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Can anyone tell my why the heat outlets are in a different place in our replica cars and original Speedsters? In our cars the are upfront in the foot wells in the original they are in the rockers just in front of the seats. It seems to me they would be better by the seats, can they be moved in our VW based cars?  Thank you.

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CMC uses the heavy steel sub-frame to get "hot" air to the front of the car to include a pipe for defrosters.  If the sub-frame were cut in  the center it would be weakened. The 356 uses a unibody welded construction.

To be honest, not that much heat makes it forward - the steel pipe is not insulated plus airflow is not boosted with an added air blowers (which would help).  Some have re-piped air into the center tunnel with positive results.

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Guess it depends on when you plan on driving the speedster.  CA is quite different than other states.  We tend to have drastic changes from our daytime highs and nighttime lows, more so than other states.  Here in the Bay Area, our summer highs are mid 90s, and our summer lows are mid 50s.

I've driven to many Cars and Coffee events at 5:30am where I was happy I had the slightest bit of heat pouring out to keep my legs warm.  The addition of the full tonneau cover really worked magic in keeping the heat around my body.

The attached photo was taken going to a Cars and Coffee in November 2019. It was probably 45-degrees outside at 6:30am.  @ericthered took the photo from his 550 Spyder.  Guess who was happy they had a "top" and some heat?


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Years ago I tried placing the heat ducts in different location the results were night and day. Forget about routing the heat through the 2x4 steel box frame the heated air passes through the metal mass and by the time it exits at the heater door slides it's almost cool.  Troy has a video showing the amount of heat that exits direct flow via PVC pipe and that method seems to work.  I tried  two methods: Direct from the heater box to the carpeted area L & R door jamb it worked great but it was noisy.  Then I tried direct from the heater box to the carpeted vertical area of the rear seat, that was the fix forces hot air around and under the seat . The negative: both of these methods does not allow for the heat to reach the windshield .

Last edited by Alan Merklin
@R Thorpe posted:

All this talk about driving around the Bay Area is very romantic but do I want heated seats ( clean install, more hp no levers or registers) or do I want VW heat? Forced air, heat exchangers? 

If you seriously want heat, I'd go with a gas heater. VW "heat" is marginal at best. 

FWIW, I contemplated just adding a ciggy lighter outlet to my Spyder so I could use my heated MC vest.  Truth is, I've never needed more than a warm leather coat, gloves, and a bomber hat. In any weather, driving the Beck is warmer than riding a motorcycle. image


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Last edited by dlearl476

For me, living in Northwest and driving mostly year round in temps ranging from 39F to +90F,  marginal VW heat Is all I needed.  Heated seats would be a nice addition.....  it I don’t have them.

VS ran the heat from the boxes to the standard front footwell / windshield locations using dedicated tubbing. ( running parallel to the frame).  It delivers warm ( not hot) heat where it’s needed, keeps the windshield and gauges fog free early mornings and in winter when the top is on.  The tonneau cover is a must for top down driving in colder weather.  

if in doubt, add it.  Better to have it and not need it, than needing it and not having it,

they call this a madness for a reason.   They only right answer is the answer that works best for you ;-).

Welcome to the madness!!!

also,... personally I like the brake lever on the tunnel, vs underdash.   It’s more functional for the geography I navigate,  I have pulled it on emergency basis once or twice to help me brake fast when needed ( before my disk brake upgrade). works wonders on steep hills as well when parallel parking or when stuck in traffic/ at a light.

Last edited by Lfepardo

Thorp:  You live in North Hollywood.  It doesn't get that cold there.  Humid, yes.  Cold, no.

The VW generic heat should be more than enough for your needs.

Sure, you could go the route of an Espar or Webasto gas heater, but in Hollywood you won't need that much heat.  You just need something to take the chill off when taking off at 6am and, more importantly, some way to defog the windshield.  The generic VW heaters, especially if the output "heat" is routed to the front via Alan Merklin's or Troy sloan's methods, should be fully adequate for your greater LA needs.

I've gone the Espar gas heater route and it works very well, But.....   I live in New England and stretch my driving season into December in the 30 degree range and then pick it up in late Winter as soon as the salt is washed from the roads (again, in the 30's) and I've never had heater boxes so the gas heater was the way to go, for me. 

A complete Espar Airtronic B2 system, fully installed by a competent shop will run you about $2,000.    That's a lotta bucks for defroster heat and bragging rights.

Go with the VW heater boxes.  

and @Kevin - Bay Area  Driving at 45* with the top up?   With my heater, I would be in a tee-shirt!

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

I live in the Central Valley and have never needed heat for anything. I did install a 12V outlet to plug in a heated blanket for my wife. The one time I drove in 30* temps I wore a jacket, gloves, and face protection with the top down. The one time I got caught in a hail storm it was so cold the VW heat was cold. 

I’d go with the heated seats and forgo all the rest. I know you’re looking for authenticity in your build but authenticity and functionality may not necessarily come together in this equation. 

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