52/53 questions

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Jules Dielen
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52/53 questions

#1 Post by Jules Dielen » Wed Jan 25, 2017 5:14 pm

I have a few questions on a Pre-A bent window, built october 1952, VIN 118xx - It's a 1500S, engine 400xx. Per the Kardex it is a Typ 356 -USA-.

Would it originally have had a black steering wheel or tan? Car is fish silver-gray on navy cloth.

Also, it has the early style rectangular tail lights with the pointy round turn signals below it. I looked and looked but can't find any traces it was ever welded.. would this not be a beehive car? It also has a center brake light only (in the shine down).

Has a Keiper recliner on the passenger seat and a non reclining driver's seat.

Cloth headliner correct?

Any input welcome... please. There is more to follow
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Doug Naef
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Re: 52/53 questions

#2 Post by Doug Naef » Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:38 am

I am no expert but I believe tan on the steering wheel and the tail lights should be two beehive. I have an early '53 119xxx but who knows on an even earlier car.

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Tim Herman
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Re: 52/53 question

#3 Post by Tim Herman » Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:55 am

Tail lights are correct
Beige steering wheel
The Keiper recliner is the optional "Komfort Seat"
Yes to cloth headliner
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Randy Kaplin
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Re: 52/53 questions

#4 Post by Randy Kaplin » Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:20 am

I am no expert on these cars either however I own a '52 that had a history of doing very well in concours events that it was shown in prior to my acquisition of the car. I believe this car is pretty correct.
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Jules Dielen
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Re: 52/53 questions

#5 Post by Jules Dielen » Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:30 am

Thank you Gents! Randy we have twins :) - beautiful car!

i have no idea when these went from the rectangular tail lights to beehives. I can't find any evidence of a modification around the tail lights on mine.
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Jules Dielen
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Re: 52/53 question

#6 Post by Jules Dielen » Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:03 pm

Thank you Tim, greatly appreciated. I will fix the steering wheel.
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Victor Ingram
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Re: 52/53 questions

#7 Post by Victor Ingram » Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:05 pm

Jules,
A friend of mine had a late 51 early 52, in fish silver, the interior was blue vinyl bolsters with blue corduroy inserts for the seats.
The steering wheel was white as well as the knobs. I know where you can get a restored 400 mm white steering wheel if you are so inclined.
Beautiful car!

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James Davies
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Re: 52/53 questions

#8 Post by James Davies » Sun Jan 29, 2017 10:54 am

Hi Jules,

These are all very good questions! The car in your photos is restored, but retains its original layout of signal and brake lights. I believe t would also have the front turn signals inset, just like the '52 cars.

The transition from the '52 to '53 cars was very gradual. The order of change is roughly the following:

- chassis updates around coupe ~11779 and cab ~15050 include delete of spare tire horn and modifications for 519 transmission
- same time, type 546 engines and type 519 transmissions (some earlier cars have the 519s)
- shortly after (sometime after ~11780, 15064) update of bodywork with new nose and tail sections with integrated lower lips
- by coupe 11958 and cab 15091, beehives at rear and front, with front signals under the headlights
- new '53 interiors (fewer cushion sections on rear firewall, different front carpet pockets) by coupe 50021.

The final changes from '52 details were in the front seat backs (straight instead of curved), the rear wheel well arches, and a few other things.

Hoffman's deluxe cars often had a recliner just on the passenger side in 1952 through early 1954. There's good documentation in Conradt's excellent book. Keipers were used in 1952 and earlier. The Reutter recliners came out in ~Nov 1952.

The steering wheel color of Porsches up through May 1954 was ivory. In May 1954, Porsche changed all the interior knobs. Now they came in 2 colors, beige or grey. And they matched up with the beige or grey steering wheel. Notably, the earlier ivory wheels and knobs are a much lighter color than the later beige ones. Beige is not ivory.

The horn ring on the car in Jules' photos is a later addition. It is a cut-down 356A full ring. The early horn button crests on these cars also had grey borders around them. Both cars above seem to have a later horn button, as the crest does not have the grey border.

Also, the dash on both cars were very likely not originally body color. Dashes on pre-A coupes were almost always dark, coordinated with interior color. They are often restored incorrectly because restorers find body color paint on the backside of the dash and assume that was the original color. But Reutter painted the car and dash in one go, body color, and they did a batch of several cars of a single exterior color all together for efficiency. Subsequently each of the cars in that batch may have got slightly different interiors, so the dash was painted on the front side the dark color it would need to coordinate with the interior. I would guess dark blue dash for both cars as the dash colors were warm colors with warm, cool colors with cool, generally. There were a few exceptions to this rule, but not many. Virtually every period photo of pre-A cars shows dark dashes on light-colored cars.

Notice both cars have the 1952 leather map pockets instead of the carpet ones of 1953. And Randy's has the very plush rear firewall padding. As they should. =)

Randy's car has the correct front seat backs - slightly curved with the little wrapped trim strips on the side. Very nice!

Pre-A cars had cloth headliners. The coupes got a "mouse fur" brushed cotton twill. Ignore what Autos Intl and others say about wool; it is wrong. The cabriolets either got brushed cotton twill or the patterned hounds tooth cloth - both were in use at the same time.

Very cool cars! Very unique. Only ~100 to 150 cars or so where produced with these features, '52 turn and brake signal lights with the later '53 bodywork.

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James Davies
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Re: 52/53 questions

#9 Post by James Davies » Sun Jan 29, 2017 11:03 am

One further comment, I suspect both cars have blue wool Bedford cloth upholstery? This was common. Beige, red and grey got corduroy, the traditionally ribbed cotton stuff, and the green and blue cloth was Bedford cloth, which is also ribbed, but not corduroy. Beautiful.

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James Davies
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Re: 52/53 questions

#10 Post by James Davies » Sun Jan 29, 2017 11:13 am

Ok, a couple further comments. Neither car should have the hood over the oil temp gauge. Those small hoods started in mid-1954.

Randy's car has the correct early Störk gauge with the single needle. These were used up through at least April 1953.

Also, it looks like both cars have later mid-'53 to mid-'54 dashes. The '52 and early '53 dash has 3 knobs below the ashtray. The little extruded area of the metal dash that holds these knobs is actually longer there. For the mid-'53 onward dash, Reutter actually reduced the size of this are so that it was symmetric with the extruded area on the other side of the radio pod that holds the start button and choke pull. You can verify this by looking at the stamped digits on the inside bottom of the dash, below the radio. Last two digits should be stamped. =)

They removed the 3rd knob because it was no longer needed anymore, and because they were now making many more RHD cars, they wanted the dash to be a bit more symmetric, even though they still had to modify the dash stamping to make a RHD car, cutting and welding the gauge cluster and glove box from one side to the other.

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Jules Dielen
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Re: 52/53 questions

#11 Post by Jules Dielen » Sun Jan 29, 2017 7:33 pm

Thank you so much for the details James. I found nothing on the transmission on any early car. It seems they were not recorded. Mine has a 3 digit number, split case. Is that a 519?

And is this the dash area that is supposed to be shorter on my car?
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Spencer Harris
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Re: 52/53 questions

#12 Post by Spencer Harris » Sun Jan 29, 2017 8:11 pm

Jules,

Check the underside of your dash for a number stamp which should be the last two digits of your chassis number. This will be on the inside lip directly below the radio opening, so you may need a flashlight and a dentist mirror to see it.
30DSC_0983.jpg
This shows the shorter extruded area on my August '53 cabriolet dash that James is referring to.
Dash Closeup.jpg
Both yours and Randy's cars are beautiful. Congratulations.
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Jules Dielen
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Re: 52/53 questions

#13 Post by Jules Dielen » Sun Jan 29, 2017 9:51 pm

thank you for the tip Spencer, I will check this.
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Vic Skirmants
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Re: 52/53 questions

#14 Post by Vic Skirmants » Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:47 am

954 is a 519 transmission number. So you got this car from Ibrahim?

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Joris Koning
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Re: 52/53 questions

#15 Post by Joris Koning » Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:06 am

Jules,

The wind up clock is not original for a 356. It is from a Period Opel.

Hope this helps,

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