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Ok, I'll jump in here.  My car had a CB Performance 1915 with some mystery head work (Pat Down didn't tell me what he'd done) that ran well for 56k miles before I sold it on.  It was coupled to a Rancho Pro-Street transaxle with a 3.88 R&P.  Quick and responsive in traffic it would cruise for hours on the expressway at 80 even though that was 4000 RPM.  While the Weber carbs were my nemesis for a while, the rest of it was pretty low maintenance.  One point I'm hoping to make is that it isn't just displacement that matters.  When my car was built Beck offered two different 1915 engines - one was a tame, low maintenance 90hp model and  the other was a higher performance 125hp (like mine) that was capable of being souped up further.  While I can't vouch for the power rating, it was a strong engine that was quite happy at higher RPMs for long stretches.

Last edited by Lane Anderson
@MaxMartens posted:

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...



I'm not buying this. At all. The regular WRX was a 2.0 turbo at 221 hp. The 2.5 STi was around 300hp.

A stock 2.5 EJ25 is rated at 165-170 hp, whether SOHC or DOHC.

Even with headwork, exhaust and ECU changes, you aren't over 200 hp. John Steele doesn't magically get an extra 65hp on a street NA motor. I submit this is typical JPS BS with a little OCCF(Orange County Correction Factor).

Show me the dyno sheet.

Last edited by DannyP

I'm not the highway king, or even the daily milage king, but I took 2 trips from Illinois to the west coast and back in 2012 and 2014. Crossing the country, I averaged over 1000 mi/day, and gained some perspective regarding what makes a good road car, etc.

Almost nobody is going to want to use their car like I did (and will continue to) on those trips, but I've got a few observations.

Teby (who no longer stops in here much) made fun of me for waxing on and on about "touch points", but it's my personal belief that how comfortable you are every place you are touching the car is going to determine a lot about how you feel about driving it 1300 mi/day. If your seats hurt you in 200 mi., they're going to become instruments of torture after that. Similarly-- how is your position? Richard noted that the wind batters him around to the point that he's done driving after a couple hundred miles--  that can be corrected by getting behind the short windshield, and building a wind deflector to go behind your head (try it, you'll never go back). Cool weather, top down driving can be comfortable if you have some sort of hard side-curtain or roll-up window (shameless IM plug there) to stop the wind intrusion. Lots of guys have made nice acrylic side-curtains, and @Troy Sloan makes and sells "cruising windows"for this purpose. If you have comfortable seats mounted low enough in the car to get you behind the windshield, you have an effective wind-deflector behind your head, and you have the side curtains (or windows) - you can drive all day and into the night.

It's the same deal with the steering wheel and shifter - the places you touch the car. I'm a silverback gorilla, so even low in the car, I like to rest my left forearm on the top of the door, and rest my right one on the wheel.

I've gone on record as being one of the lone doubters regarding crazy-low tire pressures. I've tried it, and there's just no way I'm going to try to run 20 psi in my tires on purpose - the handling becomes a squishy, squirmy mess to say nothing of the terror I feel running half the rated pressure of the tire. I'm also very reluctant to add weight to a car that already seems too heavy for what it is, but I've got the "big tank" option, and carrying the extra fuel up front really does help. I'd like it to be lower and further forward in the car, but that creates some safety issues that most people would not be able to live with (the car becomes a bit of a bomb in the event of a front end collision like @Lane Anderson had).

The alignment and ride height are very, very important (like @DannyP said). Lower is better. Your car will become less of an airplane wing aerodynamically and you'll be less susceptible to cross-winds. There's a limit here, of course - but it's one of the reasons I dry-sumped (insert joke here @Robert M) my car - making the sump no longer the lowest point on the car gave me the confidence to drive it across time-zones without worry of emptying my oil on a pebble in the road. Nobody else is going to do this (even if they should), but you can get pretty low with a CB "thin-line" sump (and please do run a sump - the stock oil capacity is a joke).

@Sacto Mitch wondered about the "happy place" with engines. There's a school of thought regarding engine speed that advocates running 4000 RPM on the highway - the idea being that the fan speed at higher RPMs provides cooler running. I'll buy that for spirited drives in high-load situations (driving like a hooligan in the mountains) - but in my experience on the Great American Open Road, running higher RPM makes the engine run hotter. The absolute sweet-spot is about 3000- 3400 RPM. If you really, really want to drive 80 and you have a .89/3.88, you'll run hot.

And here's where I stand alone in this crowd. I'm not sure that having an engine that will last 100k mi is really such an enormous deal, and here's why:

Most "car-guys" are like ADHD grade school boys. They buy/sell cars a lot. They get bored with the 986 and buy a 987.1. They decide they'd rather have a BMW for a bit, then move to a Mercedes SL. They go though their patriotic-phase and get a GT350. They get tired of that and trade for a 997. Their friends mock them so they buy a 992. They do this every 2 to 4 years and lose $10k- $20k every time they do. Why would I care if I need a new engine after 5 to 10 years of driving a car I'm going to keep? I'm STILL money ahead as compared to Mr. ADHD, and the process of an engine build can be a lot of fun. People wonder what's the matter with me and the musical engines I play with my car. I LIKE the mechanical process, and am always thinking of ways to improve it - this one's a rip-snorting firebrand, that one's a happy cruiser. I've been on a quest to find the sweet creamy center, which is probably not possible with a T1 - but it's been fun trying.

I like teh stock transaxle gearing with a .93 4th and a 3.44. It's not perfect, but it's as good as a guy can get with a 4-speed. I requires a ring and pinion that is generally NLA. Greg's long-legged gears replicate mine very closely with a custom mainshaft, a .82 fourth, and a 3.88 R/P. Almost everybody would like that for cruising or traveling on the highway.

What you want to do depends to a large extent on your expectations. Do you want to have a fun little car to zip around in for a year or two? Do you want to be the king of the mountain? Do you think you can be the boulevard bad-boy (you can't)?

... or are you the kind of guy who's a lifer - the guy who's still married to the girl-next-door, your high-school sweetheart, working the same job you started in back in your 20s. I'm not advocating for anything, but if your tendency is to make lemon-aid, rather than to go to the green-grocer to buy an orange, you can make the car into what you want it to be. Nobody knows what that is but you, and you probably don't know yourself until you are underway.

Welcome to the madness.

Last edited by Stan Galat

Totally agree, Stan. You hit on a bunch of great points. Right now, my trans is perfect for long-distance cruising.

But that really isn't what a Spyder is for, is it? I'm building a close-ratio 4 speed, with a tall first , a shorter 4th, and 2-3 evenly-spaced in between. I'd rather be King of the Mountain.

And before some guy says 5-speed, it's not in the cards in THIS car and THIS suspension. Not gonna happen. So we make do with a near-3000-dollar 4 speed.

@MaxMartens posted:

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.

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.

In order:

1.) 230hp from a NA 2.5 Subie would be impressive indeed. Stock they are about 165.

2.) The 3rd-4th gap suggests you've got the dreaded .82 4th gear with a stock 1.26 3rd. Tons of VW transmissions were made that way from the mid '90s through the late 2000s and called "freeway fliers." The transaxle I got with my Spyder was geared like that, with a 4.12 R&P even though the sheet that came with it said it was a 3.88. And I guess some guys like them. Certainly a 2.5 Soob has the nice wide, flat torque curve to pull it—even with the four-cam. But it still feels wrong....

3.) Ultra-light flywheels are some esoteric stuff and, as you know, not everyone's cuppa when used on a street car. For auto-x, hill climbs and the like though they'll save you a few 10ths.

4.) Yes! I nominate @chines1to bring such to Carlisle every year for the east coast boys to play with. Probably drum up some business!

You're in the wrong business, Stan.  With your esoteric analysis of an automobile's 'touch points', surely there are other occupations that would more suit your feng shui approach to design.

Feng Shui:  The philosophy of feng shui is a practice of arranging the pieces in living spaces (insert car here) in order to create balance with the natural world (insert speedster driver happiness). The goal is to harness energy forces and establish harmony between an individual (insert speedster driver) and their environment (or car, that is).

But what you write is so true about the fit and feel of a car. 

Lots of great points, Stan, especially this:  

"If you have comfortable seats mounted low enough in the car to get you behind the windshield, you have an effective wind-deflector behind your head, and you have the side curtains (or windows) - you can drive all day and into the night."

I've got all of that, but at my slowly advancing age I'm pretty much all done after three hours.  I think it's the drone, and maybe my newly fitted "Ear Peace" ear plugs will give me a little longer drive time.  I can easily do a 3-4 hour jaunt around New England and my low-slung, Cabriolet-like seats stay comfortable - Way better than the 914 seats they replaced, so seat style, fit and position is critical.  

My F250 had what looked like shallow, almost bench-style, saddle-leather bucket seats.  They didn't look comfortable at all, from a "sports car" point of view, but we would put in 800 mile days on them two days in a row and felt good at the end of the day.  Somebody thought out their design to make them comfortable.

F250 interior

Back to the Speedster, My revs, with a .89 fourth and a 3:88 rear, are usually under 3500 on a highway and I do as many highway miles as back roads.  That gearing is great for Interstates, but I end up stroking between 2nd and 3rd a lot on back roads.  Life is a compromise, isn't it?   I just adapt and keep my foot in it.  Getting up between 3750-4000 on a highway doesn't bother me, nor do I see it running appreciably hotter, but that could be due to my extra cooler and it's size and good air flow back there.  

Whenever I'm out there on I-90/95 or others, I'm reminded of Norm Brust and his original '62 Cabriolet.  Put him on a highway and he ALWAYS ran at around 80+ and close to 4K rpm and did that for well over 100K miles with nary a problem.  These are tough little engines.  They'll take it

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@msjulie I have the advantage, perhaps, of having a roll bar in my car, so I used that to hold my windblocker.  I went to local glass place and bought a bunch of the glass channel used for car door windows and attached that to the inside of the roll bar, then slid a piece of 1/4" thick plexiglass up into the channel.  To hold it in place I used another piece of window channel across the bottom and attached that to the roll bar at the ends.

All I have is a show shot with a couple of NASA Martians trying to figure out how to jump start the car, but look closely at the roll bar and you'll get the idea:

IMG_0220

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Last edited by Gordon Nichols

Stan your way of framing this hobby certainly consolidates the pieces in our heads and puts them out on paper in a way that we can read our thoughts or rather your reading ours and formulating a truer vision, one that is more realistic anyway.

My first real highway drive was in an IM speedster and I thought my hair follicles were going to come out they seemed to be Crying out to me for help.  The top of my head ached for at least 20 mins as I have hair.

I had to get my head below the windshield and I did in a roadster but the roadster seats were too short.

I finally built an IM with Recaro seats and drove them Low and back as far as IM could make them fit and I am now well below the top of the windshield.   I thought of a wind screen, not sure I like the modern look, but the roll up windows works also if I do get too hot or the roll up windows don't cut it I can pop the top up and have the rear window open and folded down.  

I drove 12 hours daily top down, south on Hwy #1 and no body issues.    

FWIW I also have a 5th but  if I was trying to get the drivetrain noise lower the R&P could be dropped lower as it sits,  with the engine running at 3K to cruise at 70mph the engine is responsive and you hardly have to press the throttle to be flying at 85mph.  

BTW Ed, I thought of E6 when I was building but with little experience with that engine we opted for a SOHC.  NAspirated no turbo launch switch for me, and from all my research the SOHC and DOHC builders are very creatively, shilling us stating hp # above 200hp.

I is now 6 years that I  have built and received my car.  Wow, time has flown and every winter my project list adds some options so the crazyness continues and have no desire for any other vehicle, am I getting old or what.  Maybe I am being affected ... covidly yours,  Ray

I like the shape even more than I like the Puma, but I never warmed up to the orange trim on the side.  It goes with a few colors and not with others, but it's actually metal trim with horizontal ribs and it is set into an inset on the side panels, so it can't be easily deleted.  I could learn to live with it, though.

While we're talking about an engine upgrade I think I'd want 4-wheel disks and maybe a Cool-Ryde front suspension conversion.

Last edited by Lane Anderson

People confuse crank hp and rear wheel hp. Completely different numbers. Do that Subi dyno sheet at crank numbers and they will be more in line with posted numbers generally seen, ie bigger numbers. Crank number sound better. ...Playing with numbers... just saying. Talk up a motor, use crank numbers... talk down a motor, use RWHP... Got a killer motor?! Show us the RWHP!!

Also, very few here have VW dyno sheets posting their HP, and probably most rated 120 VW HP numbers are crank HP also... Just saying. Same goes for 90 HP numbers, and probably original Porcshe HP ratings... The factory's generally rate at the crank. Aftermarket will put it on a chassis dyno.

But that is ok, enjoy the build and HP you have!

I can't vouch for JPS's Subie DOHC JDM motor's HP numbers. Trumped up? (sorry) Its a strong revvy engine regardless of the actual crank HP or rear wheel HP.

Any doubts?... I'll run ya... I have the power I have.

All for fun guys... don't take it too seriously with our plastic Corgi cars lol. Enjoy yours, and I'll enjoy mine. And mine is a coupe with attitude.

@MaxMartens posted:

People confuse crank hp and rear wheel hp. Completely different numbers. Do that Subi dyno sheet at crank numbers and they will be more in line with posted numbers generally seen, ie bigger numbers. Crank number sound better. ...Playing with numbers... just saying. Talk up a motor, use crank numbers... talk down a motor, use RWHP... Got a killer motor?! Show us the RWHP!!

Also, very few here have VW dyno sheets posting their HP, and probably most rated 120 VW HP numbers are crank HP also... Just saying. Same goes for 90 HP numbers, and probably original Porcshe HP ratings... The factory's generally rate at the crank. Aftermarket will put it on a chassis dyno.

But that is ok, enjoy the build and HP you have!



I respectfully disagree. Car guys are definitely smart enough to differentiate between crank readings and wheel/chassis dyno numbers. On a type1 VW trans, you typically lose 15-20%. Here's my engine dyno sheet from Jake in Georgia, before my crankfire ignition, dry sump system, and now EFI. This is on Weber 44 IDF and an 009 dizzy:

XLS Danny T1

So, I've got 138 to 145 hp at the wheels, give or take. In a 1500 pound car.

I still say that 230hp(John Steele) number is BS, and BS shouldn't be repeated.

Anyway, I ain't skeered. And yes, I do enjoy the heck out of my car.

Cheers.

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Last edited by DannyP

Petrolicious 911T 1969

2250lbs

0-60 9.8 secs

6 cyl   155hp  141 Ft-Lbs (191 NM)    2.2L

Interesting reasons for owning this car.

"The 911 T was the most stripped-down model in the range, and arguably the most pleasurable experience because of it. No excessive luxuries or functionality to take away from a pure driving experience. Read more about this maximally minimalist Porsche and go behinds the scenes during the making of this film at http://petro.li/911TGallery"  

One of the most fun things about these cars, I think, is how fast they feel. Low and light and open gives such a different experience from sitting three feet up in your Panamera or whatever, cocooned in leather and Blaupunkt-in Vivaldi, texting Kayleigh to find out when practice is over.

It's the difference between acceleration and exhilaration.

Make no mistake: The soccer mommy in the Porsche SUV will beat you, Max. And me and Danny. The Panamara will soundly thrash any of us, even Cory Drake, whose Revell-badged clown car is capable of pulling wheelies on launch. Six hundred twenty horsepower is a lot of hp, and 3.0 seconds to 60 is very fast.

What most guys still don't realize is, it's been about a decade since there was any use in trying to make these cars hang with modern sports and GT cars on the track or street. You might as well try launching yourself "to Mars" with a steam-powered ski jump over the Snake River Canyon.

This huge gap between fantasy and reality is part of what gives rise to the "Orange County Correction Factor" crank HP numbers guys like John Steele (and many others) insist on advertising. Boys who like toys like big horsepower numbers. It's a fact!

But it doesn't matter.

The clown cars' magic is how death-defying they feel even at normal highway speeds. Most times, even 180 horsepower in a 1650-pound Speedster replica is enough to overwhelm the suspension. You're driving for your life, at 10/10ths, within five seconds of putting your foot down. Every time.

That's exhilaration. Now, the acceleration is still pretty good. My guess is Danny's car is in the low 5s— maybe high 4s—to 60 in the real world. A NA Suby-powered Speedster would likely be a couple 10ths slower, depending on gears. Marty's turbo Suby is gonna clock in a 10th faster, probably. That's an honest 265 HP. Ask Cory what his 60-foot slip was. His car weighs about 1200 pounds and the big Type IV he has was built to pull.

Now, the IMs (like Marty's) with 911 suspension bits can certainly safely handle more power than the beam-and-swingaxle cars. I'm sure the new Beck chassis will be as good, if not better. So it's not unreasonable to predict that, in a few years, modernized clown cars with 350 hp and more will be available to the midlife crisis masses. And they will be glorious 3-second-to-60 machines.

But you gotta ask yourself...will they be more fun?

^ that, all day long.

I once bought a JPS speedster with a "110 hp" 1776: stock heads, stock crank (not even couterweighted), stock internals, with a 90.5 Mahle kit, a W110 cam, and dual ICTs that had never been tuned. It breathed through an EMPI "Monza" exhaust with the dual tips cut off and single pipes welded in their place. If that engine made more than 75 hp at the crank, I'll eat my hat.

Also, has anyone actually witnessed Cory's car pulling the wheels?

Last edited by Stan Galat
@Stan Galat posted:

Also, has anyone actually witnessed Cory's car pulling the wheels?

No. For all the hype attributed to that car, I've not seen the same in the real world. Nobody knows what it actually weighs either.

We did run on I-76 back to Mechanicsburg, and I pulled several car lengths on him each time of three times. Jeni was in the passenger seat of his and Chuck Heath was right seat in mine. LennyC and Todd El Taher and wife Sarah also witnessed this. Ended up in the 110 mph range.

Right after that, a hopped-up Miata tried spanking my Spyder. He failed as well.

Fortunately, we all slowed down to a reasonable pace(under 70), there was a PA State Trooper lying in wait. Didn't get a one that day.

Last edited by DannyP

On my recent (last week) bike season kickoff, I stopped by Rich MacKoul's shop on the other side of town and his son, Jessie, asked if I saw his wife's new ride out front.  It turned out to be a twin-turbo V6 4-door Panamera which has now been chipped up to around 480hp which should shave a little off the stock, published 0 to 60 time of 3.6 secs.

What really gave me a chuckle about @edsnova's piece, is that her license plate says:

"HKYMOM"

Ya gotta love it.

Each of us find what we're looking for in our clown cars. Some want perfect replication, some want a sleeper that will blow the doors off those boyz in their new Camaros, some want a car that puts a smile on the face of bystanders while being comfortable to drive for a few hours. To each his or her own.

My old supercharged Miata did 0-60 in 4.25 seconds but had way too much power for me to EVER bring home a first place trophy in Solo II (couldn't have been the driver so it must have been lighting up the rear tires too much).

My old franken911 turbo did 0-60 in the mid-3 second range and would light up the 10" rear tires at 45mph if you stepped on it. I never raced it or spun it even though it was sitting on the old 1982 SC suspension design. I built the engine to handle up to 700 crank HP, but kept the boost restricted to 425 at the crank. It really didn't need any more. It was simply a beast that you had to respect or it would kill you.

When I built the speedster, I was looking for something different. I didn't want to worry about overtaxing a 50 year old chassis or getting wiggly going around a corner because I was tempted to light them up. I wanted the comfy seats and something that you didn't see everyday. I built what I wanted.

Each of us should buy or build the thing that fits what we want at our time in life. But, we shouldn't take offense that other members of the clown car club don't have the same vision or desire for their cars. Make it your own and appreciate what others have done to do the same.

That being said, I do want to see Hoopty do a wheelie. Maybe @MusbJim can do a video for me???

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