What is a Kardex?
The Kardex is physically a card which resides in a card file in Ludwigsburg, Germany. The original purpose of this card was to be a warranty record for work performed on the car at the factory. It was not the build sheet, but has ended up being the only useful and accessible document relating to the individual 356. List of German terms found on the Kardex and English translations.
What's on a Kardex?
Most cards contain chassis number, engine number, gearbox number, paint and interior colors and occasionally other information, such as options. They generally also contained the name of the importer, dealer and/or first owner. The information on the Kardex is inconsistent and many cards are blank, except for the chassis number. The Kardex is the basis for Porsche's Certificate of Authenticity program (see following). The Certificate of Authenticity may also contain the production completion date and rarely, the suggested retail price of the car.
How can I get the Kardex information for my car?
Several years back the system of writing to the factory and receiving a photocopy of the actual Kardex was discontinued, primarily due to laws in Germany put in place to protect individuals whose names were on the cards in association with the warranty worked performed. At that time the content was transcribed, except for the owner and dealer information and sent back to you from the customer relations department in Germany.
Kardex records have been converted in North America and the information is available upon request by the registered owner. This document is called Porsche's Certificate of Authenticity (COA). The COA is available for all Porsche classic cars and for recent Porsche models imported for sale in the U.S. and Canada. Note that the COA application states that cars which were not originally delivered to North America are not eligible for certification by PCNA, however this is only for late model Porsches. For 356s, ignore this sentence on the application.
For a fee of $110.00 and 5.95 Shipping & Handling [Ed: $10 discount for PCNA and 356 Registry members], and with proof of ownership, you will receive a Certificate suitable for framing. Porsche no longer offers to laminate the Certificate for an additional fee.
Information about the program is available on the Porsche website.
The information on the COA varies from car to car, depending upon the information in the original factory records. No specific information is guaranteed, and sometimes the COA shows very little! The time delay on delivery is described by PCNA as 4-6 weeks. Reports from 356 Registry members of 2-10 week delivery times are not uncommon.
NOTE: Reports from several years ago indicate that some clearly false information was being transferred to the COA's (such as Tiptronic and air conditioning). A third party was subcontracting the transfer of information at the time and some of the more subtle German terms were probably being mistranslated. Today (2102) the work is performed and carefully monitored in-house at PCNA by native German employees who regularly confer with Zuffenhausen if a question arises about a term or abbreviation on the Kardex.
If, after 10 weeks has elapsed you still have not received your Certificate of Authenticity, email email@example.com or call 1-800-PORSCHE (option 5). Please note that the Customer Commitment center is not equipped to answer questions about specific cars, or even general questions about cars as old as our 356es. This number is for Certificate of Authenticity processing and delivery only. If you have other specific issues they are best addressed in writing to:
Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
Certificate of Authenticity
980 Hammond Drive, Suite 1000
Tel 1-800-PORSCHE (option 5)
IMPORTANT NOTE:Virtually all Certificates issued from PCNA when they were in Reno will have had the build date included, if this information was on the original Kardex. If you have a question about the COA, contact the 356 Registry's Factory Laison, Chuck House firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Editor's note: The COA may show quite a bit of information about a car, or it may show very little. There are even cases of it showing nothing but the model designation, e.g., "356B Coupe". And there are reports of the COA containing inaccurate information, including even getting the 356 model wrong! Do not assume that what the COA shows is correct if it conflicts with known facts about the car that are supported by other original documentation or clear statements from the original owner. At the same time, unless you are the original owner, do not assume that you know for certain what is original to your car and what is not.]
Technical advice given on these pages is provided free and without warranty. The user of information presented on these pages assumes all responsibility and liability in its use. We're not lawyers, we're car folk, just sharing our experience. Be careful, use your head, have fun.