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eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltraDork
6/3/18 7:50 a.m.

First off, I want to thank wae, EvanB, and Patrick.  Without them, this would not have worked out the way it has.  This little adventure took about 14-15 hours yesterday, and had us going from one corner of Ohio to another, and back.

The story starts over ten years ago, when wae and I had just gotten started into rallycross with our $2005 Challenge CRX.  One of our competitors had this Super Beetle, pretty much completely gutted, with a built engine, and a bus transmission.  Whenever it wasn't having problems, it was fast.  Back then, there were only two Modified classes, so front and rear wheel drive cars ran in the same class.


Several years later, the owner put the car up for sale, and I seriously considered buying it, but at the time, I had been accumulating parts to build up my Dodge Neon rallycross car, and decided I didn't need another project.  Had some mild regret about skipping buying it ever since.

Then, in late January, it turned up for sale at a VW repair shop in Dayton, with a rather high asking price.  However, I didn't want to miss out, so I made an appointment to check it out, the day before I left for a week for the Retreat from Moscow rally.  Of course, that morning, our car broke down and left us scrambling to get it running in time for the rally.  When I got back, it appeared the car was no longer available, so I didn't try to track it down.

Which takes us to Memorial Day.  I was over at the in-laws, and my father-in-law and I have a habit of going on CL to look at older cars, mostly out of idle curiosity.  The Beetle popped up, minus the engine and transmission (and a few other parts), looking a bit worse for wear, and only about 25--30 miles from my house.  I told my wife, and I think she was more enthusiastic about it than me.  It took a day or so to get a hold of the owner, but I went to check it out, and decided I couldn't give up on a chance to grab the car now, as I really didn't want to risk it getting parted out.  A deal was struck, but I couldn't pick it up yet.  And I needed an engine and transmission.

It just so happened, that Patrick had listed a transmission/rear suspension a few days earlier, so I convinced wae (it didn't take much convincing) to run up there with the trailer on Saturday to get the trans, and a truck cap he'd been holding for me.  While there, I splurged, and bought the 944 front brakes he was selling, too. 

I'd been in touch with EvanB about a 1972 Karmann Ghia in a junkyard near his place in the Columbus area, and while we were on the road, he let me know they'd sell the engine for $200.  We made a bit of a detour on the way home, and hit the junkyard about an hour before closing.  It took wae, EvanB, and myself about 45 minutes to pull the engine, and we got out just as they were closing.  One of the employees let us know the engine had actually been running when he picked the car up, so hopefully it'll be pretty much good to go.  We beat up the clutch a bit getting it out, so I may grab a new one, and I'll want to replace the generator with an alternator, as I'm pretty sure VW'd switched to them by 1974.  I also have a lead on a spare cheap, good short block from a friend in town.

Once the engine was loaded onto the trailer, we headed back for home, unloaded, then drove out to pick up the car.  It's very easy to load an engineless Beetle onto a trailer, especially with a winch, and when someone else (thanks, wae) is doing most of the hard work.  Back in my neighborhood, we unloaded near the top of small hill, and wae pushed to get it started rolling, while I "drove" the car up into my driveway.  It didn't make it up the whole way.  I was ready to get the S10 out to push it the rest of the way, but wae wanted to give pushing it a shot, and that worked, and no one got hurt.  It is now safely tucked into the garage.  I need to set off a bug bomb to kill off the army of spiders that was riding along in the car.

 

 

What's the plan?  For now, the two priorities are to get it running, and to get it somewhat weathertight. It will need floor pans someday, but I think I'll stick with patching what it has, initially.   After that, it needs to make it to at least a few rallycrosses, even if it won't be as fast as it used to be.  In the future though, it could get a full interior and be a weekend driver, get a Subaru swap and turn into a hot rod, be a last minute $2018 Challenge entry, maybe a Lemons rally car for next year, or something completely different, the sky is the limit.  Right now, I'm just happy I got another chance to get it.

Stampie
Stampie UltraDork
6/3/18 8:07 a.m.

Cool, I was wondering at all the hints flying around in the last week or so. Also glad you got that truck cap. 

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltraDork
6/3/18 8:15 a.m.
Stampie said:

Cool, I was wondering at all the hints flying around in the last week or so. Also glad you got that truck cap. 

Thanks for the cap!  It’s sitting on the S10 loosely right now, but I still need to tighten the clamps, after getting it positioned just right.  I’ll have a bottle of KY bourbon for you at the Challenge this year.

Stampie
Stampie UltraDork
6/3/18 8:35 a.m.

In reply to eastsideTim :

No problem. That's a Florida cap so make sure you keep it warm in the winter.  Any idea on the build specs of the original Bug engine?  My understand is they aren't that hard to double the horsepower. 

Patrick
Patrick MegaDork
6/3/18 9:10 a.m.

Excellent 

wae
wae SuperDork
6/3/18 9:18 a.m.

Honestly, that trip was about the most fun I've had in several years where I had to leave my clothes on and/or wasn't drinking =)

I still can't believe we were able to push the car up your driveway.  My expectation was that you were going to let off the brake and I was going to have to jump out of the way.  I'll get your first drive video on YouTube and post it here later on devil

dropstep
dropstep SuperDork
6/3/18 12:10 p.m.

I love air cooled Volkswagen. The best part of them is you can literally buy every part of the car new If you need. Hopefully the engine you picked up is a dual port. Having ridden in a stock 1300 then a stock 1600 either will work to make it move and it's less important If your planning to swap it and not build a vw engine for it. 

Indy-Barely Functional-Guy
Indy-Barely Functional-Guy UltraDork
6/3/18 12:24 p.m.
Stampie said:

Cool, I was wondering at all the hints flying around in the last week or so. Also glad you got that truck cap. 

Yeah, I was wondering the same thing. I'll be following along. Any interior pics?

barefootskater
barefootskater Reader
6/3/18 2:33 p.m.

In reply to dropstep :

That engine is a single port. No biggy since decent heads are pretty cheap and easy to swap. A cheap dual carb setup (Empi dual 34s are like $300 for the full kit) is good for 10hp over stock with no other mods. If there is reason to split the case then a cam swap is a very good idea since the single port motors were rated for less than 50 hp and the post-72 dual ports were rated at just 42 because emissions.

That fan shroud aught to be swapped to for a "doghouse" shroud and the accompanying oil cooler, with a supplemental cooler if needed. It'll help the engine run much cooler and deal with abuse much better.

Super beetles are awesome. Slightly heavier than their earlier bretheren, but have much better (front macpherson struts) suspension. Mine was on the road at less than 1900 lbs with no rear seat and I still had all steel fenders and hood, and a bit of extra weight from the snail I hung off the back. 

I'll stop drooling and preaching now. Awesome car. Have fun and post many pictures so I can live vicariously through you.

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
6/3/18 2:44 p.m.
Stampie said:

In reply to eastsideTim :

No problem. That's a Florida cap so make sure you keep it warm in the winter.  Any idea on the build specs of the original Bug engine?  My understand is they aren't that hard to double the horsepower. 

 

From what the builder was telling me (and this was over ten years ago so memory is fuzzy) it was a hair over 2200cc, and although it was power limited by the stock type carburetor, it made that power everywhere.  I think he guesstimated it at around 80hp.  Between that and the bus transmission, they'd use three gears even on the short/slow rallycross courses we ran back then.

 

I'm really happy to see this car kept "in the family"!

MazdaFace
MazdaFace HalfDork
6/3/18 3:00 p.m.

Cool story glad you finally got that car 

wae
wae SuperDork
6/3/18 3:22 p.m.

The beetle's maiden drive.  I think it's got about 1/5 horsepower in this configuration.

 

Indy-Barely Functional-Guy
Indy-Barely Functional-Guy UltraDork
6/3/18 4:34 p.m.

In reply to wae :

Ha. Nice "drive".

yes

Jerry
Jerry UberDork
6/3/18 4:58 p.m.

I'll say the same thing I say every time this car is the star of a story. 

I had just bought the white MR2 for rallycross after an event in the rental Probe at the end of...2011?  This bug showed up for my first or second event, for sale, for the same $2k that I had just paid for the stock MR2 that would need another $1k or more of work to be competitive (plus a better driver but I can't afford to hire someone).

I remember the story leading up to this past winter, even offered to store it for you had your car not broken down minutes before your road rally adventures.  How did it end up by you and as a shell?  (Hell I considered buying it, again, when it was offered the beginning of the year)

dropstep
dropstep SuperDork
6/3/18 6:03 p.m.
barefootskater said:

In reply to dropstep :

That engine is a single port. No biggy since decent heads are pretty cheap and easy to swap. A cheap dual carb setup (Empi dual 34s are like $300 for the full kit) is good for 10hp over stock with no other mods. If there is reason to split the case then a cam swap is a very good idea since the single port motors were rated for less than 50 hp and the post-72 dual ports were rated at just 42 because emissions.

That fan shroud aught to be swapped to for a "doghouse" shroud and the accompanying oil cooler, with a supplemental cooler if needed. It'll help the engine run much cooler and deal with abuse much better.

Super beetles are awesome. Slightly heavier than their earlier bretheren, but have much better (front macpherson struts) suspension. Mine was on the road at less than 1900 lbs with no rear seat and I still had all steel fenders and hood, and a bit of extra weight from the snail I hung off the back. 

I'll stop drooling and preaching now. Awesome car. Have fun and post many pictures so I can live vicariously through you.

Makes sense. My dad pretty much exclusively built 1835cc engines for the sandrails so I've never actually seen a stock one. Although he also ran a Holley 2 barrel because of a hatred for dual carb set ups in off-road use. 

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
6/3/18 8:10 p.m.

In reply to dropstep :

Do you know why he hated them?

 

Asking for a friend who may run a Weber IDA on something else entirely, for rallycross.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltraDork
6/3/18 9:08 p.m.

A few more pics, after I killed the spiders and insects making a home inside the bug...

I still need to hit it with the shop vac.  Maybe tomorrow once yard work is done.  On the last picture you can see firewall has been cut, and some screen material put in.  Based on the location, I'm going to guess it was for more airflow to the cooling fan.  Since I won't be pushing the same amount of power, I'll patch that up before I get glass put in the car.  No need for a nice big pathway for fumes.

I can't say for sure what happened immediately after it was sold in the winter, but what I do know is it ended up in Troy, Ohio, where someone pulled the engine, then the guy I bought it from bought it from that guy, I think for the transmission, and was going to part it out until he realized it was still reasonably solid.

 

 

dropstep
dropstep SuperDork
6/3/18 9:09 p.m.
Knurled. said:

In reply to dropstep :

Do you know why he hated them?

 

Asking for a friend who may run a Weber IDA on something else entirely, for rallycross.

He made his living for 25 years working on air cooled vw. They had alot of issues keeping them in sync. Mostly due to linkage and bushing issues. He ran them on my mom's street car with no issues though.

californiamilleghia
californiamilleghia New Reader
6/4/18 11:06 a.m.

Some of the Swedes made them 4WD using a BMW front diff and Front wheel drive watercooled Front spindles and struts , 

I never did figure how they got the power to the front !

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltraDork
6/4/18 11:55 a.m.
wae said:

The beetle's maiden drive.  I think it's got about 1/5 horsepower in this configuration.

 

Thank you for posting that.  I asked wae to take video in case it went horribly wrong.  Fortunately/unfortunately it went pretty smoothly.

wae
wae SuperDork
6/4/18 12:06 p.m.

In reply to eastsideTim :

I was a bit conflicted.  On the one hand, success!  Boring!  On the other hand, no supoena or depositions...

cghstang
cghstang Dork
6/4/18 12:09 p.m.

 

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
6/4/18 12:28 p.m.

In reply to californiamilleghia :

Probably a Syncro van trans.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltraDork
6/4/18 12:30 p.m.

In reply to cghstang :

Nice pictures!  The second one looks like Roos farm to me, but I’m not sure about the first one.  Where was it taken?  

Also, I need to get in touch with Dan at some point, I’d like to know more about the car’s history before he rallycrossed it.  The SCCA Pro Rally stickers have me curious, especially since I’m not really seeing any evidence the car had a cage.

cghstang
cghstang Dork
6/4/18 12:39 p.m.

Both pictures are from Roos Farm. I never talked to Dan about his rally history but I'm pretty sure I've seen pictures of him running a sand rail-type buggy at POR in the late 70s. I always assumed the ProRally stickers were just leftovers.

 

edit: from the scca proRally history FB group...

 

"Dan Coughnour & Nick Folger, VW Berrien Buggy # 42, DNF, POR 1981"

"It was still VW powered at this point, but he later put a rotary in it, along with a lot of sheet metal furnace ducting for cooling. This type of buggy was eventually outlawed by SCCA, and Coke put a dual-port VW back in it and made it a street car."

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