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I am new on here, and I am about to place an order with Beck for the 1957 356 Speedster. Because I live in a pretty hot climate, the AC option is a must.

I know I want to stick with the air cooled engine option, and Beck offers a standard 90 HP engine, but I am afraid the AC will cause a big drop in power. Does anyone know how much drag the AC causes? Do I need to upgrade to the 125 HP option?

Any and all suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!


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I had a 2110cc with AC it worked fairly well, I am not sure how well AC would work with that low a hp if you like it really cold on top of that I would buy once, the 2110cc at around 145hp in my experience is a more pleasant car able to handle hills and keep up with traffic much better.  Make sure the tranny ratios meet what you want ie: R&P 3:44 for a cruiser at 70mph, or others for hill climbing.  @ALB can fill you in on gear stuff and more 

I now have a subie and it seems the vintage air is much better, just saying. 

I've had three Speedsters, and more horsepower is always a good idea.  You'll be on roads with modern cars - little compacts that have twice your 90 hps - and you need to keep up with them, simply for safety's sake.  Even though these cars are fairly light, there is no fun in driving an under powered speedster (or any car, for that matter).

This site has seen many, many questions about engine size, but I don't know of anyone who has ever asked how they can put a smaller engine in their speedster.  

The only thing I'll add is that modern rotary compressors use a lot less HP than the old York bricks. But with an aircooled, carbed engine, you won't be able to bump the idle when the compressor kicks on.

If you're stuck on aircooled, AC can be done efficiently with EFI, but at a cost.

IMHO if you want good AC I'd go Subaru. Carey and the Beck boys are VERY well versed in doing a quality Subaru engine in their cars, with ice-cold AC. 

GO WITH SUBARU POWER. You won't be disappointed, in fact your expectations will be surpassed. I cannot say how much nicer the Suby engine setup will make your car. If you want A/C and are dropping the bucks for this nice ride go the extra bit and do it right with a Subaru engine. I am working on a big 2276 Air cooled type 1 engine right now for another  project car I have and it reminded me of how much better the Subaru engine package is. Please do yourself a favor and go Suby!  You will love it.

@Ben but if the AC is installed with dash level and foot level where you can choose the mixture you get to have nice cool air coming from under the dash which keeps you cool and it flows up to your body and face, even in stop and go traffic, when it is scorching.   When you get tired of the sun on your head, you close the top, and if your window is a zippered back window you get to drive with a canopy so to speak with AC and then finally you can close the back windows and side windows and be in a sealed AC compartment.  Ah, the joys of roll up windows and AC in an IM  

Just saying, there are lots of possibilities. 

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