The 356 5-Speed project started in the autumn of 2011, when WEVO was asked to study the feasibility of how a 5-Speed transmission could change the way that Porsche 356s are driven and enjoyed. We were also asked to take into account the mechanical upgrade aspirations of 356 owners and the prospects of driving enjoyment for the future owners of these great little cars.
We speculated on the way that 356s are likely to be owned in the future and by which members of the car culture crowd. We imagined how those future owners might care for their cars, enjoy ownership and what the future life of a 356 might need to encompass.
Our study revealed the following:
- A 5-Speed transmission for a Porsche 356 is a long harbored dream by many current owners
- A 5-Speed transmission is a viable upgrade for many owners if it requires no modifications to the chassis
- Speculation about future ownership strongly suggested that a 5-Speed transmission would be desirable if it did not negatively impact on market value
Previously, if you wanted to install a Porsche five-speed transmission in your 356 chassis, the options were limited to complex fabrication and the adaptation of the semi-independent rear suspension configuration from a donor 911. When 356 market values were lower, the arguments against doing this irreversible adaptation were outweighed by the lack of alternatives and the compelling desire for the 5-speed performance option.
The primary quest of the 356 5-Speed project was to defeat the arguments against installing a 5-speed transmission in a 356 chassis – by eliminating all modifications to the chassis, the complex fabrication and the associated risk to vehicle value.
With a preliminary product study considered, we decided the market for this product was substantial. Then we embarked upon resolving the many layers of technical choices necessary to complete the first WEVO 356 5-Speed test components.