Text and photos by John Chatley
The first three photos show where to find the engine serial number, case casting number, engine type, and case matching numbers for each piece of a three-piece 356 engine case. The fourth photo shows where to look on the underside of the transmission housing for the transmission number, transmission type, and transmission build date, as shown in the fifth photo (644 transmissions) and sixth photo (716 and 744 transmissions). These locations are consistent for all 356 models, though early 356s with two-piece case engines are somewhat different.
[Editor: if anyone can provide photos of two-piece engine cases showing the relevant numbers, as well as earlier 356 transmissions, I will publish them here.]
By Barry Lee Brisco
The 356 Fahrgestell Nr or "chassis number", also known (incorrectly) as the VIN*, can be found in three places on the car in its complete five or six digit form (partial numbers are found in other locations not described here). Photos of these three locations in a 1959 356A coupe are shown below. This is a Reutter-built car: 356s built by other coachbuilders may be different (see end of this article for more information).
Below: on the trunk floor just behind the spare tire strap loop (remove the spare tire and the rubber trunk mat to see it)
Click to see photos of the trunk floor number in a 1955 356 and in a 1962 T6 car.
Below: next to "Fahrgestell Nr" in the upper right corner of the large aluminum plaque that is riveted to the trunk floor between the front right fender inner wall and the side of the gas tank. More information about the smaller "MODELL" plaque. These were only used in some 1959, 1960, and maybe 1961 cars.
Below: on the Karosserie (coa...