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The Optional Extended Steering Column

September 24, 2010 | Troubleshooting & Repair

Contributions by Pete Archibald, Jim Breazeale, Jim Kellogg, Steve Davis, Dave Mitchell, Brad Ripley, Charlie White, edited by Barry Lee Brisco

Jim Kellogg notes that there is another limited ergonomic 356 adjustment: the pedal cluster. The pedal rods are notched for two or three positions. Further out for short ladies and for heel and toe folks the brake pedal can be set lower than the clutch.
The 356 offered relatively little in the way of adjustments when it came to positioning the driver in relation to the steering wheel. The seat went forward or back and that's about it, though this limitation was typical for the cars of the day (see sidebar at right for a helpful note from Jim Kellogg). For owners who wanted the steering wheel a bit closer to them but didn't want to be nearer the pedals, there was an optional "Extended Steering Column", or in German, "Verlangerte Lenksaule".

According to Charlie White this option first shows up in an accessory booklet dated February 1959 as item number 33 (it is not listed in a booklet believed to be from 1956). The February 1960 "Accessories" booklet lists the option as:

24. Extended Steering Column (30mm). Part #644.347.008.05 ($7.00).

The 1961 and 1962 booklet, as well as the September 1964 booklet also listed the option, as number 9210 and the price had increased to $7.25.

For B and C cars, Pete Archibald reports that the parts manual shows the coupling extension (Intermediate Piece E 356.47.103), a special ground strap at the coupling (E 356.47.104 for B cars, E 695.347.104.06 for C cars), and then an Intermediate Ring for Steering Column Extension (E 644.347.758.05) with three special 30 mm long screws (E 644.347.765.05) to attach the Intermediate Ring to the steering wheel/turn signal switch housing. Dave Mitchell notes that it also lists parts E 356.47.105 Hex head bolt bolt (30 mm longer) for the B's and E 999.067.005.02 pan-head screw (30 mm longer) as well.

Below are photos of the two main parts of the option in a C car. The first photo shows the 30mm cast aluminum spacer on the steering column, the second shows the additional piece in the steering coupler. (Photos courtesy of Steve Davis)