55 or 56? Pre A or A Speedster?

For Pre A discussions and questions
Message
Author
User avatar
tom collingwood
356 Fan
Posts: 146
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2016 11:00 pm

55 or 56? Pre A or A Speedster?

#1 Post by tom collingwood » Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:50 am

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?
Attachments
IMG_2470.jpg
IMG_2470.jpg (87.86 KiB) Viewed 1206 times
IMG_2468.jpg
IMG_2468.jpg (83.96 KiB) Viewed 1206 times

User avatar
Jules Dielen
356 Fan
Posts: 1743
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:25 pm
Location: Arizona

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

#2 Post by Jules Dielen » Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:05 pm

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.
Jules

Air never freezes nor overheats

User avatar
tom collingwood
356 Fan
Posts: 146
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2016 11:00 pm

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

#3 Post by tom collingwood » Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:12 pm

Here is the dash.

I was wondering given the late 55' production date.
Attachments
IMG_2160.jpg
IMG_2160.jpg (105.64 KiB) Viewed 1203 times

User avatar
James Davies
356Talk Moderator
Posts: 2225
Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:15 am
Location: Baltimore, MD

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

#4 Post by James Davies » 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.

User avatar
tom collingwood
356 Fan
Posts: 146
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2016 11:00 pm

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

#5 Post by tom collingwood » Wed Apr 03, 2019 7:14 pm

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

User avatar
Vic Skirmants
356 Registry Member
Posts: 7066
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 5:02 pm
Location: SE Michigan

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

#6 Post by Vic Skirmants » Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:40 am

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.

User avatar
James Davies
356Talk Moderator
Posts: 2225
Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:15 am
Location: Baltimore, MD

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

#7 Post by James Davies » 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?

User avatar
tom collingwood
356 Fan
Posts: 146
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2016 11:00 pm

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

#8 Post by tom collingwood » Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:20 am

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.
Attachments
IMG_2449.jpg
IMG_2449.jpg (113.32 KiB) Viewed 1064 times
IMG_2163.jpg
IMG_2163.jpg (144.91 KiB) Viewed 1064 times
IMG_2162.jpg
IMG_2162.jpg (83.26 KiB) Viewed 1064 times
IMG_2161.jpg
IMG_2161.jpg (113.52 KiB) Viewed 1064 times

User avatar
Harlan Halsey
356 Fan
Posts: 363
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:05 pm
Location: No Cal SF Peninsula

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

#9 Post by Harlan Halsey » Sun Apr 07, 2019 3:10 am

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.

User avatar
Vic Skirmants
356 Registry Member
Posts: 7066
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 5:02 pm
Location: SE Michigan

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

#10 Post by Vic Skirmants » Sun Apr 07, 2019 7:32 am

I didn't think the pre-A speedster dash was removable?

User avatar
Neil Schlabaugh
356 Fan
Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Oct 28, 2017 3:33 pm
Location: Between two corn fields

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

#11 Post by Neil Schlabaugh » Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:09 am

Correct Vic. All Speedster dashes are welded in, not removable.

User avatar
Neil Schlabaugh
356 Fan
Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Oct 28, 2017 3:33 pm
Location: Between two corn fields

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

#12 Post by Neil Schlabaugh » Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:15 am

I should have added that Pre-A coupes and cabs have removable dashes

User avatar
Harlan Halsey
356 Fan
Posts: 363
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:05 pm
Location: No Cal SF Peninsula

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

#13 Post by Harlan Halsey » Sun Apr 14, 2019 12:54 pm

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.

User avatar
Vic Skirmants
356 Registry Member
Posts: 7066
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 5:02 pm
Location: SE Michigan

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

#14 Post by Vic Skirmants » Sun Apr 14, 2019 1:25 pm

All those details are also found in a pre-A speedster.

Ed Pimm
356 Fan
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2008 12:30 pm
Location: Columbus,Ohio

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

#15 Post by Ed Pimm » Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:20 pm

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.
Ed Pimm

Post Reply