Vintage Tech Info


By Craig Richter

In 1983 Craig Richter published his book “How To Make An Old Porsche Fly”. Almost 200 pages packed with valuable information, revealing the secrets for hopping up your precious Porsche 356/912 and aircooled VW. Read to shreds by the “inner circle” and a sought after publication. If you're lucky enough to find it, now the paper version is pretty pricey because it sold out long ago. Craig is a valued member of the Porsche 356 Registry and his book is often referred to in the Registry's discussion forum. It's a must-have for every technically interested 356 fan, even if you're not intending to race with your valuable beauty.

How To Make An Old Porsche Fly - original book

Craig's book has practical  info about:

  • Cases
  • Oil supply components
  • Crankshafts, rods, rotating parts
  • Pistons, cylinders, cylinder heads
  • Camshafts
  • Carburetors
  • Distributors
  • Fuels
  • Cooling
  • High-performance exhausts
  • Gearing, and more…

Get Your Digital Copy Now

To get your personal copy of Craig Richter’s “How To Make An Old Porsche Fly”: click the button above. You will be redirected to reseller FastSpring who takes care of secure order processing and immediate downloads.

Craig Richter is a Porsche 356 expert and two-time national record holder

Craig Richter's Porsche 356 Speedster, called Speedy

Here are a few things he learned from his racing period and driving with Speedy – his 356 Speedster:

1. What are your recommendations for rollbars?
I’ve seen the results of several roll-overs. In fact, I was in one of them. My advice is to forget about roll bars in street cars. All they will do is hurt you.
2. What do you think about Weber manifolds?
The Weber manifolds that look like the old Solex manifolds appear to be OK. The area right under the throttle butterfly already accepts 44mm Webers, whereas the Solex is only 40mm and must be opened up to use the bigger carbs. The old “fat” or “dune buggy store” Weber manifolds not only have severe clearance problems, the manifold runners have an odd bend and just won’t produce any horsepower.
3. How do I tackle the problem with spark plug electrodes being bent by my high dome pistons?
You could just use a second spark plug washer. We used to do this all the time when clearance problems occurred with high CR’s, and shorter 3/8″-reach plugs (NGK B6S) weren’t available or seemed too short. Didn’t seem to affect heat range.
4. Will I need a Capacitive Discharge System for my ignition? 
There are many quality CD systems out there but the good Bosch coil puts out 34,000 Volts, and the 12V Bosch red coil is advertised to deliver 40,000 Volts. Either is quite capable of handling the ignition for racing motors. CD’s do make sense for street use, but there is no convincing evidence that they can increase torque or peak horsepower over a properly prepared points system.

5. I don’t know if I can trust my oil pressure gauge but it indicates a pressure above 70psi at high revs. Isn’t it too high?
It’s really difficult to get too much oil pressure out of a 356. My street Speedster runs 70psi when revved up, even hot. Cold it pegs the gauge. Never had any problems with seals leaking, or anything like that. Racers assemble carefully, sometimes use heavier relief springs, and get over 100psi. On the other hand, old small pump motors seem to run forever on 20psi, and the oil light flickers at idle, about 8psi. Amazing little motors.

6. What do you consider important when modifying the older engines with early 3-piece case?
You must first address the oil pump issue. These early 3rd pieces used a separate oil pump body, and are not interchangeable with the later 3rd pieces, where the oil pump body is built-in. Better IMO is a VW blueprinted pump. You must use the early VW size that matches the 546 oil passages. But a VW pump will require an electric tach, which is better anyway, no wiggly-wag pointer action. Once you get the oil pump sorted, a simple machine shop mod allows late main bearings, and then the sky’s the limit! All the late stuff fits.
7. What’s your opinion about using valve seals?
Those seals for the late valves may promote the very thing they are supposed to help, because by restricting oil entry down the guide on the intake suck, which means less oil smoke out the exhaust pipes, especially on deceleration; but less oil can mean the guide/valve wear out faster, which makes the smoke come out the exhaust sooner. I’ve wiggled the valves on a lot of old motors, early and late, and I don’t feel the seals help anything. Lotsa miles, lotsa slop. Exhaust valves operate much hotter than intakes, so you’d never want to limit oil there, and exhaust pressure is pushing the oil back up the guide, so I don’t even like to weld-up those little “break-in” squirter holes in the exhaust rockers.
8. Am I correct that the Solex manifold (w/ Adapto-plate) would not work on my A’s heads?
No, your A heads can be made to work very well with Solex manifolds. You will have to match-up the port-to-manifold junction, paying some attention to the tips in my book. You will be quite impressed with your old A’s performance. Add adapto-plates with the correct Weber set-up, and then correct pistons, cam and exhaust, and you’ll be buzzing’ around like it was 1959!
9. What do you think of alu oil coolers to let my 356 engine run cooler?
Cooler than what? My two motors both have alu coolers, because I too am a good enthusiast, but I didn’t notice a lot cooler running than running the old ’60’s coolers. Clean old stuff for sure, and I always do some gauge accuracy checking, but is there an actual problem here?

Now here’s some good news:

Red arrows

Craig has made his “How To Make An Old Porsche Fly” book available again!

How To make an old Porsche Fly - digital edition
How To Make An Old Porsche Fly- Digital Edition

by Craig Richter

Join the “inner circle” and start reading the exact copy of Craig’s original 1983 publication. Improved: now with additional index for easier lookup.

Download the digital edition to your computer, tablet, or smartphone. And it’s printable too in case you need it on your workbench🛠.
To get your personal copy, click the button below and get immediate access.
For the price of less than a set of spark plugs you simply can’t go wrong.

Get Your Digital Copy Now

To get your personal copy of Craig Richter’s “How To Make An Old Porsche Fly”: click the button above. You will be redirected to reseller FastSpring who takes care of secure order processing and immediate downloads.

Examples of the contents:
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Still not convinced?

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What others say:

“Forty five or so years ago I had a career as a mechanic, Chevron Dealer and neighborhood garage manager. Four of those were spent as a Porsche mechanic in a dealership. In 2005 when I bought my Dolphin Grey 356C, and started the mechanical work on the car, I contributed occasionally to the 356 Registry Talk forum. By reading the many posts on the Registry I came to understand that there were big gaps in my knowledge, and that if time travel were possible, I could now go back to 1967 and be a better Porsche mechanic. Then I bought “How to make an old Porsche fly”, and I discovered that there was another whole world that I didn’t know. What a blow. Even if you will never use one tip in the book on your 356, the information will bring a new appreciation of the 356. Highly recommended.” RS

Rod Emory Instagram post 1Rod Emory Instagram post 2Southern Porsche 356 Club of California posts

“Thank you so much for making these improvements to this great book that was so helpful when building my race engines. Just picked up my paper copy a few days ago and re-read several parts with great pleasure. The printing and index really enhance the book. My son and I racing each other at Laguna Seca – you may have seen already:” PT

” The improvements are brilliant! It is so much easier to read with the new format and the index is ever so helpful.” GS

“I don’t race but found the info very useful for my 356 and VW. Valuable insights in why my carbs can sputter, why the engine may be silently detonating, how to really tune Solex or Weber carbs, which distributors are good, what NOT to do to ensure my engines stay healthy with today’s cat’s pee, and much more. Thanks Craig for sharing!” PK

Always known about Craig’s Porsche book, but never had a copy. This will make very good bedtime reading. Looking forward to the read. Many thanks for the link. And thanks to Craig” JC

“I checked out a little bit of the book, and it’s cool Old School! Dig it!” JT

“I have this book and in my opinion it’s good and well written. If you are interested in technical stuff, you enjoy reading this even if you are not planning to do any “hot rodding”.” JV

“Every 356 owner should have and read Craig’s book.” CJM

“Thanks, i've directed many to this excellent tech reference. I bought my paper back copy directly from Craig, when it was new. I've referred to, and deferred to this book many times, for its "tribal knowledge". A thorough, and spot on 616 engine tech source, tell Craig we said Thanks, and "Howdy"” MH

Get Your Digital Copy Now

To get your personal copy of Craig Richter’s “How To Make An Old Porsche Fly”: click the button above. You will be redirected to reseller FastSpring who takes care of secure order processing and immediate downloads. 

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