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So, some of you know that I added another car to my mini-fleet. If you haven’t heard, it is a very solid KG coupe that I picked up via Bring a Trailer back in September. Here is the listing:

Plenty of photos and a nice little video within. As you’ll see, it’s a pretty nifty and solid car. The seller had only recently acquired it from the previous owner of 27 years. Supposedly, the clutch pedal and the new owner’s arthritis did not see eye to eye.B2923C9A-2D5D-44F4-B16B-C22921FA3767

Crash Test Dummy Guy


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But wait you say! Why are you babbling on about a Karmann Ghia project here?

Well, I am a past owner of a Beck Speedster, met many of you wonderful guys and gals over the course of 7-8 years. I’ve attended Carlisle 6 out of the past 7 years and sell you all the t-shirts year after year.

So I’ve been around and thought you’d enjoy following along on this project.9B8B367C-2F2C-40A9-88C0-4752A26F009689CA3640-92E7-47D8-B7A3-579AE359D3FB


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The Beetle above has something to do with the project. A couple of years back, I took it down to Carey and the Special Edition bidy shop for a little repair work caused by one of the many suicidal deers roaming our great country. Omce down there, it’s about a 200 mile trip from my home, the Beetle had developed an oil cooler leak. In my case, the oil cooler is within the fan shroud and had spread a wonderful mist of oil all over the engine bay.

That said, the Bug needed a liitle attention and that’s where my friend Scott Hansen stepped up to the plate. I am really not a wrench as many of you know. I met Scott at our local, annual VW Club show. I had my Beck Speedster on display and Scott stopped to talk Speedsters. He told me he was in the middle of a long build on his CMC. He lived out near my general area and we would bump into each other over the years at other shows etc.

Finally last June, Stan Galat had a reason to come up to visit me and fortunately it was the same day as the annual VW Show again. Stan has been following Scott’s build here since he finally started showing some of his progress here and on the Facebook page.

So Stan and I made it to the show and as luck would have, Scott was finally able to drive his creation and there it was. And what a beautiful job he has done so far. It’s not finished yet, but what is there is a masterpiece. Scott is a great craftsman and his Speedster  shows off his skills.

Here’s a few shots from that meeting. Stan and Scott enjoyed the brief encounter and we also got to meet Scott’s brother who has his own dune buggy and Beetle, also very nicely put together.  Mike is a cabinet maker by trade and rebuilt the 356 wheel on Scott’s Speedster.DEEC8794-7D44-4EAA-AADF-C5C119D71F750DA3C5D0-FCC6-4FF6-9FB4-7091EDBFD8BEC7A8E07B-37C5-464E-A61F-3F602F40EBEBA26EC658-7593-4BB4-8FFF-C8361AD3AFC73CC582AD-4554-476D-8FB2-78FA2FCFD4F3


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Bob: IM S6 posted:

Rich.  If Marty can post about his Alfa restoration, there is no issue with you doing the same about a Ghia (which is, of course, rear engined and air cooled).  We all love cars, and love to hear about someone's current project.  By the way, that is a beautiful Ghia - reminds me of the two I have owned.

And if whats'is face, trolling for work (and asking questions but never actually contributing anything), can show us all the wonderful projects he works on, your Ghia is more than welcome here, Rich, and much appreciated. I'm looking forward to seeing what you do.

5FF86830-2B73-4032-984A-ADD7576CCF5161AF5050-DB8A-41C1-9BF9-A7CC203D27DD33F8CFA5-032E-4BE8-ADF4-5F0B81DEFAF98899B138-AF6D-4B3D-80CA-B5C10EDE96C140DAFDCD-73C7-42C6-87B7-663F61BC2A9DIt was at this VW Show that Scott had learned about my Beetle oil cooler leak. Sure enough, around early October, Scott got in touch and said he’d like to help me out. I  I had just had the Ghia delivered and I said c’mon over and we can talk. That weekend he stopped by on a Saturday mornig, quickly ascertained that the oil cooler was probably leaking. Scott mentioned it would be just as easy to remove the engine of the Beetle to get at the shroud.

At this point, the conversation got interesting. We moved over to the Ghia to take a closer look and Scott agreed that it looked very nice and straight and solid. He took a quick peek at the pan and thought it looked really good.

As the other Scott (Mendeola suspension on Speedster post) mentioned how he became enamored with Kevin Zagar’s Mendeola kits, so had I. And I had strarted to imagine how these kits could transform my new Ghia. It was money and the skills to do it. I hinted to Scott that maybe he could be my savior for such a project and he hardly flinched. “Yes,” he said, “I’d be willing if I can convince my wife.”

Within a week or so we were off to the races. I contacted Kevin to question him on the scope and availability of his kits. He was positive about the project and soon kevin, Scott and I had nice conversation. Kevin and Scott talked the same language while I was thinking about financing (my function).

Long story short, The engine came out of the Ghia and installed into my bug in about 4 hours a week or so later.This was done in hopes of attracting a quick sale of my Beetle that would help in the financing department. Regardless, no quick sale emerged, it’s still in there for now.

The engineless Ghia was tralered over to Scott’s shopfor the preliminary work. The engine bay was one of the shortcomings of the Ghia. It just hadn’t been cleaned up properly compared to the rest of the car.

Trying to keep himself on task, Scott started to attack that project while he waited for me to get the big parts ordered from Zagar. That stuff is now on order, should be here within a week I hope. 

Meanwhile, Scott sends me these photos yesterday to show me his excellent progress. He had already discovered a rust patch under where the battery used to sit. I got him a new replacement and new sheet metal for the rear fender void that was covered in a stock cardboard material. You can see some of Scott’s metal work already now that it is all shined up. I am impressed!


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There was one small rust spot under where the battery was normally placed on the Ghia. Both sides had been patched with a couple of small aluminum panels.. As you can see, Scott has already attended to these.

once the body comes off we’ll be able to see what’s going on with the pan. Our hopes are there will be little to know work other than a good clean up and maybe a good paint job. Finders crossed until that happens.

This is what it looked like before the engine came out and where the 2016 cc  sits in my Beetle for now.240C6D5C-BDE5-42C3-9A2C-9505DE8DB7887DDD27DF-6E27-46B0-A198-D5120CB32C19


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As things progress along this winter, I am finding my own parts of this project that I can actually do or arrange. Consider me the “Mike of Wheeler Dealers.” 

Throughout this early portion of the project I have been scouring the internet for other ideas etc. I cameacross this Australin mad max guy, bulder of monsters and racing of same. He also has a daily driver KG that he has installed some 911 SC seats into. It immediattely got me thinking that I neededto do the same since it looks like they fit nicely with very little work.

I found a decent set in eBay and have them in my possesion now. I’ll need to get them resurfaced etc., probably in black leater and maybe Alcantra inserts...Kevin Zagar suggests seats that hold you in place once you make the move to the Mendeola suspension.

Here is Wayne Penrose’s Ghia (he can be found on Facebook and other sites via Google) with his 911 seats installed. My Ghia currently has a very nicely done cloth interior that I don’t want to redo right now, but figure I can get these 911 seats to work well within.

My 911 seats are all analog adjustments so there is not electric controls to concern myself with. I believe a slight adjustment tothe existing Ghia seat supports to accept the sliders that is all needed.


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Oh, ya, I have decided to go with covering my 911 seats in grey leather rather than black. I stumbled onto a supplier from MA, The price and quality seems right for this project. Not everything has to be top shelf, though I do have a friend in DC thay put these into his 250k mile ‘80 Targa and he sent me photos.

The medium grey seems to work better with all the grey cloth in there now and the better comfort of the 911 seats should be a welcome addition once I get back inside of this thing.F9E5CF89-7642-4D58-B158-1E49408318FDCF92FC70-9534-4B5E-A9D5-B323D80E9B5E9BB09843-711A-45A8-BE53-F7AA5EA64162


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A bubch of us faced off on the SOC FB page last night and today. Most of you here were threre. The fact that I fell in love with these wheels had a lot to do with the fact that they actually fit the guidelines set by Kevin Zagar. Of course there are plenty of other wheels that I like and may have looked cool. The problem was that most didn’t fit. Now, I have to keep my fingers crossed that Tire Rack doesn’t sell the last set in America by the time I call on Monday when my charge card billing cycle starts again. I need a good tax refund to help me out of this problem.

In the spirit of other cars we have or have had. I was thinking of a VW Beetle I had that we installed a Corvair flat 6 air cooled engine into. The engine was built to run in reverse of it's normal direction to work with the VW transaxle. We had other conversions like this that we flipped the ring and pinion in the transaxle instead. I remember the stock VW gearing  wasn't the best match for the Corvair engine. This engine shown in the VW pictured put out about 160 HP and 140 ft/lbs of torque. The reverse rotating engine caused oil to be thrown out the crank case vent tube. This was something of a problem if I remember correctly.

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That's similar to the engine I had in a Deserter Dune Buggy, back in the day.  I flipped the R&P on mine so I never had the oil belching issues but it was a lot of engine for stock transaxles back then.  Used it mostly for Autocross and had to do a bit to the pan suspension to get it to handle, but eventually it became a terror on the track.  The Northeast SCCA got too many complaints from people that got beat so they created a "Kit Car/Modified" class for it (E modified, IIRC - I think Piperato runs his Spyder in that class)  so I ended up racing against myself or for FTD.  Not a lot of fun after that so I sold it to a kid in Connecticut.  That was around 1972.

E mod is basically a tube frame car/race car. Non-production. SCCA doesn't care if it's a replica or not, only that it is non-production and tube frame. Where we differ on the Spyder from original is fiberglass rather than aluminum but that would probably still run the same class.

I believe that is how Carey and Co. does vintage racing with the 904: tube frame/fiberglass body(as original) and the original 904 had a 4, 6, and 8 in it originally.

All I remember was a lady Veterinarian from a couple towns over who would complain to the officials as soon as I showed up.  Before my Deserter came along she always used to win her class (Under 2.5 liters) and was more than a little upset when she started losing (wicked pissed doesn't begin to describe it.....Vocal, too).  She was good, but in a Dune Buggy, I had a driving brake and a lotta torque!  

After they put me in that other class (all by myself, back then) all I could shoot for was fastest time of the day and then I was competing against someone with a Lotus Seven - My God, but that thing could handle an Autocross track...  That's when it wasn't as much fun so I quit.

F1F3F8C1-DDA5-4E78-A8F2-C3D96268F2220587E235-4FD6-4D50-ADD6-14B0EF5D5061B3CE12AB-BD43-426C-A91C-08D999B91C8E42148995-9F9D-4C26-B239-B8F4BE6C5103EA1BD227-17AC-4043-BA1D-709F9C50890424C50A21-02D4-43FE-BF9A-D02CAFCCF9A07294A755-47C3-4108-8C9B-E724214A2B6AE43B02B7-7A4E-4220-AE7D-BCE7316B5AB35103CDD2-C291-4BB9-B143-BBA0FF0B63519BCDF385-5640-4720-8B9E-C3FC805C4F8EFBF09B93-A7E9-49B7-8D47-8D2DB2DDC8D8C2CD8B5A-86DD-43D7-8F6B-79805EA124237B99B3E0-A80E-455A-BCAC-226E8D52ED82Wow, it’s been a hectic month or so around here. First I had to put that stupid t-shirt project to bed. Then I am overseeing my wife’s project in Thailand and getting myself prepared for my upcoming 5 weeks over there. And then there is this little project, which is coming along SUPER!!! I have posting much of the progress on Facebook and then I remember there’s some of you guys that simply don’t go there. In a  nutshell, Scott got the body off, delivered it here to free up room in his tight garage where he has been doing some great quality work. He started taking of all the old suspension and brake stuff and then started getting the front bulkhead assembly welded to the pan. I stopped by one day and started to clean off all the old vw sound and insulation off the tooside of the pan. During that process we realized there was rust on the floor behind the driver seat. There was some fiberglass work on both sides and figured we would eventually see the same on the passenger side. We also decided that day that we would get the pan dipped so we could start on a fresh canvas. Mean while I ordered the two pans while the chassis went iff to the big tank. The pan pieces came in a day or two before the pan was finished last week Friday.

scott then made quick work of repairing the one pan, we got lucky, when we got the nice clean chassis back, only the driver side was hosed, everything else was very nice. Scott had to bang out a corner that must have been caused by catching the jack point on something and bending that pretty good.

I got my new seat covers to an upholsterer so the seats are in the works also, 911 seats if you hadn’t heard. Scott made some nice new brackets to accept the 911 seat rails, then a few more weld spots filling a hole or three.

Yesterday, 3/8 Scott painted the frame. Reassembly, some Dynamatting  etc. will start this coming week. I’ll be shiving off for Thailand on 3/18, burpt Scott will continue to olug away. He is like the Energizer Bunny and I really appreciate his diligence. He sourced a good tranny for me that should be here soon so he can install from the top before the body goes back on.

While all this has been happening, we have decided to have Scott build me a 2276 via CB Performance kit. The obvious exhaust and carbs and...will need to be ordered so Scott can bring ypthis thing to its foregone conclusion. The new engine will hopefully get finished up during the summer and maybe get some fall driving with the new powerplant. In the mean time, Scott will reinstall it so I can get some drive time this summer. I’m still hoping to sell my ‘69 bug to get some cash to help fund this project. Once it’s complete, it’ll be a nice kittle hot rod.

so here’s some photos of the past month or so, maybe not in the proper sequence, but you guys are smart enough to tell which goes where and when.


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AC Bruce, first of all I am having my new best bestest friend doing the work very familar with the VW. Scott Hansen, who has been building his own Speedster over the past # of years offered to help me. I would say if you are very familiar with the VW pann, you know how to weld well it is probable you could do it. If not the above, then maybe finding  someone to do it. I know Todd El Tahar attempted it on his Speedster back a few years. He didn’t use the Mendeola kit, but another brand. Too bad right after he got it finished he had engine troubles and has put the car in moth balls for now to attend ypto other family matters. The kit itself is put together nicely. Kevin Zagar at talked my buddy thru the basic steps and Scott was good at understanding the jist of the job. Without Scott, I personally would not be able to it, I know how to use a tool, but not for something like this. Of course, we are still a good 5-6 weeks away from getting the car back together, at that point we should know if it was all worth it. Kevin Zagar says we will be amazed. Finally, it ain’t cheap.

Thanks for the response Rich..   It really does look like the "ticket" for our cars. It will be interesting to hear comments about it from you later.  When I look at it from the top I'm not impressed with how it looks. It looks like a giant hard boiled egg slicer ! But..all the good stuff is there and in the right place !   From underneath it looks fine.  My thoughts were drifting to maybe welding on a couple tabs to be able to attach a tow bar as well.  Oh....You are doing a fantastic job on your Ghia, I must say !!! Well Done!.....Bruce

IaM-Ray posted:

Wow it is really looking nice with that full suspension set up.  Are there any reviews on how that suspension works and how it drives?  Nice stuff.

Rich Drewek posted:

Ray, good question. I have yet to find one all-encompassing article addressing your question. Maybe someone else knows more than I?


A fair bit of discussion comparing the Mendeola suspension to other aftermarket units on The Samba-

Unfortunately, it breaks down to a bit of a pissing contest at times. There are a couple of owners giving fairly glowing reviews, but they are buried in the middle of other threads, so-

What I've gathered- the Mendeola front suspension is light years ahead of the VW front beam/trailing arm arrangement, has more engineering, development and is more adjustable than any of the other A arm front suspensions out there. It also comes with an adjustable anti-sway bar, while not all the other units do. Kevin Zagar claims the Mendeola is also lighter than the VW (or any other front suspension) assembly. There were issues with spindle assemblies early on, but I believe Kevin has addressed those. I think it would be a great addition to the front of any Speedster (or VW for that matter).

The Mendeola rear suspension is really a modified irs (it still uses the same pivot points) and while it may better than a stock irs equipped car (I haven't driven one, so my opinions have been formed only after reading other people's observations, so take what I write with a grain of salt as well), I don't think it's the quantum leap in technology and design their front suspension is. That said, it has fantastic adjustability (something the stock irs is lacking), an integrated adjustable anti-sway bar (again, something the irs is lacking- I know there are aftermarket bars available, but none are adjustable), coil springs instead of torsion bars, more modern damping ability and uses wider wheels/tires without major modifications. This last point I consider a big plus- rear engine'd cars need more rear rubber on the road than the front! Just look at how Porsche has continually put wider (and wider) wheels/tires on the backs of their 911 based cars as the years have progressed. They're not just doin' it for looks (although you have to admit 305's on the back of any car would just look so totally bitchin'!)

Now, would a Speedster with a well prepped independent rear suspension handle as well as a Mendeola rear suspension'd Speedster with the same width tires and wheels? I'm guessing it would come close, but I'm also guessing the Mendeola equipped car might ride a little nicer, so take your pick...

Yoda out (for now, but back you know I will be!)

It would be interesting to drive one AL.  I don't know how much better it would be than a stock type I front and rear but surely more front control is needed.  I had an IM with all type I and full sway bars front and rear and it was pretty nice. 

My 911 front and type I rear is well.... a whole different car.  Maybe Rich will let us drive it at Carlisle  

IaM-Ray posted:

Wow it is really looking nice with that full suspension set up.  Are there any reviews on how that suspension works and how it drives?  Nice stuff.

@IaM-Ray @Rich Drewek

There are a couple of SOCers with the front & rear Mendeola suspension (installed by Kevin at KoolRydes).

Larry (SOC Goofer) Bull in Escondido, CA...IMG_0071

...and Doug (SOC IMDoug) Kingston in Phoenix, AZ.IMG_0014

Both routinely attend the West Coast SOC Cruise. I'm sure they would be glad to offer insight on rider performance. 


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Rich Drewek posted:

ALB, I could pick you up in Chicago and drive you out and back. I have a twin room booked. I’ll probably be driving the 911 again since the Ghia won’t be ready in time. I’d love to have you as a right or left seater.


Chicago, eh. Never been to Chicago. Let me work on it, 'cause that sounds like fun!

Would we arrive at Carlisle Thursday or Friday?

ALB posted:
Rich Drewek posted:

ALB, I could pick you up in Chicago and drive you out and back. I have a twin room booked. I’ll probably be driving the 911 again since the Ghia won’t be ready in time. I’d love to have you as a right or left seater.


Chicago, eh. Never been to Chicago. Let me work on it, 'cause that sounds like fun!

Would we arrive at Carlisle Thursday or Friday?

Chicago is your kinda town, Al .

Stan Galat posted:
ALB posted:
Rich Drewek posted:

ALB, I could pick you up in Chicago and drive you out and back. I have a twin room booked. I’ll probably be driving the 911 again since the Ghia won’t be ready in time. I’d love to have you as a right or left seater.


Chicago, eh. Never been to Chicago. Let me work on it, 'cause that sounds like fun!

Would we arrive at Carlisle Thursday or Friday?

Chicago is your kinda town, Al .

Oh yeah- why do you say that, Stan? Before Carlisle (last year) the furthest east I'd been in North America was Winnipeg and down into N Dakota (I was a kid- we had relatives in Brandon, Manitoba. Now there's a great place to spend a Christmas or 2 when you're a kid- playing hockey with my cousins in -40° weather. 10 years old and I'm looking around and thinking, "nice place to visit (not!)"). Well I have been to the Dallas/Ft Worth airport, but I don't really count that...


Chicago is a no-nonsense town with a bar on every corner, and often 3 or 4 in-between. It's got some of the best blues in the country. It's got pizza that weighs about 3 lbs a slice. The citizens take beer very, very seriously. It's a world-class city with a feel unlike anywhere else. There's not a lot of pretense there-- Chicago is legit.

Love it or hate it, you gotta spend a bit of time there. If you do-- go up to Wrigleyville to the Kingston Mines blues club. Prepare to be blown away.

Stan Galat posted:


Chicago is a no-nonsense town with a bar on every corner, and often 3 or 4 in-between. It's got some of the best blues in the country. It's got pizza that weighs about 3 lbs a slice. The citizens take beer very, very seriously. It's a world-class city with a feel unlike anywhere else. There's not a lot of pretense there-- Chicago is legit.

Love it or hate it, you gotta spend a bit of time there. If you do-- go up to Wrigleyville to the Kingston Mines blues club. Prepare to be blown away.

Charlie Musselwhite.

After a two month or so hiatus, Scott Hansen has caught up with his own work as is getting ready to start on my engine. Last night we had an un-packing part, no beers were harmed in the process, looks like we forgot to order a oil cooler. Here’s a few photos. BTW, Scott brought home top honors at our local VW SHOW. Two years in a row...Best in Show and best in his category.E35DA135-B418-4FA9-85E7-9C7DA6790E027319AB03-6F3E-450D-B648-9764020DB402A5AEE3FD-FA69-4701-B064-3F28AED1D7E1C6A28B62-45D0-4933-95D6-1DC00F7EB2BAD89D2D14-2205-453E-AC56-9CD4E38B44620054C614-10CC-4D43-A868-E225CA0C378FF80753F2-F2D2-456C-B5D9-D2A1E53DE29B0633F2B5-11AB-4918-891C-56EE42651551 


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Way back in March he rolled the chassis out of his shop and the vision was starting to look like reality. Shortly after that he had the body back united with the new chassis by early April. It was already agreed upon that once he got to that point, a hiatus would be necessary for Scott to catch up on some of his own personal work.

So April and May has come and gone, Scott took home a best of show and a best in class for his Speedster, well deserved awards and not surprising, the second year in a row for him and those honors.

Now that we are halfway into June, the attention on my Ghia is back on again. A couple of weeks ago the two of us had an un-boxing party of the 2276 CB Performance engine kit. Scott is now wading into the waters, we are collecting a few items that we have over- looked in the ordering process, but some of the case is now on the stand and real assembly will start ramping up soon.

in addition to all of Scott’s work, I managed to get the 911 seats reupholstered and retreated back into the wheel choice. First, I vapor blasted the EMPI wheels that came with the car, getting rid of the ugly paint job. Those were going to be the wheels for the initial ride, but then common sense kicked in and I found a set of staggered 16” Fuchs in 6” and 7” widths. They were purchased in New Hampshire, delivered back here to Wisconsin by a friend who just happened to be out there saving at least one shipping leg. 

Speaking of shipping, I found a good vendor;

Half the price of FEDEX and the odd thing, you can drop your boxes off at FEDEX, UPS and I think USPS with your preprinted labels from NEX. Why these other shippers can’t deliver at this half-price is a mystery to me. My wheels got out to Anaheim, Al Reed Polishing in 5-6 days. Check them out, I think you can even arrange  for them to pick your package up at your home...I took mine to FEDEX.

So, here’s some photos of the progress, with good luck, it should be on the road sometime this summer yet.



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Oooh, I just realized I did post the un-boxing party already. Good, I don’t have to repeat that.

so, here’s some fresher stuff. Yesterday  I managed to sell the ‘69 Beetle, which will help freeing up some funds for this project. It obviously isn’t cheap.

The Fuchs pictured here are not my actual wheels but similar. They currently are with Al Reed Polishing. I found out about him and his well respected services through Scott. Al runs a pretty good shop as I am told by him. You can actually talk to a guy who seems to really enjoy doing the work he does, revinishing wheels from around the world and at a fair price. No flashy web page, just a phone call away. And he really knows Fuchs and pumps up there quality. He found on of the 6” wheels had a “bump” on it. For $85 it’ll be fixed.

BTW, I’ll probably put these EMPIs will probably go up for sale once all the dust settles on the project. Let me know if you might have any interest. 15” x 5.5”



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Well you could go with a 3:44 final ratio and get away with 4 speed and 70mph at 3K rpm.  I had that in my IM 2110cc and it was a good tranny.  In any case with a typeI engine you cannot go below 3K rpms at 70mph so 5 speed is only 4 close gears and 5th overdrive but it has to be done so the rpm stays around 3K for highway cruising. 

In my new DDriver, it turns below 2K at 70mph.  that would kill an aircooled engine. 

As far as the Fuchs, I came very close to going with the RSR look and finish. But I got a call from Al Reed on Wednesday to confirm my decision. It got me thinking real hard again and finally decided to go with my favorite finish; the simple satin, anodized rim and all black painted centers. I sent that photo of the 4 wheels above and Al gave me even more confidence pointing out the black in the photo was too glossy (I had already recognized that before his call) and he would be using the Porsche satin spec.

BTW, he turns around a set in two weeks, no prolonged wait.

I have also started to concentrate on the engine and bay look. I want to keep it simple and here is a little rough Photoshop study. I’ll be using that third wheel belt, this ohoto I found is the general direction I’ll be shooting for. Scott can do a very clean job of engine bays as his Speedster shows. He cleaned and painted mine and I’d like to show that off.6E338B19-6002-417B-9DD5-3CA70BFC6004D6A561BC-4EE0-41B0-A88D-DBAF3A5C303DB815B70A-5844-4959-8A24-5945D8C5A99B


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