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55 or 56? Pre A or A Speedster?

Posted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:50 am
by tom collingwood
I have a 29.11.55 build date Speedster.

Very original but tired.

Would it be considered A or Pre A?
What would be the differences to look for on the car to see which year it more represents?

Re: 55 or 56? Pre A or A Speedster?

Posted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:05 pm
by Jules Dielen
2 or 3 large gauges? round rockers or straight rockers? From the looks of it you have a pre A, '56 would be an A.

Re: 55 or 56? Pre A or A Speedster?

Posted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:12 pm
by tom collingwood
Here is the dash.

I was wondering given the late 55' production date.

Re: 55 or 56? Pre A or A Speedster?

Posted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:29 pm
by James Davies
Tom pre-A Speedsters were build through Dec 1955, well after they switched to the 356A chassis for coupes and cabs. The last ~300 speedsters produced in this period had the new 1600 motors instead of the 1500 versions, but otherwise were pre-A chassis. Don Zingg covers this period very well in the "Speedster Typ 540" book.

These late model Speedsters were chassis 80930 to 81234 I believe. Yours probably is in that range? The 356A Speedsters started at 82001.

Cool car! Would love to see more pictures.

Re: 55 or 56? Pre A or A Speedster?

Posted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 7:14 pm
by tom collingwood
James Davies wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:29 pm
Tom pre-A Speedsters were build through Dec 1955, well after they switched to the 356A chassis for coupes and cabs. The last ~300 speedsters produced in this period had the new 1600 motors instead of the 1500 versions, but otherwise were pre-A chassis. Don Zingg covers this period very well in the "Speedster Typ 540" book.

These late model Speedsters were chassis 80930 to 81234 I believe. Yours probably is in that range? The 356A Speedsters started at 82001.

Cool car! Would love to see more pictures.
my VIN is 81135

Re: 55 or 56? Pre A or A Speedster?

Posted: Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:40 am
by Vic Skirmants
Major clue; single mount for trans? Although I have heard of at least one that had the single mount, with apparently factory installed double mount ears on the torsion bar tube.

Re: 55 or 56? Pre A or A Speedster?

Posted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:30 pm
by James Davies
Cool Tom. So just as we expected. Looks like the original color could have been white? Certainly not black.

So 2 questions for you:

1) Does it have its original battery box floor, and if so, do the ribs in it extend up the front curved side?

2) Does the lower rear valance have a raised area at the center for the exhaust pipes for clearance?

Re: 55 or 56? Pre A or A Speedster?

Posted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:20 am
by tom collingwood
James Davies wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:30 pm
Cool Tom. So just as we expected. Looks like the original color could have been white? Certainly not black.

So 2 questions for you:

1) Does it have its original battery box floor, and if so, do the ribs in it extend up the front curved side?

2) Does the lower rear valance have a raised area at the center for the exhaust pipes for clearance?
COA says white car, sealed beams, coupe seats and white wall tires. I have the original seats and original top in decent condition.
It appears the car was white, painted red and then green during its life from 1955-1962 when it was finally parked.
Here are some crappy pics of the battery box area and the rear.

Re: 55 or 56? Pre A or A Speedster?

Posted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 3:10 am
by Harlan Halsey
Unless Speedsters are unique, the dashboard is removable and non structural, the steering column mounts to a complicated aluminum bracket, to a large under the dash transverse tube in a pre-A. In an A the steering column mounts to a small bracket held by the structural dashboard. Easy to see at a glance.

Re: 55 or 56? Pre A or A Speedster?

Posted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 7:32 am
by Vic Skirmants
I didn't think the pre-A speedster dash was removable?

Re: 55 or 56? Pre A or A Speedster?

Posted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:09 am
by Neil Schlabaugh
Correct Vic. All Speedster dashes are welded in, not removable.

Re: 55 or 56? Pre A or A Speedster?

Posted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:15 am
by Neil Schlabaugh
I should have added that Pre-A coupes and cabs have removable dashes

Re: 55 or 56? Pre A or A Speedster?

Posted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 12:54 pm
by Harlan Halsey
Interesting. The welded in dash begs the question, do they also lack the transverse tube behind the dash?
More important, the pre A cab I am familiar with has the front bump stop between the torsion bars, and has the smaller dia, torsion bar tubes with VW bushings rather than the roller bearings the As and later cars have. It also lacks any rear bump stop above the axel in the tire well. The center tunnel continues forward all the way to he battery box instead of stopping in the footwell.

Re: 55 or 56? Pre A or A Speedster?

Posted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 1:25 pm
by Vic Skirmants
All those details are also found in a pre-A speedster.

Re: 55 or 56? Pre A or A Speedster?

Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:20 pm
by Ed Pimm
Hi, we are working on 81131. Originally white, black, speedster seats. Pre A chassis with a 1600 engine. It has a mechanical temp gauge in the dash with a threaded opening on the driver side top of the engine case, between the fan shroud and firewall for the capillary bulb to be tightened into. I haven't seen this on any other 1600 engines.