I N T E R M E C C A N I C A B U I L D S
What makes the Intermeccanica reproductions arguably the most coveted in the market.....?
B O D Y
We use a Canadian made, one-piece body, hand laid up in our molds using exclusively ISO based gelcoats and ISO resins. These low-profile products result in a body with much superior resistance to temperature change, humidity and long-term deterioration. The thickness of the bodies is kept between 1/8" and 1/4" giving a strong, durable yet reasonably light product.
C H A S S I S
Our exclusive INTERMECCANICA frame addresses numerous problems associated with original 356’s and early reproductions built on VW pans. The frame is a box section steel tube perimeter frame incorporating 5" x 3" side members, making it torsionally rigid and side impact resistant. Its design attributes include a front axle mounting base that is twice as wide as the standard VW, with increased caster (5 deg.) enhancing straight line stability.
The elimination of the large VW tunnel and increase of the overall interior tub width to 48", combined with the redesign of the foot-well area, results in an amazingly spacious interior with ample room for your left foot, seating that is centered on the steering wheel. This space allows us to mount our exclusive 356 replica Speedster bucket seats or replica 356 Convertible ‘D’ adjustable back style seats with headrests. The car is an easy fit for people up to 6' 3" and has good hip/shoulder width. Seats, as well as belt systems, are mounted on tubular steel cross-members. Floorboards are fiberglass.
Possibly the most innovative part of our frame is the rear suspension cross-member which uses stock VW IRS suspension components in conjunction with custom torsion bars. Torsion bar pre-load (ride height) is adjustable independently for each bar for easy ride height and corner weight adjustments. This is combined with the relocated and now adjustable trailing arm mounting points for camber and added toe adjustment allowing for a good range of suspension settings. The overall design allows us to move the engine and transmission location 3" forward of the standard 356 for better weight distribution and additional room for exhaust.
The combination improves the weight distribution of the Intermeccanica S while also eliminating the excess camber change of the original 356 swing axle rear suspension. The result is very neutral handling, quite dissimilar to the original and unforgiving 356. Engine mounting has been reworked using standard VW mounts front and rear, but incorporating a 356-style cradle to carry the trans-axle.
Both engine and trans-axle are thus much better supported. A wider and longer engine bay for easier service and added cooling, round out the frame. All this and more for only 365 lbs. which is less than the combined weight of the original shortened VW pan and sub-frame.
Through proper matching of front to rear torsion bar stiffness, Intermeccanica endows the Intermeccanica S with excellent ride quality while still retaining a true sports car feel. Jarring suspension and freeway hop (pitching) are a thing of the past. Front and rear suspension ride height is also adjustable with a simple turn of a bolt.
B O D Y / C H A S S I S A S S E M B L Y
Body and epoxy painted frame become one unit in the custom shrink fixture, guaranteeing proper panel alignment. All mounting points for hood, trunk and door hinges are steel reinforced. Hood and trunk hinges are heat-treated cast aluminum; door hinges are fabricated steel with nylon bushings and, of course, mounted directly to the frame. All locks and latches have built in mounting plates of either steel or aluminum, making for a strong, durable unit.
P R E P E R A T I O N & P A I N T
The body is post cured at 175 deg. F in an oven prior to paint preparation. Panel gaps and fit are checked throughout this process. Hand preparation and machine blocking produce a show quality surface. All fillers are two-part BASF OE quality. Matched epoxy primers are used and the entire body is sanded to 600 grit finish prior to painting. The painting is done under close supervision of a BASF/Glasurit representative. Paint is Glasurit OE acrylic urethane. All cars are clear coated (except for some original color formulas); tri-coat pearls are no problem (additional charge). The entire outside surface is wet sanded and polished after paint.
B O D Y A S S E M B L Y / F I N I S H I N G
Once the painted body is completed, our wiring harness is installed; gas springs for the hood and trunk, all locks, strikers and releases and special door holders are fitted.
Numerous items are proprietary, such as the windshield frame, cast posts and extrusion for the top bow. The top mechanism is an in-house product, using a fiberglass/aluminum reinforced box section header, steel links and tubular bows. All parts are powder coated or upholstered. Intermeccanica has standardized on the good looking early “LOW BOW” top frame design. Top latches are aircraft grade. All trim, hardware and electrical components are carefully installed and tested to guarantee long term reliability and service. All interior fasteners are polished stainless steel.
Sound absorbing underlay is used as well as special materials in the engine compartment to keep noise levels reasonable. Interiors are custom made to original patterns. Tops are Haartz Stayfast in a wide range of colors. The Intermeccanica S is equipped with our exclusive power roll up glass side windows. The side windows are shaped to match the original side curtain and feature a positive rubber seal on the leading edge. The weather proofing of our Intermeccanica S is very close to that of Intermeccanica D and the visibility through the side glass is better then any original 356 with side-curtains. The top can be lowered from the driver's seat. A boot cover/half tonneau in matching material is standard as are Tenax fasteners for the cover.
All the instrumentation is original VDO with speedometer featuring trip meter, electronic tachometer, electric oil temperature and fuel level gauges, as well as several warning lights. The look of these instruments replicates the original.
Lighting and trim components are sourced from the best quality restoration suppliers where possible. Side molding sets are in-house manufactured with original half round solid aluminum. All components, such as lights, grills, handles, are installed using original rubber seals. Door panels, upholstery and seats are reproductions of the original to complete the authentic look.
The Intermeccanica S bucket seats feature a dual shell composite construction with full steel reinforcement. The Intermeccanica D seat features full tube steel frame with proper “no-sag” springs, the cushions are molded in Intermeccanica molds and are medium firm. The covers are cut and sewn in house using original Porsche patterns.
The Intermeccanica D seats have a fully adjustable back and both seat styles feature seat sliders with 7 inches of travel. Headrests are available on the Intermeccanica D seat. Seat heating is also available in both the Intermeccanica S bucket seat and the Intermeccanica D seat.
Front trunk compartment is fully upholstered with gas tank cover blanket. An original heat slider in each front foot well delivers effective heat and also gives you the option of directing all heat up to the windshield for defrosting.
Electric windows with hidden switches are standard and power locks are also available. Three point belts with retractors are standard.
The interior materials chosen for the Intermeccanica S also reflect desires of our customers. The standard interior is offered in vinyl and can be had in all original colors. The optional leather interior is done exclusively in all leather, two hides making up the car. Again a full range of original leather colors are available as well as up to 100 alternate colors.
Leather is top quality full grain aniline dyed from Spinneybeck one of the best North American suppliers. The standard carpeting is the popular all wool German square weave material. Available in seven colors and is finished in your choice of binding including original black vinyl. This material is a must for the original look and feel of the interior.
The Intermeccanica S comes standard with Stayfast cloth topping which is also used for the boot/half tonneau cover. Today this topping is available in a range of colors. The original Sonnenland/Happich German textile topping can also be had with its traditional rolled binding. Custom finishes to the Intermeccanica S have included body colored contrasting piping for the seats, matching leather-bound carpet sets, custom floor mats, among others.
Many other options are available including a luggage rack, original steering wheel and rear bumper guards. For those customers seeking a totally original look INTERMECCANICA manufactures reproduction bumper over-rider tubes (Both 1958 low bar and 1959 high bar) that are more exact than what is available on the restoration market and combines these with tall guards. All these are chrome plated and installed with original support tubes and seals. Authentic door handles with integral key lock are standard, reflectors and ashtrays are just a few of the small details that can complete the look of your
S U S P E N S I O N
The Intermeccanica S uses a trailing arm front suspension system which is VW derived but, unlike the original 356 link pin system, the Intermeccanica S utilizes service free ball joints. The axle beam is located on 28” centers, unlike the VW pan’s 14”, with 2 degs. of added caster from the VW set-up. The improvement in stability and steering feel are significant.
The springing is Intermeccanica modified to optimize ride quality and handling and is by torsion bars. As with the original, it incorporates a ride height adjuster. The steering is worm and roller utilizing “TRW” steering gear and a smooth operating Intermeccanica spec collapsible steering column assembly. The result of other steering and suspension work by Intermeccanica is a precise and solid feel with a subtle smooth ride. Low-pressure gas shocks are standard. HP shock absorbers are available as are anti-sway bars.
In the rear the Intermeccanica Intermeccanica S shares the same rear suspension design as many venerable 911s of a more modern age and shares components with the 944. The suspension is by semi-trailing arms with spring plates and torsion bars; drive shafts with constant velocity joints complete the drivetrain.
Intermeccanica’s revolutionary frame design allows for your engine and transaxle package to be moved 3” (75 mm) forward from the original 356 position. The resultant weight balance improvement, combined with the more modern suspension system, eliminates the dangerous and unsettling characteristics of the original 356, while retaining the delightful feel of driving a rear engined sports car.
Other improvements over the original VW “pan” based cars include far superior strength in shock mounts and bump stops. The addition of independent left/right ride height adjusters as well as left/right inboard trailing arm pivot adjusters, with a 1” (25 mm) narrower track to allow for original rear fender clearance regardless of wheel and tire combination used are some of the not seen but much enjoyed features of our thirty plus years of constant refinement of our chassis design. The result of this is an automobile that handles and rides with any modern car in its class and tracks on the highway as no 356 ever did.
B R A K I N G
The brake system in the Intermeccanica Intermeccanica S incorporates a custom 20mm dual circuit master cylinder, original style 5 X 205mm bolt pattern front and rear disc brakes with large modern calipers and with mechanical parking brake. The brake system of the Intermeccanica S is excellent and inspires all the confidence needed to enjoy your Intermeccanica S on the road and in the city. One must always keep in mind that the completed vehicle weight can start at less than 1,800 lbs