look at a 356 coupe with the intention of buying it only to find out when I arrived at the sellers house that he had changed his mind I had a bit of a case of the 356 blues. I'd first seen this car about a year ago and passed it up. It was a RHD 'B' model missing its engine and fitted with VW front axles and gearbox, it also needed a fair amount of surgery to get it back to spec again - a perfect candidate for an outlaw build. Whilst the car was perfect at that time the price was not and so I decided to pass. Well that day had niggled at me for the past year and coupled with a change in financial circumstances I decided that I would go to buy the car only to find out that he had changed his mind. Ahh well. I guess it was not to be.
Wow Looking at the date below, it's been some time since I've been to this page. So I guess in two years a lot must have been done (yeah right). I've managed to source some more bits, these include a NOS type 4 engine case, a Porsche 915 gearbox (from an '83 911 SC), a tacho, an IRS rear end and some other bits and bobs. The remainder of the chroming has been taken to the chromer's, all that remains is some catches and other bits that are to be zinc plated. I've started to strip out the remainder of the shell in readiness for it's trip to the painters (I've decided to entrust this to the professionals, plus I never seem to get the time). The boys from Paintbox have been round and had a look, and say that the roof shouldn't be a problem (they're experts at roof chops on bugs) so I need to get it ready for when they can fit it in, which should hopefully be sometime late August. This involves removing everything that's left on the car, and doing a bit of tinwork (I have to fabricate some engine mounting points, as the original top style mount will have to be removed, and a bus style (or later type 3 style) cross-member needs to be fabricated. to do this successfully the engine and gearbox needs to be trial fitted, (this will also allow me to weld the mounts for the Porsche gearbox cross-member as well).
The gearbox needs an overhaul as the synchro-mesh on first gear is shot, I have the parts to do both first and second synchro's and have been informed that it's a relatively easy job. This however is not the first job on the list, that job is to clear out the garage, which has been neglected for quite some time, as I need to create enough space to work on the Ghia (plus Karens Ghia is due back from the painters soon). So come tomorrow that's what I'll be doing.
Next on the agenda is to remove the old swing axle suspension and replace it with the IRS unit. At the moment I'm looking for a 944 rear end so that I can transfer the aluminum trailing arms and hubs / disc brakes onto the IRS unit. This is practically a straight swap - evidently even the torsion bars can be used.
Then the front suspension will get overhauled, again 944 / 968 hubs and brakes are going to be fitted, the best option is to go for the later units as they utilize a four pot caliper and larger discs, but this limits you to fitting 16" or larger wheels, and all of the best Porsche wheels are 15".