Calling All '59 356A Coupes w/ Black Knobs + Steering Wheels

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Dan Haden
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Calling All '59 356A Coupes w/ Black Knobs + Steering Wheels

#1 Post by Dan Haden » Mon Dec 26, 2011 5:13 pm

Recently under another topic a number of us noted that our cars had the unusual feature of black knobs and steering wheels in a late 356A built in or around June of 1959. The chassis numbers that were mentioned were all within ten numbers or so. Because of this response I thought that it would be interesting to see how many of this type of car could be identified here on the list.

I have had my '59 coupe since 1969 and I am confident that when I bought it it was original throughout except for aftermarket seat covers that had replaced the original black vinyl with corduroy insert seats. I imagine the sun, heat and humidity of New Orleans, where the car spent its first ten years, were too much for the corduroy and they had to be replaced. The car had black knobs, black steering wheel and column and gloss painted black garnish rails on the doors and below the rear quarter windows. At the time and for a number of years after I did not realize that this was unusual, since this was the only 356 that I had ever driven. I did see other cars with the normal color steering wheels and knobs, but thought that black was one of the standard choices. The car was painted Condor Yellow (which is a 356B color) and had the paint code of 16188 shown on the door jamb plate. (The COA identified the color with the 356B designation of 6010.) In the course of its recent complete body restoration Bruce Baker noticed that this car has a couple of 356B attributes, namely, the engine tray is welded in place rather than being bolted and the battery box is a B stamping.
107983B.JPG
107983A.JPG
107983C.JPG
This car's chassis number is about 1000 cars from the end of the 356A model run and it was completed about two months before the end of A production and three months before the start of 356B production if one assumes that August of 1959 was given over to retooling the line for the new model. Because of the timing of this car's production and the oddity of the black interior pieces I have come up with the theory that the factory decided to make a few A cars with black steering wheels and knobs so that they could get a sense of what the new B models would look like in the new B colors (and maybe in the 356A colors that would be continued into the B line). I don't know if this is true and I have never been able to find out anything about these unusual cars from the authenticity experts, but I can't think of any other reason for them to have been produced when they were.

If you have a 1959 356A car with black steering wheel and black knobs, could you please reply to this thread with your chassis number, paint color and code, and hopefully a photo so that we can begin to get an idea of how many of these cars were made? If you have your build date from a COA or Cardex that would also be useful.

To start the ball rolling I have included photos of my car above and one other car that I have pictures of below. I will also mention that a couple of people from the last thread volunteered their info. Hopefully they will chime in again and attach some pictures. Karl Schuenemann has chassis no. 107986 in paint color 61111, maybe Auratrium Green. Patrick Doolittle has car no. 107985 in Fern Green. In photos below chassis 107974 looks like it might have been Ivory or a blue. I don't know what paint code is/was on the data plate of that car. I know that John Chatley knows of some black knob cars. I will contact him and ask him to respond here with any information he has.
107974B.JPG
107974A.JPG
Thank you in advance for your cooperation. I hope we can get some good information here on a previously undocumented area of Porsche history.

Dan Haden

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karl schuenemann
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Re: Calling All '59 356A Coupes w/ Black Knobs + Steering Wh

#2 Post by karl schuenemann » Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:01 am

Hey Dan,This seems to of sparked some interest.I dont want to get into color but 107985 and 107986 were both 61111 fern green,so i would think the "build dates " are very very close.It would be nice to find out a paint code on that car,the inner long. sure is lovely shade of green.Yes my tray is welded in but I will have to check on the battery floor differences.Related or not,I am curious about the lack of circular depressions in the eng. comp. left sidewall.Were all steering wheels painted their intended color? Hopefully more info on the "black knob" cars will be revealed. Buy the way, nice car.
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Colin Thorpe
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Re: Calling All '59 356A Coupes w/ Black Knobs + Steering Wh

#3 Post by Colin Thorpe » Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:51 pm

Hi everyone,

My car is 1959 Porsche 356a 1600 super

Ruby red
Black upholstery with corduroy inserts
European spec
Delivered new in Fulda Germany


Chassis 108621
Original Engine was 84537. 
I recall it was any July build.

My car is certainly no princess and got well used and abused, but all knobs are black, ie dash knobs and rear quarter window. it had no steering wheel when I got it, so that part I will never know, have GT vdm and a deluxe original for her now.

Also fixed engine panel. My 58 cab was removable.
The rear body panel has the raised light base pressed into it, but no holes.
The sun visors were also black, now grey where the sun had faded them
The dash and glove box are same as a t5, different than my cab. I purchased a rhd for it, and to my surprise exactly the same, the glove box catch is the same as well.

Also I posted a year or two ago about the factory changin the panels for my car. Stamped numbers ended in 621 but in crayon were 624. All good fun.

Ivory or black, I like both, at this stage we are building an outlaw with 108621 so patina and aged will be the theme, no new looking parts.

Hope this helps
Colin Thorpe
New Zealand 

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Re: Calling All '59 356A Coupes w/ Black Knobs + Steering Wh

#4 Post by jim stephenson » Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:10 pm

My 59 S sunroof Coupe Silver/Green interior #108369 Portugal delivered as new looks to always have been Ivory knobs.

Thanks
Jim Stephenson

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Thomas Fago
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Re: Calling All '59 356A Coupes w/ Black Knobs + Steering Wh

#5 Post by Thomas Fago » Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:03 pm

my 59a silver redinterior #108813 ivory knobs and steering wheel thanks tom fago
 

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Re: Calling All '59 356A Coupes w/ Black Knobs + Steering Wh

#6 Post by C J Murray » Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:29 pm

Dan-Radar in West Grove PA has one.

Your car looks great.
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Re: Calling All '59 356A Coupes w/ Black Knobs + Steering Wh

#7 Post by Sebastian Gaeta » Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:30 pm

All of the images so far of black knob A cars have the knobs placed below the guages and not above. Is this a coincidence?

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Vic Skirmants
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Re: Calling All '59 356A Coupes w/ Black Knobs + Steering Wh

#8 Post by Vic Skirmants » Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:47 pm

I'm confused. Isn't that where they all were? ?

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Re: Calling All '59 356A Coupes w/ Black Knobs + Steering Wh

#9 Post by Barry Brisco » Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:51 pm

Sebastian, my A coupe 105553 has the knobs in the lower position. I thought all A cars had them low. Am away from home right now and can't check my books.

Best regards,
Barry Brisco
1959 356A Coupe 105553, Ivory / Brown
2009 987 Cayman, Carrera White / Beige (daily driver)

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Re: Calling All '59 356A Coupes w/ Black Knobs + Steering Wh

#10 Post by C J Murray » Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:53 pm

106439 built 2/2/1959, knobs in same position.
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Re: Calling All '59 356A Coupes w/ Black Knobs + Steering Wh

#11 Post by Sebastian Gaeta » Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:27 pm

I recalled this thread http://porsche356registry.org/356talk/1/21368.html and thought that the black knob cars were late A production and that perhaps some would be above the gauges.

Perhaps I am misunderstanding?

Discuss.....
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356_a_coupe_dash high knobs.jpg
Sebastian Gaeta
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Re: Calling All '59 356A Coupes w/ Black Knobs + Steering Wh

#12 Post by Sebastian Gaeta » Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:39 pm

Barry Brisco wrote:Sebastian, my A coupe 105553 has the knobs in the lower position. I thought all A cars had them low. Am away from home right now and can't check my books.

Hi Barry,

I have the same books. Unfortunately, they do not cover the anomolies that we discover here through real world/hands on experience.
Sebastian Gaeta
www.arbormotion.com

Registry #8339

'65 C coupe
'64 C cab
--------
2001 996 C4
1998 Boxster
1967 Karmann Ghia Convertible
1966 Ducati Cafe Racer
1963 Beetle

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Re: Calling All '59 356A Coupes w/ Black Knobs + Steering Wh

#13 Post by Hendrik Moulds » Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:57 am

Just for your records, my very original A (107827) has ivory knobs in the lower position.
'53 Cabriolet
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Re: Calling All '59 356A Coupes w/ Black Knobs + Steering Wh

#14 Post by steve shea » Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:08 pm

108666, 59 Super, meissen/blk had ivory wheel and knobs and B backup light boss stamped on rear panel. Also, coincedence or not, I have documented five late A coupes all sold through Knevil motors in Butte, Montana. All were supers with silver fan shrouds with the indentation at top center and all had the B backup light boss. All had ivory wheels and knobs. I have been able to also find four very late, unrestored, two with factory paint, speedsters. All had the steering wheels mounted significantly to the left of earlier speedsters, all had D defroster vents and all had D instrument hoods. Also each came with the later iteration of the reutter body book. The one with the A coupes, not the vertical format. The earliest is 84742. An April car not exactly concurrent with D production but close enough that these parts found their way onto the speedster. Two were pushrod and two were GT. Interesting.
Last edited by steve shea on Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Calling All '59 356A Coupes w/ Black Knobs + Steering Wh

#15 Post by Charlie White » Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:26 pm

Sebastian,

Generally "A" knobs were below the gauges, "B" knobs above the gauges. Obviously
there are exceptions. Your picture, below, looks like a "B" dash with an "A" steering wheel. What do you know about that car?

CW
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