Skip to main content

Hello from the great cold north! I live in Ontario Canada and just yesterday morning dragged home a late 60s VW chassis with a 52 MG TD glass body on it. That's up for sale, Yuck. Just found this site and Iam thinking it will be a great help on doing a Speedster. Is there a good topic here on getting started ? Very glad I found this site and thanks.  John

Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Welcome to the Madness, John!  I am Canadian as well, hailing from the Vancouver/Lower Mainland area, so I'll be your Wet Coast representative.

Before you start buying parts it would be a good idea to decide what you want it to look like, as there are choices- a semi-believable factory build complete with P badging everywhere (very boring as far as I'm concerned, as at the extreme you're talking not lowered a lot, swingaxle rear, drum brakes front and back, skinny tires, 1500 or 1600 engine putting out nominal hp and maybe even the umbrella emergency brake handle under the dash, so now you can't even do ultra cool handbrake turns) and it's still a plastic car without a P vin # which will never really gain you acceptance into that club.

Or- if you realize and accept that it isn't and never will be a real Porsche, the sky is the limit- is it a fun little ice cream getter for you and your better half (or, if no significant other, a great chick magnet?), or that and with some performance/handling improvements that makes it really fun to drive?  Are you thinking flared with wide tires/rims all the way around or flat sided (which can be built to handle amazingly well)?  Is the pan wingaxle or does it have Independent Rear Suspension (irs) pivot mounts- irs will handle better and be a little more comfortable to drive, but putting wider rims and tires on the back has clearance limitations- it can be done but it's more work (and $$).

IRS vs SwingaxleIf you like to drive fast even just very  occasionally, please put discs at least on the front (all it takes is 1 moment at higher speed for things to go horribly wrong!), and if you like to push it's capabilities on a regular basis (as so many do when they find out how much fun these things can be- as our dear friend Stan says, "afterall, it even says Speedster on the side of it, you know!") discs on the back as well, some slightly wider wheels and tires, some sway bars and it'll handle like a skate board! (think big evil laugh here!)

As far as the engine goes, the first choice is VW aircooled or Subaru?  VW Type 1 (Beetle) engines can go from a 65hp dual carbed 1600 to 1776, 1835 or 1915 cc's revving to 5500 or so with 90- 100 or 110 hp very reliably, to 2 liter (or bigger) strokers making anywhere from140-150 hp (still very reliably, even with a 6,000 rpm redline) to 2300-2400 cc's and a somewhat more high strung 200+ hp, 7,000-7500 rpm Monster!

THAT said, even though I am a staunchly lifelong aircooled guy, I have to admit the Subie has a lot of things going for it. Still a boxer layout (so the weight stays low for handling) but super reliable modern platform with power options starting at about 150 hp.  The car will weigh a little more with the radiator, water and tubing, but there's no denying it works.

No matter what you do, be prepared for people to ask questions and even want to take pics with them by (and even in) it CONSTANTLY!

To give you an idea-

Speedster- another pic of Al's

This, of course, is only 1 example (it will sit lower front and back when finished, and the bumpers aren't on it)- guys, show John your Speedsters!

There are way more choices to make, but this is a start.  Hope this helps.  Al

PS Sorry, John, I forgot to ask- do you have any previous VW experience?  I gather, since you dragged home this project in pieces, that you're somewhat mechanically inclined?

Attachments

Images (2)
  • Speedster- another pic of Al's
  • IRS vs Swingaxle
Last edited by ALB

Welcome, John! I'd suggest that you download the CMC/Fiberfab instructions from this site as and read them from cover to cover. You have to be a supporting member to have access, I think.

That will get you oriented to the basic beast and the big steps of construction. Ask specific questions as new topics on this site and we'll respond with experience based on years of experience and infinite wisdom, or at least Gordon will. I'll probably just crack bad jokes while the others do the heavy lifting.

I'd recommend that you find a few of the deep dive build threads and read them, too. I've only been on the site for 3 years. Perhaps some of the older members can recommend some builds worth studying.

Don't be surprised if you get divergent answers to your questions. There are many ways to skin the cat (you know that sounds really creepy when I type those words). Also, prepare yourself for threads to go totally off topic - someone casually mentions something and we go off in a different direction for a while. It's entertaining and one of the best things about this forum.

Welcome to the madness!

Welcome, John! I'd suggest...

... Also, prepare yourself for threads to go totally off topic - someone casually mentions something and we go off in a different direction for a while. It's entertaining and one of the best things about this forum.

Welcome to the madness!

Like us talking about pie!  Have I mentioned that strawberry rhubarb is my favorite?? Oh, and sometimes we even talk about other things too...

@356 John posted:

Thanks Al you really got me thinking !

Yes I've done a 49 Split Vw and a 52 crotch cooler split to Concours spec.

Now just about finished a 53 Oval sunroof car in L37 metallic blue, super rare.

Now chomping to get going on a beautiful Speedster.

Iam thinking of Auratium green. Rare original Porsche color.

That Auratium green is a very nice subtle color. It has a binate look to it without it looking old. Pair that with an oxblood interior, tan interior, or baseball glove brown leather interior would look nice.

cfe9c5a2cbe8b78e72ff6a4405947b4c

Attachments

Images (1)
  • cfe9c5a2cbe8b78e72ff6a4405947b4c
@356 John posted:

Thanks Al you really got me thinking !

Yes I've done a 49 Split Vw and a 52 crotch cooler split to Concours spec.

Now just about finished a 53 Oval sunroof car in L37 metallic blue, super rare.

Now chomping to get going on a beautiful Speedster.

Iam thinking of Auratium green. Rare original Porsche color.

Ooohhh, very cool!  I owned a '51 crotch cooler for a short time about 40 or so years ago- bought it as a project but never got going and eventually moved it on to someone I hope did it right.  I come from the high performance VW side of things- my last street bug was a 14 second Cal Looker (started that 1 in 1977).

To continue what I wrote above- this Speedster will be the most fun if built to drive- it won't have any appreciably more value if built to factory specs- guys have done this before and even put 356/ 912 engines (and other 356 stuff when the repro or VW stuff does a perfectly good job) in them thinking they're more valuable, but for the most part it doesn't really add much value, except to a very (and I do mean very) limited audience.  Even with a host of 356 parts, most P owners really won't give you the time of day as there's no P vin #, it's a plastic abortion and will always be so.  Build it and drive it- showing it can be neat, but if that's your main focus it can get boring pretty quick.  Drive the bag off it and enjoy a Speedster for what it is- a tribute to a past era of Automotive History.

If you disagree with what I've written immediately above, that's ok- it's only my opinion, and you, of course will do what you want.  I'm only trying to give you the benefit of my take on this corner of the hobby. 

PS- Any idea what you're going to do for a Speedster body, or are you still in the process of figuring that out?

Hey, Newbie!  Welcome to our Madness!

I built a CMC over 7 years as a way to escape my day job.  It was a good diversion and while I support other people building their cars from scratch, it can be unbelievably time consuming if you do start from scratch - like 3 to 7 years to completion (or, if you're like Wolfgang, 3 to infinity years).  Not only did I build one, I started another one (again, from scratch - I musta been nuts) but then a lot of family problems got in the way so Alan Merklin (Dr. Clock) bought it and finished it.

I would be more inclined to suggest that you find a good used Canadian Speedster or Roadster (I don't know how difficult it would be to import one from the US, but others on here can tell you) and rebuild that into what you want.  Then, a lot of the heavy lifting will be done for you and the whole process should take a lot less time.

I wanted a 356 "hot rod" similar to what my older brother had when I was a kid and it has turned out just that way - stout 2,110cc engine, great suspension/handling, bigger stickier wheels and tires, really good lighting for night-time speedy cruising on back roads, decent seats for longer excursions and a gas heater for the colder seasons.  It's everything I wanted because I built it, but if I had bought one used it would have been turned into the same thing - maybe in less than 7 years!

So keep asking questions and we'll try to help steer you in the direction you want while avoiding the pitfalls.  It's a big tent with everything from classic slab-side 1,600cc cars to flared fenders to 200+hp turbo'd Suby power and everybody's having fun.

Gordon - The Speedstah Guy from Massachusetts

IMG_2741

Attachments

Images (1)
  • IMG_2741

Iam not that guy who takes Eons to complete a car. When I start a project Iam balls deep.

I've been retired 11 years and have done a 49,52 and 53 VWs total nut and bolt with 52 and my 50 Chevy Pickup both taking 1st at Cobble beach Concours de Elegance shows.

But I've always had this desire to build and own a Speedster for years and am really looking forward to it !

Thanks for everyone s kind and encouraging words. I really appreciate you all. Please excuse in advance my dumb ass questions that are coming 😊

@Carlos G posted:

That BMW kept on following us around, like he was part of the group or something.

2018 09 29 Spyd

... there we was, waitin' for Rich and Tats, who was off tryin' to find Mt. Rushmore or sumthun'. Ain't none of us had a banjo, but we was there long enough to consider a corncob pipe and Jew's harp*.

Before we had a chance to set up a still or cook up some meth, there was a feller with a black Bee Em Double-U folleren' us around. He was friendly enough we didn't think he was a revenuer or nuthun', but we made him go look for them other folk whilst we set on the porch a spell.

Twernt no thang.













* I had to look this up to determine if this was now an offensive name for this (kinda'/sorta') "instrument", but results were inconclusive. The Google thought police say it might be, but no evidence of anybody actually being offended could be found. If you feel I've erred in some way, please forgive my ignorance... for I was raised in a sheltered environment in a town with a total population smaller than your elementary school enrollment. Regardless, I used the term in a poor attempt at humor meant to disparage Appalachian-Americans, so I suppose you must do with me what you will. I apologize to my Hebrew brethren, my corncob-pipe smoking friends, all banjo players in the world, "artisan craft distillers", clandestine chemists, and anybody who enjoys listening to a "jaw harp", "vargan", "mouth harp", "gewgaw", "guimbard", "khomus", "Ozark harp", "Galician harp", "Berimbau" or "murchunga" (or any other euphemism or alternate name for "the lamellaphone which shall go otherwise nameless").

Last edited by Stan Galat

Add Reply

Post Content
×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×
×