356 Speedster replica kit with Mendeola Suspension

I have been reading though this sight for some time now  ( I did post this on TheSamba but I did read here also ) and I got a lot of good information and guidance to help me in this long build. I say long build because I had this 356 for years ( 12 to 15, I really can't remember ) with out working on it. I really didn't want it but acquired it when my only option to sell my circle track car was to take it on trade. ( It's really hard to sell a race car ! My car was a never wrecked , race ready asphalt late model that I drove out of my garage and in to his trailer. I then pushed a unfinished 356 replica with many boxes into my garage. Promised that "it is all there" with an engine that was " built " .And you know how that go's. But I digress ! )
Over the last few years I started working on the speedster . It has always been stored indoors but when I started working on it I found that the pan was butchered I was on a search for a replacement . I bought a nice 1963 pan . 
I then became enamored , interested , obsessed with the Mendeola suspension kit. From my wasted youth of banging cars around the tracks of western Pa I thought now that looks like a race car. A suspension truly worthy of a wide body 356 Speedster ! 
After many phone calls to Kevin Zagar , then manager at Mendeola now proprietor of Coolrydes Customs , I purchased a front and rear suspension. 
Then after taking a head off my engine I found that it was indeed a rebuilt engine, but it was a 1641cc. Now this was all the further that I dismantled this engine. I wanted a little more giddy up ! So again a call to Kevin and I bought a 2110cc engine that he had built himself and a freeway flyer with a solid spool 4 speed. 
Many, many other projects have gotten in the way of finishing this 356. Remodeling my kitchen and bathroom, ( happy wife , happy life ). Remodeling my parents bathroom . Then since I did such a great job on my tile work my mother inlaw had me do their back splash and that lead to my parents back splash. ( those did come out great , if I say so myself ) . 
Then there were the cars and trucks I redid for friends and family . 
On a side note , don't let anybody know you can do bodywork and paint ! 
Over the last 20 years my wife has not driven a car that was not wrecked and I brought back to life, and she loves those vehicles. Bless her heart. 
So that's my story and thank you for staying with me this far. I hope to add pictures and up dates to this build . Please don't get upset if I don't reply quickly or at all. This is my first post ever on any social media of any type,  Really ! lol 
I had the pan shorted and the Mendeola bulkhead installed at Ed Fish Machine Shop. They do multi million dollar projects for major corporations and Ed has been building race cars and Hot Rods for many, many years so I figured they could handle my job ! I did have a manual made by the VW engineers on how to shorten a pan . 


Original Post

I am going to try and finish the windshield install today. I did print the instructions that Gordon posted but it is still a touchy job. There aren't any video's to watch to show all the details on how to do this. For me the tricky part is how to put on and trim the bottom rubber gasket . Also how to bend and trim the lower aluminum trim.

I have only ever seen one Mendeola suspension on a 356 Speedster and it was a spectacular Super Widebody that the new buyer eventually found out was involved in a non-disclosed accident and returned to the (dealer) seller...it's out there again somewhere.

You're going to love yours, especially with that motor.

Excellent work!

John Connolly once told me that there is no "perfect" in the VW world-- everything is a compromise between absolute performance and fitting within the confines of an existing envelope. The balance is everywhere-- comfort v performance, cost v improvement, etc. I've heard various people (over on TheSamba) express concerns about some aspects of Kevin's design, but people who frequent The Samba would gripe about stubbing their toe on a gold brick.

From this distance it looks like a major improvement over the stock set-up. The back runs narrower than stock trailing arms, etc. and would solve a lot of the fitment issues guys have running IRS and disc brakes in a narrow body car. Unequal length A-arm is a huge upgrade over the front end of a car with a VW beam.

I want to drive one of these cars with the conversion. @Rich Drewek is getting this done on his Ghia hardtop, which I suppose is as close as I'm going to get to having a chance. I'll drive up to Milwaukee to sample the fruit if I'm given the opportunity.

Keep us in the loop, Scott!

Nicely done, Scott!

Patience is a virtue while installing the windshield.  While both Alan and I have installed them solo, it is often less stressful to have another person help - and congratulatory beer at the end.  

The trickiest part is getting the lower gasket to sit over the upright forward lip of the lower metal trim and then manage to keep it in place while you finish the glass install.  Getting the glass seated properly against the cowl line and slowly tightening it all down tends to make the gasket pop up off of the trim lip - it can be frustrating getting it all right because the two different parts (bottom trim and gasket) don’t seem to have the same angle so they fight each other.  I have often given up on trying to keep the rubber captive on that lip and simply push the windshield and lower gasket up against it.  YMMV.

Remember - Don’t go nuts trying to over-tighten the windshield frame against the windshield or the nut on the bottom of the center strut.  Only slightly more than finger tight (like one turn or less after bottoming it with your fingers) should be fine.

ScottB posted:

Ahh , you guys do catch everything ! It's not a solid spool but a Super Diff.  And if memory serves me right Kevin sent it to Rancho to go over it before he sent it to me. ( It really has been a long build )

That makes more sense! Now, what about those tire sizes? Inquiring minds NEED TO KNOW!!!! 

And while I'm at it- what ring & pinion did you go with? Stock 1st through 4th? 

See, I'm kind of a detail guy...Al

The wind shield frame is from VS and fits the windshield great but the windshield post are CMC. The frame is .075" to large to fit in snug.  I tried to squeeze the frame but I didn't want to ruin it, so I stopped for the night. My thought is to order a set of post from VS.  Any idea's ?

I have ran into this,  use a barrel rasp in a cordless drill to gradually.... open the inside of the post . I also have compressed the windshield frame in a vise , you'll  need to use something like hard rubber or nylon blocks instead of wood in the vise jaws as the wood is too soft. Either way rasp or compress go a small amount at a time and rechecking as you go  . I left you my phone number in a PM.  Alan

ALB posted:

@Todd M asked- "Why do Mendeola rear suspensions use the torsion bar when they have coil over shocks?  Doesn't a spring provide the same effect as a torsion bar?"

I was under the impression that although there's no torsion bar it's still one of the pivot points for the trailing arm.

That did not occur to me.  I saw the torsion tube and assumed it was using the torsion bar.  Thanks.

Alan Merklin posted:

I have ran into this,  use a barrel rasp in a cordless drill to gradually.... open the inside of the post . I also have compressed the windshield frame in a vise , you'll  need to use something like hard rubber or nylon blocks instead of wood in the vise jaws as the wood is too soft. Either way rasp or compress go a small amount at a time and rechecking as you go  . I left you my phone number in a PM.  Alan

I really didn't want to do this but you are right Alan. I called VS and that is what they do also. I will post some pictures of this when I get to it this weekend. 

I had to open up the in side of the wind shield post with a Die Grinder and I also had to compressed the windshield frame in a vise . I used a piece of rubber to protect the aluminum wind shield frame. I did put a small nick in the frame . I wet sanded it down by starting with 320 , 600 ,  1000 then 1200 grit paper. I finished it with Mothers Aluminum Polish. You can't tell it was ever nicked and it l20190113_10481920190113_10483420190113_170653ooks great ! 

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