Correct headlight covers for 1956 Speedster

For those who obsess about exactly how their 356 left the factory!
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Dean Mayer
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Correct headlight covers for 1956 Speedster

#1 Post by Dean Mayer » Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:21 pm

I'm a new owner of a 1957 (production complete 11/56) 356 1600 Speedster, imported new by Max Hoffman and originally sold through a Marin, CA dealership. The car currently has stone guards over the headlights. The COA only specifies "Sealed Beam Headlights". I would like to determine how my car was originally delivered: with stone guards or with glass covers over the headlights.

I recently met the long-term second owner of this car, and he thought the car was delivered with stone guards. On the other hand, I've corresponded with Porsche Classic in Germany, and the answer I got was: "Usually cars came with glass...the stone guards were an aftermarket part."

Neither source seemed to provide a definitive answer, so I'm hoping the Registry might be able to help. :wink:

Thanks,

Dean
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Mike Wilson
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Re: Correct headlight covers for 1956 Speedster

#2 Post by Mike Wilson » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:20 am

Per the A parts manual, section #9, illistration #70, page 601, #36 & 37: headlight grills for Hella sealed beam, 540.62.011, Also listed are the gaskets for them and the special screws.

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Dean Mayer
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Re: Correct headlight covers for 1956 Speedster

#3 Post by Dean Mayer » Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:45 am

Thanks Mike. Were all US Speedsters delivered with the headlight grills, or were some delivered with glass lenses? Is there any way to tell which configuration a particular car might have had?

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Mike Wilson
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Re: Correct headlight covers for 1956 Speedster

#4 Post by Mike Wilson » Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:15 pm

I'm fairly certain that the buyer could specify either the glass lenses or the grills. U.S. cars had to have sealed beam headlights. If you have a copy of either the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) or Kardex, it should list the guards under options.

It is also possible the glass lens was swapped out with grills after delivery.

Funny that Porsche Classic in Germany doesn't have a parts manual to refer to.

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Donald Zingg
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Re: Correct headlight covers for 1956 Speedster

#5 Post by Donald Zingg » Mon Dec 31, 2018 8:41 pm

Dean Mayer wrote: Neither source seemed to provide a definitive answer, so I'm hoping the Registry might be able to help.
Dean,
Read this thread viewtopic.php?f=1&t=46257&p=312208#p312208

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Dean Mayer
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Re: Correct headlight covers for 1956 Speedster

#6 Post by Dean Mayer » Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:11 am

Thanks guys, for the helpful information and the link!

I do have the COA and a copy of the Kardex, but neither specifies anything more than sealed beam headlights. My car is VIN 82759, a 1957 model that was completed in late 1956, so it seems it could have been delivered either way. Unfortunately, I didn't receive any books or records with the car as the prior owner had recently moved and so far has not been able to locate the box containing the documentation since the move. : (
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Mike Wilson
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Re: Correct headlight covers for 1956 Speedster

#7 Post by Mike Wilson » Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:36 pm

I've noticed the Kardexes on some early 356's were devoid of info. It's still possible your Speedster originally came with the grills. Hopefully, fingers crossed, the old documentation will be found.

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Norm Miller
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Re: Correct headlight covers for 1956 Speedster

#8 Post by Norm Miller » Thu Jan 03, 2019 1:35 pm

Per my memory, all of the 56 Speedsters I've seen had the jail bar grills.
Build date 11/56 would be a 57 so the grills likely were an option.
In 1957 there weren't many cars being non conformed. Just drivers.

The one thing I recall was when driving in the snow on a sloppy road at night the grills had to be removed to clean the seal beams.
Yes, we drove in the WX.
 

Dick Roth
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Re: Correct headlight covers for 1956 Speedster

#9 Post by Dick Roth » Fri Jan 04, 2019 5:18 pm

Speedster "Headlight Grilles" are not "Stone Guards" in factory parlance in my experience. Stone guards were an option on ALL models and were mounted to the bodywork with the standard GHE tonneau snap fasteners. They are the cross hatch design, and not the straight vertical bars of the Speedster grill, which mounted on the headlight assembly itself.

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Re: Correct headlight covers for 1956 Speedster

#10 Post by Mike Wilson » Fri Jan 04, 2019 6:48 pm

Correct and good clarification, Dick.

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Mark Todorovich
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Re: Correct headlight covers for 1956 Speedster

#11 Post by Mark Todorovich » Thu Mar 07, 2019 4:49 pm

I am in the same situation. I bought my car with no lights at all. My COA says sealed beams. if IT WAS glass and not grills , would it be Hella? Someone told me it was Bosch. My vin is 82772. I am also interested whether the horns were the flat pre A kind or the rounded grill like later cars.
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Re: Correct headlight covers for 1956 Speedster

#12 Post by brian obergfell » Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:36 pm

Dean: my '56 speedster came with straight vertical bar (jail bar) grills as mentioned by Dick and Norm. I believe the kardex said sealed beam. i will look and get back to you. Regards, Brian

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