View Full Version : Dave's Proper German Look Build

January 9th 2015, 02:29
It's been 4(?) years since the Salzburg Rally Tribute Build (http://www.germanlook.net/forums/showthread.php?t=11341) and it's no secret I've been itching for a new build for some time. Originally I had planned my next project build for the year after the Rally Bug, figuring a year of sorting the car would be enough. That turned into two years of sorting and upgrades, and then I bought a 1968 Single Cab. Just when I figured it was time to buckle down and buy the next project, a major career change occurred. I'm super lucky now that I have made my time my own, and self employed, but in doing so I have drastically gutted the project car budget. Whoops. But car projects and bank accounts are never going to get along, right? So here we go…

I suppose I should start by saying this thread won’t move anywhere near as quickly as my last build thread. At this point I’m looking at probable three-year plan before the project is completed. The rally project was built in 8 months, but this one is going to take longer. For starters, I don’t even have a car. “Wait,” I can hear you saying, “why would you start a build thread before you even own the car?” Well, I guess I’m looking to do something a little different.

When I finally bought a floorpan, and began the rally bug project, it was after a good two or three years of planning. I had a binder fully prepared for the direction of the build, and modifications I was going to do. Minor details may have been sorted on the fly, but I had a pretty crystal clear idea and plan for what the finished product was going to be. And I guess that’s the real reason I’m starting the thread so early. I haven’t quite sorted out the vision for the final car, and I thought making the struggle part of the thread could be interesting. And hey, I could use the help.

With the rally bug, there were a couple of key friends who were on-deck for questions, thoughts and bouncing ideas off them. I can’t think of a better crew then the regulars here to do that with, so why not live on the forum?

So here is what I do know:
1) I’m going to be building a German Look.
2) This won’t be a cookie-cutter build.
3) It’s got to have my personal touch in it, and be recognizable as mine.
4) Budget can’t be insane. I’m afraid I’m unlikely to be shipping a full body of Carbon Fibre over from Europe.
5) No earplugs. I’ve already got one race car. I will be sacrificing a little bit of weight and performance for the joy of driving without hearing protection at all times.

And what I don’t know:

1) Vehicle? Standard, 1302 or 1303? Its killing me not knowing which one I want to use. I’m 100% sold on the 1303, I love the look. The front end, the windshield…it’s just, well, right. My biggest distaste for the 1303 has always been the dash, and I’ve even come up with a solution that is very ‘me’, very much along the lines of a ‘proper’ german look and something I haven’t seen before (aka: no cookie cutter). And, to be completely fair, I think a ‘proper’ german look really does need the curved windshield.

I’ve been thinking about a 1302 for a couple of reasons. A second ’71 in my stable could be interesting, and I can already picture the rally bug on gravels sitting next to my GL tucked down low on some track tires. In many ways I know the body shell like the back of my hand, and it would give me a chance to improve upon areas of the car I think (in hindsight) I could have done better.

Okay, lets be honest and get this out in the open: By traditional definition, you can’t make a ‘true’ german look out of a standard. I know a number of folks could argue the point, I may have inadvertently insulted some of your rides, but under the ‘original’ or historical definition of the german look, you can’t use a standard. Here’s the problem. I have a 1975 standard that I’ve been paying to store for 6 years now. That’s over $5000 spent in just keeping the thing in a box. It’s a family car, my mom drove it in University. I can’t sell it…but it just sits. Its been discussed, the family is 100% okay with it becoming a GL car. They know I’ll keep that for life, whereas a stock restoration won’t be much interest to me personally. So shouldn’t I just accept it’s what I’ve got and build accordingly? But a 1303, oh to have a 1303…

2) Powerplant? Type 1, Type 4 or Subaru?

I’ve toyed with the idea of fitting a 911-6 into the car, even with all the cutting that’s necessary, but truthfully that is only so I could for once satisfy myself during a gas station stop. How great would it be to kill the “my uncle/brother/friend had a porsche engine in his back in the day” conversation by opening the deck and simply saying "dude, X number of months to make that fit." :P

I have a Type 4 long block already, nothing exciting (and just a 1.8). The cost of doing a type 4 (vs type 1) is a bit ridiculous, and the longevity of one with the mileage I put on it is a big concern. But I do have the type 4 should I decide it needs to be done. Truthfully, I think I’ll go Type 1 if I go air-cooled. My 2110 built by Kroc has done roughly 48,000km so I’m not overly concerned about the lifespan issues. I am getting a little tired of all the tuning and cleaning my carbs require (gravel roads will do that to you), but to solve that problem I did pickup a CB fuel injection kit with 48 IDF style throttle bodies. They will be saved for the German Look car, as I really think it needs the joy of “turn-key” every time I get into it.

Speaking of turn-key, how about a Subaru setup? I’ve got a good friend with a lightly-used 2.5RS who will be pulling the motor around Easter time. He does engineering for the Subaru Canada rally team, and thus I know the engine is well cared for. 2.5RS might not be considered too exciting, but should I desire a turbo setup it’s as simple as having the guys at the shop build one up for me. 150,000km between head gasket jobs, and pretty much the most reliable engine choice I could make. The only issue is fitting the radiator in without mucking up the body lines. I’ve learned a few things at Global Rallycross which could help here…


Alright, this post is getting to be far too long for an introduction. But allow me to introduce you to entire basis for my German Look build. I present to you, my brake calipers:


They may look used, but they’re actually brand new. They were mounted on the Mk1 Escort Rally car we recently towed across Canada in the ice, snow and salt…so they look a little used. But when my good friend Warwick realized they wouldn’t fit under his planned 13” wheels, I made a deal to buy them. I think they’re kind of the perfect way to end the introduction to my new project. They’re a serious bit of kit, and certainly 100% inline with the idea of performance as the centre of the build. But at the same time, they aren’t just another Porsche caliper. Yes, I know the traditional German Look philosophy is to borrow as much from Porsche’s parts bin as possible…but this is me. It needs to follow the ideals, but be just different enough that you know it has “my touch” in it.


Steve C
January 9th 2015, 03:36

I cant wait to read about what your going to do.

I agree the 1303 dash is a pain. I've made mine a little easier to deal with, I moved the fuse box into the trunk and made all the panels across panels across dash easily removable. I fitted M5 nutserts to the dash and held the panels in with M5 screws.

Cooling with any water cooled motor can be taken care of by fitting the radiator in the front and using an air con front apron.


My fuse box http://i1184.photobucket.com/albums/z328/1303Steve/fuse.jpg~original (http://s1184.photobucket.com/user/1303Steve/media/fuse.jpg.html)

January 9th 2015, 10:39
This sounds promising! I loved following your rally thread.

My vote: 1303 with a Suby engine!
Because it sounds like you want to create a "GT" Germanlook: performance and luxery. The things that define a Grand Tourismo.

January 9th 2015, 13:57
This will be an interesting thread! The "original German Look" is actually based on a standard beetle. However, the 1303 does make things easier and in certain areas cheaper for a GL. A subaru is a good choice eventhough not "pure" GL, but parts are easier to source and overall cheaper because there's a big industry behind the subaru stuff. Good luck I'm looking forward on following this thread!

January 9th 2015, 15:40
There'd be no surprise where my vote would go! I actually like the 1303 dash...

Steve C
January 9th 2015, 23:14

I should qualify my dislike of the 1303 dash, I love the look of it combined with open feeling the curved windscreen gives.

Wiring can be a bit difficult on a 1303 with stuff behind the dash. A flat screen Beetle has most of the wiring laid out before you in the trunk, that's what I tried to achieve when I moved my fuse box into the trunk


January 10th 2015, 05:13
Lol, it's amazing how things suddenly get thrust into action. One of my dream list beetles is a '58/'59 with black body and red interior. Don't ask why, just run with it. Found one on Craigslist today...jokingly told a buddy and boom! sold one of my cars to him. Tomorrow morning I'm going to look at said '58. If I don't buy it, I really do have budget to find my GL donor car! Win-win either way!

January 10th 2015, 05:31
I think, before I fall asleep, that I need to mention how stoked I am to see some of the regulars jump in. Once we have guys like Joel, Wally and a few others check in I'm going to feel like it's the group of us suggesting and directing the build as I progress forward. The group if us whom, I think, have kept the forums running and interesting to return to. Make no mistake, in the end I will choose what _i_ want, but it will be done with careful consideration of each and every one of your pearls of wisdom.


January 10th 2015, 09:57
Good luck with this project Dave, can't wait to see it!

Type1 is not GL in my book. It's not just about power and realibity but the philosophy of GL, how it became popular in the past. A Porsche style cooling is a must as well when speaking about "proper" GL.

To stand out from the crowd the "family car" sounds good if budget allows a mendeola or similar suspension..it would be unique and light! However if you take it for longer trips, I'm with Gerrelt, take the subaru...but have you ever thought of a ghia or a 411/412? Speaking of a grand tourismo, I LOVE the idea of a suby powered 412LE with a/c :cool:

January 10th 2015, 10:57
I loved the rally bug build, and often refer it to others due to how thorough it was.

I am planning to install an EJ25/EJ22 hybrid engine into one on my '74 1303s (ala Joel) and an EJ22 in the other (the second one is my 15 year old son's car). I cannot see the feasibility of building an aircooled engine for any performace Beetle unless one is a purist or it is required for one reason or another. With a little effort, a conversion can be done for substantially less money than the cost of a T1 engine build.

Your brake calipers are monstrous! Should stop the car quite quickly. You might want to keep facial tissue handy, however, to stem the spontaneous nose bleeds you're going to cause. I'm using 911 M calipers on the front over 944 spindles and rotors. Fortunately, the M calipers bolt in place perfectly. For the rear, I'm using straight n/a 944 including the fantastic stock parking brake apparatus. For my son's car, I'm going to use early 924 brakes on the front and VW Mk3/4 rear brakes.

Anyway, I look forward to following your build.

January 11th 2015, 07:47
Awesome, i look forward to watching this thread after your last build :D

January 11th 2015, 14:27
looking fwd to this build for sure. i loved watching the build on your rally bug. i would suggest maybe using a waterboxer vanagon motor...why, it bolts right up, makes good n/a power, and a lot more when turbo'd, most type1 parts bolt on yo a wbx motor. and it still keeping it all vw. just my .02. i love my wbx motor. i love aircooled, but you know what they say, once you go watercooled, you dont go back. for reliability (for me) ive switched from megasquirt efi over to vws digifan1 efi cause its robust, tunable, and fires right up everytime.
for myself as well, ill agree the proper germanlook is a 1302/1303. my very first beetle ever was a 71 1302, then i had a 74' 1303, then a 73', and now the last of the 1303's a 75'. i will say after owing a few i like the 75 cause of the extra return fuel line factory, and the rack and pinion steering, BUT i think a 73' it better cause it has all the good body parts...i.e. no 5 m.p.h. impact bumper struts that are as ugly as sin IMO. lol as for my i love the 1303 dash, ive made i guess the cookie cutter mods to my dash to now house an array of porsche gauges.

well good luck with your build. no matter what you do with it...it will be awesome.

Steve C
January 11th 2015, 17:12

Im a fan of the WBX as well, they are very light when compared to a WRX motor and dont take up much room in the engine bay.


January 11th 2015, 22:30
WBX eh? Hmmm, you know, I have never even considered that. In fact, I know very little about the waterboxer. I think I'm going to need to do some searches on that one. I do like the idea of keeping it in the VW family, but there is a serious advantage to having the Canadian Subaru Rally team 2min from my house!

I do hope everyone realizes I'm not intentionally insulting any personal rides, and wouldn't post here asking for input if I wasn't impressed with what everyone is doing with their cars. When I built the Rally Bug, even before I started, I had one goal: I wanted the car in RetroCars magazine. I dunno why that was the most important goal for me, but I love the cars that are featured in it, and I just decided that a car I built should be in there. Every job I did on the car had to be "magazine quality", or I knew I wasn't going to get in. For this car, my main goal is to not be a "cookie-cutter"...and I guess I should explain that. If I decide to go subaru, you can be damned sure I'm going to be looking at and 'copying' the work of the guys who have done it successfully already. I think with so many amazing German Look cars out there, it's too easy to look at one or two great ones, and end up building a copy of it. I love, for instance, the Blue Remmele 1303 with the carbon hood and decklid. LOVE that car. But if I build a 1303, I'm going to have to be very, very careful I don't build a carbon copy...that's not unique to me, and it's not fair to Remmele. By the same token, there's a light-greenish standard beetle that made a cover of Volksworld (I think) a few years ago. It's my 'reference' to the fact that you can make a standard look very good as a German Look car. But again, I don't want to just build the same thing they have. So "cookie-cutter" is not meant as a negative towards anyone's car, it's just my personal goal to not copy anyone outright.

I guess I should provide an example of how I'm thinking of it? Take the final shifter in the Rally Beetle. I bought and installed a Hargett performance shifter, designed for a 911. At the time I thought I was being unique about the whole thing, but in organizing my German Look project folder the other night I found photos of a metallic red beetle with one installed. I must have seen it prior to putting mine in. Now, I can't remember, but if we accept that I _knew_ someone had done it, I simply used that information as basis that "it can be done". I then looked at my car, and determined a mounting solution that I was happy with, and worked for what I was doing. I could have simply looked at the red car and copied his mounts, but instead took the time to make sure I was building something in my car that worked specifically for my build. We may have come to the same conclusion, in this particular case we came up with very different designs. So much so that I had to double take the other night and confirm that "whoa, I'm not the first".

Over the past few nights I think I've come to a few conclusions:

1) If I do a 1303, it is far more likely that I will do a Subaru engine, not sure why...but in my head it's starting to make sense as package. Though, apparently now I need to look at WBX engines!
2) If I do the standard, it will definitely have a double a-arm suspension. I won't be bolting in a Mendeola unit, or eye-ball engineering, simply because I think both designs have some issues I would change. I may, however, modify a Mendeola unit to be setup the way that want it.
3) Standard beetle isn't likely to be watercooled. My plan for the radiators doesn't require the AC grill of the super, but I think I want the option there should I decide my initial plan isn't a good one. (not sure if I'm ready to let that plan out of the bag yet)

Hey Cook, I really think you need to check this out: http://www.classiccaradventures.com/events/hagerty-silver-summit/ Classic Car Adventures is expanding this year, and one of our new events is right in your backyard.


Steve C
January 11th 2015, 23:54

If your going watercooled and not going to use the front AC vent, don't try to go down the rear mounted radiator path, it almost always ends with the owner fitting a front mounted radiator or being limited to low speed high way use.

Over on Shoptalk try searching for a user called Marco the steam engine (I think) for WBX info, they have a whole section devoted to these motors.


January 18th 2015, 01:02
ya the section you speak of is called waterboxer/oxyboxer forums. reason i choose the wbx motor was buy reading the forum one night. i had just completed a type4 2.0 motor in my old white super and i was very disappointed with the power and how its very hard to buy anything for a type4 motor thats made to fit into a beetle. so i looked into the wbx motor. after about 4 hrs reading i knew that was my next step. dont read into the " oh the head gaskets are junk" its all a myth. ive never had a issue, and i have used the newer plain jane green coolant with ZERO side effects, but now im running dex-a-cool just cause id try it. their great motors. i wanted to build my car kinda as if vw where to build a watercooled vw. my car for the most part remains stock looking even after all the radiator/ coolant pipes installed. i will admit tho...a suby swap probably is better for simply the better parts availability. but to put in a wbx motor into a type1 trans is just a simple flywheel swap. any type1 exhaust header will almost bolt on, sames goes for valve covers, pushrod tubes, alternator/ stand, even intakes bolt on. i even used cb performance fuel rails and they even worked with the injector spacing. so i like the wbx cause its the underdog motor that i personally think that if it was put into the beetles, the motor would be far better appreciated.

wow i didnt know about that classic car adventures right in my state....ill be seriously looking into it. looks and sounds like a great time. i hope they dont mind having beetles cruise along tho. i know it said pre 79' cars, i just hope they are not specific on the type of car. good luck man on your build.

Steve C
January 19th 2015, 20:21
When I first saw a WBX motor pulled down the thought struck me that some VW engineers had been reading hot VWs magazine, good size intake ports, good stroke & bore with room for more, dual valve springs, lots of Type 1 hot up bits bolt on, they even run dual thrust on the cam bearings

January 20th 2015, 15:27
Yup...definitely going into research mode on the WBX!

In the meantime, I got a tiny bit distracted. Bought a 1958 Beetle, but don't worry. I sold my single cab so I'm not spending German Look budget...just GL time as I ready the '58 for summer :P


January 20th 2015, 22:57
Spannermanager ( member on here ) is a big fan of the wbx motor he is a very helpful and knowledgable with lots of real world experience with tuned VW's.Despite all this experience he is still very accommodating bloke and understanding to novices like me and does not have his head up is arse like some bods I've met.His emphasis on keeping things simple,making the car lighter and improving it's aerodynamics really does make a lot of sense.


January 22nd 2015, 05:23
Kind words indeed, cheers gee.:)

January 22nd 2015, 13:13
Spannermanager ( member on here ) is a big fan of the wbx motor he is a very helpful and knowledgable with lots of real world experience with tuned VW's.Despite all this experience he is still very accommodating bloke and understanding to novices like me and does not have his head up is arse like some bods I've met.His emphasis on keeping things simple,making the car lighter and improving it's aerodynamics really does make a lot of sense.


Not sure if you saw that link there. My vote is still for a Polo OHC flat 4 engine.

Air-cooled, light, 911 heads, 4 cylinder with dry sump.

Win, win, win.

Only costs $16-20K though. :rolleyes:

January 22nd 2015, 14:44
Uh, clearly my budget constraints are smaller then you're hoping.

Love those motors though.

January 24th 2015, 14:08
Finally got a chance to chime in here :)

I love the rally build, and more than that I love that it's driven/raced. I think you're a meticulous builder, so whatever you put together will be worth the watch.

As for the next project, I'm partial to the 1303, the curved windshield, the dash/interior, and the later 2 bolt strut suspension. I've build more than a few 1302 and 1303 cars, one of them twice, and the 1303 just has the baby-911 look to me. I've done type 4, mild or hot n/a and turbo type 1, and now subaru power plants. The n/a aircooled motors have a sound (one you know well I'm sure ;) ) that gets more intoxicating the bigger the motor you build, but the ease of power and the reliability of the subaru motors has a siren song that's hard to ignore.

For a long time I didn't buy into the idea that "the aircooled motor is the sound and soul of a beetle". It's just hyperbole. Then I got a GSR, resto-modded it, and it seemed like a sin to put anything but a type 1 into it. It's a monster engine, but still a type 1, so maybe there's something to that idea after all.

If you want a german look bug, distill the basic principles and look at every piece through that lens.
-Simple in looks and operation
-Form follows function
-Nothing without purpose
-Technology without complexity

January 26th 2015, 08:01
The n/a aircooled motors have a sound (one you know well I'm sure ;) ) that gets more intoxicating the bigger the motor you build, but the ease of power and the reliability of the subaru motors has a siren song that's hard to ignore.

The right muffler setup will get a subi sounding just a like a VW.

Mine from inside just sounds like a VW engine with IDAs, from the outside some mistake it as a hot VW engine, a mate had an EJ22 in an early split with a header hooked up to a side winders muffler.
Most people were shocked when you opened the hatch and it wasnt a VW engine sounded like one just without all the valve train noise.

January 26th 2015, 14:23
Humble, I don't think I could have said it better:
-Simple in looks and operation
-Form follows function
-Nothing without purpose
-Technology without complexity
That pretty much nails exactly what my are. Now I just need to start budgeting some time and space for it. The Audi Coupe quattro project is nearing completion. I need to figure out some t-fittings to use in the vacuum/boost lines, sort out the plumbing from intercooler to throttle body and whip up some fuel and oil lines. Then it *should* start. (ha! we all know what that's like.)

Having read a whole lot on the WBX motors, I'm less excited about them than I was. I think if you're trying to stay within the VW family, it makes perfect sense. On a cost per hp scale, however, I think it's almost 50/50 with the Subaru setup. For someone like me, with a Subaru factory team 2min from my house, it certainly sways towards the Subaru side of things. I think two years ago I would have argued that a 'proper' German Look should be Porsche or VW powered. But now that I have a very nice, very fun, VW powered machine...I'm game for trying other things. Ultimately, however, it's going to be one of the shop guys at the Subaru team who decides for me. He'll be pulling his well-cared for 2.5RS motor out of his car around Easter and putting it up for sale. I know exactly how much I have into my 2110, can guess what a WBX setup is going to cost me. Thus, the sale price of his motor will pretty much pick whether or not Subaru is an option or not. Just wish I had thought to buy his transmission for $300 before christmas...


February 8th 2015, 01:53
FWIW, I'll add my $.02..

If you are going for a GT car, to drive on the street, Maybe a type 3 or type 4?

Unlike a race-inspired car, which suits the small/light beetle form factor so well,
A street/touring type of car might be better suited to something bigger?
It's nice to get the windshield out of your face regardless...

Loved your rally build, and the pics/write-up.
Looking forward to seeing this here!

February 9th 2015, 00:27
first off.. love the rally build.

Can't wait to see what come's of this..
My 2 cent go with the EJ25 with the rally team 2 mins from you and whats available in the aftermarket I think that's the best route and the one I will be going with for my next build.. love to stay Aircooled but it just seems right to go Subie for a D.D GL in my eyes anyways.


July 15th 2015, 14:42
So it's been a few months, the 1958 beetle is up and running (without a finished interior) and I've been enjoying it as my daily driver. Kinda nice to get in a car, turn the key and drive off without waiting to heat up 10L of oil! Haven't stopped thinking about my Germanlook bug though, though I have realized it's going to be a much slower project then the rally bug. I probably should have built the GL first, and THEN gone self-employed :P

A friend of mine recently rolled his bug-eye Imprezza rally car, which meant buying a donor car for all the panels he mucked up. Once the bodyshop was done with it, there was a small problem of "what to do with the rest?" So, here it is parked in my garage:

Up front is a SOHC EJ25, of which I really know little about. We have service records for the engine, and I'll be doing a full rebuild anyways, but what I mean is I have little specific Subaru knowledge about this particular motor. Part of me is thinking I should have held out for a turbo, part of me is loving the fact that the GL won't end up light-years more powerful than my Rally Bug. One of my big worries about building another fun car is that my Rally Bug just ends up sitting in the garage because the other car is 'so much better'. Regardless, for now I'm just popping the motor, harness and ECU out of this car and sliding them aside in the shop. It will likely end up being my final engine choice, but it's not guaranteed to be the final engine choice. I haven't even begun to search around at the rally shop to see what parts they are no longer using, that might be added to this. I'm also going to be tearing it down to the block and rebuilding it (just to be sure), so I'll look into cams and compression options for some 'light' performance increases.


Presuming, at this stage, that I'm going to continue with the Subaru motor I've started thinking about the transmission. The donor car is an Automatic, which means I'll be on the hunt for a transmission donor. At this stage the most likely option is a Subaru 5spd, and probably using Subagears parts to make it all fit. The guys at the rally shop around the corner have worked out an absolutely awesome sequential gearbox along with Quaife, but unfortunately those things aren't really daily-driver compatible :P With the number of miles I put on a car in a year, I'd be rebuilding the trans weekly! We've been joking around for the last week about building a tube-frame chassis, so that I can build the car mid-engine. I'd say chances of actually going this route are slim-to-nil, but the idea keeps coming up! A good friend recently bought a tube bender for the race truck he's building, so a tube-frame car is a natural progression once that is done.

Lastly, radiator placement. I'm still hung up on getting them in the back of the car and not cutting up the sheet metal up-front. I know how I'll do the visuals in the rear for airflow so that I'm happy...but I'm also aware that everyone who's done it before has eventually moved the radiators up front. In that regard, I'm hoping I have a bit of an upper-hand. For the last couple of years I've been working on the video crew for a racing team, which uses rear-mounted radiators. I've had the opportunity to share my project and issues with one of the engineers, and we've worked out the basic parameters he thinks I need to hit to make it successful. I'm beginning to think I might buy a rust-bucket test car to cut up and test on before I commit to building my GL with the rad in the rear...we'll see.


July 15th 2015, 15:40

I know you have good fab skills so this may not be an issue for you, but you might want to look into sourcing a set of EJ22 heads. They're quite a bit narrower than the heads currently on your engine (in relative terms) and therefore require less metal to be removed from the car to allow the engine to fit. They don't gimp the engine too much so you're looking somewhere betwixt 155-170 hp.

A WRX gearbox is the ideal solution, however, a VERY slightly beefed up type 1 gearbox would handle the power without issue, though, you'd have to have and adapter et al, for fitment.

Lotta resources for this swap, as I'm sure you're aware, so you should have no major issues. Joel's knowledge is worth it's weight in gold so he's a good guy to fire off questions to.

Steve C
July 19th 2015, 19:41

Dont believe all of the bad press that the WBX motors get, most of it is from improperly cared for motors, a properly built motor running factory coolant and de mineralised water and you would never have the issues that uncared for motors have.


July 20th 2015, 13:29
Well, motor is out and tucked away in the shop for a future rebuild. And, after 4 evenings of work, the wiring harness is out too. WOW that sucked...even with a sawzall! Made sure to keep it all intact, the only wires I left in the car were on the auto transmission and I did cut those going to the back at the B-Pillars, figuring i can sort out fuel pump wiring on my own :P Will have to borrow some wiring diagrams and start removing everything that's not necessary.

Likely going to have another pause on this project, as I've begun fabricating the parts needed for Warwick's stage MK1 escort. Will be playing in the Ford camp for August I think.


November 27th 2017, 20:01
Someday I'll get to this project, I swear. Problem is, I bought a house. If you've done that, you know the car fund becomes zero :P

I have managed to acquire a '73 beetle to use as a test bed. This particular build is going to require a fair bit of cutting and welding to work out how things are going to end up. Figured I'd start with a rusty project, work out the details and then do the build properly on a good car. I also managed to pick up another item for the project...which means I have a manual transmission, a second engine, harness, etc. The wheel choice ain't bad either!
https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t31.0-8/23415263_10159476724505468_167757992881976879_o.jp g?oh=7cb5832a656a2fd86061ed3a05dc2101&oe=5A9E69CF


December 5th 2017, 08:44
Nice Legacy! and indeed pretty good wheels too.

June 3rd 2018, 20:35
Uh...watch this space for the month of June. Big things might be happening...cross your fingers!


June 5th 2018, 20:40
'Bout time to see something cool happening!!:D

June 5th 2018, 21:19
Just trying to shift some funds around...going to be very poor this summer.

June 6th 2018, 01:38
The suspense is killing me! :-)

June 6th 2018, 02:17
I'm just trying to generate some traffic here :P

June 8th 2018, 15:19
Alrighty…the is going to be long. (lol, when am I never not?!)

I’m hesitant to post this since the deal technically isn’t finished, and the seller could change their mind at anytime, but I’ve made an agreement to buy a 1973 Beetle project. Since buying the house two years ago, the German Look project honestly hasn’t been high on my list of things to accomplish. I do look at every 1973 Beetle that comes up for sale in B.C. though, and that’s been pretty easy to keep me from buying anything with which to start the project. Everything is rusty.

Now, to be fair, I’ve reached the point where I think that if you’re going to buy a 1973 Super Beetle to cut up for a German Look project, it’s going to be rusty. The question is how much? Ultimately, I could go out and buy a $12-15k “restored” car, and cut that up, but I think you’re still going to find surprises…especially when you split the body from the pan. I want a car with minimal welding. I don’t want to be doing heater channels. I know I’m going to have to do the C-Pillars in anything I buy, but I really want a car that (like the rally bug) I can look the other way and pretend it’s going to be “okay” because the C-Pillars are so solid.


Four or five weeks ago, a stalled “German Look Project” came up online for $8k, and I spoke to the owner a few times over the phone and via email. The car was presented as “rust free”, but I could see some areas of concern in the photos. There also wasn’t a whole lot of car to consider. The bulk of what you’d be buying is the Porsche brakes and toppling suspension, much of which I am not going to use. The car was also out in the middle of nowhere, six hours plus from my house. I decided to pass.

Two weeks ago while I was in the U.K. a fully restored, Marathon edition, ’75 Beetle came up in town for $7k. and the photos made it look absolutely perfect. More than a few of my buddies sent me the link as “the car” I needed to pickup.

Now, I have owned over 50 cars in my life, and I’ve only ever spent more than $6k on a car once…and that was my 1958 Beetle. My next most expensive purchase is my truck, at $4k. I’ve never spent above $2k on anything else I’ve purchased. Spending $7k on a car I’m going to strip and cut up is not something I am particularly interested in. But alas, you start thinking about the possibilities, and how much further ahead you could be if the shell was rust free…and suddenly you find yourself calling a buddy and asking him to go and look/buy the car on your behalf. Life is pretty good when you have friend’s who will go and risk $7k on a promise that you’ll pay them back!

Sadly, that car didn’t work out. The visible parts of the shell were almost perfect, with the exception of seam sealer used in the front quarter seam (where the trim sits) and at the rear apron area. Despite it being a colour I love, the various patches underneath were not up to my standards. I can accept bumper mount areas patched, front quarters patched, but not when it’s steel cut into rectangles and just welded in and not cleaned up. Use factory-style repair panels or clean up your welds and hide that stuff! But it did get me thinking…

I was willing to spend $7k on a car that could be rust free. What am I willing to spend on a car that is almost rust free, or at least one I can see everything? I emailed Chris with the stalled project as I flew back from the U.K, and we started talking about the car again.

I stopped in on my road trip home, and had a good look at what he’s got. The shell is excellent in some areas…For instance, every bolt came out of the heater channels and fenders without problems, and there is zero rust visible around 95% of the welded in nuts. Every piece of sheet metal is factory, with the exception of the driver’s side floor pan. Shockingly, the car still has the factory passenger floor panel.

https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1757/42676972501_fe6c2cb612_c.jpg https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1724/42676965381_7c3e2f509d_c.jpg

https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1733/41778074715_2221a6293b_c.jpg https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1756/42676973701_b0c3bd8927_c.jpg

On the bad side, it’s had an engine fire…so the vent area is a problem. It’s had three patches hacked into the car. and I mean HACKED. There are some areas of rust to contend with, none bigger than a square-inch, maybe two. (or, Toonie-sized if you’re Canadian). Chris lifted the body off the pan while I looked under the heater channels and such.

Dealing with Chris was quite refreshing. He mentioned he had googled me before I arrived, and “realized you’re a perfectionist.” I was very careful to make sure he wouldn’t feel insulted when I pointed out the flaws in the body for my purposes, but he listened to each of them and took it very well. We knew, standing there, that we both valued the car at very different points on the economic scale. Over the next few days we emailed back and forth. He was willing to come down on his valuation on the car, and I was willing to come up. He sent me an Excel sheet which was the inventory of every part he has for the car, including what rubbermaid bin I would find it in.

I’ve emailed him this morning to say I would agree to his last price offer…and I’m going to go and pick this thing up before the end of the month.

- It has Topline Maxx struts, but not the extreme struts that I would have selected.
- It has Porsche big brakes and alloy callipers on all four corners, not sure if its 911 or 944 bits…but if I’m 100% honest I’ll probably put the porsche stuff aside for a future project.
- It has 944 rear arms on it, but the steel units not alloy.
- Porsche Twists…though they have some curb rash.

Other than that, it’s a bare shell with some issues…sitting on a restored pan…with boxes and boxes of parts.

I am tapped out on the dollar spend though. This will not be a fast project to finish, limited strictly by the free dollars I have to spend on it. Whereas the Rally Bug was built in 8 months, I suspect this build will probably be closer to 3 years before it’s finished. So, hopefully by posting this I haven't jinxed it, and I'll be towing it home before the end of the month.


June 9th 2018, 05:41
Cool story, interesting car(s) 4sure. I am partial on the 03 '75 car, but no surprise there hey? ;-)

June 12th 2018, 13:21
Ugh...I jinxed it.

"I need some more time. I cannot replace it. (At least not easily)...I have owned many cars, but this one has had to have been the most difficult to part with or keep?"


June 14th 2018, 05:27
Sorry to hear man.
Just keep your eyes open, maybe it was for the best if you look back on it over time ;)

June 17th 2018, 01:57
Patience pays off...





June 17th 2018, 20:32
Awesome! Stoked to see what you do with it, I still need to get around to putting together a thread for mine..

June 18th 2018, 16:39

Incidentally, I have a set of 944 alloy trailing arms I'd be willing to trade for the steel ones. I've always wanted a set of the steel ones. I got the alloy arms in a purchase of rear brake parts, and its a near certainty I'll never use them. I'm pretty sure they're from the first year of the 944 turbo, but I'd be willing to send pics to confirm if you're interested.

June 18th 2018, 18:13
I've actually got a set of 944 Alloy arms, so I wouldn't need yours in trade. We can definitely work out something for my steel ones.

June 20th 2018, 08:36
Errg! I really just wanted to get rid of those alloy trailing arms. Ok, when you get to the point where your steel arms have become free (of the car), let me know.

June 20th 2018, 16:30
So I pulled the car out onto the driveway to blast and grind any areas where I suspect there would be rust I need to deal with. At this stage I’ve only done the outside bits, and at times I’m quite excited about not finding a horror story, and other times I’m like “ugh, not as good as I hoped”. Don’t get me wrong, this is much better than the other cars I’ve looked at, but not as good as I initially thought. On the plus side, the C-Pillars are no surprise. I bought the car knowing that they were going to be a problem.

Easy fix, no welding required…



Couldn’t blast in here with my quick setup, but I also have a whole second replacement section so the rust isn’t a problem.




This area was a bit of a surprise. It looked very minor with the black paint over it, but once I started blasting the glass went right through it.

I knew about the bits above the trim line…but the rot continues down below.

I see major surgery in my future :P

In general, I haven’t seen late model cars rot so close to the rain gutter, without showing rot higher up. I’m not sure how deep into this C pillar I need, or want, to cut into …but I think after fixing the passenger side I’ll have a good handle on how much to open it up.

This will be an easy fix.

I think this heater channel will end up being a patch job, not a full channel.

Doesn’t look like I took photos of the rear apron, but it’s a 50/50 mix of cheer and disappointment. The apron is straight and sold, but the area covered by the deck lid has some very rough surface rust pitting. I will see what can be done to fix it, but I might be looking for a new apron to graft in. Haven’t touched any of the interior rust, which is mostly in the C-Pillar or luggage tray. Will fix the outside first, and then worry about the inside of the car. Also haven’t looked too hard at the usual rust in front of the dash, as I’m not sure how much of the factory dash I’m keeping.


June 24th 2018, 11:52


Amazingly, I found a parts car in my tiny town that I could cut solid sheet metal from...




June 24th 2018, 18:20
Moss does NOT grow on you sir.

June 25th 2018, 14:58
Hahaha, well I gotta work on projects when I'm home and not traveling for work. Once mid-summer hits, I won't get any time until winter.

Got a few hours in the shop yesterday, and managed to rough-cut most of my repair panels. Turns out the inside wall of my parts piece was rotten, so I won't be able to fix the inside panels I cut with metal from this car. Hmmmm...that was a mis-calculation on my part.

https://farm1.staticflickr.com/875/42103464415_553fda0600_c.jpg https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1781/42103463775_a81688d246_c.jpg


Hopefully tonight I'll start shaping the pieces, and maybe start tacking them into the car. At this stage I also need to decide if I'm going to run trim on the car, or weld up the holes. My gut reaction is to weld up the holes, and run vinyl trim if I want the look. But the front quarter panel has that seam and an indent under the trim that I would then need to deal with. The easy way out is to of course keep the trim...

July 19th 2018, 14:10
Just in case anyone is wondering...the car hasn't fallen on me in the shop.

Rally Bug lost a valve seat, and I had to do a quick engine teardown to get the parts list before I headed off on some travels. First stop was American Rallycross at Circuit of the Americas, followed by four days of route planning in Texas for a Hagerty event. Now I'm in California for four days of route planning and some VW shop visits, then I'm off to Nebraska to find the twistiest roads I can find. Apparently after Nebraska I get to go home, for a full three days before flying off again for American Rally Cross and World Rally Cross in Quebec. Whew!

...I did say it was going to be a long-term project, right?

December 15th 2018, 04:18
I did say I'd be pretty busy with work, right? Geesh. I'll admit, I've been avoiding the project for a while, as putting panels back into the car is basically a make or break it item on the shell of the car. I've done a bunch of work to the '58, and started prepping for an engine build for it this winter. I have started ordering a bunch of parts for the German Look, figuring if I can't get stoked on doing the body work, I'll start on some of the mechanicals...but, none of the parts have arrived so....

I'm going to have to make some new patches, as the donor car was rotten in the same area...but I figure I might as well make patterns that are as close as possible.

I'm probably going to have to make this one out of fresh steel. I cut it too small, and the surface rust was more than surface. :( Of course, it's all curves...great.

Oh hey! I got one right! :P

Well...#%&@. We're out of gas.

Won't be able to get back to it until after Christmas. :(


Steve C
December 16th 2018, 23:15

Nice work. I'm not sure how to explain this but on all my cars I cut the very bottom of the section where A pillar and front 1/4 meet, VW put a small hole in there but it can easily block up. The section I'm talking about is where you describe the photo as "I think this heater channel will end up being a patch job, not a full channel."


December 22nd 2018, 12:06
Digging this project!

FWIW, there are plenty in Europe that would LOVE to have so little rust to deal with..

One thing that happened to my car again and again was little surprise pinholes popping up repeatedly.
Any undiscovered little rusty spots can pop back up through your new paint after a couple of years.
It became quite frustrating to keep finding them.
Not until I got the entire car blasted did it give me a chance to properly strategize WRT patch pieces and where.

It's also nice to skip the dusty step of removing paint to prep for weld.

Not sure it's an option in your area, but,
Nowadays there are a lot of these mobile wet blasting rigs,
They come to your place, and do the entire shell in your driveway in one day.
Since it's wet, there's no dust or mess, no panel warping, and no neighbor complaints.
(OK, some neighbors will complain about anything..)

You want to have most of the heavy undercoat and seam-seal out of their way first.
My favorite for that stuff is a 'twisted knot' wheel on an angle grinder, FWIW.

It would have saved me basically an entire summer of miserable blasting work in my own home-made white-trash tarp-garage blasting "booth".

I'm still coughing up little bits of lung in the morning...

December 22nd 2018, 22:18
Thanks! I wish I could spend more time on it, but making money to pay for the project is a good idea as well :P

I moved to an island three years ago, and while its a very large island...I don't have the contacts and people I did in my old town. I haven't actually looked to see if there is blasting available in the area, but I'm sure there is. I know there is a C02 blasting guy in my town, which is super cool, but haven't looked into the pricing. The big problem is I live in a very wet town, a rainforest actually. And even though I have a heated garage, it's not great to leave things in their bare state. Not to mention it rains from October through to May...so I can't take the car for blasting unless I rent an enclosed truck, or wait till summer. But yeah, I should probably consider just getting it done.

I did laugh at your UK comment. I know I'm complaining about a "rusty car", but man it could be so much worse. My '75 is a perfect example of that!


November 23rd 2019, 23:22
Whew! Almost a year, a British car project, 18 driving events and I’m back in the garage for a little bit. Crazy how time disappears with work and the house. Reality has set in a little bit when it comes to this car, I simply just don’t have the time to devote to it like I did on the Rally Bug when I built it.

So, today I took stock of the situation to try and figure out what I should do. As Classic Car Adventures continues to grow, I’ve had the opportunity to drive a number of excellent classic cars, and my calendar of events keeps growing. Hagerty has me put together a large number of their “Hagerty Touring Series” events, and I put together The Drive Home with the LeMay museum. With it, and perhaps a little bit of age, I’m less inclined to build another stripped-down race car that needs hearing protection to drive. I’ve really enjoyed some 911’s on events, and even a 914 with a smaller motor. You could talk to the co-driver without problem, the heat works, and one of the 911s even had a stereo that added to the enjoyment. Hmmmmm…

Okay, so I have a relatively rust free 73 shell. I’ve bought all the bits for converting a Subaru transmission to work in the Beetle. I even just retired my 2.5RS sedan, by upgrading my winter car to the wagon. I really wanted to take the time to put the EZ30 3.0L six cylinder engine I have, but I think I need to be realistic about my time and go with the easy option. It’s just a SOHC 2.5L in the 2005 sedan, but it will drop in pretty easy.


I really didn’t want to use the Porsche brake setup and wheels, for the sole reason that “everyone” does it. But, reality is setting in. I already own the kit, it’s already bolted to the car, and it we know it works. The AP-Racing callipers I have stored away in the shop? Yeah, they would be damned cool…and I might still decide to use them…but I have to re-engineer the mounts from the ground up, and I checked on the price of pads. Oh-my. Okay, for the moment lets concede that we’ll use the Porsche setup thats already on the car.

Suspension? Well, I’m not overly stoked with the MaXX struts (I’d have gone full coil-over)…the truth is I have adjusted the height of the Rally Bug _maybe_ five times over the past 5 years. Honestly, it basically runs the 2” drop at all times…and even if I got rally crossing, I’m often too busy or lazy to raise it up! Okay, maXX struts will do just fine on the curved-window. So how about the rear?

The car I have is equipped with 944 steel rear arms, and what I believe to be a combination of early 944 and 996 brake setup. But hidden on my property I have that alloy-arm rear setup. Early 944 Alloy arms. Hmmm…that should also have some nice 944 torsion bars in it! Okay, stripped all that down tonight, need to pop the wheel bearings out and do some brake research to figure out exactly what transfers over, and if I need to order anything.


So, I think, after a long period to decide, I want a car I can drive without hearing protection. Something that is as fun as the Rally Bug on tarmac, but has heat and some creature comforts. I will need to toss some “Dave” into it though, and already have some bits decided upon. You’ll see another Hargett shifter in the car, presuming Mark is still in business. I also picked up a pedal set from the Subaru Racing program I do some work with. It uses under-foot master cylinders, which will make it a heck of a lot easier to mount over the Rally Bug’s setup. One thing I don’t have is a balance bar setup for it, which is pretty important. It also needs to be raised a minimum of a 1/2” off the floor, possibly an inch, but it’s already pretty “tall” for a Beetle. Going to change the driving position significantly!




November 25th 2019, 01:02
Spent some time today digging around my storage shed, figured I must have a steering wheel adapter for an OMP wheel in there, and I know I have a heater core to some random projects. Found both, neither will work for the '73. Must be a wheel adapter for an Audi, which is also where the heater core comes from. It may still be useable, but I think Summit Racing has some much better / easier units to incorporate into the car.

Mounted up fenders to the left side, so I could see how much wider I need to go for fenders with this wheel/suspension setup. These are 17x7, ET55...so the fenders would work with wheels of the correct offset, or I order wider fenders (which was always the original plan).

Hmmm, well, might as well start prepping to see what the aluminum arms look like?! Tore down the aluminum arms and started cleaning them up, and tore down the left side of the rear suspension. Realized I didn't dig the 944 rear axles out of my storage shed, so I will need to go back when it's light out to find those. Also need to borrow a buddy's press to finish getting the bearings out, I can't manipulate the arms correctly to use my press. Not a lot of work accomplished for a Sunday, but I've got 4 trees coming down around the house this week and had to prep for it. There is going to be a lot of log splitting in my future :P




November 26th 2019, 18:05

I all honesty, I never look at coilovers for the adjustability, I use them for the additional tire/wheel space. That said, when I autocrossed my '73, I did crank the front down a bit because I was too lazy to want to reindex the rear a little.


December 7th 2019, 01:46


Started working on the seat options and driving position fitment for the car. I’m constantly flip-flopping between fixed back race seats, which will then require a cage and getting some street seats which will allow me to cage less and have a back seat. Just when I thought I had decided on a new set of Cobra Imola seats, my good friend Andrew reminded me I already have a scalpel car…and I should “go with a more adult solution”. He has a point…and also has a collection of cars, some with cages and race seats, so his advice was coming from experience.

Funny enough, I gravitate toward the street 911 when I visit, not the caged flavour-of-the-month.

Regardless of seat choice, I definitely decided that the stock seat mounts are coming out, and I’ll create a custom solution. The carpets were going to have to be custom anyways, so no big deal here. Why are the stock mounts coming out? I’d like to sit in the same position as the rally bug, with the possibility of having the seat an inch or so further back. With the height of the centre seat mount, I can’t get the seats down to the same level, so it’s gotta come out. As a bonus, we actually need those bits for the coupe Quattro project!

As I don’t yet have master cylinders for the pedal box, I’m guessing a little on how it will need to be setup. The big issue is the Balance bar, which mounts at the end of the brake pedal. It’s obvious on this setup that its designed to be below the mounting surface of the pedal box, but how low? Without a balance bar to test with, I can’t be sure. I’m guessing I need about 1/2” to 1” space, and that creates a new issue. My size 12 feet hit the bottom of the fuel take bubble.



I could sink the floor on the drivers side, but ugh…the whole underside of the pan has been finished with bedliner as it was originally planned for a stock car. Fortunately, I got a text message this week that a balance bar has been found at the team shop, and so I’ll know before Christmas what sort of clearance I need. The team has also found a collection of good, used, master cylinders…which should save me a boat load of money. The sizing isn’t exactly what I wanted, but we’ll see how they feel.



Once the master cylinders and balance bar arrive, I can solve the pedal situation and figure out where I’m going with the floorpan. In the meantime, my house has decided it’s jealous of all the garage work, and guess who’d doing a bathroom renovation due to water leak!?! Wahoo!

December 7th 2019, 05:07
Heh, I literally just did the same thing 3 or 4 months ago(bathroom repair, that is).

December 25th 2019, 21:13
Some say it isn't Christmas if you don't play with some toys...

Vermont Sportscar sent me a mounting kit, along with my master cylinders and balance bar. The mount kit includes some nifty aluminum captive nuts, aluminum bolts, and the steel channels they welded into the floorpans of the rallycross cars. The whole setup means I can now figure out exactly what needs to be done to mount the pedal box into the car.




So my thought, rather than sinking the floor by the inch or two I need, I’d rather trim the fuel tank hump and replace it with flat sheet. This will give me all the clearance I need, without lowering the floor at all. I was contemplating a custom fuel tank anyways, and I’m probably going to use a painless or similar wiring kit, which will then mate to the Subaru engine harness…so losing the fuse box mount shouldn’t matter. If I don’t mess with the drain channel, I can’t think of any other reasons why this would be a problem?




Off to Christmas dinner. It was a short time playing with toys, but a good one! Hmmm…a Stack would work quite nicely…

December 26th 2019, 21:55
Hello, was the assembly a trade? I went to the site, I could not see your parts. Please continue to update that install.

December 27th 2019, 03:51
Yeah, you won't find the pedal set on the Vermont website. The set is made by Tibuc, http://tibuc.se/, but I'm honestly not sure if it's a production piece or if they were made specifically for the Subaru USA team. I work on the production of Launch Control (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dh9RKdlWVT0&list=PL1MTbRON4T8_TFudt6s1Ngulr706O61d6) and had the opportunity to buy them out of the spares from a previous season of racing. It will be a couple of weeks before I can actually mount them, but I've figured out that its going to be relatively simple (in comparison to the set I put in the Rally Bug.) The hardest part, I think, is going to be building a linkage to use the factory throttle cable. The back-up plan is to simply run a new cable and housing system.

December 27th 2019, 04:56
Thanks for responding