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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

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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?

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  • 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

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@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?

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