1951 356 Gläser Cabriolet

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  • Wingho’s Wild W3 (964) Three-Seater
  • French Kiss: An Early 911 With Panache
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  • 356 Notchback Revitalized with 911 Power
  • Market Update: 924, 944, and 968
  • 400,000-mile Carrera 3.2 Reborn
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  • Base 997 Coupe Short Test
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1951 356 Gläser Cabriolet 1
1951 356 Gläser Cabriolet 2
Oops! Someone forgot to paint the upper latch.
1951 356 Gläser Cabriolet 3
Ryan Moreland buffs the first coat of a repainted #5142.
1951 356 Gläser Cabriolet 4
Overspray on lower edge of newly installed top would have to be addressed.
1951 356 Gläser Cabriolet 5
The big to-do.
1951 356 Gläser Cabriolet 6
Blue tape marks problem areas in front trunk, like chips, poor paint, and incorrect colors.
1951 356 Gläser Cabriolet 7
The repainted car, with blue tape on its doors to mark screws that need to be hand-painted.
1951 356 Gläser Cabriolet 8
Racks hold parts not yet on the car, including the body bumpers.
1951 356 Gläser Cabriolet 9
Doug Livelsberger applies hand glaze to buffed clearcoat.
1951 356 Gläser Cabriolet 10
1951 356 Gläser Cabriolet 11
1951 356 Gläser Cabriolet 12
1951 356 Gläser Cabriolet 13
1951 356 Gläser Cabriolet 14
1951 356 Gläser Cabriolet 15
1951 356 Gläser Cabriolet 16

The journey was uneventful, except for faulty final directions from our friends at Mapquest. We eventually rolled in at around 5:00 PM and host Myron Vernis directed us on where to unload and park our truck and trailer. In the late afternoon sunlight, the dirty spots and the morning’s glaze residue became apparent and were addressed. The car was then covered, ending the “day before” activities. Sunday morning dawned clear and very cold with fog and light frost. Since the car had never been started under 70° F or so, the morning drive into Glenmoor from our digs in Akron was a little apprehensive. We shouldn’t have worried; a couple of cranks and it fired up nicely.

The mile or so drive to the show field inspired shifting to second gear for the first time, which went well considering the lack of synchronizers. We followed a brown Siata onto a somewhat waterlogged show field, courtesy of a sprinkler system that provided unauthorized watering at around 4:00 AM. Other cars in our class included the aforementioned Siata, a stunning 1958 Aston Martin, a 1963 Jensen CV-8, a one owner Lotus Europa, a Lotus Eleven that had at one point been seized by the IRS, a red 1970 XKE, a Sunbeam Tiger, and a Mercedes 190SL. The Aston was the clear competition for #5142, but we were just there to have a good time and show off a bit, right?

Last-minute cleaning included putting that stuff on the tires that makes them look shiny. There was some clearcoat overspray on the right-side windshield and both front wheels. We figured no one would notice. We used remaining fingernails to dig rubbing compound surrounding the torsion bar covers out and had someone with small hands attach the mounting nut for the right-side windshield washer jet, which had come loose.

The group judging our class included Meadow Brook Chairman Larry Smith, Los Angeles-based foreign car aficionado Raymond Milo, and the legendary George Barris. The significance of the car and coachbuilder was discussed, and a brief look at the engine was offered to show the lack of overlap seams on the rear lid. The front lid never had to be raised during the judging process, a good thing as it was discovered that the presence of the spare tire seemed to be interfering with the release mechanism about an hour before the show. Oops!

When ribbons were placed at around 1:00 PM, the Lotus Eleven and the Siata had red Award of Distinction ribbons, while the Aston Martin had a big yellow one, which ended up being the Director’s Choice, certainly well deserved. Oh, yes, by the way, #5142 got the blue one.

So while it seemed like this day would never come, it’s time to announce that this project is finally finished. Over the winter, we plan to dismantle and better detail the engine, then fix a few minor cosmetic issues. Currently, next year’s planned outings include the Amelia Island Concours in March, Meadow Brook in early August, and the 356 Registry East Coast Holiday in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in September. Myron Vernis tells us Porsche will be the post-war featured marque at the Glen-moor next year, in recognition of its 60th anniversary. Protocol dictates that only a special circumstance would merit our return with #5142. But, since we were treated so nicely, we just might have to take our next project there, perhaps in 2018.

In the meantime, we hope to meet Excellence readers on the 2008 show circuit and give them an insider’s tour of an early 356 brought back from the dead. For now, we hope you’ll enjoy Hal Thoms’ photography, taken just before #5142 left California for this, the closing chapter of what was to be a two-year project — nearly ten years after the first article was submitted.

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