So, I wasn't happy with the VPL-VW500ES due to its long-duration thermal convergence drift of up to one hour and the lack of colour uniformity, and decided to return it and get the VPL-WV1100ES instead.
I picked up the new unit on Monday. It is a November 2014 production, serial number 10004xx. So not many such projectors have been manufactured. I was in touch with Sony Canada to ensure that the box was factory sealed - for some reason they open some units for 'inspection' - and they tracked it for me from Japan all the way to my dealer.
In summary, I think this unit is a keeper. Although, at this price it should have been more close to perfection and without smudges on the lens.
Here goes my new car for next year...