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Hi folks,

It seems a little weird posting in the Newbie section considering I’ve been a member and regular visitor of this forum since 2002....but here goes….

I remember as a 16yr old reading a “Dune Buggies and Hot VW’s” magazine and coming across a picture of an amazing car, it looked a bit like a cabrio beetle but way “sportier”…and cooler. It was a CMC advert and my introduction to the 356 speedster. Ever since then I had dreamed of owning one….and up until a couple of years ago I probably wasn’t really in a position to buy, you know…that “mortgage and young family commitments” thing.  

Anyway, a couple of years ago my lovely wife gave me the green light to pursue my dream. Speedster replicas are few and far-between here in Australia so my focus had been to try and import from the US. I have had a number of generous ‘SpeedsterOwner’ members who have kindly offered me first option on their speedsters but largely due to import restrictions they just didn’t work out. Others members have kindly taken time to look at potential candidates for me or simply taken the time to meet up to show me their speedsters for some ‘inspiration’ during our couple of trips to the States.

The irony in all of this has been that whilst spending my time focussing on potential opportunities in the U.S., an Intermeccanica snuck into my neighbourhood without me knowing, less than 10km (6 miles) from my home. Needless to say, it popped up for sale and after some negotiating (I must say the seller really was very kind to me!), the deal was struck.  After 30 years of dreaming, a speedster now resides in my garage. It’s still quite surreal!!!

I would like to pass on a huge thank you to all those on this forum who have helped me over the years!! An extra special thanks goes out to @Kevin - Bay Area, @David Stroud IM Roadster D, @IndianBob and @RONSTR for their advice and generosity of their time.

As mentioned previously, I have been a member of this forum for almost 20yrs and although my post-count does not reflect this [add embarrassed emoji here], now that I have my speedster, look out, the questions will likely come thick and fast!

It is a 1978 pan-based (Automobili) Intermeccanica (#235) which used to reside in Santa Rosa, California before it was imported into Australia in 2016.

The specs…

  • Very ‘stock’ 1600 single port engine
  • “Champagne Yellow” (Porsche colour so I’m told)
  • Dual Kadron/Solex carbs
  • Drum brakes, front & rear
  • Full vinyl tonneau & canvas top
  • Cocoa mats (is that a spec??)

I have a few upgrade plans but there’s no rush, it’s awesome as it is now and as demonstrated, I have patience by the bucket-loads!! 😉 My mechanic skills are very limited but I am very lucky to have befriended a local gentleman who was a VW mechanic for 40yrs who is willing to “show me the ropes”…. and I’m keen as hell to learn!!

Unfortunately, COVID-19 restrictions have limited my movements since taking ownership but I’ve still managed to find a plenty of opportunities to enjoy it. It's been fun getting used to left-hand drive.

Here’s a few pics below….

Cheers,

Tony

IMG_0802eIMG_0807eIMG_0757eIMG_0816eIMG_0817

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  • IMG_0816e: Visiting my mechanic mate.
  • IMG_0817: ....and the track into his place.
Original Post

The car looks great Tony!  Glad you're enjoying it. Is your car swingaxle or irs (independent rear suspension)?  This is what they look like-

IRS vs Swingaxle

Where in Australia are you?  I'm Canadian but my wife has dual citizenship- her parents are both Aus (dad from Sydney, mum from Ipswich, just outside of Brisbane), met here in Vancouver while travelling with their respective best friends, turned into 2 couples and my in-laws never left.  We honeymooned for 3½ months through the South Pacific, spending 8? weeks in Aus and catching Expo 88 in Brisbane (got to see Jimmy Barnes!).

We'll help you every step of the way with upgrades- cocoa mats are a nice start, but front discs are really the first thing you should do. If you're happy with the chrome wheels and hubcaps, great, but if the period correct look of 5x205mm is what does it for you then the Vintage 190 aluminum wheels (very light at 12 lbs/wheel) are the way to go- decide on this before doing the front disc upgrade so you have the bolt pattern change covered. 

A little more power makes these things so much more fun! so a 2110 that makes 140 hp (more than the Carrera engines of the time, at lower rpm's and more power throughout the full rpm range from idle up) and revs to 5500 or 6,000 rpm with power will be reliable and not much more maintenance than what you have now.  And the ultimate- a Gene Berg Ent. 5 speed conversion for your 4 speed- I know, after the engine upgrade you didn't think it could get any better, but this is of that magnitude- you'll be, like, holy crap! Again, don't worry, we'll help you with gear selection (a couple of us here have a little experience at this).  Of course, you really should have upgraded the back brakes to discs before the 2 liter went in, and widening the back rims so you can put 205's on it so the back end sticks a little better would be a great idea so...  

Yeah, Tony, we'll help you every step of the way with upgrades- how much money did you say you've got?

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Last edited by ALB

Hi @ALB,

My speedster has the swing-arm configuration. I suppose that makes it an earlier floorpan, correct? Anything I should consider/keep in mind with this type of rear suspension?

I am in Maroochydore (Sunshine Coast), about 100km (60 miles) north of Brisbane. I lived/worked in Ipswich for over 14 years so I know the place really well. I was still in University during Expo 88 but remember it well....errr, or maybe not so well, that was 6 month party!! Jimmy Barnes….an Aussie rock icon (born in Scotland but we’ll claim him 😉), I’ve seen him a couple of times, awesome you had the opportunity to see him whilst here. How were your ears afterwards??

Upgrades….front discs are top of my list. Luckily I already have wide-5 bolt pattern (the mention of swing-axle above may have already given that away) so that makes that easy. I have been recommended the CSP kit for quality and fit but note they seem quite a bit more expensive then other brands. Do you/anyone have experience with these kits?

I took a look at the Vintage 190 rims you mentioned….very nice, and a set of ‘powder-coated silver’ has been added to my wish-list.

Previously I’ve mentioned my friend who’s an ex-VW mechanic, he is chomping at the bit to get into a new engine build (with me) for the speedster. He has put one of his Type 4 engines aside for me (he has a rather large part-shed, pics below) and when it warms up a little we’ll get into it. I will be posting many more questions seeking advice when we start planning that out.

Hahahaha, I see the rabbit-hole of upgrades I could be getting into here….and no end of encouragement on the forum enticing me in……love it!!

Thanks for the welcome and all your advice. All gladly accepted.

Kind regards, Tony

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Hi @Impala,

Thanks for your kind words mate. Yes, my speedster was more than I was ever expecting to get. Close up it has a few chips, scratches, etc but in my mind that’s a good thing because I’m not afraid to drive it, and drive it I do!! Going on your profile pic you have a very fine looking speedster yourself!!

Looking forward to joining in on many of the conversations/discussions here. I have been a spectator for way too long!

Kind regards, Tony

Thank you sir; if you're going with a Type 4 powerplant I can tell you they're killer and almost indestructible as compared to the Type Is. I second edsnova comment on the camber compensator. CB Performance has a great unit very reasonably priced:

https://www.cbperformance.com/product-p/2819.htm

CSP are great products but pricey; this is a set of disc brakes that I have in my car and work perfectly (then again I'm not pretending to be Hans Herrmann) and are very reasonably priced:

https://socalautoparts.com/pro...g-ghia-62-66-type-3/

Last edited by Impala
@Impala posted:

CSP are great products but pricey; this is a set of disc brakes that I have in my car and work perfectly (then again I'm not pretending to be Hans Herrmann) and are very reasonably priced:

https://socalautoparts.com/pro...g-ghia-62-66-type-3/

That must be the "cheaper but heavier" option John told me about when I was looking at options for my Spyder. Those hubs appear to be cast iron so yeah, probably heavier than the 14.5lb disc/hubs I got from CB. 

In hindsight, I may have preferred heavier to poorly manufactured. 

Last edited by dlearl476

@edsnova & @Impala,

Gentlemen, many thanks for your advice on the camber compensator. I've added it to my to-do list. Looks like a quick and easy installation process. I managed to track down a similar kit here in Australia. I'll save on shipping but it's certainly not as 'reasonably priced' as CB.

Thanks for the link for the SoCal Imports kit. There is a huge difference in price from the kits I have located in Australia, even considering $ exchange rates. I may have to look into international shipping costs.

Many thanks again for all your advice. Tony

P.S. It's Saturday morning here, surf is blown-out but sunny skies and a brisk 16°C (61°F) so time to put some km's on the speedster. Have a great weekend guys!!

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