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I think many (and some here) miss the point of a classic car (even if it is a replica). Many old cars have classic lines. The 356 bathtub has better lines than most, timeless even. The rich guys think their 356 should be as fast and luxurious as the modern Porsche or Merc. Ya 0-60 in seconds flat. Hit 100 like nobodies business.

Fact is, most of these replica 356's are faster than the originals. And disposable enough to take more risk with them. V8 horsepower in a 356 body is unrealistic - sure a few have done it.

I laugh at the guys who can't handle that a 356 is slower than the modern Porsche - they don't get it. But I agree... a faster than original 356 is fun, and desirable. Within reason! Also remember there is very little in the way of safety built into these cars.

My Subaru powered coupe gets the extra power easily. No its not a rocketship, but it will keep my attention on the mountain curves and not bog or overheat on the grades. I can over drive the relatively skinny tires on it - they will howl. ...Two nice advantages to think of... A/C is not required on an open car. Skin cancer is avoided in a coupe! Lol An air cooled VW engine can have good power too, but they can be/are more finicky. ...Yet I drove my dual carbed Karmann Ghia without worry in Las Vegas Nv. It was a faster VW.

There are reasonable guys & eccentric guys... Takes all kinds. And its fun (and maybe expensive) to have that one off original replica. Build it your way!

Just to keep the HP reasonable for these vehicles in perspective:

The 901/911 began in 1965 with a 1991cc/130 HP engine.

The earlier 550 had a 1498cc/110 HP engine.

The highest HP for a 356 was 95. I have owned a 1965 356SC coupe for 47 years. It is quieter and smoother than my 2019 VMC 2332cc/145 HP Speedster, but the latter is quicker and has more torque. Both have plenty of HP for their design, and are always great fun to take out for their road exercise.

Choosing Greg's larger engine now is about the same as choosing a "Super" over a "Normal" back in the '50s.

Enjoy the build process, and plan a few visits to Hawaiian Gardens to see how it is progressing.

I have Greg’s 2332 build with the A1 sidewinder I am generally happy plenty of power but having said that I would trade that power for a more 356 like smoothness. I believe these big engines have too long stroke, or is it the heads? I’m curious to know why they aren’t smoother. I think the ideal engine for these cars would be the Willhoit upgrade of the 356 engine but that’s 15k plus you Porsche 4banger. Another area to whine about is the tranny and final drive ratio. My car has a two speed, 1st is to get going 4th I never use so I’m always between 2nd and 3 rd they are not well matched for me. If I were to do it again I wood spend less on the engine and a lot more on the tranny. Please out there remember this whole experience is a learning curve and is enjoyable given the reasonable VW prices.Cheers. Next time let’s  talk about the frame and suspension, Mendeola anyone?

@R Thorpe posted:

I have Greg’s 2332 build with the A1 sidewinder I am generally happy plenty of power but having said that I would trade that power for a more 356 like smoothness. I believe these big engines have too long stroke, or is it the heads? I’m curious to know why they aren’t smoother. I think the ideal engine for these cars would be the Willhoit upgrade of the 356 engine but that’s 15k plus you Porsche 4banger. Another area to whine about is the tranny and final drive ratio. My car has a two speed, 1st is to get going 4th I never use so I’m always between 2nd and 3 rd they are not well matched for me. If I were to do it again I wood spend less on the engine and a lot more on the tranny. Please out there remember this whole experience is a learning curve and is enjoyable given the reasonable VW prices.Cheers. Next time let’s  talk about the frame and suspension, Mendeola anyone?

Since I am already in the pixelated group I will comment.

Mr Thorpe, I think that is the dilemna when you are at the larger engine size then you have to look at the tranny gearing not matching the engine power ban.

The 3:44 with a 2110cc 140ish hp often had me between 2nd and 3rd somewhat lost till you got to the cruising speed.   So yes it worked but sometimes NOT..

When I decided to build a new one I chose full subie tranny and all and it has quite a nice ramp up between gears without dead spots as the 4sp had and also there is no requirement to keep the engine spinning at 3k with the broader power band/ torque band of the subie powertrain.  But you never get it right, as I would like to try a lower 5th so the madness is the continual upgrade path can hit you.

Mike,

I don’t know what to tell you, I have the 2332 with a souped up tranny with a 344 rear end. I would not like to be in the position of these builders, we and our desires are so different, I ordered my car in June and got it in November. Greg did a great job and I would not hesitate to recommend him, but he is not a mind reader. I believe that acquiring all the knowledge is what the boys here call “the madness”.

@ALB.  We need Al To comment on gear ratios here Always an interesting topic.

Your point regarding being a mind reader is a real valid point it also works both ways as many times you don’t know what questions to ask or what has been done or what your options truly are because hardly any cars are around for you to try or what the differences are between one model or another one tranny or another one engine or another hence the continual upgrade when you find someone else’s car has a nice feature that you should or you could have. So in the end if you could have all the possible option choices in one selection book it might help you then there is the complicated understanding that a builder has a standard offering and a process flow for building his cars where too many options may interrupt and affect his bottom line

Last edited by IaM-Ray

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@R Thorpe , we've had endless discussions here about gearing for these cars and the problems inappropriate gearing causes. A little searching through the archives will turn up all kinds of treatises, diatribes, scholarly works, impassioned position papers, and more than a little horse pucky. I may have even contributed to some of the above, but I won't tell you in which category.

I think the problem at base is that the stock VW transaxle was geared for a 25 hp motor and most of us are running way more than that. Also, roads and expected cruising speeds are a lot different today than they were in 1955. The modern cars we're all used to driving have more than four forward gears. Most, way more.

I agree, we should put at least as much thought into choosing gearing as into how much engine we're buying, but we tend to have a better gut feel for how different power levels will feel in a car than we understand gearing. For most, this is the first car where we've even had to think about gearing, and we usually don't find that out until it's too late.

These cars are about as different from Toyotas and Hondas as it's possible to be. Probably the best advice is to drive as many of them as you can before deciding on the specs for your car.

Last edited by Sacto Mitch
@R Thorpe posted:

I have Greg’s 2332 build with the A1 sidewinder I am generally happy plenty of power but having said that I would trade that power for a more 356 like smoothness. I believe these big engines have too long stroke, or is it the heads? I’m curious to know why they aren’t smoother. I think the ideal engine for these cars would be the Willhoit upgrade of the 356 engine but that’s 15k plus you Porsche 4banger. Another area to whine about is the tranny and final drive ratio. My car has a two speed, 1st is to get going 4th I never use so I’m always between 2nd and 3 rd they are not well matched for me. If I were to do it again I wood spend less on the engine and a lot more on the tranny. Please out there remember this whole experience is a learning curve and is enjoyable given the reasonable VW prices.Cheers. Next time let’s  talk about the frame and suspension, Mendeola anyone?

Could you explain that in a little more detail?  Do you know what ring & pinion is in your transaxle?  Do you mean you don't like the gap between 2nd and 3rd?  I'm guessing 1st through 4th gears are stock VW?  Please elaborate...   Al

And my apologies to Greg at VM (because I don't know)- does anybody know what's in their 3.88 transaxle that makes it a $2,000 upgrade?

PS- does anybody have a favorite online gear ratio calculator?  My 2 faves (MFactory and John Maher Racing) are both out of commission.  I know there are others out there...

Last edited by ALB
@R Thorpe posted:

My R&P is 3.44 and yes the revs in second are too high then the shift to third the revs are too low, forth is useless for the kind of driving I do. I go on the freeway reluctantly. The times I’ve returned the car to Vintage  30 very scary freeway miles away I’ve had it flat bedded.

Do you not like the revs at freeway speeds?  Or what is it about the freeway drive you don't like?  So you'd like to close up the 2nd-3rd hole a little bit and shorten 4th as well?  What speed range do you see as being useful in 4th?  Do you know what you have for 4th now?  How high is the engine revving in 4th when at 70 mph?

PS- Do you like 1st and 2nd?

Last edited by ALB

I did not get the $2,500 transmission upgrade. I did get the 3.88/.89 combo at no extra cost. I have "flown on the freeway" a few times to Hawaiian Gardens (30 miles each way) with no problems. The biggest freeway problem is staying out of the way of large trucks and folks in a hurry. Staying with 70MPH+ traffic is not a problem. I don't notice any significant gaps when going up and down through the gears. 2nd in my 356 is a little short, while 3rd is a little long. The 3.88/.89 gives me plenty of torque when accelerating in 4th.

Some roughness can be expected in our VW based hot rods. I think it's part of the fun!

@R Thorpe posted:

I just don’t like the feeling on the freeway surrounded by large objects people on cell phones and the car weaves all over the place, I think I need some more caster but we’ve discussed a lot here, and 70 is all the blowing around my old head can take.

Yeah, I get it- we are vulnerable out there.  Do you know if your car has caster shims under the front beam?  Does it have offset spindles or is all the drop done by beam adjustment?  Does it seem like you're always correcting (and sometimes over-correcting) at freeway speeds?

Yes it has one set of caster shims and measures about 2.5 degrees.I have another set but putting them in is more complicated than on a regular VW. The front bumper attaches to the beams and I have the 356style handbrake that passes through and the mechanism attaches to the beams so adding a set of shims to make about 5 deg (ideal) is a pain. I’m all over the place at freeway speeds so soon I will add the shims. Cheers.

Richard

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The very light front end doesn't help stability in cross winds one bit, especially in sharp blasts from passing trucks.

And the front end is very sensitive to tire pressure, too. Lowering it a few pounds can help a lot.

But there's still no getting around the fact that these cars were never intended to cruise effortlessly at 80 mph. Sixty was considered 'fast' in 1955 for a road car. There are very good reasons they completely redesigned the front end of the 911.

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Last edited by Sacto Mitch

Mitch,

And I am happy with that, I avoid the freeway and when I’m on it I go slow and stay to the right. I’ve temp tested my fronts and get 23.5 as the best pressure and I’ve added about 25 lbs of lead each side of the battery. It all helps. I still need to c get the caster to 5. I took them a while with the 911 the 1970 I had had two batteries each in a cubby in front of the front wheels for the same reasons. The SWB cars had steel weights in the front bumpers.

BTW the lead I put in my car I bought when I must have been stoned one day and decided to go to one battery in the smugglers box. I replaced the 2 Porsche batteries with blocks of lead to maintain the weight in the right place. I came to my senses and went back to two batteries and kept  the lead.

@R Thorpe check your tire pressure, especially in front. Take it down to 20 and see if she's less squirrelly.

FWIW, getting on the highway for the first time each spring with either the Spyder (1914cc/ Stock Bug gears with 3.44 r&p, .93 4th) or the TD (EJ22 Subaru, same gears) is always disconcerting. After a winter in a Corolla, it just feels dangerous.

By the third time out it feels normal.

I run 16 lbs in the TD's front tires and 22 in the Spyder. Both track well even in the wind.

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I have 'gotten used' to the Speedster's handling on the highway, but as Ed notes, it's very different from modern cars.

For me, the freeway is just a 'transit zone' to and from the roads I really want to be driving on. I drone along at 70 in the right lane, and it's pretty stable on a smooth surface, but you need to stay awake. I originally had one shim on each side, but we removed one to correct for a pull in the steering to one side. (This is probably due to a problem with setting up the steering box, but that's a whole other discussion.) I don't notice any tendency to actually bump steer, but see below.

On rough, secondary roads, I need to stay really focused on the road surface. Ruts and potholes are not your friends. This suspension seems more easily deflected by them than in modern cars. It just feels like less grip than we're used to.

If you watch any old footage of these cars being raced in the '50s and '60s, you'll see drivers wildly sawing away through the corners as the rear alternately grips and slides and they try to keep up. Much less smooth than today.

These be wild and wooly machines.

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Last edited by Sacto Mitch

80-100mph ALL DAY LONG in my Spyder is effortless(0.89 4th and 3.44 final) on freeways. I've driven many times to Carlisle, 235 miles from my house. My car tracks and rides well, and is not particularly sensitive to bumps or wind. I would submit that your car needs some setup work if it doesn't behave well.

Alignment(especially), balance, ride height, shocks, tires, pressures: it all matters. Easy peasy in that car.

I would submit that the 4.12 R&P was for the 50 hp cars and the 3.88 was for 60hp late cars, pretty much. 25hp? Those had a 4.37 or less.

And Spyders weighed 1100-1200 pounds so that 110 hp 4-cam moved them along pretty well. My 180 is better, but the car weighs 1500.

The whole reason Spyders exist is the Speedsters and coupes were getting handed their asses on the racetrack. Porsche didn't like that.

Last edited by DannyP
@R Thorpe posted:

I just don’t like the feeling on the freeway surrounded by large objects people on cell phones and the car weaves all over the place, I think I need some more caster but we’ve discussed a lot here, and 70 is all the blowing around my old head can take.

BTW

I added another shim.  Gave me almost 6*

Calmed the car down at highway speeds.

But I think I like the car how it was before.

Will see once it warms back up and I get some more miles on it.

Just to add some perspective to this discussion:

My previous VS was a 1995 with 1776cc, 34mm Kadrons, 3:88 trans (freeway flyer). I later upgraded engine to 1835cc, kept same 34mm Kadrons, added 1.25 rockers, A-1 Sidewinder, external oil cooler. This was my daily driver for 15 years, logged 100,000 relatively trouble-free miles (161,000 Km) on an embarrassingly lax maintenance schedule (tune-up 13,000+ miles, oil change 10,000+ miles). It would cruise all day at freeway speeds driving it up and down California, as well as through Nevada (desert), Utah (mountains), Colorado Rockies at 10,000+ft elevations without any issues.Calendar Pismo

Lost that car in an accident and used settlement money to buy my current VS. 1915cc with mild cam, 40mm Kadrons, A-1 Sidewinder exhaust, 3:88 trans (freeway flyer), 4-wheel discs, external cooler. Don't drive it as often as previous VS because I keep it in my son's garage 20 miles away but still drive it 3 times a week and in 5 years have logged 45,000 relatively trouble-free miles.980784_10209215314043841_153670275360784566_o

I'm not Racer-X or Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, just a cruiser. However, both cars have been peppy enough for adrenaline rush pushing on those winding canyon and mountain roads, and can cruise all day at 80mph on long-distance freeway trips.

I drive within the car's capacity, let all the boulevard racers, Lambos, Corvettes, WRX (etc) go by without feeling like a lesser man and have NO angst about which oil I use, if 1st or 3rd gear is too short, wheel caster or whatever. All I know is that every time I get in, turn the key and drive off grinning like an idiot, I know it's gonna be a good day!

Your mileage may vary! (I love that phrase, thanks to @Stan Galat)

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Last edited by MusbJim

I have my gear ratios for my JPS car but not in front of me at this moment. Four cam Subaru motor at roughly 230 HP. Gear ratios still need to be right. I will have to double check my ratios & r & p before I mis speak on gearing...

But I have a tall first. Not easy to take off with, especially on a grade. 4th is tall also. I have to rev 3rd pretty good to pull 4th. I consider 4th as being too much of an overdrive. Freeway is good at 70-80+ and motoring. In the mountain curves 4th is too tall and I have to really haul a$$ to pull 4th or run hi rev's in 3rd. I think its called freeway flyer gearing. I hate the freeway in my car. Not at all what I want to drive on with a cornering machine. I would prefer a tighter 4th and sacrifice freeway flying. 2nd & 3rd are spot on and give excellent results.

Using my Karmann Ghia history (1641) and this JPS trans (Rancho?) feel, I would want a taller than stock 1st and close ratio 3rd & 4th, and a 3.88 r & p (with VW power).

No one has talked of flywheel weight. I think 10 lbs is a standard hi-po flywheel weight (vs 18 lbs stock?) for built VW's. My Ghia had a 4 lb aluminum flywheel with a steel ring gear for reliability starting. It went through the gears super quick. It was set-up for autocross and accelerated very briskly on the streets. I could redline 4th lol. Of course everybody's needs are different.

It would be cool to have a base test car, bigger VW engine and three or four transmissions with different gears to evaluate.

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There's another issue here that I don't see discussed too often and would like to see some feedback on - the question of long-distance cruising speed and engine longevity.

I've been told these engines (VW Type 1) may rev to 5000 or 6000, but if you want them to last, you should keep long-distance, steady-speed driving under 3500 rpm. This is mainly why I cruise at 70 on the freeway (which comes in at 3300 with my gearing and tires). I could switch to taller tires and drop the revs a little, but I like the torque I get with this gearing, and it's perfect for the foothills driving I do the most. And I know a 3.44 would be too tall for my engine.

Also, there's the question of whether switching to taller gears to lower cruising revs is necessarily any easier on the engine as this increases engine load.

My engine sounds most relaxed just under 3000. There, it just lopes along with the throttle barely cracked. It's just a little less so at 3200, but by 3500 it sounds like it's starting to work. I take it to 4500-5000 merging onto freeways, and have had it up to 100 with no sounds of protest, but it just sounds happiest on a long cruise if I take the advice of keeping it under 3500.

After 30,000 miles, oil consumption is less than a quart between changes and there's no blue smoke at any time. Am I being unnecessarily cautious?

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Last edited by Sacto Mitch

I have an older Kirk built Vintage Speedster with a 2276 that I sourced from Greg at Vintage. The motor however was mine and it came out of a dune buggy/sandrailer. I'm only running 1.25:1 rockers and 9.4:1 compression and a Webcam 86b with 105 LSA. I haven't experienced any overheating, but I'm also running external oil coolers. I don't drive much on the freeway, but the Speedster does see spirited run's on the I-5 and on the back roads of San Diego County. I've reached 150 kph after merging on to the I-5 easily, but then immediately backed off. I can drive this car around town in 3rd gear if I wanted to, but I don't. On one hand, it's a stump puller and I can short shift it all day long - but I don't. The torque comes in very very very low and I often shift before 3K rpm. 3000 - 3250 RPMs on the I-5 gets me to where I need to go and I can be in the middle lanes, but I prefer the right lane. So on one hand, the engine is perfect for street performance. But on the other hand, it's almost boring to drive and I got what I wanted. So when the time came to rebuild my 1.6 in my '69 912, rather than going Renegade with a monster VW T4, I decided to have the Porsche engine rebuilt and it will be a 1.7 with approx 125-127 HP that won't mind living at high RPMs (but still driveable on the street).  I prefer driving slow cars fast than a fast cars slow so much that I parted with my water-cooled 997 C2S 911.

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