Back in the summer of 2006, Mike bought his 1957 Porsche 356 Speedster from an Ebay seller in Washington, DC. The former racecar had already had all of its paint and decals removed from the body with chemicals.
This Porsche 356 Speedster had been sitting in the owner’s barn for the previous 18 years. When Mike brought it home, he started by sorting all of the parts that came with the car. By cataloguing all of the parts first, he was able to identify which parts were missing.
Then he dismantled the whole car, had the car sandblasted and stripped, and built a rotisserie to make the restoration project easier.
Once the car was stripped, Mike started to replace panels. Part way through the metal restoration part, the de Jonges purchased Restoration Design, putting the project on hold for about three years.
Mike took the car to Cambridge Collision for some body work that he didn’t have the time to do himself, and the team then took the car to the East Coast Holiday in Boston, displaying it on the rotisserie with all of the metal work done.
After the car was finally painted, Mike brought it home and started on the electrical wiring and replacing all of the parts that had been taken off, while the upholstery was farmed out.
See more of this amazing restoration in the video below:
Back in the fall of 2007, we noticed a substantial need for hoods for 356s. Getting a good quality hood was pricey and often difficult. So, we decided to start making them ourselves.
To start, we purchased one of these good quality hoods from the US. Painting it matte black and getting some of the minor imperfections out made it possible for us to use this as a template for scanning.
We got the scanning done by a third-party, who then sent us the scan. We imported the scan into our own computer system so we could design the dye. Designing each dye typically takes 100-200 hours – just for design time.
After the dye was designed, we had to design the different tool paths for 4-6 different tools.
From there, we had to machine the dye using steel and composite to withstand the pressure of the press.
After the dye is machined, it needs to be polished. Polishing the male and female parts of the dye for the 356 hood took about 16 weeks in total.
Check out the video to see the rest of the process and the finished product!
At Restoration Design, we specialize in restoring Porsches from almost all years and models. And while we’re experts experienced at this, we still learn lessons from every project we take on.
When we restored Mike’s 356 Speedster a couple of years ago, we learned a few things that have stayed with us and that we have applied to every project since.
Measure, Measure, Measure
The most important thing we found was to measure frequently, almost obsessively. Especially when it comes to sheet metal pieces, it’s not uncommon to do many trial fitments to get the right fit. When it comes to the doors, it’s important to have all of the rubber pieces in place as well, so you know everything fits as it should. This is true for any kind of automotive restoration.
356s were produced in two different production facilities, so some parts might differ – that’s why measuring is so important with these models.
Have a Camera on Hand
Keep it in the shop and take pictures throughout the dismantling, so you have something to refer to when you come to put it all back together.
Keep a Parts Catalogue
Go through and take note of the parts you think you need, and if you don’t need them you can cross them off.
Set a Restoration Quality
Before you even start on your vintage Porsche restoration, decide whether you want your Porsche to be concourse, show or driver-quality.
Check out the video for more information about the restoration, see the process and the finished product!