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Val, don't let the above statement scare you away from buying a car.

Unequivocally, 550 replicas are not in the same league as airplanes or boats.

Remember, the biggest advantage is that the car is basically a VW. Components such as the trans, engine and front end are nothing more than VW parts. Sure, you can modify these components and gleem a little better handling and performance however, the parts are VW.

Therefore, if you're not mechanically inclined, any VW dealer or independent shop can handle any mechanical repair, oil changes, valve adjustements and carb. syncronization or brake work.
(Message Edited 8/5/2003 5:22:23 PM)
Val, with that out of the way,

Start looking for a good used car. I bought mine from an ad on this web site and saved myself some money by purchasing a 1 year old car. Even after paying the shipping costs, I saved big time. After receiving the car, I made the necessary repairs that were disclosed prior to the deal and did my "add ons" and I'm still ahead of the game.

My advantage over "some" of the car owners on this web site and on is that for many years I had a side line business building stock and high performance VW engines for the street and for sandrails. There used to be a time where people would virtually line up at the dunes for me to make repairs.

In my humble opinion, there isn't anything "technical" on a Spyder. With a little bit of research and a standard set of SAE and Metric tools you'll get by just fine and be albe to accomplish most service requirements and tune ups. About the most technical tool needed for this car will be a carburetor flow meter for balancing the air flow through the dual carbs. This tool is readily available and the price ranges between 20 and 50 bucks depending on how sophisticated you want to get. Valve adjustments usually take about 30 minutes and the total cost is nothing more than a set of valve cover gaskets.

Just remember, in most cases (Unless you're using exotic high dollar components), these engines and transmissions were engineered for 53 horsepower. Don't over rev the engine, keep the valves and carb's adjusted, change the oil in both the trans and engine and don't dump the clutch and everything should live for a long time
Val, I'd suggest the book titled "How to keep your VW alive:

This book has been around for years and deals with simple verbage to make repairs.

I'd also recommend the "Weber" book, provided your car has Weber Carbs. It too is simple, talks you through maintenance such as carb syncronization, troubleshooting etc.

As far as Northridge is concerned, I'm sure someone else can help, my knowledge of Northridge stops at January 1994. If you lived in the Pomona Valley, I'd recommend Lloyd Moser, (909) 981-1809.

Good luck, Larry
The 550 is a wise choice for guys that want a cool car that is cheaper than most exotic cars to keep maintained...

The VW TI engine is the biggest choice for HP freaks that like to fiddle with their car from time to time to keep it in a prime state of tune. The VW Type IV engine is the choice for gus who actually want a "Porsche" engine in their car(the TIV was used in the 914 and 912E Porsche)
The TIV engine provides exceptional reliability and takes abuse that is incredible. The TIV will make any 550 much smoother to drive and since its hardly modified provides exceptional power with no loss of reliability.

Jake Raby
Raby's Aircooled Technology
Jake is at it again - the type 4 engine was designed as a VW engine, NOT a Porsche engine (for the VW 411 and 412).

The 914-4 was built with it and sold as a VW in Europe but sold in the US as a Porsche, and the engine found it's way into the Porsche 912E to replace the 356 base engine as a cost savings measure.

That hardly makes the type 4 "a real Porsche engine". But of course, Jake want's to sell you one...
(Message Edited 10/15/2003 9:52:58 AM)
I learned to drive in a 412.
It seemed really zippy to me at age 14.
It's a shame you don't see them around anymore.
It was this great metalic light blue.

I bought my spyder used. It was a kit built by the 1st owner. I am now the 3rd owner. My car is most probably the dog of the bunch on these boards.
But I love it. It needs paint and a few tweeks yet. I have about 19K into it.
As far as maintenance goes, Once you find the air cooled expert in your area, the costs are minimal. Oil, filters, gaskets, that's about it.
The belly pan was fabricated by the original builder. It is cool but it makes some things a PITA. Like to get at the valve covers you need to remove all the fabricated side tins, Which is not easy. The red exhaust hose is venting hot air coming off the doghouse oil cooler to the underside of the car. There is also a scoop coming off the drivers side deck vent to channel outside air into the fan intake.
The belly pan is kinda cool though.
I want to get rid of the black doghouse shroud. It has the original thermostatic ducts with the spring. I dont have the $$ to do the porsche style fan and shroud. But I might get a new doghouse shroud and paint it to match the car. and remove the deflector baffle crap. I have an external oil cooler, and my oil temp is fine but I worry about my cyl head temp. my vdo CH temp gauge says it runs around 300 degrees. I think the thermostat and baffle thing jams sometimes and doesn't open. plus it rattles. There are replacement doghouse shrouds in the cb catalog that look like they dont have the moving deflector gizmos. I want to get one of those and paint it up nice.
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