Yes, exactly that. Not trying to reinvent the wheel or anything.
A few people have asked why I want to do this. It's mostly about my wife. Her back needs comfortable seating and the stock buckets would never work. I need to go with roadster seats. I have a set of late 356/ early 912 seats I plan to restore that would more than likely work for her. The issue is that putting them in a speedster, they need to be mounted lower and the tunnel gets in the way, not to mention the parking brake would never fit between them. So, chop the tunnel, lower the shifter, relocate the e brake and put in a different heater knob.
So... the tunnel is not the main problem with a pan-based replica, Jeff.
The main problem with the vast majority of pan-based speedsters is that the subframe members run inboard of the door openings, creating a really wide sill and a seating area that is significantly narrower than even a VW Beetle.
If you want to run wider seats, this is where I'd concentrate my efforts. There's zero (like no reason at all) why that longitudinal frame member should be where it is. Getting the subframe remade would be the first order of business towards getting a usable seating area.
Remember that in removing the VW hand brake and going to the 356 umbrella style unit- handbrake turns will no longer be in your repertoire of driving techniques. You also won't have any use for one of these that I'll be putting in the raffle pile at the next Carlisle weekend I attend...
I don't like the idea of the 1x3" steel attached to bottom of the tunnel. Seems it would very easily bottom out on speed bumps and humps! The normal pan perimeter frame is quite substantial except the very corners could twist. Maybe adding a couple cross pieces of 1x3 steel for seats to sit on would help to keep that twisting down. Along with some gussets in corners. A rear roll bar or even one that just catches the shoulder harness would help too.
Unibody adds a lot of strength so maybe adding to the inside of the lowered tunnel by welding in a 2inch bar on both sides for the whole length of the tunnel might add to the tunnel stiffness then do the other body stiffening stuff like gussets to add to the overall rigidity would be great but as Stan has said the interior width and foot wells I would address as well
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