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Someone tell me what I just bought…

Who built it?

Apparently it spent some time in Japan, was brought to Houston and has been sitting about 7 years. It’s sitting on a 66 Beetle pan according to the Japaneese documents. Any idea who the builder was? What pics would you need to tell and are there hidden data plates anywhere typically?

I’m stoked to get this car back on the road. I’ve been a huge fan for years.2695F1F4-523C-4B9C-943B-7C8D1F74D6676250BBDD-A451-4E30-BEF5-3FC111C3FAD9


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Last edited by GreasySideUp
Original Post

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VS has some unique features to look for:

For awhile it was a curly cue red wire off top of alternator.

Also the faux torsion bar cap -

And the chrome strip across the dash and the ~9" round air hole with hardwire cloth covering behind engine intake fan.

I think it is a VS - but maybe a roller finished in Japan since the dash covering doesn't end with VS signature, the interior is a nice custom one with the different color piping,  and the engine compartment isn't properly sealed to prevent exhaust gases from being reused.

Doesn't appear to have a hood handle badge - VS made one but most went with Porsche crest.

Unfortunately many vendors don't use ID plates - IM did - placed in passenger door frame, CMC/FF had a gold plate supplied but it was builder decision to apply or chuck it, SE Beck too has a plate (but they are not built on a VW pan).


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Last edited by WOLFGANG

The grill is definitely not cast, so it's not a slam dunk on what it is.  The engine compartment and body still look like a Fiberfab or CMC, but the interior and engine grill could be almost anything.  Look closely on the engine lid hinges for a molded on "INTERMECCANICA".  They did the very first cars as pan-based kits before selling the tooling to Fiberfab and taking their own product upmarket.

Thanks for the replies. Keep them coming.

She will run on starter fluid but chokes on gas. The drums are grabbing. This is my parts list. All input is welcome.

New EMPI dual carbs

Electronic Ignition

New coil, Plugs, Wires

Elec Fuel Pump/block off plate

4 wheel Disc conversion

Any other must haves while I’m doing this?

I’m looking at JBugs for parts.

Your carbs are probably gunked up. Do you have an ultrasonic cleaner? Simple Green and water heated and run through a few cycles of ultrasonic will make them brand new inside and out. Get rebuild kits.

The carbs most probably don't need to be replaced.

Remove the tank, flush it and the hard line through the chassis. Replace filter and ALL rubber lines with new ethanol-resistant hoses. You'll be good. I like electric pumps too, as long as they are rotary(not Facet!). Get a self-regulated pump, but those carbs look like Solex, which REQUIRES only 1.5 psi. An auxilliary adjustable regulator is a must with Solex/Kadron carbs.

Those tins that are missing can be made up pretty easily from aluminum or steel sheet. There are even patterns available from guys on here for a VERY small fee.

Good luck, looking forward to watching your rebuild.

What's your name @GreasySideUp ?

To add, after draining and flushing and replacing the lines hoses and setting tank back in, use a larger fuel filter just out of the tank and a second quality fuel filter where the hard steel line exits the left fame horn, then change out those two filters after 50 miles or so , by doing this you should end up with cleaner filters be ok... at least that's the way I would approach it.

With older projects, first go through the entire fuel system, follow that up with checking the lighting, wipers etc . All wiring, fuses, gauges switches & clean the electrical connections as needed. Adjust the valves, change the oil, air filter etc.  Check out the condition of the tires, wheel lugs, wheel bearings, all suspension,          Look closely at the rag joint and steering crush cage if you have one, also the entire brake system and  & E' Brake ........

Last edited by Alan Merklin

Yeah, so about that...

Internet advice is often worth about what you pay for it. Not everybody offering it is even reading the posts very carefully. You can pick who you want to listen to, but eventually you'll need to make the determination what you want to do pretty much on your own.

Once upon a time, I made the mistake of choosing a builder based on the "common consensus" of this site. It was the single most disappointing purchase of my life, and I made it on the recommendation of people here who had no idea what they were talking about, but who surely liked to talk.

I'm not saying nobody is worth listening to, but at the end of the day - it's your car. You are the warranty. You do you.

Last edited by Stan Galat


It's usually a better bet to ask, "What am I about to buy?"

But, the deal is done, so carry on.

Alan's plan is a good one, but will require knowing your way around these cars. With all respect, from some of your questions, it sounds like you may not. Or, at least, not yet.

But, your location is on your side. Close to a major metro area, there should be plenty of grizzled, air-cooled VW mechanics nearby who can quickly look the car over, decide what most needs doing for reasons of safety and drivability, and what can wait. The best route to finding a reliable mechanic is to seek out local VW clubs, go to a meeting or two, and ask. VW folk are usually enthusiastic about our cars (more so than Porsche folk). If your car's not yet drivable, bring with lots of photos to show them.

We are more than willing to help, but for diagnosing problems (and for spotting serious safety issues), there's no substitute for seeing your car in the fiberglass.

And, keep in mind what Stan said about the value of advice you find for free on the internet. Which applies to everything except what I'm typing here.


Last edited by Sacto Mitch

Jokes aside, getting the car sorted shouldn’t be an issue. It has really good bones and no rust. I’m a terrible mechanic but I’ve got phenomenal resources in the car guys and full time mechanics I have as neighbors.  I’m really good at turning bolts to the left. They help me get out of trouble The main reason for the post was to figure out what it is/who made it. It was suggested to ask the experts here and I can’t thank you guys enough. I’m pretty sure it’s a VS, I’m starting to compare the finer pictures from builds I can find. Ultimately, I’ll need to go to some Porsche events and park next to the various manufacturers up close to really compare details.

With that, my 10 year old daughter and I are working on a 73 Super Beetle for her first car.  My first was a Super Beetle that I completely tore apart in shop class. It’s been a few years though and I’ve spent the last 20 years screwing with and rebuilding old motorcycles.  I had a bad accident last year with my daughter in a sidecar.  She came out unscathed but I’ve got some life changing injuries.  I’m not going to ride anymore, hence the foray back into old cars.  

My issue is this…. I’ve always wanted one of these cars.  It really is a bucket list car for me and I need to be careful about going overboard.  The body is really nice.  It’s full of scratches but no accidents or dings.  I was really hoping I could get it running for free to see what I had and how they handle.  I’ve never driven one. Unfortunately, it’s going to take a few bucks.  

How many $$ is the debate.  I think this car would be phenomenal with a 100-120hp motor and a little suspension upgrade…. My O‘Riley guy builds them….

So for now, do I throw the EMPI’s on to get it going without knowing if the motor is going to last for a week to see if I ultimately want a bigger motor? Spring for the Webbers? Get a bigger motor immediately and put this money towards that? Monkey with drums that have been sitting for so long or go ahead and spring for the disc brakes for just a  fraction more….

I just traded a disc brake Austin Healey for 1967 Chevy C10 longbed with no power of any sort. The truck is awesome but holy smokes you have to plan to stop it.  For this car, I absolutely want it to stop on a dime. How fast this car goes may be a question for a year down the road.  

So bare with me.  I’ll probably tag the progress in this thread.  I’m stoked there is a community like this.  It’s going to be fun bouncing ideas off you guys.  I’ll toss this grenade to start — what’s the ideal motor size for these cars

(I’m sure there is endless debate on this forum!)

Cheers fellas!  Thanks for all the advice!


Do I go with this👇👇 off the bat?  For sale right up the street…




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Last edited by GreasySideUp
@Former Member posted:

I say go for the motor if it’s in your budget! What size is it?

That one is a 1641 for $3800 and it is 10 minutes away. I think I’d probably want bigger…. My O’Riley guy says 5k-8k would buy a screamer. I’ve been out of VW for so long, I’m just now getting smart again. It looks like a few of the guys on this board build some amazing motors too.

My lean right now is to just get it going and hope the motor is strong, finish the beetle project and then come back to this one for some serious upgrades. That way I’ll have something fun going while we work on the Beetle.

Did the VS cars come with rebuilt motors?  If that’s the case, this engine may have extremely low miles.

@WOLFGANG Aren't GSU's engine tin gaps too wide for the Vanagon foam gasketing alone? I'm thinking he needs to get closer with some aluminum sheet and THEN the gasketing. @GreasySideUp one of the confirmations of my VS build was the engine size written on the hidden side of the engine shroud. My engine was apparently a different era from the curly red alternator wire, but my body does have the pretend torsion bar caps.

What's your tolerance for delay of gratification? I'm looking forward to your log of the coming transformation in any case, but when are you aiming to drive it? Another way of asking the question is: How much is coming off the car before anything goes back on?

The engine question is really a Schroedinger's Cat thing. You can't find out what size and quality of build it is without tearing it down so far that you are committed to at least a top-end rebuild. And if you don't know what size the engine is, you don't know what carbs to get to test it, in case you want it bigger.

I don't think I saw what your oil cooler situation is. One of the tells of the bigger engines (from responsible builders) is that they skip over the doghouse cooler and go right for the external cooler.

Do you know what you want to do with the car? I just wanted a reliable 4wheeled motorcycle to drive on dry roads and never on an interstate. That means that I would have been satisfied with an engine smaller than the 1915cc that came with mine. By my reading of this site, though, it looks like the mean engine size is getting up toward 2110.

Wishing you all the pleasures of the madness we share.

Did someone mention to look on the backside of the cooling shroud - often the engine size will be marked there in white marker. Believe VS offered Mexican motors for entry stuff.  Look to see if engine case has a serial # under where the Alternator is mounted.  If no stamped number that it could be a new block - you can check the sump area for Made in MX or Made in Brazil. 


VS built cars over a very long period and made a lot of changes along the way. I bought mine new in 2013 and know a little about that period, but others here know a lot more.

There are some details on your car that could be VS, but others seem not to be. It's important to remember that for a long time VS sold roller builds that were finished in countless backyards by home builders. And they also sold a lot of parts (especially finishing parts like door cards, carpeting, seats, and upholstery kits) to folks building cars from all manner of sources.

I'm wondering, at this point, if it's at all useful to know the car's precise origins. FYI, the only thing anywhere on my car that says 'VS' is the crest on the frunk handle.

VS also used motors from a lot of sources over the years - some good, some not so good - so knowing if a motor was original to the car wouldn't really tell you too much about what's inside. My engine definitely contained some, uh ... 'recycled' bits.

Over the years, debating what the perfect engine is may have consumed more screen space here than any six other topics combined, so the floodgates are probably about to open again. But some of us think the best overall bang-for-buck sweet-spot power is a mild-tune 2110 cc stroker.

Which used to be easily had for around $6-7K, but that was before the recent troubles. My take is that the quality of the build - how it is screwed together and by whom - is more important than the size. And, as long as you're paying for quality parts and the time of a skillful builder, going a little bigger doesn't cost all that much more. Until you get to about 2110cc, though. Past that point, Type 1 motors get a bit stressed and nervous, so the expense of reliability starts to rise faster than realized gain.

And I will stop there.

Cry "Horsepower", and let slip the dogs of war.


Last edited by Sacto Mitch
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