Who we are...
Cu Layer Inc. is a printed circuit board design service bureau. Within our company we enjoy motor sports, particularly motorcycles because the fastest European sports motorcycles are much more affordable than the fastest European sports cars and they take up less room in the garage.
During the mid 1970s I had the privilege of owning a red 1961 356B cabriolet and a white 1961 356B coupe. At that time I was a Porsche-loving but poor student with a part-time job budget, and so I bought my 356s all worn out and very cheap. Having been subjected to more than ten winters of heavily salted Illinois roads the 356s were beginning to exhibit rotting of their body pans and some of their sheet metal.
The first time I drove my cabriolet in heavy rain I began to feel a curious wetness through my clothes on my left shoulder. I felt around the ragtop but could find no leak in it. Unfortunately, the source of the water turned out to be a spray of rain water that came off the top of the left rear tire when it was rotating. The water came shooting into the cabin through a rust hole in the fender well. Maybe it was because I was young, but an occasional wet shoulder didn't really bother me so l came to expect getting wet on rainy days and I learned to avoid the deep puddles whenever I could. It was just one of those small sacrifices I made because I loved the cars, like having no heat, or needing to use an ice scraper on the inside of the windows during the winter.
One day I happened to drive past a white coupe parked at the end of a driveway with a "for sale" sign in the rear window. Clearly the car had been parked for a long time but unknown to me the front shocks were as stiff as rocks. I bought the car and the first time I made a fast lane change to pass a car in front of me the 356 immediately countered my lane change with a wicked front-end weave back and forth across both lanes of the road. I became the unwilling recipient of an immediate sphincter cramp so I stomped on the brakes and fought with all my strength and reflexes to counter the weaving as the steering wheel spun back and forth on its own. Afterwards, a friend and I surprisingly diagnosed the problem, and for over an hour we kept pushing down hard on the front fenders and eventually fixed the problem
A previous owner with a "Dymo" label maker gave the little white 356 with the Reutter body badge a name. Back in the 70's it seemed every male between 15 and 25 years old eventually got a bottle of Hai Karate or English Leather after shave and a cheap label maker for Christmas. The label maker would embossed a sticky-backed plastic strip with letters as you spun an alpha-numeric encoded wheel and squeezed the handle. On a thin black label somebody embossed the words "THE MIGHTY MARSHMALLOW" and stuck it to the face of the glove box. The name just seemed perfect for my 356. My friends and I never referred to my white 356 as anything other than the Mighty Marshmallow.
At the time of my 356 ownership I was in my early my 20ís, but my love affair with Porsches started long before when I was a teenager. I hung out with a group of like-minded Porsche lovers, guys that didn't see what going in a straight line for a quarter of a mile had to do with anything. A couple friends who didn't go to college and lived at home had the money to afford car payments on 911s, some guys had 914s, there was a 912 in the crowd and I had the pair of 356s. We probably couldnít tell you what actresses were in any given movie, but any of us could tell you which movies playing downtown had Porsches in them.
Currently I am
suffering through an extended Porsche-less period of my life, but I still have
friends with both new and old Porsches. And since we are all drawn to fine
German engineering it was only logical that BMW motorcycles came to be pervasive
in my life as well.
Somewhere along the way my friends with old BMW motorcycles asked me to fabricate an LED taillight for their old motorcycles. In order to amortize the set-up costs to have circuit boards fabricated I sold some of the tail lights and the response was extremely positive. Over several years of selling LED taillights for old BMWs some friends and a few customers had asked me to consider making a taillight for the Porsche 356. I thought about the design for quite awhile, but the 356 taillight's teardrop shape and gently curved face combined with the problem of connecting to the recessed bulb sockets did not lend itself to an any apparent printed circuit board solution, and even more so given my self-imposed rule that there could be no modification to the vehicle required. I quietly dismissed their requests because it seemed impossible to connect to the bulb sockets or taillight wires without somehow modifying the vehicle.
One day I was driving an Illinois toll road when I saw a 356 coupe in my rear view mirror overtaking me at a high rate of speed. I smiled as I recalled the familiar exhaust note when the 356 was aside me, and admired it's form and presence as it moved past and ahead of me. And as the 356 came around the front of my car I thought to myself. "Wow, those taillights are really dim!" At that moment the die was cast.
Because I have owned 356s and
having been a Porschephile for close to 40 years now, it seemed that someone like me who really loved the cars
should work to design a better and brighter
taillight for them. I still
maintained that any solution would have to fit in the stock taillight compartment and
could require no permanent modification. The taillights would need to be
easily and quickly revertible to stock for auto shows, concurs event, or for a
sale of the automobile in original condition.
I still maintained that any solution would have to fit in the stock taillight compartment and could require no permanent modification. The taillights would need to be easily and quickly revertible to stock for auto shows, concurs event, or for a sale of the automobile in original condition.
product on this page is the result of working many late nights
Nevertheless I found it exciting to work on a project for one of the finest
automobiles in the world. It is my sincere hope this taillight exceeds
your expectations and adds a measure of safety for you and your passengers while
providing an extra degree of protection to your 356.
The product on this page is the result of working many late nights
Nevertheless I found it exciting to work on a project for one of the finest automobiles in the world. It is my sincere hope this taillight exceeds your expectations and adds a measure of safety for you and your passengers while providing an extra degree of protection to your 356.
James Franzen, President