Todd:

I"m good to a point, welding and suspension work are past that point. I keep threatening to be the oldest guy in a beginning welding class, but business is keeping me from it, or at least that is my excuse.

Everything else being equal, do the mid engine Spyders corner better than the rear engine Speedsters and Coupes?

Is there any reason a Subaru 5 speed or 6 speed transaxle can not be used with the Subaru engines?

Panhandle Bob posted:

Todd:

I"m good to a point, welding and suspension work are past that point. I keep threatening to be the oldest guy in a beginning welding class, but business is keeping me from it, or at least that is my excuse.

Do you ever watch the custom car building shows?  They are artists with metal.

Todd:  That whole thing about "pan flex" was and is a myth.  I proved it as a myth a few years ago by jacking up my pan-based CMC and then took photos of the door gap on the passenger side.  Unfortunately, I stored those photos on Photobucket that has since become a useless photo server, so I'll reproduce the thread here:  

I have a 1969 VW pan-based CMC, with the body sub-frame integral to the body (glassed in, in other words).

I can jack it up under the middle of the door, both wheels on that side off the ground, and the door opens and closes normally, as it always does. I also cannot see a difference in the door seams when sitting level or jacked up.  In the following photos, if there is a pan-flex problem, the door gap should be wider at the top than at the bottom.
Here is a photo with the car sitting on all four wheels, no jack under it.  The door gap looks a little weird (like a syne wave) because of the shadow cast by the camera flash, but it is a consistent 3/16" top to bottom:
DSC02596
Then I placed a floor jack under the door's mid-point and jacked it up.  The door gap looks a little more even in this photo......
gapnjack
And, just to show I wasn't cheating:
wheels up
It was jacked up until both passenger-side wheels were well off the ground and I shot another photo of the door gap - look at the two photos for comparison and see the jack in place at the bottom of this photo:
jacked gap
So that's it.  My pan based car is solid....and will probably stay that way. I suspect a lot of pan-based cars on here are about the same.  That whole thing about "if you jack up a pan-based car the doors won't operate properly" is just a bunch of Hooowie".

What I HAVE noticed is that many tube-frame Speedsters seem to have a bit more leg or hip room in the cockpit, and that's a good thing.
 
Gordon    "Puttin' my pictures where my mouth is"
And Todd:  If you want to see true, no BS "Masters of Metal", follow my local friend, Wray Schelin, on Facebook or visit the ProShapers website    http://www.proshaper.com
Wray's "students" abilities will take your breath away.
 

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Last edited by Gordon Nichols
Todd M posted:
Panhandle Bob posted:

Todd:

I"m good to a point, welding and suspension work are past that point. I keep threatening to be the oldest guy in a beginning welding class, but business is keeping me from it, or at least that is my excuse.

Do you ever watch the custom car building shows?  They are artists with metal.

At this point I would be life doing a poor job of imitating art. I guess that's why I have so much admiration of guys who can fabricate, like MangoSmoothie.

 

I'm guessing the old 'jack test' boasting began way back in the earliest days of Speedster replicas when back yard privateers were trying to build their own by slapping a fiberglass body on a shortened pan, with maybe some uprights to support the front and back, and calling it 'done'. Some of them must have tried to get away with not adding a steel perimeter frame.

It looks like the shops that became successful businesses and went on to make cars in volume quickly realized that wouldn't work.

 

1. Wasn't the "jack test" just a standard thing you'd do when buying a used Beetle? Seems to me any boasting about a Speedster passing the jack test would be related to the proposition that "this here old Beetle pan may be cut & welded but it's solid enough to pass the test you do with an unmolested original donor car."

2. Spyders should handle better than swing axle Speedsters because the weight is better distributed and the torsion arms are longer. A well set up IRS Speedster should be able to out-handle a Spyder because IRS is all that. I am currently unaware of any skid pad results or other data to back this claim up, however.

3. Yes it is technically possible to use the Subie transaxle in a Spyder (without flipping the R&P) but it will be a fettle because the chassis crossmember that mounts the rear of the tranny is not set up for the Suburu rig so you'll have to rebuild that, and also the Subie is an independent suspension system so you'll have to either convert it to a swing axle type or engineer an IRS system into your Spyder chassis. It's all quite doable (and has been done, I believe) but not a task for the beginner.

4. Yes, Subie transaxles can be used in a Speedster (if you flip the R&P which is spendy and tricky) but also you'll be modding the guts of the car a lil to make it all fit. 

5. The fetish for a 5 (or more) speed is very strong for some reason and it's really quite silly, on a dollar-per-grins basis, unless you're the type who just has to run 10/10ths all the time & so are equipped with a high-strung engine with a little teeny tiny powerband way up the der stratosphere. Basically any good street engine (and especially any Subie) will be "on cam" at least from 3500 to 6000 and it really isn't hard or expensive to build a VW box that will handle the torque you're making, land that engine in its sweet spot between gears, be able to hold a hill at the stop light and cruise at 70mph+ without deafening you. With a Subie 5 speed you're adding weight and complexity galore and spending cubic dineros to do it & in the end, yeah, sure, it really is "better" but you better really really want it.

6. +1 on plug welding. It gives sad-sack duffers like me a little "cup" to spin the wire into and that makes all the difference in getting both good penetration and smooth(ish) beads. 

Last edited by edsnova
edsnova posted:

 

4. Yes, Subie transaxles can be used in a Speedster (if you flip the R&P which is spendy and tricky) but also you'll be modding the guts of the car a lil to make it all fit. 

5. The fetish for a 5 (or more) speed is very strong for some reason and it's really quite silly, on a dollar-per-grins basis, unless you're the type who just has to run 10/10ths all the time & so are equipped with a high-strung engine with a little teeny tiny powerband way up the der stratosphere. Basically any good street engine (and especially any Subie) will be "on cam" at least from 3500 to 6000 and it really isn't hard or expensive to build a VW box that will handle the torque you're making, land that engine in its sweet spot between gears, be able to hold a hill at the stop light and cruise at 70mph+ without deafening you. With a Subie 5 speed you're adding weight and complexity galore and spending cubic dineros to do it & in the end, yeah, sure, it really is "better" but you better really really want it.

 

I got curious and looked up the transaxle weight; 89 lbs. for the VW and 150 lbs. for the Subaru.  60 lbs. for more gear?  I would say, "Heck Ya!"  But the cost?  Low mileage Subaru 5 speed 2 WD used; $1300 not including the reverse ring and pinion, SubaruGears rebuilt $4,000 including the reverse ring and pinion.  The reverse ring and pinion cost a grand if you wanna install them yourself.  VW 4 speed rebuilt by Rancho Transmission; $775.  On the plus side, the 5 speed is a straight bolt on to a Subaru match engine, so you save on the adapter plate.  Also, I am fairly sure that the Subaru ECU is expecting sensor info from the transaxle, so the Subaru 5 speed would be a cleaner install.  Is it worth it?

I saw a wide body at Vintage the other day that had the Subaru 5 speed.  The body mod was not extensive, and it was handled well, so well that the modification looked like it belonged there.  My guess is that the body mod for a 6 speed would be about 4 inches longer and from what I could tell, it would not be a problem, but according to SubaruGears, they don't make a reverse ring and pinion for a 6 speed Subaru. 

 

"...Wasn't the "jack test" just a standard thing you'd do when buying a used Beetle?..."

Maybe. But, like Troy, I remember reading defensive references to it in lots of online Speedster ads:

"Unlike those pan-based death traps our competitors are offering, here at Sporty Motors, our cars have reinforced frames and are rock solid."

They never mentioned just where those competitors' cars came from, but they couldn't say that on the internet if it weren't true, right?

This was mostly when I first started looking for a Speedster, around six years ago. Today, not so much. I think the competitor's cars also suffered from the heartbreak of psoriasis.

 

"...The fetish for a 5 (or more) speed is very strong for some reason..."

It's funny how the wide gaps in standard VW gearing bug the crap out of some people, but not others. I was one of the ones who noticed it the first time I drove a Speedster. Of course, my first engine made about 12 hp, so maybe that's why I noticed so much. The more torque you've got, the less it matters. I'd guess with a modern, computer-controlled Subie motor, four speeds would suffice.

Me, I just don't like the sound of a VW Type 1 motor revving over 4000 rpm for very long. It's fun for a while, but sometimes I just want to poodle through the neighborhood or pull away from a stoplight without raising a fuss.

With a VW type 1 motor, the most common five-speed conversion gearing keeps the same first, second, and top gears as the four-speed. The extra gear gets squeezed between third and fourth, and third gets lowered a bit, too. So the 2-3, 3-4, and 4-5 shifts are all much tighter than 2-3 and 3-4 were on the four-speed.

You don't have to rev nearly as high before shifting when running up through the gears. If you do take it to 4000 (or more) though, the car jumps out way better than with the wide-spaced ratios. And climbing a hill on the freeway, if some guy cuts in front of you, you're not afraid to downshift. You've now got a lower gear that won't send the tach needle off the end of the scale.

 

Last edited by Sacto Mitch

Any of us who have built pan-based speedsters know that there is almost no stiffness to the VW pan, especially along the outside edge.  

OK, make that none.  The pan is truly flimsy - you can make it flex with your hand.

DSC00362

In order to get any structural integrity in the speedster, some sort of tube frame was absolutely necessary, so CMC (and others) used a 2" X 3" box frame member (3/16" wall or thicker) along each side.  That's what you see in Wolfgang's photo of a naked frame.  Everyone also used that side box tube as a (and I use this term unwillingly) "Heat" conduit, just like VW did, and we know how effective THAT is.  In later years (after 1970) VW seems to have listened to the plaintive cries of people in colder climates and actually double-walled that heat tube along the side and it improved heat somewhat - especially in warmer climates - and that actually improved side-stiffness in the newly introduced USA Crash-Dummy tests (so we now know it wasn't to give us any more heat, right?)

All that the kit designers did was mimic what Volkswagen did - When you place a VW sedan/convertible/Karman Ghia body onto the VW pan, it adds much stiffness to the assembly by way of the heater tubes running along the side of the body (carrying that tepid air from the anaemic heater boxes forward, to pretend to warm your foot).  Those tubes are approx. 3" in diameter and heavy walled, that's where Beetles got their structural integrity and that's what is copied in Speedsters with the sub-frame.

The good news was/is that it took a lot to rust out those structural/heater side tubes as they were tucked waaay up under the sills and running boards and on top of the pan - road salt almost never found its way up there.  The passenger side rotted out first (it's closer to the slush on the side of the road), but it might take 20+ years to do so, even in Michigan, the road salt capital of the World, so the Beetle had to be in really rough shape to fail a "jack test" with the jack under the center/side of the car or under the door's rear seam.  If the heat tubes were really rotted out I suppose it might fail a "jack test" but I've never seen it.  I bought my '57 sedan in 1967 (paid $25 bucks for it) and while it had a few dents and surface rust, it was easily salvageable and I drove it for four years, two as a sedan and then 2 more as a dune buggy.  Pearl has a 1969 pan that I bought in 1995.  All four fenders of the Beetle were bashed (she lived in Boston) but the body and heat tubes were all fine, although the floor panels were hit-and-miss and were totally replaced before I shortened the pan.

Pan Scan01Pan Scan02

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Last edited by Gordon Nichols

VW 4 speed rebuilt by Rancho Transmission; $775. 

You'd want more than a rebuilt stock VW transmission with a 165-230 hp Subaru engine.  You'd at least want to change gear ratios and the R&P so at least double the $775. 

infamous SAS does as Jethro points out and puts the engine amidship with trans behind it, just like it was in the donor. They even use the Subaru suspension with ABS, disk brakes and the tight 100mm x 4  bolt wheel pattern.  Plus you get a real trunk. Please don't send SAS a deposit though!

SubaruGears does have a kit for the  6 speed split case (TY751/TY756) - price appears to be the same as for the 5 speed.

Last edited by WOLFGANG

With the VW engine at cruising you need to run at 3000rpm essentially

With the subie you can run at 2100rpm heck I just drove a new Jetta and it did 1250ish at 70mph 6.5L per 100 km

the 5 sp subie can be changed to get down to about 2700 rpm at 70mph

by changing the pinion to 3:91

and dropping the fifth gear

if not you cruise at 31-3200rpm at 70 mph 

 

Depends on the final ratio.

4:12 with a .89 fourth (normal, stock VW) would be around 3800 at 70mph

3:88 R&P/.89 gives you about 3250 at 70mph

3:44 R&P/.89 Gives you around 3050 (from my head - don't have a gearing calculator handy).

As you drop the R&P ratio the overall acceleration zippiness diminishes with each step.

Your right Gordon, I forgot that when I quoted that rpm that my R&P was 3:44    

@Todd M I do think you should at least try a car that has the subie tranny to see if you like the ratios.   What essentially happens is once you get a subie engine the tranny is the noisiest piece in the car.  At 3000rpm or above you can't hear anything but the engine and maybe a whine from the VW tranny depending on your setup.  Then you drop in a subie engine and you become more sensitive to the OTHER noises.  

There also is the Gene Berg VW 5 speed conversion.  But by the time you get the right gearing for a Subaru engine and the adapter you could have used paid for the converted rotation Subaru trans for same $.

Image result for gene berg 5 speed

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Last edited by WOLFGANG
Todd M posted:

I got curious and looked up the transaxle weight; 89 lbs. for the VW and 150 lbs. for the Subaru.  60 lbs. for more gear?  I would say, "Heck Ya!"  But the cost?  Low mileage Subaru 5 speed 2 WD used; $1300 not including the reverse ring and pinion, SubaruGears rebuilt $4,000 including the reverse ring and pinion.  The reverse ring and pinion cost a grand if you wanna install them yourself.  VW 4 speed rebuilt by Rancho Transmission; $775.  On the plus side, the 5 speed is a straight bolt on to a Subaru match engine, so you save on the adapter plate.  Also, I am fairly sure that the Subaru ECU is expecting sensor info from the transaxle, so the Subaru 5 speed would be a cleaner install.  Is it worth it?

I saw a wide body at Vintage the other day that had the Subaru 5 speed.  The body mod was not extensive, and it was handled well, so well that the modification looked like it belonged there.  My guess is that the body mod for a 6 speed would be about 4 inches longer and from what I could tell, it would not be a problem, but according to SubaruGears, they don't make a reverse ring and pinion for a 6 speed Subaru. 

Todd, the subie tranny is cut down in size to fit into a vw.   Is that taken into account in your weight estimate or is that the weight of a standard tranny?

WOLFGANG posted:

There also is the Gene Berg VW 5 speed conversion.  But by the time you get the right gearing for a Subaru engine and the adapter you could have used paid for the converted rotation Subaru trans for same $.

Image result for gene berg 5 speed

The Gene Berg setup is great for an all VW setup.  I think you could use a subie so long as the VW engine is over 2L and your tranny will turn the engine at the 3000 safe rpm for engine longevity at cruising.

But for a full subie you can have the VSS, the stock ECU used and take advantage of all the electronics,  DBWire not to mention the potential to add cruise control which is driven by the ECU.

So it is just another approach.  Then there is Bob: IM6

WOLFGANG posted:

VW 4 speed rebuilt by Rancho Transmission; $775. 

You'd want more than a rebuilt stock VW transmission with a 165-230 hp Subaru engine.  You'd at least want to change gear ratios and the R&P so at least double the $775. 

infamous SAS does as Jethro points out and puts the engine amidship with trans behind it, just like it was in the donor. They even use the Subaru suspension with ABS, disk brakes and the tight 100mm x 4  bolt wheel pattern.  Plus you get a real trunk. Please don't send SAS a deposit though!

SubaruGears does have a kit for the  6 speed split case (TY751/TY756) - price appears to be the same as for the 5 speed.

I assume, maybe incorrectly, that the transaxles built by Rancho can handle Subaru torque.

Has anybody actually seen SAS's mid engine speedster?  I am very curious to know how much modification they had to do to the body and frame.

Yeah. I saw the conflicting pages on the 6 speed.

 

IaM-Ray posted:
Todd M posted:

I got curious and looked up the transaxle weight; 89 lbs. for the VW and 150 lbs. for the Subaru.  60 lbs. for more gear?  I would say, "Heck Ya!"  But the cost?  Low mileage Subaru 5 speed 2 WD used; $1300 not including the reverse ring and pinion, SubaruGears rebuilt $4,000 including the reverse ring and pinion.  The reverse ring and pinion cost a grand if you wanna install them yourself.  VW 4 speed rebuilt by Rancho Transmission; $775.  On the plus side, the 5 speed is a straight bolt on to a Subaru match engine, so you save on the adapter plate.  Also, I am fairly sure that the Subaru ECU is expecting sensor info from the transaxle, so the Subaru 5 speed would be a cleaner install.  Is it worth it?

I saw a wide body at Vintage the other day that had the Subaru 5 speed.  The body mod was not extensive, and it was handled well, so well that the modification looked like it belonged there.  My guess is that the body mod for a 6 speed would be about 4 inches longer and from what I could tell, it would not be a problem, but according to SubaruGears, they don't make a reverse ring and pinion for a 6 speed Subaru. 

Todd, the subie tranny is cut down in size to fit into a vw.   Is that taken into account in your weight estimate or is that the weight of a standard tranny?

Cut down to size to fit in a VW?  Other than taking off a few inches when converting a 4 WD to a 2 WD, how in the world would anybody cut down the size of a transaxle?  The reverse R&P for a Subaru 5 speed from SubaruGears is for a 2 WD transmission, and I have no idea if it fits a 4 WD which is longer.  The 150 lbs. is for a 2 WD Subaru transaxle.

Nolan had a silver gray SAS Speedster mid-engine with automatic transmission and Hoss had a red SAS with standard manual transmission.  Both were regulars at Carlisle.  You won't be using a VW pan so a custom chassis is definitely required.  Hence the use of the rest of the Subarus drive train. The rear emergency seat area disappears but the engine is low so still room on top of the engine cover if needed (just not for people).

For reference here is link to infamous SAS site - lots of details on chassis and Subaru features:

http://specialtyauto.com/

 

Last edited by WOLFGANG
WOLFGANG posted:

Nolan had a silver gray SAS Speedster mid-engine with automatic transmission and Hoss had a red SAS with standard manual transmission.  Both were regulars at Carlisle.  You won't be using a VW pan so a custom chassis is definitely required.  Hence the use of the rest of the Subarus drive train. The rear emergency seat area disappears but the engine is low so still room on top of the engine cover if needed (just not for people)

I will have to look up Nolan and Haas here to see if they report on how they like their mid-engine.  If I was to have a car built, rather than buying a used one, my preference would be mid engine, but I don't think I would take a chance on a deposit to any manufacturer with a reputation for not delivering.

Your right I forgot about the amount that was cut off.  If you look at this you can see that they cut 3&1/2 inch so I guess it is not that much weight

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Todd M posted:
edsnova posted:

 

4. Yes, Subie transaxles can be used in a Speedster (if you flip the R&P which is spendy and tricky) but also you'll be modding the guts of the car a lil to make it all fit. 

5. The fetish for a 5 (or more) speed is very strong for some reason and it's really quite silly, on a dollar-per-grins basis, unless you're the type who just has to run 10/10ths all the time & so are equipped with a high-strung engine with a little teeny tiny powerband way up the der stratosphere. Basically any good street engine (and especially any Subie) will be "on cam" at least from 3500 to 6000 and it really isn't hard or expensive to build a VW box that will handle the torque you're making, land that engine in its sweet spot between gears, be able to hold a hill at the stop light and cruise at 70mph+ without deafening you. With a Subie 5 speed you're adding weight and complexity galore and spending cubic dineros to do it & in the end, yeah, sure, it really is "better" but you better really really want it.

 

I got curious and looked up the transaxle weight; 89 lbs. for the VW and 150 lbs. for the Subaru.  60 lbs. for more gear?  I would say, "Heck Ya!"  But the cost?  Low mileage Subaru 5 speed 2 WD used; $1300 not including the reverse ring and pinion, SubaruGears rebuilt $4,000 including the reverse ring and pinion.  The reverse ring and pinion cost a grand if you wanna install them yourself.  VW 4 speed rebuilt by Rancho Transmission; $775.  On the plus side, the 5 speed is a straight bolt on to a Subaru match engine, so you save on the adapter plate.  Also, I am fairly sure that the Subaru ECU is expecting sensor info from the transaxle, so the Subaru 5 speed would be a cleaner install.  Is it worth it?

I saw a wide body at Vintage the other day that had the Subaru 5 speed.  The body mod was not extensive, and it was handled well, so well that the modification looked like it belonged there.  My guess is that the body mod for a 6 speed would be about 4 inches longer and from what I could tell, it would not be a problem, but according to SubaruGears, they don't make a reverse ring and pinion for a 6 speed Subaru. 

No way a stock or built IRS VW Bug trans weighs 89 pounds. Mine was maybe 65-70. A Swing axle with the axles and hubs attached might be 90.

You get it built with stock late-model Bug gear ratios and a 3.44 R&P, with the heavy duty side cover, Super Diff and a few other hop-up details. They call it a "Pro Street" build and it's good for 180-200 horses, which is what you'll get with a NA Subaru. If you're not doing competitive hill climbs or drag racing every weekend it'll hold up just fine. The box should cost $1,100—certainly no more than $1,600—all done and waranteed. 

It's way less money than trying to get a Subaru setup in there.

With a 25.4-inch diameter tire/wheel combo, these ratios put you at 60 mph in second gear, 100 mph in third and up to 140 in fourth at 6000 rpm. At 70 mph you're turning 3000 rpm, which isn't much more than final drive in most modern 4 cylinder cars (my wife's 2010 Corolla spins 2800 at 70, for example). 

In a car like the Speedster, which is barely half what a modern Subaru weighs, you're never in the wrong gear even with even the weakest stock EJ22. 20 mph in 4th? Yeah, so? You wanna go faster up this hill but don't wanna put down your latte and shift? Just press down on the gas pedal. It's almost boring.

The adaptor kit from KEP is $500-ish. It works, and there's no issue with the ECM not getting the signal from the trans—although the stock ECM does want to see a vehicle speed sensor signal, so you end up having to make one of those if you're using a Subaru computer. 

The bad news with the KEP is you get a heavy flywheel. Not good for racing but if you're racing then you're not building it this way anyway. 

Again: A 5-speed is absolutely better, from the point of view of coolness and bragging rights and gear choices and less rpm drop between gears and whatnot. But there is no scenario in which one is necessary, especially with an NA Subaru engine with its wide, flat torque plateau from like 2500 through 5500 rpm. 

If your engine makes 125 ft-lbs torque at 3000 and 126 at 4000 and 124.5 at 5000 (which it does*), then gearing up to hit 4000 instead of 3600 rpm in your 3rd to 4th upshift saves you exactly nothing in terms of acceleration. 

*

@edsnova

"But there is no scenario in which one is necessary"

Yup.

And if I get another car, I doubt if necessary will enter into my decision making process.  If I am honest, another car is the opposite of necessary, it is actually madness.  I am telling myself this, more than I am telling you, so I know exactly what I am getting into.  So, how much madness do I want, and how much madness can I afford?

And, I truly appreciate all the info.  It is magnificent.

Todd M posted:
WOLFGANG posted:

Nolan had a silver gray SAS Speedster mid-engine with automatic transmission and Hoss had a red SAS with standard manual transmission.  Both were regulars at Carlisle.  You won't be using a VW pan so a custom chassis is definitely required.  Hence the use of the rest of the Subarus drive train. The rear emergency seat area disappears but the engine is low so still room on top of the engine cover if needed (just not for people)

I will have to look up Nolan and Haas here to see if they report on how they like their mid-engine.  If I was to have a car built, rather than buying a used one, my preference would be mid engine, but I don't think I would take a chance on a deposit to any manufacturer with a reputation for not delivering.

I bought my SAS cabriolet from its second owner.  I absolutely love it.  Special Edition has been working on a mid-engine design.

My car has pretty much everything the donor Legacy had, including its suspension.  

"In a car like the Speedster, which is barely half what a modern Subaru weighs, you're never in the wrong gear even with even the weakest stock EJ22. 20 mph in 4th? Yeah, so? You wanna go faster up this hill but don't wanna put down your latte and shift? Just press down on the gas pedal. It's almost boring."

Lol  .... Ed, you can start in any gear except maybe in 5th...

just curious...does anyone out there in SOC land know if that SAS criminal snake steve lawing has been put behind bars or a tombstone yet?

Todd M posted:

@edsnova

"But there is no scenario in which one is necessary"

Yup.

And if I get another car, I doubt if necessary will enter into my decision making process.  If I am honest, another car is the opposite of necessary, it is actually madness.  I am telling myself this, more than I am telling you, so I know exactly what I am getting into.  So, how much madness do I want, and how much madness can I afford?

And, I truly appreciate all the info.  It is magnificent.

You know, @Todd M--  this post shows me that you are so far ahead of where I was when I came to this, that perhaps you don't need a ton of advice. But since I seem to feel that everybody is entitled to my opinion, I'm going to disseminate it anyhow.

I'm kinda' slow, but I almost always (wrongly) think I know more than conventional wisdom. As a result, I do things two (or three... or four) times before just arriving back where I was told to go to start with. If insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, then I should probably be in a rubber room.

I used to advocate for cute little engines, "because they more accurately replicate the powerband of an original", or some such nonsense. I've had two 1176s, two 2110s, a 2332, and two 2276 built by Serrano, AJ Sims, Chico Performance, Art Thraen, and Blackline Racing. I've had about that many permutations of transaxle as well.

I'm not a builder, or a reseller-- this is just a hobby for me, and I've worked my way up the food-chain because I enjoy working in the garage. It's been a very expensive way to learn a couple of things-- primary among them is the wisdom in listening to the guys who have been in this for a long time, and laying aside my own (non-applicable) experience in some other venue.

What I can say with 100% conviction is that  no matter what you decide to do, more is more.

More power and more gears IS more fun. And more money. In this hobby, there are no shortcuts. You might not always get what you pay for, but you'll always pay for what you get. Always.

Spending more with a reputable vendor always means getting more. But but after a certain point, the additional money spent starts to buy less and less of the "more" that brings enjoyment. The secret to being smart about this (and I would inject here that I've been a poor example) is knowing where the point of diminishing return is. Some times less is "more".

Guys are going to give conflicting advice regarding where the point of diminishing return is, but here's my take:

The engine and transaxle need to be paired to work together. Dollars buy horsepower, and they buy gears. Up to a certain point, the money is best spent on the horsepower. But once that point is reached, the money is better spent on gears. If a guy has $5,000 to spend, it's best spent on a better engine. If he's got $10,000 to pump into making his car better, the second $5,000 is best spent on the transaxle. I've had a $10,000 Type 1, and I'd have rather had a $5,000 engine and a 5-speed.

Further, there's a point where spending more on a Type 1 stops being the best way to get "more". Once a guy starts creeping up past 150 hp, the money is probably better spent on a Type 4. A $10,000 Type 4 is a lot more enjoyable (to me) than a $10,000 Type 1.

Either way, a $10,000 engine is definitely "more", but it's more work and not twice as nice as a $5000 engine. A $5,000 transaxle is twice as nice as a $2,500 transaxle.

Obviously the calculus changes with a Subaru engine, and I'm not the guy there. You'd need to talk to Henry or Carey or Greg to determine if you are that guy. Soliciting the advice of guys here is just going to bring out our own biases.  

Last edited by Stan Galat

@Stan Galat

"What I can say with 100% conviction is that  no matter what you decide to do, more is more.

More power and more gears IS more fun. And more money. In this hobby, there are no shortcuts. You might not always get what you pay for, but you'll always pay for what you get. Always."

Uh-huh.  Yup.

"Soliciting the advice of guys here is just going to bring out our own biases."

For me, bias is as valuable as fact.

 

 

 

@Todd M,

OK. Here's my bias:

Get an IRS car with good brakes. Start with good bones.

If you're an air-cooled guy, the point of diminishing return on an engine is a nicely built 2110 with W120 (or equivalent) cam, a good header, and 40 Dellortos or Webers.

The transaxle is more tricky. The highwater mark for a 4-speed with a 2110 is a pro-street level transaxle with stock 1-3 gears and a .93 fourth with a 3.44 R/P. It's not a 5-speed, but it's nice.

If you want to take it further, I'd get a big Type 4 and a 5-speed.

Your mileage may vary. 

Last edited by Stan Galat

I found with 2110cc and 3:44 in 4th gear I seemed to be always looking for 5th.  Then of course I would come to realize ... no Ray you can't get a 5th as it gives you the same as a 4th that you already have but more fun rowing... So in an A/C I kept my car as is even though I was trying to quiet things down.

I built a new IM full Subie, that too has some compromises as all of them do.  You get more fun rowing with 5 gears but my 5th is running 3200 at 70mph... I thought I would get it quieter, certainly not with the top down but no it did not happen.... Maybe one day I will try 3.91 R&P and a lowered 5th to get to 2700rpm but that is as low as it goes in that setup as well.  

You cannot get to 2200rpm at 70mph even if the car can start pretty much in 4th anytime...

I guess it makes up for not having a CVT    Maybe a skidoo CVT is all you really need  ....  just kidding.

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