This car has several features which make it rare and special. The main feature is the "interim" bumpers, which are separate from the body and wrap around to a much larger extent than the "A" type bumpers which were used as of model year 1953 beginning in October 1952. Interim bumpers were used for less than one year and only on cars exported to North America. The transmission is the original 4-speed "crashbox", i.e. it is not synchronized and double declutching is absolutely required when shifting. If not done right, particularly on a downshift, it is impossible to change gears so driving this car takes a lot of practice and finesse. The 1952 engine is a 1300 cc, fully but authentically rebuilt with "mushroom" aircleaners, no oil filter, a flat-top distributor with wire clips, and fuel filter, and it puts out about 45HP. The tires are very narrow - 5.00/5.25 - and are mounted on original 3 1/4 x 16 rims (which in modern tire parlance would be something like 120/80/16!!). As can be seen, reproduction Firestone Champion Deluxe were selected (whitewall tires were always an option on all 356's, although rarely chosen). The car is a joy to drive on the highway but a real handful in city traffic. I usually cruise along at 65 mph and have a great time. The 356 is definitely THE sportscar for the 90's (with apologies to Harry "The Maestro" Pellow for this bit of plagiarism).
- the late B. Picard
(Note to those who have been to this page before: The 356 spotter's guide previously aluded to here by myself will soon be found on the 356 Registry home page, an altogether better place for it. - Craig)
Keep the 356 Faith!