Home Restoration Topics Featured Cars and Trucks About
Left arrow


Right arrow

1961 Porsche Cabriolet

Story and photos by Jerry F. Boone

The 50-year-old engine comes to life with a mechanical clatter that is unmistakably Porsche.

The engine growls and sputters a bit as the air hisses down the throats of twin Solex carburetors, then settles into the classic din of a well-tuned, air-cooled boxer.

Lans Stout backs the vintage Porsche out of his shop, where the bright, morning sun dances over crimson bodywork that could have been shaped by the oceans.

The curves, the flowing lines were created when designers--not wind tunnels--decided what looked “right” and then had craftsmen translate those concepts into steel.

It was, as Yogi Berra might say, “de’ja vu all over again.”

Back in 1970, Stout, fresh out of college, was asked by his cousin to rebuild the engine in her 10-year-old Porsche Cabriolet. Stout jumped at the chance.

“I’d already had a couple of Porsches, so I knew the engines.”

His relationship with the German cars began while he was still at the University of Oregon.

“I came across a Speedster that had been raced, but it didn’t have an engine or transmission. I never gave much thought to what it would be like to drive a racecar on the street. It was awful.”

After selling the Speedster for a whopping $1500 he found a 1961 Cabriolet, which was nearly a twin to his cousin’s car. The mistake with this one was to try to fit up a rare, ultra high-performance four cam version of the Porsche engine.

“I built the engine on the dining room table. The cam timing was a nightmare. I finally had to take it to someone who could set it up for me.”

Eventually, he traded the four-cam for a much more basic engine, plus $400 cash.

“Now those engines go for $100,000” he says. “I could shoot myself.”

Given his history with the Porsche engine, he was a natural to tackle the rebuild on his cousin’s car.

“But I guess I went too far,” he says. “I used a big-bore kit and bumped the compression so high that she couldn’t run regular in it. She didn’t like that, so she eventually took it to a shop for a second rebuild.”

During that rebuild, the shop apparently machined the flywheel, causing it to rotate out of balance and setting up a vibration in the engine. It was driven less than 100 miles with the reconditioned engine, and then it was parked in 1984. Eventually it ended up outside, sitting beneath some trees. His cousin offered to sell him the car in late 1991.

“By the time I got it, it had sunk so far into the earth that we had to use a Cat to haul it out,” he says.

The Porsche came with extensive documentation. The paperwork indicates it was built in November of 1960 and was delivered to the first owner in Munich in January 1961. It was shipped to the United States by its owner in 1962, and ended up in Medford, Oregon.

“That’s when the title was issued,” Stout says. “Back then they issued the title based on when the car was first registered, so the paperwork says it is a ’62.”

The original owner kept it until early in 1970, when it was traded to a dealer and Stout’s cousin purchased the car for $2,200. It had only 65,495 miles on it. Stout’s cousin added only 9,000 miles in the 14 years they drove the car.

The Porsche is a Cabriolet with the Super 90 engine. It is a more elegant, touring class sister to similar 356-series Porsches such as the Speedster, Roadster and Convertible D.

“The Cabriolet is probably the most common of all of them,” he says, “partially because they were produced for the longest period of time.”

Because Stout’s car had a hardtop on it for most of its life, the interior suffered little during its years of al fresco storage.

“It had been repainted three times, and some of the paint was peeling, but areas like the floors and the battery box all looked pretty good.

Click to see restoration photos

It wasn’t until years later--after the restoration was well underway--that Stout discovered what all those layers of paint were hiding.

“Sometime in its past the car had a nose job,” he says. “It had obviously been hit and a new nose had been welded on. It was a pretty typical repair.”

But the repair had been done poorly.

“I never could get the panels to fit right,” he says. “And then we discovered that one side of the car was bulged.”

By this time, Stout had already spent all the effort he was going to spend to get the body right. He tapped a friend he knew from sports car racing to tackle the job.

The chassis went to Scott Olson’s shop in Washington, where Olson tugged on the sheet metal to pull the bulge out and create a proper profile for the grafted nose.

“It is how it should have been done the first time,” Stout says.

He had originally planned to do a quick street restoration on the Porsche, but the deeper he got into the car the more he realized he wanted something more than a daily driver.

He went ahead and had Motorsports International do the engine rebuild and Guy’s Interiors to do the interior and soft top. Both are located in Portland, Oregon and are well known for high quality work, particularly on old cars.

“I still did all the assembly and the parts chasing,” he says. “The nice thing about these cars is that they are valuable enough that all the parts are available. You can find everything you need if you are willing to spend a little time looking.”

And Stout was in no hurry.

“I’d make a bunch of progress on the car, and then I’d set it aside for a while, sometimes a couple of years,” he says. “I wasn’t in a big hurry.”

He says the slow-paced restoration cost a fraction of what it would cost if he had just dropped it off at a shop and picked it up when completed.

“I took my time, I found people who were excited about the car and wanted to be involved in it,” he says. And he did a lot of the work himself.

“But on a car like this, nothing comes cheap.”

And he says it was worth all of the effort.

“It’s exactly what I wanted,” he says. “It’s fun to drive and it looks and feels great. We don’t drive it a lot, but we aren’t afraid to. Sure, it has picked up a few stone chips -and I just hate that -but I restored it to drive.”

It has also picked up a few trophies. The year it was completed it took a third in class at the Concours d’Elegance at Forest Grove, Oregon.

“I figured out what it needed to do better, so in 2008 we took the car back and won the ‘best in class’ trophy,” he says.

Stout says that among the most satisfying elements of owning the vintage Porsche is the memories it brings back.

“You begin tinkering with the engine, doing the tune up or adjusting the carbs, and it all comes back to you, even after all those years.”

Just like Yogi said it would.

Click on any item below for more details at Amazon.com

Ron Roland
Restored by Hand: The “Nuts and Bolts” of Porsche 356 Restoration
Trafford Publishing, Paperback, 2010-04-05
Vintage Porsche 356 restoration in detail for the do-it-yourself rebuilder written by Ron Roland, a professional who has done literally hundreds of 356’s over a 30 year career. Ron wrote much of the source material for this book in a column published in the bi-monthly magazine of the national 356 Registry organization. These columns became the Bible for DIY restorers of these cars. Ron fulfilled a promise to redo this work and organize the material from the columns into book form and after 10 years of review, rewriting and editing, has fulfilled his promise.

Jim Kellogg
Porsche 356 Guide to Do-It-Yourself Restoration
TPR Inc., Paperback, 2009-11-01
The second edition of this book continues the restoration of a 356 Porsche to driver level condition. This book does not spend time or money creating the “perfect” 356, and does not necessarily search for NOS (new old stock) replacement panels if a reproduction panel or patch is appropriate; but the book strives to give you a restoration that will be correct, admired and driven. This second edition provides more detail and contains additional comments to assist those restoring a 356 which was purchased disassembled. Featured is the restoration of a 1957 sunroof coupe from the time of purchase to the first drive. Additionally, detailed comments are provided from vendors, such as media blasting, painting, and upholstery.

356 Registry Editors
356 Porsche Technical and Restoration Guide
TPR Inc., Paperback, 1994-12-30
This superb collection of technical and restoration articles from the first 20 years of the 356 Registry covers all aspects of restoration and repair. Chapters include: Background/History; Body; Brakes; Detailing; Driving; Electrical; Engine; Engine Lore from the Maestro; Engine/Gearbox Conversions; Fuel System; Hardware; Interior; Linkage/Cables; Luggage Compartment; Parts; Restoration; Storage; Suspension; Tools; and Trim.

356 Registry Editors
356 Porsche Technical and Restoration Guide, Vol. 2
RPM Auto Books, Paperback, 2004-04
A compilation of ten years of technical articles from 356 Registry magazine, 1994-2003. Over 200 articles on every aspect of maintaining and restoring a 356, with 470 photos, diagrams and illustrations in a user-friendly format of 8-1/2 x 11 inches.

Brett Johnson
356 Porsche: A Restorer’s Guide to Authenticity
TPR Inc., Paperback, 1998-01-23
Recognized by Porsche enthusiasts, concours judges, even the Porsche factory as a definitive guide to Porsche authenticity. Get a detailed look at the year-to-year changes in body, chassis, trim, and interior components. Virtually every part is described and photographed allowing owner and restorer to determine originality. Revised and updated 3rd edition.

James E. Schrager
Buying, Driving, and Enjoying the Porsche 356
RPM Auto Books, Paperback, 2001-04-15

The author covers all the bases: Choosing and finding a specific model, test driving, etc.

James Schrager is a hopeless Porsche fanatic who has a stable of several early 356 and 911 models ready for driving all year long. He keeps his finger on the pulse of the used Porsche market and reports current trends in his 356 Registry and Sports Car Market magazine columns each month. He also contributes technical articles about keeping a 356 on the road, something he is intimately familiar with.

Dirk-Michael Conradt
Porsche 356: Driving in Its Purest Form
Beeman Jorgensen Inc., Hardcover, 1993
This is a superb history of the 356 - from wartime tinkering with VWs to the Type 64 - through all years of 356 production. Excellent early photos, production shots, design studies, competition cars, exploded views, line drawings, specs, production figures, developmental history and much, much more. Hundreds of photos capture all the details through the years.

Floyd Clymer
Veloce Enterprises, Inc., Paperback, 2008-06-01
This is a faithful reproduction of the 1967 publication of that manual. Includes complete technical data, service and maintenance information and comprehensive detailed instructions for the repair and overhaul of all major and minor mechanical and electrical components. Covers the Porsche 356-356A-356B-356C series from 1948 through 1965, making it an invaluable resource for collectors and restorers of these classic automobiles. There are separate sections that deal with the repair and overhaul procedures for the engine, ignition system, fuel system, clutch, transmission, rear suspension, steering, front suspension, brakes, shocks, heater and exhaust plus a detailed electrical system section including wiring diagrams. There is a comprehensive chapter on routine service, maintenance and tune ups plus detailed technical specifications and maintenance charts.

Brian Long
The Book of the Porsche 356
Veloce Publishing, Hardcover, 2008-02-15
Based loosely upon the VW Beetle, which Dr. Porsche also designed, the 356 was the first Porsche model and, as such, was truly the birth of a legend. The curvaceous little coupes and spyders were a huge success throughout the world and continued to be so throughout the model’s life because of a policy of continuous development. Here is the full and fascinating story of the Porsche 356 and the racing and rallying cars which sprang from it. Here, too, is the story of the very beginnings of what, today, is one of the greatest sports car marques and an icon of automotive excellence.

William Scheller
Porsche: The Fine Art of the Sports Car
Universe, Hardcover, 2008-09-23
Now, in a book whose design is as refined and as smart as the car itself, the story of the Porsche unfolds from the beginning as a creation of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche and his son in 1948, through forty-eight models to today’s magnificent examples. Interwoven with the history of the Porsche’s development are factors and events that influenced the development of the company, such as the imprisonment of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche by the French during World War II, the development of the Volkswagen, the ever-changing rules of national and international racing associations, and the marketing genius of people as far away as Chicago. Porsche: The Fine Art of the Sports Car features over 380 pages of text and more than 250 stunning color and 120 historical black-and-white photographs, enabling the history of the world’s beloved sports car to be cherished and enjoyed at home in a stylishly handsome volume.

Randy Leffingwell
Porsche Sixty Years
Motorbooks, Hardcover, 2008-10-21

On the eve of Porsche’s 60th anniversary, this richly illustrated volume tells the story of that fabled marque. Renowned automotive writer and photographer (and Porsche aficionado) Randy Leffingwell focuses his lens on each important model. His pictures, in-depth analyses of each car and its context, and interviews with key personnel comprise a complete, compelling, and often revealing history of the world’s premier name in sports cars.

Lloyd Mats
Porsche 356 Custom-Fit All-Weather Rubber Floor Mats Deck Area - Black (1960 60 1961 61 1962 62 1963 63 1964 64 1965 65 )

These aftermarket rubber floor mats are tailored made to fit the exact contour of your specific vehicle. Each mat has hundreds of wells to hold water, snow, mud, sand and spills. Attractive, contemporary edge to edge design, providing better coverage then most original mats. Thousands of rubber nibs on the underside hold the mats in place, and the mats stay flexible even in sub-freezing temperatures. These mats are made of heavy-weight composition rubber almost a quarter of an inch thick and have a non-slip texture for additional safety.

Porsche Black Crest Logo Cap

100% cotton black baseball cap with Porsche Crest. Contrasting piping and small Porsche logo on peak. Adjustable strap in the back. One size fits most.

Porsche Crest Red Leather Key Chain
This elegant classic leather key chain has Porsche Crest on top, designs make a unique style statement and create a lasting impression. This is an official Porsche product.

Porsche License Plate Frame chrome.
This heavy case, solid brass license plate frame has a chrome plated finish and vinyl lettering.
Featured Cars
Sponsored Links

Copyright 2008 - 2021 - PopularRestorations.com - All Rights Reserved

Contact information