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Copyright 1997, by Harry Pellow, All Rights Reserved.

Yep, by George, things sure do come in Pairs. The first of the pairs that affected the Maestro personally started with a phone call from a Customer to be. "Maestro here," said the Maestro. "Yes, Maestro. Uh, do you inspect cars for purchase?" "Yes, of course," said the Maestro. "As long as they're 356 or 912 Porsches, I'll go within a Hundred Mile radius of Sambo SE for $75." "That's good," said the VOP. "So how far away is San Luis Obispo? Oh, said the Maestro- San Luis is over 250 miles away- it's halfway to LA and takes about 4 hours to get there. And then you must return. That's a whole day. "So, what would it cost to you to inspect a car that's down there? asked the VOP." "In San Luis? Gee, that's an 8-hour day- that- wow that's $400! The Maestro was sure the guy wouldn't go for it- $400 for a pre-purchase Porsche inspection isn't chicken feed. "When can you do it?" asked the VOP. "I've been trying to find a nice 356 for over a year- two other deals fell through, and I want to make sure about this one." "Well, Thursday's free. Said the Maestro. Give me the guy's phone number and I'll try to arrange it. He did. The Maestro called the owner of the supposedly VERY nice 1965 356SC, and arranged for between 1 and 2 PM Thursday.

.....The Maestro left early, and arrives in San Luis by 1 PM. He eyeballed the car, it WAS a nice Black on Black- Black Interior, Black Exterior "SC"- and a real one to boot- the Maestro looked up the Engine Number in his little Spec Book- the Engine matched the Chassis Number- it WAS the Original Engine! Geez, the only thing funky is the black interior on (or in) a black car- the Factory usually didn't do that. They almost always used a contrasting, complementary color on the interior. In fact, with each exterior color you had a choice of only 2 interior colors. The same color Interior/Exterior was Verboten! Usually, but the Owner had a copy of the Kardex- and sho' 'nough, it WAS Black on Black Originally! Hey- if you REALLY wanted it and wanted to pay for it, the Factory will provide it! The Factory, like the Maestro, knows the Customer is always right! He who has the Gold makes the Rules!

.....The Maestro drove the "SC". It drove pretty nicely- not nearly as smooth as one of the Maestro's engines of course, but not bad either. The Maestro crawled underneath and eyeballed the cylinders- wow- they were the Original SC pistons, not the big bore kit. Brakes work pretty well too. Steers good too. In Fact, it Started, Went and Stopped pretty damn well. As a bonus, it had the Original Black and Gold California Plate, issued in 1965- a Certain unmistakable Sign of an Original California Car, not some pretender to the throne.

.....All in all, the Maestro could find little wrong- one fish eye in the paint, a bit overly-padded upholstery on the sides and back, but not badly overdone. No accident damage. No Rust. Not a bad car. The Maestro had a pleasant talk with the current owner, a returned mining engineer from Australia who, it turned out, later worked for Westinghouse Nuclear. The Maestro having worked in the Nuclear Division of a Generous Electric Company compared Stories with the guy- gosh what a nice afternoon. But Tempus is Fugiting, and as the 3PM hour drew near, the Maestro figured he'd better get On The Road ifin he wanted to go up Route 1 along the coast through Big Sur. He needed the Inspiration. With 6 engines demanding his attention, he hadda have a little fun. And fun it was- 150 miles of smoothly surfaced, 2-lane winding road through some of Nature's finest scenes- postcard and Movie views from a hundred lookouts. The Maestro always started his cross-country trips by coming down Route 1, Big Sur, and when given the chance, always likes to return. All too quickly, the nice part of the return trip was over- now it became fighting the remains of the Rush Hour(s) in the Bay Area. He finally got home at 8PM, it was truly a Good Day's work. The Maestro called the prospective buyer in New Yawrk, and told him the generally good details. The guy asked what do you think it's worth. The Maestro thought, oh, high teens, maybe even 20K. A REAL, Original California Car SC is hard to find, especially one that doesn't need a paint job or interior or engine or transmission or brakes. Based on the Maestro's inspection. the guy bought the car, and then asked the Maestro ifin he (the Maestro) would mind arranging shipping of the car back to the East Coast. The Maestro thought: sure why not. So the owner drove the car up on the very eve of the 1994 Carlsen Swap Meet, on the HOTTEST day of the summer (it was 100 degrees in Sambo Se, and 110 in Paso Robles), the 356SC made it with no problems, and no oil leaks even! The Maestro was impressed. If it were to fail, it should have failed on THIS trip.

.....Eventually, the '65 356SC was loaded on a enclosed cross-country car transporter, along with 2 Ferraris, one repro 550 Spyder, one Lotus Elan and another rather nice '58 356A, all going to the Right Coast from California, the land of Bilk & Money. (Though, now more Bilk and less Money thanks to two earthquakes and the current 4-year recession.)

.....Two days after the SC left, the Maestro spied an ad in the San Jose Quicksilver newspaper- for a '62 356B Coupe for a mere $6000. Not really wanting another '63 Coupe (after all he DID have Trusty Rusty), but Rusty is becoming less Trusty, having a mysterious "no starter engaged" syndrome that the Maestro thinks he's tracked down to a bad ignition switch. Knowing the price of 356B ignition switches these days, the Maestro refused to fix it. Unfortunately, this led to the Maestro having to crawl under the passenger's side of the car with a screwdriver and short the Big Red Wire at the starter to the solenoid terminal. THEN Trusty Rusty would start. However, this procedure is a little embarrassing to the Maestro when customers were present- after all he's supposed to be the Maestro, and things like this aren't supposed to happen to him. Right!

.....So, the Maestro ran a jumper wire from the 356's starter solenoid to the right hand side of the voltage regulator. Then whenever Trusty Rusty wasn't so Trusty and wouldn't start, all the Maestro had to do was touch the end of the wire to the hot terminal of the regulator- and Viola, Rusty would start. (This is exactly what all 912's have- Factory installed in the form of a little yellow wire near the Regulator on the left-hand side of the engine compartment, that when the little yellow wire is touched to the Hot Side of the Regulator, the Starter will Magically crank the engine over. This allows for a one-mechanic compression test.) If the key is left "on", the engine can be started this way too. It surprises and impresses Customers when the Maestro is working on their car, and pulls off the coil wire to kill the engine when he wants to do something near the fan belt. Having done whatever he wanted to do, the Maestro reattaches the coil wire, touches the yellow wire to the hot side of the regulator- and VIOLA! The engine cranks over and starts! "How you DO that?" invariably comes the reply from the IM-pressed Customer. Magic says the Maestro. Then in violation of all the Magicians' rules, he explains how he do that. Anyhow, the Maestro likes to check out any 356 in his immediate vicinity just to keep in practice, so he called the number in the ad. Yes, the car is still for sale, the guy says. No it's not in pieces- in fact it runs. No, it's not very rusty- only a little in the battery box area, and yes the Maestro can see it at noon. So, at High Noon, the Maestro drive down to the forbidden zone- South San Jose- the place where there are no freeways. Eventually he finds the owner's Condo, but alas, no 356 and no owner. Oh, too bad, guess it's been sold. The Maestro waits around a half hour, then starts to leave. As he's driving down the block, he sees a black 356 going the opposite way on a parallel street. The Maestro hangs a quick U-eee, and drives back to the condo. Sho' 'nough it's the 356 for sale. Hey, at least it runs. The Maestro eyeballs it- not too bad- recent black paint job, complete with a few runs, orange peel and other defects, but he's seen worse. And Black Interior- geez it's Black on Black just like the "SC"- wonder if that's an Omen. The car looked unfinished because it was- the chrome trim around the front windshield and the accent strips on the sides were missing and the bumpers were bare- with no bumper guards nor chrome strips on either of 'em. That's because they were in a bag behind the seats. 356's look slightly weird and incomplete when the chrome accent pieces are left off- and this one had ALL the chrome left off, 'except for the beltline aluminum strip that was Standard on the "Super-90" and optional on everything else. And no, this was no Super-90. Only a mere Super. The Maestro looked at the license plate, hoping it might have the Black & Yellow plate of an Original Kalifornia Kar. But no such luck- it had a dreaded newly issued, white California Plate with a mere three years worth of renewal stickers. A Bad Sign. Sometimes a Real Bad Sign!

.....The Maestro opened the front hood- and noticed a 356C spare wheel and tire- Since this was a 356B, a 356C wheel's not gonna be much of a help ifin you get a flat tire. 356C disk brake wheels just won't fit on a 356B with drum brakes no matter how hard toy try or cry. Getting down to business the Maestro got down one knee and looked under the car. He could find no rust. No rust? How can we have a three-year old license plate and no rust? Was it so cleverly repaired that the Maestro couldn't tell? Was some fiendishly clever technique- better than the iron particles in the Bondo trick- faking out the Maestro? No, save for one corner of the battery box, there WAS no rust! Hummmh, thought the Maestro. The Maestro popped the rear deck lid and eyeballed the engine, expecting to see the usual oil-covered, "rebuilt", pile of ca-ca. Surprise! It didn't look too bad- not as good as the Maestro's own, of course, but not too bad nonetheless. Turned out it had been rebuilt for $5,000 5 years and 15,000 miles ago by a fairly famous shop within View of the Mountains, now out of business. With the Zenith carbs and a Silver fan shroud, the Maestro figured it was a Super. The Maestro eyeballed the Engine Number- WHOA! it was 0,705,xxx- one of those Very Rare Supers made in late, late 1963 with the funny "0" before the engine number. That means the car is a REAL late '63- one of the last ones, right before the start of the "C's". So the Maestro asks to take it for a drive. The guy hesitates, but then says well, the brakes aren't so hot, so let me drive it for a while, then you can take it. So they go out to the freeway- and it rides pretty well at speed.

.....Eventually the Maestro gets to drive. The Maestro assumes the Captain's seat, settles in and goes to give it some gas for take off. He pushes the gas pedal- and the gas pedal doesn't move! He presses harder. It still doesn't move. He presses REALLY hard- finally the engine speeds up a little.

.....He lets off the gas- and the engine stays revved up. The Maestro wedged his foot against the back side of the pedal and forced it back. The engine returned to a fast idle. "Got a bit of a stiff gas pedal doesn't it" commented the Maestro with Great Understatement. "Uh, yes," said the guy. "That's why the wooden kick panels are out. I've been trying to spray WD-40 onto the gas pedal to try to make it work easier. "Sorry", said the Maestro. "That doesn't work. You gotta go All The Way- and take out the complete front gas pedal Bell Crank, completely disassemble it, polish it and grease it. That's the only solution. Oh, and the hardest part is hooking up the Throttle Cable." "Throttle Cable?" asked the Owner. "What's a throttle cable?" ....."The Throttle Cable lets you keep the engine running at a higher RPM- like when it's cold out. It's right over here. The Maestro reached for he Throttle Cable on the dash- normally located over the Tach & Speedo. His hand found nothing! There was NO Throttle Cable on this car! About that time the Maestro had to put the brakes on. He pushed on the brakes. WHOA! NO BRAKES! The Maestro pumps the brakes furiously- and the car veers REAL hard to the Left. What's with this car? Is it a new-age Democrat or what? What's wrong with the brakes?" asks the Maestro. "Oh, the brakes", says the owner. "Well, they WERE OK, until I drove with the emergency brake on, and now they aren't very good. Ouch, thought the Maestro, picturing smoking drums and melted brake shoes- wonder how extensive the damage is. Otherwise the 356 wasn't too bad. The engine ran, The speedo worked. The tach didn't. And there was no radio nor ash tray - just a hole in the dash where they shoulda been. But the car's Karma felt good to the Maestro, so he asked whadda take for it.

....."Well," said the owner. "I had an offer for $4500". Hummh, though the Maestro wonder ifin he's telling the truth. And do I really want to replace Trusty Rusty with one that might not be so Trusty? The Maestro thought it over and decided to think it over some more. Before he left, the Maestro asked the guy ifin he happened to have the registration. The guy did. The Maestro eyeballed the registration and there in the "*" yr. box was nothing. Nada. Neechevo. Negatory on any number there, good buddy.

.....The "*" yr box was Blank. Which means that the car was Originally Registered in California, despite the 3-year old plate! This, by definition, meant that the car WAS a California car! And that could explain the lack of rust underneath. The Maestro now was much more IM-pressed with the 356, and offered the guy a bit more than his previous offer. The guy said he'd think it over. Retreating to his Shop, the Maestro thought it over too- I've got lots of brake drums, wheel cylinder and shoes- the brakes can be fixed. The paint's not great but it's presentable- it looks good at 15 feet. (Trusty Rusty is now up to a quarter-mile!) It's a CALIFORNIA CAR, and they're not makin' any more of them! So, the Maestro called the guy back- and the guy had thought things over too and said- "OK, I'll sell it to you." The Maestro was a little taken aback by this, but a deal's a deal. The next day the guy drove the car over to the Maestro's shop, and the Maestro gave him the agreed upon amount in Coin of the Realm. Papers signed, money transferred, the Deal completed, the guy left, and the Maestro began to really investigate his new Black Beauty. The Maestro followed the Section in "Secrets": "What to do when you get it home", and immediately changed the oil by dropping the plate and screen. Yuccch- it was obvious that the oil hadn't been changed in a long time.

.....And from the copious quantities of "hair" on the magnet, it was obvious the screen hadn't been dropped since the engine was overhauled 5 years ago. The Maestro cleaned the screen and magnet and added fresh oil. By that time the engine had cooled enough to adjust the valves. It was clear that the valves also hadn't been adjusted since the engine was overhauled! Some had a ten-thousandths gap, others had ZERO gap. A few had NEGATIVE gap!

.....The Maestro reset the exhausts to .007" and the Intakes to .005", and cleaned out some very dirty valve covers. Then he hooked up his adjustable Timing Light to check the timing. And found a Typical 30 year old distributor- suffering from too much advance, with mucho timing variation at constant speed and a Failure to Return Smoothly to idle- just like the throttle. Not a Nice combination.

.....Out came the Original Distributor. In went a new ".050", Distributor, which despite slurs in "Excellence" magazine, is the Maestro's Favorite Distributor. With 5 degrees static advance, the new .050 had Thirty-Two Degrees high speed advance, and was smoooooth both up and down. Just what the Maestro ordered. Then it was time for the Zenith carbs. The Maestro's Magic fingers played over the idle mixture screws- two were too rich and two were too lean. They may have averaged out to be right, but the engine didn't know that.

.....The Maestro got out his Synchrometer, (much better than the obsolete Unisyn. The Synchrometer acts like a fuel injection system's Air Mass Meter and, more importantly DOESN'T CHANGE the engine speed like the Unisyn does when you put it on!), expecting it to show how wonderful the Maestro's Fingers were.

.....WRONG! The Synchrometer showed the carbs were WAY out of balance. 10 Kg/Hr of air on one Zenith, 3 Kg/Hr on the other. Hummh, said the Maestro, looking at his Magic Fingers. So he adjusted the Idle Strop Screw carbs until the Synchrometer agreed that they were both running about 5 Kg/Hr, a happy compromise.

.....And then he went through the Idle Mixture adjustments again. And checked the balance again. And Repeated. And Repeated. A few Iterations later, everyone including the Synchrometer agreed that the carbs were balanced. And Boy, what a difference- the engine now idled smoothly, and revved up happily with no backfiring The next step was to fix the REAL stiff gas pedal. The Maestro pulled up the wood kick panel in the Driver's side wheel well. And removed the three bolts holding the accelerator bell crank. Once out in the open, he pulled out the cotter pin holding the bell crank together, put the assembly in a vice and drove out the rusty, semi-seized pivot from its housing. He polished the pivot, cleaned out the enclosure, lubed everything up and reassembled it. Ah! The Bell Crank now rotated freely and smoothly.

.....Before replacing it, he even vacuumed out the entire footwell area of 30 years of crud. And now to the brakes- the dreaded brakes. The Maestro pulled off the rear wheels expecting to find a Disaster. Instead he found something he didn't expect- there was

.....NOTHING wrong with the rear brakes!

.....No burnt linings. No worn linings- there were well over 1/4" thick. No warped nor overheated drums. No leaking wheel cylinders. Everything seemed fine. So he replaced the rear drums, adjusted the brakes and went to the front drums. Again he pulled them off and AGAIN- he could find NOTHING wrong! So, again he replaced the drums and adjusted the brakes. And went for a test drive. And y'know what?

.....THE BRAKES WORKED PERFECTLY! All they needed was an adjustment! Thank you, thank you, thank you Porsche gods! And the gas pedal now acted like a good Porsche's gas pedal should- with "overcenter" linkage giving a lot of Response with a light touch. Smoooooth application of Power. However, the car was still a little "squirrely" at speed. It didn't have that Secure Stability a good 356 has. The Maestro pulled into a gas station. Filled the tank up with Chevron's Finest Supreme and, finding one tire with 20 psi, filled the tires up to 33 psi. And went for another high speed run. It was still "squirrely" at speed! Did the Maestro buy a Turkey? Back to the shop, this time to grease the front end. The Maestro jacked up the front end, placed his aging grease gun on a grease fitting and pumped. Grease came out all around the grease nipple, but none went through to the inside! He tried another fitting. Same thing. Geez, either the fittings are plugged or my grease gun is finally worn out. Hoping it was the latter, the Maestro went out to the Loco Auto Parts Club and buy a new grease gun and some super-duper grease. This time he got smarter and used an old trick taught to him by an old pro and fellow former employee of a Generous Electric Company - Jim Iokem.

.....To do a Proper Grease Job, first LOOSEN the pinch bolt that holds the link pins tight. Then back off the link pin adjuster a little (note that it may have a reverse screw thread). That increases the clearance in the link pins. THEN apply the grease! And don't forget to retighted (and adjust) the Link Pins after you grease her! The Maestro loosened the pinch bolt, loosened the link pin and attached his new grease gun. And pushed on the grease gun's arm. Nothing. He pushed harder. Still nothing. He pushed very hard and finally PUFFFT, the grease shot inside the link pin. He pumped until all the old grease was pushed out and the new stuff started to ooze through. The same procedure was repeated for all the other grease nipples- this thing hadn't seen grease in a coon's age! The Maestro cleaned himself up and went for another test drive- this time the squirrelyness was gone! Now, it accelerated, handled, and braked like a real 356 should! Amazing what a little bit of maintenance will do!

.....The next day he actually bought two NEW chrome strips for the front and rear bumpers, and reassembled the bumpers. (He even took apart the rear bumper guards, bead-blasted the exhaust pipe protective housing and powder painted it! With new Decos on the bumpers and nicely cleaned bumper guards, the 356 looked damn nice. A wax job improved the paint job greatly too. Ironically, that very next weekend at an off-season next swap meet, the Maestro found a pair of side decos for a mere $10, and an AM/FM/SW Blaupunkt that WORKED for $60. With tunes from FM, the BBC on Short Wave for world commentary, and KCBS AM for the Road Report, the Maestro was in seventh heaven. All because he: KEPT THE 3565 FAITH!!! P.S.

.....The Maestro had been enjoying his new 356B for all of two weeks when a guy called on the phone. The guy had just wrecked his VW (100mph into a tree, or so he claimed), and was forced to drive one of his two Vespas. Vespas? A Vespas is a motor scooter! Who is this guy anywho? Turned out he was a kid looking for a 356.

.....The Maestro hoped to sell him Trusty Rusty, but he didn't have Trusty that day- all he had was the newly-purchased Black Beauty. The kid asked to see it. And the Maestro showed him his Black Beauty. And the kid fell in love with it.

.....The Maestro, not really wanting to sell his "nice" 356, asked a price he figured would be too high. The kid hesitated- then said. Well, I don't have that much money,...". The Maestro figured, "Whew." "But", said the kid, maybe my mom will buy it for me!"

.....Right thought the Maestro. Can you imagine YOUR mother buying YOU a Porsche 356 when you were just out of High School.

.....But sho' nough, the next day the Kid and the Mom came over. And the kid did a masterful selling job on Mom. The Maestro didn't have to say a word. But Mom was not about to commit right there and then, so she left without leaving her checkbook. Whew, the Maestro thought. For a second there I thought the kid convinced her. Like Tom on "Car Talk", I'd sure hate to part with my Black Beauty for ANY amount of money. The next day, who should return but Mom and the Kid. This time Mom handed the Maestro a Cashier's Check for almost his asking price! The Maestro then became befuddled- should he sell his Black Beauty for mere money? Well, a significant chunk of mere money perhaps, but mere money nonetheless. After all he only had here for two weeks- these short-term affairs can be intense.

.....At first he hesitated and was about to say no. Then he thought of the Pentium with the Gigabyte Hard Drive and the Big Screen TV, and the 30,000 New Flyers he needed,.... His fingers reached out for the check. And the deal was done. His Black Beauty drove out of his life. Sigh. Will he ever get another REAL California Car Again? Maybe if he: KEEPS THE 356 FAITH!!!



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