• Car #Porsche-356A / #Porsche-356 / #Porsche

    RUN BY Alain de Cadenet
    OWNED SINCE 2005
    PREVIOUS REPORT July 2016

    I rediscovered that leaving the 356 parked up and lonely was the worst thing I could have done. I had to get another 6V battery, change the hygroscopic brake fluid and seriously detail the paintwork. It was, however, tricky to use the car when one’s health is not really up to it as well. But it was so exciting to have the car back from Andy Prill, who had done a great job on the motor and set up the suspension – including camber change and toe-in adjustment. It is now spot-on.

    Meanwhile, I did a full grease-up and gave it some TLC all around. I could hardly wait to get in the magnificent old bird and try her out. The motor pulls well (all 60bhp of it) on the original single-choke #Solex-32PBIC carbs, which had endured a complete rebuild to factory specification and now enable the car to pull away with some extra low-down torque.

    Having driven another 356 at Monterey last year, I had remarked that the car handled far better than mine – only to realise that it was fitted with #Vredestein 155SR15 #Sprint-Classic-tyres . That’s tires over there, of course. Naturally I had to have some of those, but I found it tricky to source a local tyre-fitter who could handle tyres that needed inner tubes!

    Not far from the mews in Kensington – in Munster Road, Fulham, in fact – I found someone and he did a great job fitting my new ones. But he did not have a mandrel on which to mount the wheels for balancing, so now I have to find someone with an on-car balancing set-up to finish it off. These ‘A’-type 356s have Volkswagen open-centre wheels, as you may know. However, on my first outing of some 120 miles I didn’t notice any vibration to concern me at legal road speeds. Plus I happen to prefer the 155 rather than the 165 tyre size.

    There is a small difference in the rolling radius but the car feels so good and has less drag than on the 165s. It also sits well on the road, just as it did when new. I have never understood why folk want to turn these older machines into something way out-performing what they were originally, with big tyres and double or more the horsepower.

    But they do. And why shouldn’t they? It’s just not for me. The tyre-fitter also produced some small plastic collars that fit into the valve hole in the wheel rim to stop the neck of the valve chafing on the steel of the wheel. It makes sense to have these for the first time, something I was pleased to learn about and yet another trick of the trade that you can only find out from someone who knows about such things. I have a rally coming up and expect it to run as well as she did when new after all this attention.