A photo showing a couple of the parts we make that are almost impossible to find. First is the early Hella headlight lens used also in pre-A 356’s up to 1956. Second is our turn signal assembly with the glass & plastic lens. Very few cars have the original glass lenses still on them, most having been replaced with the too common all plastic lens.
Back from Body Shop
First car is back from the body shop and assembling begins.
Trunk compartment with brake and clutch reservoirs installed. Also note battery tray and oil cooler door mechanism.
Shown is our front suspension adjusters for dialing in the ride height and also our Wendler ID tag.
Fuel tank is held in with large straps cushioned with the correct type natural fiber padding. Also in is the battery held by a similar strap over the cover and wood hold down block.
A photo of the dash being assembled. Wiring harness is almost done, fuse panel has yet to go in. Fuel pumps, pedal assemblies and some switch gear is in.
Shown here is the interior with the drivers seat rails. Note the SKF ratchet band clamps that hold the fuel and brake lines to the main frame rail. These are very special parts that have long been NLA and are only found after a great deal of searching.
Here’s a photo of the interior with our custom and very correct vinyl.
Another shot of the interior minus the seats. Notice the false floor board similar to the two piece affair used in pre-A 356’s. The throttle rod goes from the pedal pivot to the rear of the car under this wood floor. Also notice that the vinyl covering the floor is a blue/ green color. This is another part exclusive to us and yes it’s supposed to be blue/green. The reason for this color on the floor I can’t explain. Wendler had this same vinyl in black and equipped a number of cars with it as an interior color. Even in the cars that had a black vinyl interior they used this blue/green for the floors.
In this picture you’ll see the door trimmed out with the interior vinyl. The door cap rail is actually a formed piece of wood with a thin layer of foam covered in vinyl. At the front edge is a roll held in place by an aluminum extrusion that’s 1/3 round. Inside the roll is a rubber tube. Just why Porsche went to these lengths to trim out a race car is a bit of a mystery to me.
Seats done by my good friend Mike Curley finished in our custom made vinyl put a finishing touch to the interior.
Before the seats are trimmed out there is a tack strip that is riveted around the perimeter. This was originally a paper product but my interior guy advised that I use some 3mm plywood instead as the paper has a hard time holding a tack very well. The seats were originally red oxide primed and then the metal parts left exposed were brushed touched with a color similar to the vinyl used.
Finished car complete with our own custom made gauges as original to the later 550 series cars.
Shown here is the back of the car with the rear deck lid not yet installed.
Rear of car
Transaxle is installed along with the shift linkage, shocks and rear brakes.
After 10 hours on the dyno the engine is in. Aluminum fan shroud as in the factory cars is a nice though seldom seen item and of course made here as are the air filter for the 4 bolt sand cast Solex carbs.
Engine & transmission
Engine complete with our special crank fire ignition and custom made distributors eliminate completely the problems of accurate and consistent spark with the early 547’s. The original large diameter Bosch blue coils are cut open with special tooling and MSD Blaster coils installed because the Bosch coils create too much electrical interference for our ignition control unit. Also shown is our own 550 type engine breather and proper early starter converted with a 12V solenoid in the original case to keep the stock appearance. Gear ratios were painted on the case to inform what is installed inside.
We had a small completion party to celebrate the effort. Owner Ray Egan on left and me on right with good friend Jack Styles looking on.
All 550 Spyders came with a top. These are held on by two wing nuts at the firewall and two leather straps at the dash. It’s almost impossible to get in the car with the top up and it doesn’t entirely fold away so most got removed and then lost over the years. Original material was a tan cotton canvas but the new owner decided to use some material we had custom made for his ‘55 Speedster, Firenze Grey with a tan herringbone inside. I think this looks quite good on a silver car.
A picture of the rear firewall with the wiring and fuel lines installed. One of our own fuel pressure regulators and mounting bracket also installed. Car is using a Spyder Factory designed crank - fire ignition with custom distributors and this is the reason for the 12V regulator. Installed on the regulator is an early Bosch script cover.
Here's a shot of the right side of the firewall with the oil filter housing and throttle linkage installed.
A photo of the right front suspension. Key parts shown here are our custom made 550 F&S shock absorbers and tie rods. Also in the photo is our German silver Wendler emblem and hard to see but still there is our needle bearing link pin set up.
60mm Front brake drums
Our Spyder Factory 60mm front brake drums done & installed. This was a part that was over a year in the making. Machined from 6061 billet stock and using a shrunk in cast iron liner to Porsche specs. which means the liner is 1.5mm bigger in diameter than drum ID. A special fixture for locating the parts was made to allow for a quick and accurate assembly of these two pieces.
Ready for installation is the gear box. Gear ratios were typically painted on the side so you could tell at a glance what you had in the box. Also shown are our excellent copy of the shifter linkage and the clutch slave cylinder.
Fuel tank installed in car. Hand hammered terne plated steel as original .
A photo showing the front with fuel tank installed. Also shown is the hood with prop rod and leather check strap.
Because the standard Autopulse fuel pumps are now over 60 years old and at this point not too reliable we use a modern fuel pump on a custom made bracket. The stock pumps remain in place and while fuel does flow thru them it’s this new pump that makes the pressure and that pulsating noise.
Here a photo of our fuel filler neck and gas cap. All hand made of course here at The Spyder Factory.
Pictured here is the rear firewall mounted to the chassis. Multiple brackets riveted to the rear of this include: oil filter bracket, fuel pressure regulator bracket, voltage regulator bracket, passenger seat reinforcement and various clips for the fuel lines and wiring. Having been made on a buck from scan data this part fits like a gloves in its proper position. It is, however , a very difficult part to hammer out physically. Your arm just gets tired of hitting metal all day and a proper sequence of pounding must be followed to form it correctly. I can imagine there was one worker in the Wendler facility who's job it was to form this part.
Front Nose Inner Construction
Here's a photo looking at the inner left front wheel well from inside the trunk compartment. At the bottom is the battery mount which attaches to both the frame and is also riveted to the oil cooler duct. The vertical wall to the left is the pedal bulkhead.
A shot from the front looking rearward at the pedal bulkhead. In the center are the torsion bar tubes with the ride height adjusters as in the originals. Also seen in this photo are the grease lines on either end of the torsion bar tubes. The fittings themselves are located in the wheel wells and due to lack of access in this area these tubes are needed to get the grease to the proper location.
At the painters
Our first car at Meister Restorations for my partner Jerry , on left, to finish and paint.
Right Front Inner Wheel Well
An important piece for a couple of reasons. First it ties the front fender wheel opening to the chassis and it also connects to the pedal bulkhead just behind the vertical tie rod opening in addition to the main longitudinal door sill. Because this part joins six other members of the car and all must meet at the correct points it is very important that the dimensions and shape are correct. This part is cut and shaped on a forming buck made from scan data, slices and weld seams in the correct spots as in the originals.
Finish body work
A drivers eye view of the car in filler primer.
Finish body work
Car in high solids filler primer. This primer has a good gloss showing areas that may still need a little work to finish it up nicely.
Front nose underside
Here's a view that is rarely seen. It is the underside of the front nose with the oil cooler ductwork going down the center. The opening for the horn is in the lower left and a cover plate fills the hole on the right. Tops of the front fenders are upright in the background and inside can be seen the ink stamp from the aluminum mill as in the original cars.
Inner Trunk Compartment
Pictured here is the assembly of parts that makes up the inner trunk compartment. The recess in the center is for the location of the fuel tank and the bump to the right of that is clearance for the steering column. Once assembled these pieces form a very rigid part that adds structure to the front end of the car