Posts Tagged ‘car’

Impressioning a Porsche 356 gear shift lock

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2024

I don’t consider myself much of a car person, but this Porsche 356 from the 1960’s is a work of art. The owner imported it from the US, and a keyless gear shift lock was added in the sale. The current owner had almost given up the hope of finding a working key for it, when he read about Toool in an old Quest magazine.

The gear stick with the lock to the right

Learning of a community of lock enthusiasts, he contacted us hoping we might have a solution for his problem, and luckily we did. I immediately thought of impressioning a key for the lock. After emailing back and forth a bit, the owner ordered blank keys and arranged for him to visit me after they got in from the UK.

The lock cylinder. Note two screws: one in the middle to hold the plug, and a longer one in the back used to install the cylinder

A couple of weeks later, after the blanks arrived, we arranged to meet and impression some keys. This was the first time I saw the cylinder, and I was surprised to find out it was a five pin cylinder and not a wafer lock as I expected from a car lock. The blanks were from Ilco, DM2, and brass.

Your’s truly at work

Impressioning was pretty straightforward, but I did encounter some interesting things:

  • Impressioning a used, old lock has it’s own challenges. Wear and dirt made getting marks take a bit more time. It felt dampened and “muddy” (for lack of a better word);
  • The brass used for the blanks was very soft. I was afraid to use a lot of force, because I didn’t want to unnecessarily break the few blanks I had;

Luckily I didn’t break any blanks. I took my time checking marks, only filed when I was certain there was a mark (as I know I should always do, but sometimes forget in the heat of the moment). Then after about half an hour the key suddenly turned. But only once, I couldn’t reopen the lock with it. Closer inspection showed two deep craters on 1 and 4. Slightly filing those down left us with a smooth working key. Beforehand I had warned the owner that the process might take a while and multiple tries, so we were both surprised and very happy with this swift success.

The end result

I really enjoyed doing this project. Not only did I get to practice my impressioning, but we also had a nice conversation about how much fun it can be when different hobbies suddenly overlap. Lately I have realized this is one of the things that keeps me going back to the locksport community: meeting people from all walks of life and discovering there’s always something connecting us.