View Full Version : WRX/Porsche Karmann cabrio 1303

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January 15th 2010, 15:30
this is my long term project that I initially bought about 5 years ago like this:


It was never going to stay standard, the original plan was to buy a solid car and stick a subaru engine in with some uprated brakes and suspension, staying with an uprated VW transmission to keep things simple...

First up, some decent adjustable struts for the front


and some 996 brakes all round


I then started having a poke around and what I thought was solid turned out to be an incredibly rusty car, these things rust from the inside out!

inside the sill! http://www.ricola.co.uk/images/cabrio/cab_channel_2.JPG
front end: http://www.ricola.co.uk/images/cabrio/front_channel.jpg

So I decided to do the job properly and take the body off the chassis

New heater channels and cabrio strengthening panels underneath:

rear crossmembers:

front bulkhead:

Inner wings: http://www.ricola.co.uk/images/cabrio/drivers_inner_repair3.jpg I think you get the idea, lots of other repairs too!

As the body was off I thought I may as well go the whole way with it and upgrade it completely to take the power of the scooby lump (starting at about 300bhp). I also decided to go the whole hog with upgrading everything to be futureproof should I upgrade even more. This is all based around a Porsche 911 trans (G50, like the Ultimas use).

As you can see, it wasn't going to just bolt in..

So I started cutting!

There was too much removed from the framehorns for my liking so I started scheming up new stronger ones http://www.ricola.co.uk/images/cabrio/new_horn_concept.jpg

which ended up as this:

I planned to cut out the sheet floors and build a perimeter frame for new ones which will be substantially stronger

I did not want a roll bar of any kind, I like to keep a stock-ish look

front end of the chassis looking rusty too so that came out!

I also needed to make provision for a hydraulic clutch so went with a fully adjustable pedalbox, I lowered the front section of the floor to keep things tidy

January 15th 2010, 15:31
ended up like this: http://www.ricola.co.uk/images/cabrio/chassis_3.jpg

Made up supports for the 996 turbo sports seats:

and sorted the 911 shifter

engine in to sort out mounts

bought myself a beadroller and made up some new floors


body needed modifying to squeeze the trans under the back seat

inner body cut away for engine room/access using a vw bus engien access panel that I chopped down

here some may notice the engine has been moved forwards and up in the chassis to give more sump ground clearance and to make sure the big quad cam heads fit under the bodywork

I then found some wheels I couldn't say no to, 19" Porsche carrera sports in Cayman fitment, 8,5J front and 10J rears
they needed the rear wings modifying to fit
http://www.ricola.co.uk/images/cabrio/rear_wing_wide_2.jpg by 45mm

front wings were massaged to fit as well as pulling the front suspension in a bit


I also added an air intake for an enclosed cold air feed for the engine

to go with all this, I modified the dash to take Porsche 944 VDO gauges, it will be covered in leather to look OEM

stainless exhaust system made up

Coolant lines made up to run under the chassis
which feed a cosworth Pace radiator and chargecooler up front

That's most of the story so far! I keep my website up to date so if you want to see more details have a look at www.ricola.co.uk

It should end up looking more or less like this:


Comments and ideas welcome! Not finished yet, I plan to do the paintwork this summer when the weather warms up a bit... It's staying the same colour!


January 15th 2010, 15:40
Perfect!!! That's a great recap. Top notch all the way.


January 15th 2010, 15:50
Nice build. Love the pan work.

January 15th 2010, 17:58
I'm very curious to see the final result...keep going Rich!!

January 15th 2010, 19:20
is it going to be much heavier than before with all that metal work?

January 15th 2010, 23:09
Wow I didn't know you had all that rust repair :eek: you've come along way! Looking good!

January 16th 2010, 07:11
Well the chassis tube is about 25kg, I'd say the rear end body mods probably balance out, then add the extra weight from the G50, subaru engine and cooling system... Not sure what it will end up as but shouldn't be too bad. The main thing I wanted was not to loose too much ground clearance and keep the chassis work hidden, while adding considerable strength.

One other main mod I will do is to add a shortened Kamei as everybody seems to rave about them so much! However, I don't like how they look so 'bolted on' normally, so I will cut it down and mount it to the body, keeping all the front valance panel and wings visible with the slightly shortened kamei below that in black, so visibly it should be fairly subtle. It should actually improve cooling to the radiator as well...

January 17th 2010, 16:11
Right, time to start finishing off the body...

Filter frame now welded into the body

Hooks up to the wing pipe nicely

Inner wing finished off, note angle along bottom edge for strength, I will make a brace off this down to the bumper mount on each side to strengthen the back end


I've half done the other side, it will be the same apart from having the 'filter' area as a removable panel for maintenance.

January 17th 2010, 21:23
Filter looks nice. What are you doing about water getting in?(or out rather)

January 17th 2010, 23:17
:eek::eek::eek: that is some nice work

January 18th 2010, 03:29
This Vw addict is crazy:eek::eek::eek::eek:

January 18th 2010, 14:20
Filter looks nice. What are you doing about water getting in?(or out rather)

Jak Rizzo said he doesn't have any problems with water in his similar intake and his is a daily driver. If I do, I will put a small drain tube on the wing side of the filter box...

January 18th 2010, 14:46
Been following your work on your website. Amazing job you done there and I love it. Good to see the body back on a pan and love the rear wing air scoop, very nice detail.

January 18th 2010, 17:31
Cheers for the comments!

Body is on pan for probably the final mock up, just getting all the fixings sorted, I'll put the trans and engine back in soon for mounting of tanks etc, then it will come off for final bodywork sorting and paint and running the hydraulic lines on/in/under the chassis...

Finished the other inner wing tonight, nothing exciting, will put up a pic when I've made the cover panel for it

January 18th 2010, 20:30
Jak Rizzo said he doesn't have any problems with water in his similar intake and his is a daily driver. If I do, I will put a small drain tube on the wing side of the filter box...

I thought someone said something about it before, but couldn't remember :o

Build is looking good!!

January 26th 2010, 18:41
Pair of pro-tech dampers for the rear end (15" open, 10" closed), they only have 125lb/inch springs as I still have the 'short' torsion bars which will be stiffer than the original IRS longer bars, together they should be about right for the heavier engine and trans.

I went for the biggest bushes pro-tech had and didn't need any spacers at the top mounting, small ones either side at the lower end.

I held a G50 911 axle in position and luckily it looks like there will be enough clearance to the spring. Normally this wouldn't be an issue but with the trans moved forwards it was something I needed to check...


Paneling part way through, just section by air filter to do now and some general tidying up...

January 29th 2010, 19:58
Unbelievable work Rich, that's just crazy.
Are you a metal worker by profession ? That's some amazing work!

January 30th 2010, 15:48
Lol, not a metalworker or even close, this is my first attempt at this sort of thing! I'm a mechanical design engineer, designing electric power steering stuff mostly...

I put the engine/trans back in today to sort a few brackets etc out...

January 30th 2010, 18:57
that's some Crazy Fab work... Looks great :)
can't wait to see this done.


January 30th 2010, 19:26
I'm a mechanical design engineer, designing electric power steering stuff mostly...

Sorry for the offtopic, but do you by any chance have, or can source the internal schematics for the electric power steering pump used in the vw fox, lupo, polo, the Seat cordoba, ibiza, and Skoda fabia?
It's the pump that I'm trying to use in my setup, but normally it had this sensor on the steering column, that gave the signal to the pump to start only when the steering wheel was manually turned or something like that. I'd like to override that somehow.
This is what it looks like, and all I could find was that schematic, in that quality and language :))

January 31st 2010, 06:20
looking good - its really coming along now! how much did the coil overs set you back if you dont mind me asking.

January 31st 2010, 16:38
Sorry Xellex, that's not one of our (TRW) systems...

Dampers are 80+VAT each, bargain compared to other stuff out there IMO..

Done some more bits and pieces. Put the engine/trans back in to finalise placement of a lot of ancillaries..

Paneling now done, might add another few fixings depending on how it they are with a foam seal in place

MAF side of the air filter assembly done, MAF bolts on to the side of the housing, reducing elbow connects to original Subaru turbo intake pipe.

January 31st 2010, 17:17
Awesome work...:notworthy::notworthy:

January 31st 2010, 23:34
WOW! That is looking great!

February 1st 2010, 03:20
fantastic build!

February 1st 2010, 09:29
Very impressive sight of the rear end with the wheels on!

February 1st 2010, 10:45
Very good metalwork and trust me I know a lot about metal works.

February 2nd 2010, 18:04

Additional brace to support the rear bumper mount. It is now strong enough that I can lift the body off the chassis with no flexing but still unbolts to aid engine removal.

February 3rd 2010, 23:22

Additional brace to support the rear bumper mount. It is now strong enough that I can lift the body off the chassis with no flexing but still unbolts to aid engine removal.

Hi, this picture is a very good picture for me to as a question. I believe I mentioned some time ago, I would love to try the 6 cylinder. Here goes my question.
1. by moding the tunnel and using the coilover shocks, do you believe the 6 cylinder will fit using a 915 trans?

February 4th 2010, 11:34
Bear in mind that I have also raised the engine and transmission for better ground clearance. I don't think an EG series would work, but am fairly sure a newer EZ would as long as the torsion bar housing centre was removed...

February 5th 2010, 06:42
Very nice cabrio!

The rear view with the big wheels is a very nice view! Keep it up! ;)

February 6th 2010, 21:29
Bear in mind that I have also raised the engine and transmission for better ground clearance. I don't think an EG series would work, but am fairly sure a newer EZ would as long as the torsion bar housing centre was removed...

Hi, is this considered the EZ series?

Also has any one else seen this engine in person, or have this engine in a vehicle from Subaru?

February 7th 2010, 06:39
If your condidaring that, why not use something like a 3,4ltr engine from the early 996's? They go for not to much and probably have much more hp...?

I doubt they will be longer as Porsche also uses them in the back, so length was always a consideration as well I suppose.

February 7th 2010, 16:06
Google Perrin, they did a nice twin turbo conversion in an impreza with the EZ

February 7th 2010, 17:30
Rear bumper mounts needed to be extended by 35mm to clear wider wings

Now everything is at ride height and, a quick mock-up of the kamei spoiler to my set ground clearance. I will trim this back to the bottom of the valance/wings and flush mount it, this will make it much more subtle and less 'plasticy' and keep the radiator intake clear.

February 14th 2010, 17:43
Some more progress:

Decided to make up my own spherical top strut mounts.


Mocked up to check the positioning


All welded up


Suspension arm narrowed 15mm to help pull the big front wheels under stock wings (I'll add some more bracing to the join later on)


Another mock-up of spoiler showing better how the wing intake looks


Spoiler now trimmed to fit and roughly clamped to bottom of body panels. This gives me 120mm of ground clearance which is about level with my lowest chasssis point. I'm happy with this as a final ride height too.



It tucks back much more than it would as standard (which is bolted to the underside of the bumper) and looks much less like it's doing an impression of a snow-plough!


February 14th 2010, 17:56
I really like the spoiler mount! Well done!

Also the top strut mounts are nicely done, but I would have given them some extra caster for a bit of extra straight line stability ;)

February 15th 2010, 05:41
I've already added the extra caster in the chassis by pushing the anti-roll bar mounts forwards 20mm ;)

February 15th 2010, 08:13
Some more progress:

...........Spoiler now trimmed to fit and roughly clamped to bottom of body panels. This gives me 120mm of ground clearance which is about level with my lowest chasssis point. I'm happy with this as a final ride height too.



Nice work Rich. just one point though - the standard height of kerbs in the UK are 125mm high! ;) That of course doesn't account for those set higher for some particular reason but that you can usually spot.

How do I know? I spec kerb heights as part of my job and I am currently p****d of with the number of times I scrape my front spoiler on the top of the kerbs.


February 15th 2010, 08:55
Was just going from past experience of my old speedster and that had about 100mm and wasn't a problem. Maybe they have got higher recently or is it just cowboy highwaymen that build them too high?!

February 15th 2010, 11:44
No actually its the standard highway spec and has been for the last 30 years or more according to my own experience . The standard half battered kerb has a 100mm sloping side and ought to have a 25mm vertical face showing (for future build up of tarmac). They are to BS 7263: part1:1990 Fig 7.

Is that nerdy or what!


February 15th 2010, 15:04
Ahh, got you now, for some reason my eyes read kerb but my head translated that as speed bump height, D'oh! I'm not planning to mount any kerbs with this car but I suppose it is nice not to cause damage when parking near up to or slightly over one...

February 24th 2010, 05:05
Some more progress:

Decided to make up my own spherical top strut mounts.


Mocked up to check the positioning


All welded up


Suspension arm narrowed 15mm to help pull the big front wheels under stock wings (I'll add some more bracing to the join later on)


Another mock-up of spoiler showing better how the wing intake looks


Spoiler now trimmed to fit and roughly clamped to bottom of body panels. This gives me 120mm of ground clearance which is about level with my lowest chasssis point. I'm happy with this as a final ride height too.



It tucks back much more than it would as standard (which is bolted to the underside of the bumper) and looks much less like it's doing an impression of a snow-plough!



just looking at the build can you please share the dimentions of the spherical top strut mounts

thanks cookie:notworthy:

February 24th 2010, 08:59
Ahh, got you now, for some reason my eyes read kerb but my head translated that as speed bump height, D'oh! I'm not planning to mount any kerbs with this car but I suppose it is nice not to cause damage when parking near up to or slightly over one...

The max height for speed humps is 100mm. Its always worth measuring humps if you suspect damage to the underside as they can be set too high - if so then you can claim from the highway authority. I have been told that some of the gouges you see in humps are due to sump plugs on standard ride height cars that can get too low under braking. Both our Mercs have hump scrapes to the undershielding so it goes to prove that the standard humps are generally too high (even at 100mm)


February 24th 2010, 14:36
Dimensions for what bits? It's a 3/4" ID spherical bearing with matching housing (from ebay) that was welded in to the 6mm thick plate. The kerscher struts have a 14mm thread, so the bearing needed sleeving down with some 3/4" thick-walled tube drilled through and an angular spacer welded on to the bottom to give a decent area for the top spring hat to sit on...

100mm sounds right for speedbumps (not questioning you there!), good to know about the kerb height though as I do normally hold my breath when going close!

February 28th 2010, 17:18
Idle air control valve return pipe uses cut down standard pipe.

Header tank is from a Vauxhall Corsa/Tigra as it had the right connections. I didn't like the subaru system as it is based on an external overflow tank. An aftermarket one would have been solid aluminium so levels are not so easy to check. I welded on a couple of brackets to the body to support the standard fitting points on the tank

Fill point is accessable when the decklid is open.

The OBP pedal box had no provision for the throttle cable so this is what I came up with. I also made up the cable from a universal kit using the subaru fittings/adjuster on the engine end. It feeds through the standard tube in the chassis tunnel.

VW polo heater matrix/blower fan will be mounted to access panel and will blow in to the existing ducting behind the dash. I will fabricate an intake for the fan so it draws in air from the scuttle grill.

February 28th 2010, 22:35
Are you happy with that return spring?

March 1st 2010, 11:40
In what way? Don't forget there is a good return spring at the throttle body too and I need to keep space for the brake bias adjuster mechanism above it...

March 1st 2010, 22:01
From the pic it just looks like the spring is at an angle that will cause accelerated wear at the mounting points. But, if you have a good return spring at the throttle body than it wont really matter anyway :D

March 20th 2010, 17:49
I thought the body line above the trim didn't look quite right and this is what I found under all the filler! NOS VW 1/4 panels are no longer available so I went down to my local VW breakers, angle grinder in hand!

This is what was left after cutting out all the bodged repairs of the past

Donor section clamped roughly in place, it took a bit of searching to find one this good as it is a common rust area, unfortunately it was balanced on top of another car and was full of suspension parts!

March 20th 2010, 18:15
Very nicely done resto job on that quarter panel Rich!
That must have costed a lot of time and effort to get to this end result. Points for motivation 4 sure!

March 20th 2010, 19:08
It's only roughly clamped in place, not even trimmed to fit yet! I have to do some local internal flange repairs first too...

March 21st 2010, 05:08
Could (did) have fooled me :)

Will you do any further tuning to the engine once everything else is done?
You know, bigger turbo and all that :D

April 5th 2010, 05:59
Fantastic build!! Very professional! I really like your solution with the air filter and decklid behind the back seat! Really awesome!

April 5th 2010, 15:22
Had a good couple of days on the rear 1/4 panel...
All hidden areas were treated with Bilt Hamber Hydrate 80, then painted, weld areas were taken back to fresh metal and Roberlo weld through copper primer used.

Tacked in...

Fully welded...

all welds ground down

couple of coats of Hydrate 80 to protect the fresh metal before I get to paint, it will only need a very small amount of filler at the weld seams..


Wally: the plan is to get it all de-bugged with this engine, should be an easy 300bhp with ported bits and pieces and the td05. Then later on up the capacity to a 2.5, either using a 2.5 sti bottom end or maybe getting this closed deck block sleeved to 2.5 for a really strong block, then comes bigger turbo etc etc and maybe 500bhp? Got to make that trans work for its living, lol!

April 5th 2010, 15:58
Wally: the plan is to get it all de-bugged with this engine, should be an easy 300bhp with ported bits and pieces and the td05. Then later on up the capacity to a 2.5, either using a 2.5 sti bottom end or maybe getting this closed deck block sleeved to 2.5 for a really strong block, then comes bigger turbo etc etc and maybe 500bhp? Got to make that trans work for its living, lol!

Thats good to hear! and when the real fun begins. Your basis is strong enough for those sort of plans :cool:

April 5th 2010, 17:56
Or the other option is an EZ30, (newer model 3l flat 6 subaru) that with a turbo can release a LOT of power, Perrin performance have a very good developmental story, it's only 0.7" longer than the flat 4 so would still fit under the bug's body, worst case I could always shorten the bellhousing!

April 16th 2010, 15:19

Bit more done today, sorted the exhaust tip and modified the rear valance to match. Left cutout was filled with section from old panel. I got the panelbeating hammers out and widened the right cutout to match the 3" exhaust..

April 16th 2010, 17:32
Reminds me of the GT3 RS and Boxter S, I love those dual tailpipes!




April 17th 2010, 02:11
WOW! Just WOW!

April 19th 2010, 15:20
Yet more bodgery! Bumper repair panels poorly welded over rusted edges, overlapping the strut reinforcements and internally the bumper mounts have been stuck on with what can only be descibed as pidgeon **** to the reinforcements. It will all be cut out and done properly, I'm hopefull of being able to re-use the repair panels as there is so much overlap.


Finally on to the radiator intake! I cut the valance off and cut out this hole (same size as the license plate). I've shaped a bar hoop the same shape but a bit bigger and will tack weld that on the back side, I will then hammer form a nice rolled edge to keep it looking 'right' and will also weld on some captive studs so I can fit some mesh. I'm also considering bonding some letters to the mesh so it can be the numberplate and not restrict air flow.


April 20th 2010, 17:53
Here's the bar tacked on to the back of the panel after bare-metalling both parts and applying some weld through primer.


I then hammered the metal around the bar, it has created a really rigid panel now and looks much better than a plain cut edge.


April 21st 2010, 13:24
That came out looking great, almost like a factory bit. You guys are starting to give me the subaru itch again, and the awesome fab work isn't helping ;)

April 25th 2010, 16:02
Made a start on the bumper mount panels, they were a mess!

This is what was under the 'repair' panels...


Small repair done on the 'leg' and the jagged edge trimmed back


Body captive plate needed re-making


April 25th 2010, 19:14
very nice work as always...


May 15th 2010, 16:49
I had just about finished both bumper mount panel repairs but then my powerfile sander belt broke and threw a piece of metal straight in the centre of my eye! I was wearing safety glasses but they obviously weren't good enough for that sort of angle.

So, last few weeks I have been in and out of the eye surgery and it still hasn't healed properly. My plan was to paint late july but will have to wait and see how my recovery goes as the last thing I need is to get crap in an unhealed eye wound!

Here are some pics of where I got to though:

Main and chargecooler radiator mocked up to finalise mounting.



small section still needs repairing on near side...


I've also decided to redo the bodywork I did a while back over the back of the radiator. Also trying to come up with a nice compact way of ducting hot air flow into the stock ventilation system in the dash. That's a stock polo matrix/blower but I may just use the matrix and the stock bug blower. I also have to cut down the headlight washer reservoir to clear the radiator.

May 15th 2010, 17:09
Very slick, can't wait to see it shiny!


May 16th 2010, 01:33
Having had several eye surgeries myself I wish you the best in your recovery. Depending on the surgery you had (the invasive kind) you might expect early onset cataracts.

Regarding the car, I like how you mounted the radiators. They look like a tight fit, what car were they sourced from?

May 16th 2010, 04:51
Hey Humble, I remember you saying about your eye problems, how are you getting on, from what you said a while back I didn't think you'd still be driving now? Over here a surgery is the same thing as a clinic, I haven't had actual surgery on them, just scraping on the surface with needles several times, not that that's exactly a pleasant experience either!

The only radiator mount done so far is the top main rad bushings, I'll mount the chargecooler one off a second round tube welded in and probably have it so that it slots down between some posts at the base as I really want to avoid reducing flow to the main radiator. They are both manufactured by Pace and were originally destined for a Ford Sierra Cosworth as upgrade items. They are really good quality items and fit perfectly once the main side mounts were cut off the main radiator...

May 16th 2010, 20:50
Looking great Ricola! Hope you have a speedy recovery. :)

May 17th 2010, 01:02
My eyes are ok-ish. I can still see well enough but my retinas are scarred and I've started developing cataracts due to the surgeries. I do fine in the day for the most part but at night or in places with high contrast I'm nearly blind, to the point that I try to avoid driving at night. There will be another surgery down the road I'm sure for the cataracts but for now I just have to deal with it.

May 17th 2010, 07:38
Hi Rich,
My sympathies with the eye treatment. I know hoe you feel having had a piece of metal drilled out of my eye because they couldn't pick it out with the needle. Nowdays I am fanatical about good quality goggles or full face mask. I never want to have that treatment again!

I see you have the charge cooler up front. Won't that mean horrendous lag problems since the engine and the turbo are in the rear? I would have thought the charge cooler needs to be in the engine bay giving the shortest route between turbo and inlet manifold.


May 17th 2010, 13:18
Hi Clive,

Drilling sounds REALLY bad!!

It's just the radiator for the air/water chargecooler system up front, using the subaru legacy chargecooler set-up at the engine end...


May 17th 2010, 17:00
Eye is getting much better with the steroids so went out and did some work on the bug!

As I was working on the front end I wasn't happy with how I did the new panelwork behind the radiator so I'm redoing it now I have decent access with the body in the air.

Front section of spare wheel well filled in with new beadrolled panel and framework is being made up with captive nuts so a removable cover can go over the top.



May 27th 2010, 17:14
Finished off the NS bumper mount area:


I added some fillet pieces at the top and filled in the sides to seal off the radiator from the underbonnet area.


The pace chargecooler radiator only had mounts at the top, so I've welded in a tube with tabs for the top mounts and a Y shaped piece at the bottom of each side that the radiator drops into. The tube is sleeved with rubber tube to give a nice cushioned mounting.



May 28th 2010, 12:18
Rich, I hope you've realized that you know now how to build a super from scratch and in some cases better than the factory right?


May 28th 2010, 13:07
It is indeed very nice fabrication work!
I hope the air flow will be enough for the hp you will run.

May 28th 2010, 15:09
Cheers guys! Not sure about better than factory but I hope most of my modifications blend in well enough to look 'right' with some thought behind them.

I'm sure I'll have enough cooling Wally, the radiator came from a 500bhp track cosworth and I will have the help of the cut down Kamei kicking some more air up to it. I have a feeling it will be a while before I get to go up to my ultimate goal bhp figures..


May 29th 2010, 16:05
Had a last play before I go off on holiday for a week...


Steel cover to go over the radiators made up and all edges folded back on themselves to avoid sharp edges and scratching the body later on. It also stiffens up the panel nicely. Once I've welded on the front valance panel I'll add an extra couple of fixing points at the front.

July 11th 2010, 16:04
Sorry for the lack of posts recently, the biggest job has been stripping the underneath of the whole body to get it all painted in epoxy mastic. Bloody horrible job!

I took a gamble on a 996/boxster spacesaver wheel fitting and it does with loads of space to spare in a variety of positions! For interest, the tyre size is 105/95R17.


I cleaned up the rear of the front valance and welded on some bolts for the intake mesh, all edges prepped for plug welding on.


50x3mm strip with captive nuts welded on to the bottom between the inner wings to give a rigid mounting face for the air dam.


Front valance plug welded back on along the sides and bottom and then painted up in the epoxy. It's made the whole front end incredibly rigid!You can see I also painted the whole underside of the body in epoxy.


Carpet strip plug welded back on to the top of the heater channel and painted.


rear interior modified bodywork given a good epoxy coating


Rear end also got the epoxy treatment. Just about ready to start on the external paint prep now!


Supa Ninja
July 11th 2010, 23:27
Wow! you built yourself one sexy car, nice job!

July 12th 2010, 03:08
She's gunna be a beaut!!!


July 12th 2010, 08:30
Keep going Ricola!!!

July 30th 2010, 16:05
Bit of an update...

I have done some work recently but not overly exciting for pictures as it's all paint prepwork.

Rear quarter panel skimmed and smoothed...

I welded up the LHD wiper holes

Bonnet needed a few sections replaced due to poor previous repairs rusting

Kamei mocked up again, luckily there is a suitable double bend on the bottom of the front wings to mount to. I plan to make a mould out of the cut down Kamei piece and a metal strip that will be bolted up on to the body, I'll then make up a fibreglass part.

All mocked up to see the final effect. I don't think I'll get away with running the numberplate there unfortunately!

Bodyworking the rear wings now...

I'm changing jobs and have a couple of weeks holiday to use up over the next month so hopefully I might even get it in paint by the end of August!


July 30th 2010, 16:50
The cut-down Kamai looks really good mounted like that Rich! (but you already knew that I guess ;) )

Prep work is the most labour involved, but time spend now will determine the outcome, so very well done you take your time.

July 31st 2010, 22:40
Great work so far Ricola! (as always) :goodjob:

August 2nd 2010, 10:23
I'm still out there working...

More rust found on the bottom of the door...

and repaired...

More sanding! I have to give praise to the How to guides on www.mig-welding.co.uk (http://www.mig-welding.co.uk/body-filler.htm) for bodywork, especially the ruler trick and also a tip I found elsewhere of adding a bit of fibreglass resin to the filler to make it thinner.

I cut a metal flange piece which was bolted to the body, the remains of the Kamei was then bolted in place and the two bonded together with fibreglass filler. The ends will be reshaped and the whole thing smoothed before I use it as a master to create a mould for a new fibreglass part.

August 3rd 2010, 15:44
Another good day:

All 4 wings in etch...

and two coats of high build primer...

August 5th 2010, 11:02
First colour coats! I'll do the final coats and clear with them loosely attached to the body, this is more to just cover the primer so I can put them out of the way while I do the rest of the prep work...


August 6th 2010, 11:12
I decided to just finish the wings, the metallic particles are so small I can't see them being painted separately from the body making any difference. I put on some wetter coats of the cellulose metallic and finished off with 3 coats of 1K acrylic clear.

For information, I used a cheapo spray gun for the etch and primer coats, then an Iwata AZ3 HTE2 spray gun with a 1.3mm tip for the colour and clear coats. This was all running from my 3hp 150l compressor that I made up a short copper section with water drain. It has actually given a really nice finish out of the gun with not a single run! A couple of small bits of dirt got in one wing but should easily polish out when it has fully cured. I had to paint the wings in two lots under my workshop porch bit as it was threatening to rain...

August 17th 2010, 16:09
OK, small update:

Decklid painted, no real problems, although I did sandblast the slats as they were too fiddly to sand nicely.

Bonnet finally painted. I've done this 3 times now! First time there was some striping visible in the colour coat as the passes weren't wet enough to flow into each other nicely. Then I got a really good second colour/clear coat and left it in the sun for a few hours to dry before putting it on some cushions in the conservatory just to have it out of the way but they left imprints all over the bonnet! I had to wet sand it all back and paint for a third time, I'm not doing it again!!

I'm working on the doors now and I've found out why somebody had put a gold pinstripe under the normal sidetrim. They had drilled one of the doors in the wrong place and the stripe was to cover it up! So, filler removed and the extra trim clip holes were welded up. Another useful tip: hold a piece of copper against the back of the panel and the weld won't blow through. I also had to repair a few local bits of the door bottom and the copper strip trick also worked well to stop the weld melting away the metal at the edges.

I'm definitely on track for finishing all the paint by the end of the month!

August 17th 2010, 22:30
Sooooooo sexy ;);)

August 18th 2010, 02:32
looks good!!! keep up the good work cant wait to see the finished project.:goodjob:

August 23rd 2010, 15:29
Doors painted...

More rust uncovered! This is the drain tube from the scuttle area by the wipers, it's a well known rust trap in 1303s so I wasn't too surprised. Repair from the inside of the car was the easiest way to go. Here I have opened out the rusty areas ready to weld new sections in.

To repair the tube I decided to use another trick I saw, bend some copper strip around the part and weld straight onto the strip creating the new section.

The outside surface is smooth (as it went straight on to the copper surface) but the inside needed some work with the die grinder . All good in the end though!

I've been busy doing minor bodywork too getting the main shell ready for paint, nearly there!

August 24th 2010, 02:19
Very good! This thing will be made mostly of welding wire when you are done!!


August 24th 2010, 06:19
Looking good. Love the color.

August 24th 2010, 14:04
Another good day today!

Body now etch primed..
http://www.ricola.co.uk/images/cabrio/body_etch_1.jpg http://www.ricola.co.uk/images/cabrio/body_etch_2.jpg

and two coats of high build primer!
http://www.ricola.co.uk/images/cabrio/body_high_build_1.jpg http://www.ricola.co.uk/images/cabrio/body_high_build_2.jpg

next job to wet sand this back ready for colour...

August 24th 2010, 20:28
You are moving right along! But, I think you need a step ladder to reach the top of the windscreen frame... :D

August 25th 2010, 03:26
I can't wait to see it finished!!

Well done!

August 25th 2010, 03:29
I thought somebody might comment on the top bit, lol! It is in very good condition and only needed a bit of a rough up, no point covering it in primer again as it only needs colour..

August 25th 2010, 20:39
I thought somebody might comment on the top bit, lol! It is in very good condition and only needed a bit of a rough up, no point covering it in primer again as it only needs colour..

I knew there was a reason, but I couldn't help myself... :rolleyes:

August 26th 2010, 08:13
Just finished reading this build post and I must say that looks awsome mate!:cool: I really look forward to some day seeing it in the flesh!!!!!:)

August 27th 2010, 13:40
Got the shell in paint today! :D

http://www.ricola.co.uk/images/cabrio/body_painted_1.jpg http://www.ricola.co.uk/images/cabrio/body_painted_2.jpg

Now I just have to restrain myself for a while to let it fully cure...

August 31st 2010, 14:10
Last concentrated burst of activity before I start my new job tomorrow.

I made up a couple of aluminium plates to stop the torsion bars sliding inside, also a small bracket for the 2 new fuel pipes (5/16" kinifer) which ended up clashing with the body so I'll have to redo that!

You can just make out the chargecooler pipes coming out through a new plate at the front of the chassis, I also ran new front and rear brake lines. Instead of the usual cheap rubber body gaskets, I bought a long length of foam gasket and made my own VW style one, didn't take too long, hole punching it as I went to line up with the body mount holes and then glued any ends together with sikaflex.

Body on! I also mounted the bonnet as it was taking up far too much space in my workshop.

The rear frame will get stripped/painted, but that's for another time. it makes a very good carry handle when lifting the body about...

August 31st 2010, 15:23
I cant tell and I hope you dont need to go backwards, but I really hope that foam is closed cell, open cell will be a nice sponge for h20 and you'll end up with a super rust situation again!


August 31st 2010, 16:29

Man that is coming out nice..

Just wanted to recognize all the very hard work and time put into that project..

When your free, come work on mine ;)

September 1st 2010, 13:30
Cheers guys. Yup, don't worry Jason that's closed cell on there...

September 1st 2010, 15:17
Cheers guys. Yup, don't worry Jason that's closed cell on there...

Awesome, I think the fit rigidity-wise will be much better with foam, it will offer less resistance to being squashed, so you'll end up with a sealed metal-on-metal, great idea!!!


September 1st 2010, 15:19
love the work you did on the pan this thing is going to be awsome when its done keep up the good work!!!!! :goodjob:

September 12th 2010, 15:47
Rear valance panel needed extending at the top to meet what was left of the body neatly. It bolts in place at the top and is then clamped between the body and wings down each side.

Plenty of ground clearance!

Body panels all 'thrown' on for the moment as my wife was sick of them spread out everywhere, lol!

I'm happy with how it's all sitting...

September 13th 2010, 10:50
Very nice! :)

September 14th 2010, 08:04
i demand to start a club, something like my dub rolls on 18x10s & it looks ****in tough! - just gotta find some .5" wider for me cos 9.5's dont cut the mustard :P

that said can ya go lower than that?

will be a shame to ruin the nice lines with the soft top folded back.

when your done, take me up on the offer of coming to aus! mine needs some attention & i have a spare room :D

September 14th 2010, 13:00
We'll be in different clubs as I roll on 19s! I'm sure it will end up a bit lower, maybe so there is a small amount of air between the tyres and wings but not much, I certainly don't want to compromise the drivability for a few mm ride height...

Bad bug
September 20th 2010, 20:32
Ricola where did you get the rear valance i desperately need one.

September 21st 2010, 14:33
Just my local VW parts place: www.gsfcarparts.com

September 26th 2010, 12:59
If anybody else had a feeling that the doors didn't look quite right in the previous pictures I was having the same thoughts! In the end after repainting and then re-clearing they have come out right. I also wet-sanded and machine polished the whole car so I can start refitting brightwork and other fittings...

Much better!

Door windows in, it was like doing a 3D jigsaw puzzle that would only go together in a particular sequence!

I've put in all the door hinge screw not too and am really please with how the doors line up with the rear quarter panels, the swage line is perfect. I just need to pack up the rear body spacer a small amount to get the door gap parallel.

September 27th 2010, 04:59

Looks fantastic. What colour top are you going to put on it?

September 27th 2010, 12:38
The plan is to go with a tan sonnenland one... It came with a tan vinyl one in very good condition but that has shrunk around the side windows... It needs to come off anyway as I need to replace the wooden bow above the rear screen.

September 27th 2010, 16:22
looks great keep up the good work :)

cheers andy

October 4th 2010, 04:07
The plan is to go with a tan sonnenland one...

Sounds good, that's what I would go for. I'm just having a Sonnenland fitted to the 55.

October 17th 2010, 15:01
I've been doing loads of little jobs, mainly refurbishing parts before refitting them.

Definitely getting there! All glass now in after spending a small fortune on various rubber seals which were too far gone to re-use.

The G50 was a real pain to detail! Porsche use a really thick type of wax and liberally spray it on all over the underside. A 10mm wire brush was the best thing to get it out in the end. Lots of degreasers and finally etched and painted in alloy wheel silver should keep it looking much better and cleaner in the long run... You can also see the steel spacer under the front mount.

The engine's turn on the stand for some detailing... I'm probably going to go with black wrinckle paint for the alloy bits (cam covers and intake manifold).

October 18th 2010, 05:19
Coming along nicely! Looks great! I love the paint!

October 31st 2010, 16:29
Engine stripped back to a bare longblock and painted in POR engine enamel..

Cam covers were stripped back and treated to some VHT black wrinkle paint.

Coming back together, new cambelt hiding under there too...

Lots of now redundant bosses were cut off and smoothed to give a cleaner look and the manifold also painted in wrinkle. This is how it looks straight away...

....and after a couple of hours!

October 31st 2010, 20:57
Looking great Ricola... as always. ;)

November 1st 2010, 04:23
Very clean work.

November 1st 2010, 22:10
Looks awesome..

Nice touch on the valve covers..

November 7th 2010, 15:48
Engine just about ready to go back in the car...

I decided to shorten the sump but only by an inch or so as that will just about bring it level with the exhaust manifold and oil filter and maximise ground clearance.

Cut up and new component parts. I filled in the slope at the front part to regain lost capacity and it turned out near enough identical to the original volume. I cut slots at the top and bottom of the additional triangular section so the old sloped wall acts like a baffle.

All welded up, just needs a clean and like of paint, then to shorten the pick-up tube. Note the drain plug is at the low point...

Looking and thinking about it now I might weld on some strengthening ribs on the bottom level wiht the drain plug to add some strength...

November 8th 2010, 09:30
Better than shelling out 300 on a converted one.
Whats the heights, old & modified?

November 8th 2010, 13:34
Better than shelling out 300 on a converted one.
Whats the heights, old & modified?

Paul: Et tu Brutus?! :shocked:;)

November 8th 2010, 14:14
Paul: Et tu Brutus?! :shocked:;)

Im afraid so Walter :D parts are on order as I type. A project for the spring as I have to work outdoors.


November 11th 2010, 07:15
One more waterpumper is coming? :shocked:

November 11th 2010, 18:18
In the end I welded on some strengthening ribs which also serve as a flat bottom and stop the drain point getting damaged. Note that the old sump drain 'bulge' has already been flattened on the old sump so the gain is better than it looks here...

Stock pick-up pipe

shortened to suit the new sump. I also had to shorten the support piece. Normal clearance to the bottom is 16mm but I reduced this to both gain useful capacity and it was easier to just shorten the vertical section and braze it back together, I ended up with 9mm to the bottom. Apparently subaru rally cars are modified to only 6mm...

Finally fitted, the actual oil part of the sump is level with the bottom of the oil filter and I didn't want that to be the lowest point. All in I have gained about an inch ground clearance.

November 21st 2010, 16:41
While the header was off and in pieces I took the opportunity to get the die grinder out and do some match porting, apparently this is good for a fair few bhp!

All painted in high temp paint and mocked up on the engine to check ground clearance. The aim was to make sure the oil filter wasn't going to be the lowest point and this looks about right to me...

The original up-pipe lagging was savable so just painted but the rest will be wrapped and repainted.

Manifolds wrapped. I used the stainless ties that came with the wrap but found stainless MIG wire worked better, fitted every few inches.

8m of 2" wrap went into the manifold and another 10m for the downpipe! The wrap was soaked in water first as it later shrinks to a tighter fit as it dries out. Due to the low temperatures at the moment it was taking forever to dry out so I improvised and left the hot air gun blowing down the inside of the exhaust and it worked great!

Additional support made up to support the muffler end of the exhaust. I managed to scrounge enough stainless bar to make a bracket on the exhaust and made up the support using a mini style exhaust rubber mount.

All fitted up. Note I also painted the wrap to stop it absorbing water, oil etc later on..

Quick check to confirm the muffler is not the lowest part..

November 23rd 2010, 17:54
Great work man.
Can you tell me the length of the (alt) belt you're using?
It all looks amazing. thanks for sharing the details of your build.

November 24th 2010, 14:46
From memory it was 700mm or so, but it was the shortest one the parts place had in the 5 rib design. Just cut your original one to measure the length you want...

November 25th 2010, 13:24
Additional support made up to support the muffler end of the exhaust. I managed to scrounge enough stainless bar to make a bracket on the exhaust and made up the support using a mini style exhaust rubber mount.

Hi, nice work. May I suggest using a high temp spring in place of your rubber absorber, it will last much longer.

November 26th 2010, 10:18
It's a proper exhaust mounting rubber, if there are issues I'll make up a mini shield for it. I was originally thinking of solid mounting it...

November 28th 2010, 16:37
A while back I realised that the dowel alignment holes in the adapter plate were machined incorrectly and the supplier refused to fix it so I either had to buy a new one or sort it out myself! Previously I had filed out the holes to get the adapter plate to bolt on but it was not concentric to the crank centerline. I decided to cut the old holes out, then weld in new thick sections in the correct place. Here's one of the new sections before cutting into the plate.

There are two alignment holes, one on each side, so I turned up the MIG and welded the new sections after making sure the plate was aligned correctly, this was done by using a depth gauge all around the trans locating ring up to the flywheel diameter and repeatedly tweaking things until it was all perfectly aligned. While I was at it, I also welded on a small plate on the upper left corner to cover up an opening.

All cleaned up and repainted before fitting to the nice and clean engine!

Stock 911 clutch all fitted up, the release arm needs to be attached to the release bearing before you mate the engine and trans, the pivot bar is then slid through it's centre through bosses in the bellhousing.

All together again for the last time before it goes into the car! I also made up a new clutch hose to mate to the slave cylinder.


November 28th 2010, 23:39
That is a serious "lump" going in there! Looking good man!

December 1st 2010, 21:23
Sooo nice to be at this point!!!


December 2nd 2010, 13:55
It's back in the car now, hopefully I'll make some decent progress at the weekend and post more pics then!

December 5th 2010, 16:14
Making up an access panel for the offside rear inner wheel arch

Engine and trans in! You can also see the inspection panel in place..

I welded up an adapter for the clutch slave pipe. It was an M14x1.50 thread and 8mm pipe which I thought was very big, I've decided to use normal brake pipe size so had to adapt down to M10x1.0 and used a spare brake flexi pipe I had.. It is all kinked over a bit to get extra clearance to the exhaust downpipe. If it turns out to be too restrictive I can easily go up a size later on.

New turbo coolant pipe hardline was made up and bolted on to the top of the bulkhead to neaten things up a bit.

The thermostat bypass will be used as the heater supply in my installation so I made up this adapter to go down to the smaller pipe size.

It's just a long list of time consuming little jobs from now on! Gutted to hear that Le Bug Show at Spa Francorchamps isn't going to be on next year as that was going to be the debut, I guess I'll have to find something else...

December 5th 2010, 18:01
I welded up an adapter for the clutch slave pipe. It was an M14x1.50 thread and 8mm pipe which I thought was very big, I've decided to use normal brake pipe size so had to adapt down to M10x1.0 and used a spare brake flexi pipe I had.. It is all kinked over a bit to get extra clearance to the exhaust downpipe. If it turns out to be too restrictive I can easily go up a size later on.

Gutted to hear that Le Bug Show at Spa Francorchamps isn't going to be on next year as that was going to be the debut, I guess I'll have to find something else...

I also used brake line lines for the hydraulic clutch and it works just fine ;)

Maybe EBI4 this year then?

December 6th 2010, 06:48
Fantastic work really starting to come together now.

December 6th 2010, 14:40
I also used brake line lines for the hydraulic clutch and it works just fine ;)

Maybe EBI4 this year then?

That's really good to hear Wally, thanks! Johan on keversite also used brakeline and says it works but he hasn't properly driven his car yet..

I did see the EBI4 date and am thinking about it. I have a new motivator as we sold our house this afternoon, there's a lot to sort out and plan for finally getting a double garage!

December 6th 2010, 15:22
Congrats on the house sale! Especially these days!
Yeah, you have options now and a double door garage is perfect for what we like to do, I should know :D

December 23rd 2010, 16:18
Time for an update! There's been a lot done and most is in the details now it's coming together. We are due to move mid January so I'll finally have a double garage so I want to assemble as much to the car as possible to make it easier to move...

A hell of a lot of pipework has been completed and the chargecooler repainted and fitted.

Radiators in and piped up, you can just about make out a steel pipe I made which incorporates a bleed point at the top which connects to the header tank at the back via the original fuel line.

I welded on a heater return pipe and also connected up the fuel lines

Brake reservoir (911) fitted under bonnet and supply lines pipes down to the master cylinders. The system is now all bled and seems to work OK with no leaks...

New false floor...

I modified one of the front bumper brackets to take a removable towing eye.

All body trim now fitted, you can just about make out mesh in the radiator opening, I'll sort out the airdam later..

Just to give an idea of how the intake looks.

I painted the rear light housings satin black which I think gives the lights a slightly darker look without looking aftermarket..

December 27th 2010, 04:31

^^^ looking good Rik, she's going to be a fun ride!

Will she be done in time for VolksWorld show?

December 27th 2010, 05:52
Possible but I doubt it, with house move, new garage to sort out and trimmer to arrange after all the electrics to do from scratch..

December 27th 2010, 09:52
Nice work. Very nice indeed.

January 10th 2011, 14:56
Here are a couple of update pics for the time being, I'm concentrating on the move for the and the cab is stuffed full of parts/tools ready!

Chargecooler pump is a bosch one and is said to be very quiet and efficient, I think it's the same one as used in the Ford Focus RS. It fits with plenty of space under the back seat. Luckily the 16mm heater hose just stretched over the pipe fittings (which are 17mm on the chargecooelr and 19mm on the pump) with the heat gun and a bit of lubrication.

I made a small stand for the pump which is bonded on to the floor, depending on how noisey it turns out to be I may wrap some rubber around the pump for better isolation.

Ground level view shows that there is a decent direct flow area available for the radiator.

Roof and interior loosely fitted for the house move. The outer roof will get replaced by a nice mohair one later on..

Just the running boards and front air dam to finish off the look...

January 11th 2011, 02:07
Beauty, good luck with the move.


January 17th 2011, 08:27
yeah, good luck with the move Rik. Can't wait to see her finished.

Can recommend Steve Hudson for the roof. He's just fitted a new Sonnenland top to the 55.

January 17th 2011, 14:08
Any idea how much Steve charges and where he's based? I'll probably do it myself in the end as I want the satisfaction of having done everything on my own other than the sewing ;)

January 24th 2011, 04:00
He's in Stanmore, Middlesex.

Labour cost around 2k but I think an older car is more labour intensive so may cost you less.

March 6th 2011, 15:13
The workshop/garage will develop over time but I've got it into a state I can use it now...

The bug's new home and my new workshop! Finally got a double garage... I have lost a lot of alternate storage though so I've had a bit of a clearout. All walls and floors have been painted, I've welded up a frame to mount the compressor up on the walls and made a new workbench.

Sandblasting cabinet has a new set of wheels to make best use of space.

You can see the compressor mounted up out of the way. Also, I've put up some hooks so I can hang a tarpualin down the middle to protect the car when I'm grinding etc etc

I bought a couple of 7'x4' bike stores for outside storage, the drive isn't really full double width so it's no big loss of space.

I'm pondering over whether to get a single full width roller shutter door or not as it would be fairly pricey. I'm also not sure whether I'd have to replace this wooden lintel, it's full width and 4" x 8". Can anybody advise? Could I bolt on some metal strengtheners and leave it in place?

March 6th 2011, 16:37
sweeeeeeeeeeeeeet garage! living the dream ricola hehe

March 7th 2011, 05:40
You would need a structural engineers report to get a building warrant to be allowed to touch that beam.

The wood beam is supported by the load bearing pillar in the middle. If you remove the centre pillar, then beam would need to be much stronger to cover the full width unsupported (probably a steel RSJ). The engineer would also have to approve the brickwork at each end (now supporting the whole lot). You would probably need a proper set of plans to submit to the Building Control Officer. Could be looking at up to 1K to get plans, structural engineers report and building warrent.

Then you need to pay for the RSJ (probably), double door and builder.

March 10th 2011, 13:08
Hi Rich,

The timber beam will not span the full width and take the pitched roof load. As Bruce said you will need a steel beam. I guess that the overall width would be ~4.5m (15ft). You do need an engineer to calc the beam(s) but to give you an idea mine over the same span were a pair of 230x90PFC back to back but that was to carry some cavity brickwork above. You don't have to consult Building Control as technically the structure is not a habitable space and the regs only apply to that. (It's not a workshops is it!?) (winks) The bearing at each end will be OK in a minimum of 2 courses of blue engineering brickwork.
I wouldn't use a roller shutter as the shutter box will be around 400mm dia that will compromise headroom. I would use an industrial sectional overhead door that will be insulated, look good and more importantly be QUIET (roller shutters are noisy in the wind). If you need an engineer for the beam calc PM me and I will send you a contact. He will be able to spec something remotely (he does it all the time for me).
Getting rid of the central pillar will be worthwhile and the only reason you've got two doors is that the house builder was looking after the pennies and sod the occupier.
As an aside, I hope the compressor was not solely supported on the 1/2B wall and that you've got legs down to the floor? The vibration will damage the wall over time especially if its the sole structure.
Are you still in Leamington?


March 10th 2011, 16:58
Cheers guys, I'm still thinking about it but am not going to rush into it, I'll see how I get on, maybe insulate the edges and go from there. I'd definitely prefer it so I could drive straight into the middle but the bug isn't exactly a wide car. The width is about 4750mm between the brickwork..

At the moment the compressor is mounted on rubber bushes off the frame with several anchor bolts into the wall, I will be adding extra braces but for the moment it's just to get it out of the way and not being used, I will want to build some sort of sound insulation box with forced cooling so that's another job!

March 18th 2011, 15:04
Slightly sidetracked but not for long, just bought myself a more interesting daily driver!

1998 Carrera 2
Factory fitted aero kit
18" turbo twist alloys
Porsche sports exhaust
Maual 6 speed trans.




March 18th 2011, 16:22
Slightly sidetracked but not for long, just bought myself a more interesting daily driver!


Cool car, now put the steeringwheel on the left and it's perfect:D

April 2nd 2011, 16:18
Time to get back to the bug!
This was the whole loom out of the subaru before I started removing bits...

..and now stripped down to the bare essentials! I plan to work out placement of it all in the bug now and then get the soldering iron out to start the shortening process...

April 2nd 2011, 22:24
WOW I know how much I hate wiring... So good luck :P


April 23rd 2011, 16:57
Subaru loom stripped to it's basics now and all sections shortened to the correct lengths. It is laid out in 5 main groups: boost pack, engine, relays, diagnostics and dash feeds. Next is to put it in the car and add a few other rear end related items. I'm waiting for a large order of wire/relays/fuseboxes etc to re-make the rest of the loom.

I thought it would be a good idea to better monitor the engine so got a couple of stack gauges, due to their reputed accuracy.

The oil pressure sender required a T piece to keep the stock pressure switch, as there isn't enough room under the alternator this short extension places them both remotely.

Time to modify the stock fuel tank for fuel injection, I was surprise to see that the stock tank incorporates a baffle across it.

The tank is shallower than the subaru one so I shortened the subaru fuel pump mounting assembly and removed the stock level sender.

I made up a baffle to hold fuel around the pump as the last thing you want is to lose fuel pressure on boost in a turbo engine! I drilled some holes through the plates to allow fuel to flow through it.

I also increased the fuel tank volume by filling in the LHD steering column recess. I left the metalwork in place so it acts like a baffled volume.
http://www.ricola.co.uk/images/cabrio/fuel_tank_increase_1.jpg http://www.ricola.co.uk/images/cabrio/fuel_tank_increase_2.jpg

Topside done! I welded up the stock level sender hole and made up a new one for the Porsche dip tube type to match my gauges. The fuel pump section from the subaru tank was welded in to the top of the tank.

April 23rd 2011, 17:12
I made up a baffle to hold fuel around the pump as the last thing you want is to lose fuel pressure on boost in a turbo engine!

No, you don't want that...still, does happen sometimes :o

Great idea enlarging the tank like that! Installing a good fuel system if your running a very high hp engine is sort of a science in itself I've come to find out.
So, how far do you plan tuning that engine? :D

April 23rd 2011, 17:29
My basic plan is to keep this car and then start playing with engines, I won't really have the time for another full car build with a young family for a while! I'm future-proofing the car for at least 500 horses but not decided on how I'll get there, forged 2.5l CDB or maybe a twin turbo H6 subaru are possibilities..

I've had the tank idea for a while, Steve Carter has just had his done too..

April 23rd 2011, 21:35
Great tank mods! Extra capacity is always a plus with lots of HP involved ;)

April 25th 2011, 03:25
Awesome job on the tank I have the same pump assembly from a wrx glad to see it could be done going to try it with my tank

April 26th 2011, 03:15
I also have stack on my cars. Great choice!!!

May 5th 2011, 16:02
It's alive!!!

I haven't had it running for long as I don't have any gauges hooked up yet and just wanted to make sure my engine section works and it seems to be fine. No coolant in the system either, so I will now wait until the rest of the wiring is done before. It took a bit of coughing and spluttering before it ran properly but now it turns on the first crank every time so very happy!

May 6th 2011, 14:00
congrats! that first start is always a sketchy one ;)

May 6th 2011, 15:08
Very cool. I bet hearing run really puts the spurs to the project now.

May 7th 2011, 00:42
that's great... can't wait to See some Video Soon :P

May 7th 2011, 15:42
I've sorted out the axles now and it can finally drive under its own power!


May 7th 2011, 19:07
looking great! :D

May 8th 2011, 16:37
Here's the main section of the wiring, bank of 20 blade fuses and 5 relay sockets, when you are sitting in the car they aren't visible, they sit flush with the bottom of the dash.

New dash finishing panel and the stack oil pressure and boost pressure gauges fitted in place. As I'm re-doing all the wiring I decided to source some switches that took a proper plug on the back rather than the VW ones that are separate lucar connections. I ended up with classic mini ones as they are cheap to source and in keeping with the rest of the car.

View through the steering wheel shows that everything is nicely visible

May 20th 2011, 08:25
A short tour:

May 20th 2011, 15:52
A short tour:

Hi, I love your work. I have a SVX with adapter plate. I have just bought a home,, so now I can put together the first two cars for sell and make up my mind on my keeper. I don't know if my keeper will be the typeIV 3 liter or the SVX. I do know that I want it in automatic. Concerning your project, Subies tend to sound like Subies, it there no way to change the not so much tone, but that Subie sound? I would really like for someone next to me, not to know its a Subie:o

May 20th 2011, 20:33
wow, you can actually hear the birds singing, with the engine on! I love it!!!

May 21st 2011, 04:24
Yeah, too many times I've regretted having exhaust systems that are too loud, they get very tiring on long journeys. Having said that, this one does have a bit of a bark when you blip the throttle!

May 21st 2011, 07:22
well, that's the way it should be in my opinion. Or at least if it's loud, the horsepower should be equivalent with the noise.
That wasn't the case with my previous engine. .....and probably still isn't :P

May 22nd 2011, 13:32
Very nice Rich! It has come a long way. Curieus if that one hole in the apron will be enough for the radiator to keep temps in check in all conditions. It is very subtle like this, so I do hope so!

May 22nd 2011, 16:36
It certainly should be, ule of thumb is only about a 1/3 of the area of a radiator is air flow and this is about that. I think the kamei will also help duct air up into the intake.

May 22nd 2011, 19:43
very, very nice :)

The engine does sound good and not obviously subie.
You fitted an equal length header? That gets rid of the typical subie "uneven beat" I think.

May 23rd 2011, 09:53
Looking really good. I like how it still looks stock.

How well does it cool just using the bottom opening?

May 23rd 2011, 12:30
I've ported the exhaust manifold which may have altered the tone and from the turbo back it's a bellmouth tube into 3". It does have a burble noise, maybe it didn't come across as loud as most subarus with tin can exhausts, lol!

No idea how well it will cool in use, it hasn't been driven off my driveway yet...

May 23rd 2011, 14:22
very, very nice :)

The engine does sound good and not obviously subie.
You fitted an equal length header? That gets rid of the typical subie "uneven beat" I think.

O, O, maybe I said something wrong:o. No doubt a Subaru engine does sound very nice, however my question was; is it possible? And yes the sound while being revved sound Subie. Hay at this point and all of the accolades, no doubt I offer my congrats. Given the dollar value verses the dollar value of a type one or type IV turbo, the Subie entering into the VW power plant is needed. So, if I have stepped on some toes, sorry:o. In Southern California the WRX, STI, ect are plentiful, the sound is distint.

May 24th 2011, 18:13
Don't worry about it! The engine is just running very smoothly that's all. Yes, an equal length manifold will get rid of the burble, that's why I have stuck with the unequal as I love the boxer burble!
For me, affordability isn't the main issue, it is having high and reliable performance with low maintenance needed.. Heating is also a bonus!

June 11th 2011, 12:33

Finally road legal!!! Time for some de-bugging now and then off to the trimmer...

June 11th 2011, 17:50
Congrats! :D

June 12th 2011, 01:20
Super sweet!


June 12th 2011, 07:02
Very nice!! :)

And? How does it drive?

June 12th 2011, 14:35
Needs some bits and pieces sorting, wiht a stripped interior it is a good opportunity to sort out all the little inevitable noises, bit of tyre rubbing on the front and I think there is a clutch problem as it doesn't seem to take full power...

This is how the interior looks at the moment and gives a better idea of how it will look when finished. I have to reshape the foam area over the gauges properly before it can be trimmed.

The running boards have now been pie-cut and widened at the rear to match the new width of the rear wings. I've bought some ribbed rubber sheet so they will be re-covered to look stock and help disguise the rear wing width.

June 13th 2011, 09:35
Said it before and on "the other forum" but I think this is going to be the best Cab on the road when it is all finished :) MOT is a great milestone

June 20th 2011, 16:00



June 20th 2011, 16:19
:( Gutted for you Rich

June 20th 2011, 17:10
Oh that's heart wrenching, especially after all the clean up work you did. Where was the motor sourced from? I suppose it's far too late for any kind of warranty?

Steve C
June 20th 2011, 18:26
Hi Richard

That's bad luck. I guess no warranty after all this time, maybe a rebuild with some more performance is the way to go now.


June 20th 2011, 21:54
Sorry to hear that Ricola. You going to tear it down and find out what failed?

June 21st 2011, 09:02
Ouch. I feel for you.

June 21st 2011, 12:22
From the research I've done so far it's not really worth rebuilding stock as they normally take the crank with the big ends.. My most likely plan is to get a second longblock and swap it in as any other option is likely to get expensive and I'd like to get the interior and roof trimmed before moving on to more engine tuning...

the engine came from a private seller over 5 years ago so no comeback, it's a closed deck block so still very much worth keeping, just expensive to rebuild after all the swarf contamination into ancillaries.

June 22nd 2011, 16:42
Sorry Rich, I guess your left with building a 400hp monster! That just sucks, but now that the foundation is complete you can just focus on a motor I guess.


July 11th 2011, 16:49
Well I've got another engine (secondhand replacement in the end but it has only done about 50k miles) and am currently stripping it down to a longblock for a clean up ready to take my modified intake manifold and other bits.


Looking over the engine block it seemed remarkably similar to my RA closed deck block and after a quick search it seems some very early WRXs came with them too! Looks like I lucked out on this engine! I'll be able to confirm tomorrow when I've taken the rear cambelt covers off to check for some typical hatching marks above the oil/water heat exchanger...

Should be back on the road in a couple of weeks :)

July 11th 2011, 22:17
Thats great news! Hope you have better luck with this one.

July 12th 2011, 05:50
Do you want to keep it 2 liter (being a WRX block, not Sti)? I ask since not many 2 ltr subies make big (400 range) hp without very peaky torque curves.

July 12th 2011, 15:22
The biggest power subarus tend to use closed deck blocks, I think the P1 2.2l CDB is the most saught after and a capacity of around 2.35 seems to be good to contain really high boost. My ultimate plan will probably be based on a CDB opened out to 2.5l with sleeves. At the moment I just want to get the car 'finished' and on the road before re-doing things...

I've just come in from stripping the long block right down and cleaning it up, it's definitely a CDB!

August 3rd 2011, 17:32
The replacement engine is now in and working well! The only issue I have is hitting the fuel cut with overboosting but this should be relatively easy to sort out and is an indication that my exhaust porting and downpipe are working better.

I'm doing some fine tuning of the set-up and found that the air dam was definitely a necessity, rather than put all my time into something untested I cleaned it up with a bit of paint and got it on the car and I'm pleased with how it looks and works.


I wanted the rear seat to look stock over the transmission tunnel so modified the seat framework to clear it.

All in and no evidence of what's underneath!

Time to finish off the dash... Some wooden strips were used as a guide to keep a constant thickness of the binnacle over the instruments

I then filled in the gaps frm underneath with some fibreglass matting

Cavity builders expanding foam was then used to build up the volume without adding too much weight, it is very easy to sculpt to about the right shape too

Then skimmed with filler. I just need to radius off all the edges and do some final finishing now..

August 6th 2011, 14:57
I really wasn't keen on the Porsche 'nipple' lenses so after carefully picking the surrounds off I was able to remove the lenses and make up some new flat ones from polycarbonate sheet. While they were apart I sandblasted and repainted the rims and they look brand new now.

All back in the car I'm happy with how it's all looking. I painted the dash binnacle as a temporary measure until it's re-trimmed in leather.

I also re-fitted the running board chrome trim and I think it finishes them off nicely.

I also made up a strut brace. Coming off it are a brake reservoir bracket and also a cover to protect the fuel pump and fuel level sender.

Next big job will be the heater but I have to figure out what matrix to use, I need one that is about 100x200mm, any ideas?

August 6th 2011, 16:29
Very tasty completed look, very subtle too.
Well done!

August 6th 2011, 20:00
Every time you post updates it makes me go searching for my own late 'vert. Keep up the amazing work! :)

August 7th 2011, 05:22
Hard to tell but it looks like an unusual mounting of the kamei. More pics would be appreciated as I'm planning something similar.


August 7th 2011, 16:39
Cheers guys :) It's all in the details! I think if it looks like it could have been factory then I've done my job...

Bruce: look back through the thread or on my site, it's a flush mounted chopped down and reshaped Kamei, I'm not keen on the look of the stock Kamei, bit too 'snow plough' for me..

August 8th 2011, 06:32
Nearly there Rik. Looks great.

Nice job on the dash pinnacle.

August 8th 2011, 09:17
Very nice job on the dash. All you work looks nice.

August 8th 2011, 11:55
Very tasty completed look, very subtle too.
Well done!

The strange thing about this car is that the wheels totally look in proportion to the overall look but whenever I've been out and leave it in a car park all the other cars look like they have tiny roller skate wheels!

August 8th 2011, 17:25
The custom shaped wings really make a difference there and keep the look integrated.
Perfect "stance", especially with proper suspension travel, geometry and alignment really sets this car at the top of the pile.

Found the spoiler details, very helpful. Thanks.
Will you mount it flush or use a slim rubber beading (oem wing beading?) to give a nicely finished join?

August 8th 2011, 23:42
Looking really really good Rich, keep up the updates.


August 9th 2011, 13:20
Found the spoiler details, very helpful. Thanks.
Will you mount it flush or use a slim rubber beading (oem wing beading?) to give a nicely finished join?

What is on the car at the moment will be used to make a mould for a new fibreglass part. I just wanted to make sure it worked before spending the extra time in it. I already have a T shaped rubber extrusion to fit between the spoiler and the body...

August 17th 2011, 16:50
I've cut into the wiper box cover to build a housing for the heater matrix. The corner piece had to be clearanced for the wiper mechanism and the tube connects straight up to the stock air ducting so all the stock dash controls can still be used.

Fiat cinquecento heater matrix in place, note the neat positions of the connections down the side of the car.

I initially planned to fit the stock fresh air blower fan roughly in the position shown but when connecting it up to a spare battery it was more a breeze than a decent flow.

This is the polo heater blower which gave much better flow and will also be easier to mount up to the matrix.

August 17th 2011, 20:56
Very nice (as always) fab and placement with the heater core...cold weather coming soon. :)

Steve C
August 22nd 2011, 18:14
Hi Rich

I like what you've done with placing the heater core there. Will you run heater hoses from the motor up to it or run them off the radiator hoses.

You have me rethinking my my air con setup.


August 23rd 2011, 15:30
Hi Steve,

With my external thermostat the bypass from that becomes the heater feed which I have run under the car (initially in the heater channel but changed my mind) and the return T's into the main return from the radiator under the car.

I also picked up a type 25 heater switch which is 3 position to suit the polo blower, the original switch is only 2 speed. It's all in the details!


September 4th 2011, 14:52
Just to confirm the flow would be sufficient before finally plumping with the polo blower fan.

Here's the back face of the reworked bulkhead panel, the silicone pipe fits straight over the stock interface for the old fresh air blower motor. It was all given a good coat of epoxy mastic 121 as it will be very exposed to the elements...

All in and works very well! I fitted a short section of Rover 100 heater pipe as it has a neat moulded in bleed screw.

Under-bonnet parts all done now. I had to modify the windscreen.headlight washer tank to fit over the radiator cover. I will probably also make some finishing panels before carpeting this area.

A functional solution for how to fit the VW t25 heater switch to the dash. It has tiny features to try to make up some sort of retaining bracket and even those wouldn't clear properly, the rear end of it was also extremely close to the heater control cables so using some fibreglass filler was an acceptable solution for me. I was able to use the stock VW plug on the back of it and the wire colour coding matched the blower so all good... (the original switch was only a 2 speed which is why I changed it)

September 4th 2011, 15:04
nice work as usual!!! there will be plenty of dubbers freezing their nuts of feeling very jealous!

October 8th 2011, 14:06
I finally had enough of the restricted steering, tyre rubbing and compromised steering geometry so found a set of wider front wings in conjunction with some concentric wheel spacers. I also plan to rebuild the steering rack with adjustable end stops to maximise the lock available. The wings will also need modifying to provide a better mounting surface for the air damn. From a quick drive around it is significantly better.. The front bumper brackets will need to be extended slightly to give a bit more space to the wings too but I think it will end up looking better with more flowing lines.


dave forder
October 8th 2011, 16:48
Rich, just read the whole thread from start to finish & jeez you've been busy. Very brave man tackling all the metalwork mods..very skillful. The car looks great...its all about proportion and you've got it! There's not enough top German lookers in England. See you at the shows.

October 9th 2011, 04:35
Cheers Dave! If I only do one show next year I really want it to be Spa, no dates announced as far as I can see yet but it will be going in my diary as soon as it does! Volksworld is pretty likely too but unlikely as a show car as I don't want to get precious about it...

Plan of attack now for the remaining jobs is:

fettle front wings and paint
redo front air damn
steering rack adjustable end stop mod (as shown by Mattkab)
Go back to stock width lateral suspension arms
get interior re-trimmed in cocoa leather (997 sport classic inspired) & paint front seat back shells body colour (too much?)
stereo head unit bought & fitted
Replace broken roof bow over rear window
New chocolate sonnenland outer roof

Finally, sort out slipping clutch issue on full boost and maybe a remap.

November 27th 2011, 13:47
Bit overdue an update!

Plenty of stone chip was sprayed on underneath the wings and then high build primer, final colour and clear before letting the paint settle for a week or so and then refitting them.

I actually got some stonechip overspray on the air damn so ended up giving that a full coat along with satin black paint as it could do with the protection anyway.

All re-fitted!

I don't think the car looks noticeably different but with the wheel spacers and re-done steering rack with adjustable end stops I now have a lot more steering lock as well as a much more predictable and nice feeling balance to the car.There was far too much negative scrub radius with everything forced inboard to fit under stock width wings.

Another mod I've done is switch to smaller 5/8" brake master cylinders along with a calculated balance bar position and this has made the brakes MUCH more confidence inspiring with less pedal effort and a bit more travel!

I made up this metal cover to cover the shifter base and allow trimming, still not sure how I will do it but it's a start.

I've been putting this off for a while... The old vinyl roof shrunk whilst in storage folded up so when I came to close it on the car the stress broke the wooden bow over the rear window. This meant a new bow and roof!

Bow from the original tooling was sourced from Germany along with a new roof outer skin, in Sonnenland (similar to mohair) this time around and a change of colour. A fair amount of repair of sound deadening material as well as repainting sections of the roof frame were done at the same time.

Here's the roof ready for it's new outer skin. The foam strip over the bow is to cover up the staples holding fabric to the bow and stop wear on the outer hood.

Almost there! I'm letting it all settle for a few days now before I get the knife out and cut the rear window aperture out. All seals and wires are refitted in this picture, just a couple of screws to fit at the base of the C pillars to take up any final slack in the material.

November 27th 2011, 15:34
That black top looks miles better then the original white/beige top.
Normally I don't like convertibles, but yours is excellent!:)

November 27th 2011, 17:42
Cheers, but it isn't black, it's dark brown!

November 29th 2011, 10:17
looking good mate :)

November 30th 2011, 02:02
I know it's not responsible, but I LOVE that rear window delete look! How about a rear view camera instead?;)


November 30th 2011, 15:28
Too late Jason ;)

November 30th 2011, 16:25
I'm guessing too late for both? You've cut the hole AND you've got a rearview backup camera?:lmao:


November 30th 2011, 21:08
Thats a very nice looking germanlook convertible!

December 14th 2011, 12:46
Roof just about done now...

I'm going for the light tan colour on the right, I was originally going to go for a cocoa colour but having thought about it I think it would be too much of the same and some contrast is called for.

Seat backs are a bit marked and as the seats will soon be dismantled for trim now is the perfect time to colour-code the backs to body colour.

The old trim panels were moisture damaged so I've made up some new ones. I will also be making some new moisture barriers to keep these ones dry!! You can also see in the background I've put sound deadening in the door panels

These are the cut-down aluminium Porsche 944 spring plate covers with much wider aftermarket urethane bushes to better locate the spring plates.

December 14th 2011, 15:24
WOW! that's Looking Great.... and the color combo is going to look Awesome :)


December 15th 2011, 03:37
Just PERFECT!!!!!!.


December 19th 2011, 05:16
Good choice on the interior colour Rik, going to look really nice.

They often say dark colour car, light colour interior and visa versa so I think it's spot on. You're going to enjoy driving this beast around next year!

December 22nd 2011, 14:30
Seat backs after a lot of work with paint stripper, etch and high-build primer

before finally getting the body colour top coats..

More sound deadening pads fitted to the floor panels and new MDF trim panels made up to fit speakers under the back seat

Door membranes to stop the new door panels suffering from water damage (I've also painted them in yacht varnish before I give them to the trimmer)

Automotive underlay cut to shape for the floor, only lightly glued in case they need to be removed to dry out if I ever get caught out by rain!

The first piece of carpet going in. I've spent far too much time planning the layout in my head to minimise joins and exposed edges to give it a more OEM look.

First panel finished...

Then on to the tunnel section. I bonded on a metal reinforcement to the handbrake hole, this means I can fit the standard type rubber which will hide the cut edge nicely and the hole won't get opened up. A bit of foam also stops any potential rattles.

Passenger bit now done, just behind the back seat to sort out. Still undecided what to do about under the bonnet

Front end done. The floor and bulkhead panels will go to the trimmer to have the edges bound.

December 22nd 2011, 21:44
Looking very nice!!!

January 30th 2012, 15:25
While waiting for the trimmer I've taken the engine/trans out to sort out a minor oil weap and am now considering fitting an LSD I was given with the trans. Can anybody help with an ID on this diff?
There are some serial numbers on it but nothing that rings any bells with me.

http://www.ricola.co.uk/images/cabrio/lsd_1.jpg http://www.ricola.co.uk/images/cabrio/lsd_2.jpg http://www.ricola.co.uk/images/cabrio/lsd_3.jpg

For info, the friction discs all measure 2.62mm and the 'stack' requires 2.5mm compression to bolt down.

Cheers for any help!

January 30th 2012, 16:32
What trans did it come out of?
The sloped hole does seem to indicate an extremely aggressive LSD function like 40%/100% or something. I can't really place it.
Construction wise it looks like my LSD in a lot of ways, but it is different. The plates are older design as well. What trans?

January 30th 2012, 16:36
I was told it was G50 but I really don't know for sure hence me asking... Was hoping you'd reply with your recent experience! If it's that agressive maybe I shouldn't fit it, mine's a street car first and foremost..

January 30th 2012, 16:53
Well, the flange where the crown wheel comes does look very much like mine wrt bolt holes and the 3 set screws.
Originally mine came with copper disks (copper junk according to Paul Guard LOL), but I have a really late one, so yours might just as well be original for the year as I have very little reference then that freak one I put in. So, better don't take my word for it wrt percentage slip judgement ;-)
Maybe ask on Pelican forums? I am sure they can tell you what it exactly is.

January 30th 2012, 17:01
This one only has 2 set screws holding the halves of the housing together which might help identifying it?

January 30th 2012, 17:13
Could be, unfortunately not by me LOL

March 4th 2012, 10:03
The ramps show it is out of a 964 RS/turbo which means 20% lock on acceleration and 100% lock on overun. This has really helped the car feel much more predictable and also stable, especially after the suspension unloads after hard acceleration. I was going to have a go at fitting it myself but was unable to measure everything accurately enough. The trans had different brands of bearing either side of the differential so during the swap I had to replace: bearings, ring gear bolts (longer on LSDs), seals, oil, shims. With labour that lot added up to 580!!!

The main reason for taking the engine out (other than boredom waiting for the trimmer), was to sort out a minor oil leak coming from behind the engine, a very common fault with subarus.

Here's the updated subaru part, steel plate and new screws fitted with a sealant. The black screw is supplied with dry loctite on it, forgot to look why, probably as it was a through hole so needed sealing?

After being messed about by 'Car Audio Centre' for the best part of two months (avoid them at all costs!!) I bought a secondhand head unit from a friend. I wanted Alpine to go with my steering wheel controls. I ended up with an IDA-X001 which is a media head unit with graphic display and ipod/iphone controls. Rather than use a wire and screen mount I have hacked up a dock which fits snuggly into the ashtray with minimal mods.

Happy with how it looks! Lucky this head unit has the main control centrally so out of the way of the phone. I'll use it for satnav and music as well as keeping my phone charged.