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owdlvr January 9th 2015 02:29

Dave's Proper German Look Build
It's been 4(?) years since the Salzburg Rally Tribute Build and it's no secret I've been itching for a new build for some time. Originally I had planned my next project build for the year after the Rally Bug, figuring a year of sorting the car would be enough. That turned into two years of sorting and upgrades, and then I bought a 1968 Single Cab. Just when I figured it was time to buckle down and buy the next project, a major career change occurred. I'm super lucky now that I have made my time my own, and self employed, but in doing so I have drastically gutted the project car budget. Whoops. But car projects and bank accounts are never going to get along, right? So here we go…

I suppose I should start by saying this thread won’t move anywhere near as quickly as my last build thread. At this point I’m looking at probable three-year plan before the project is completed. The rally project was built in 8 months, but this one is going to take longer. For starters, I don’t even have a car. “Wait,” I can hear you saying, “why would you start a build thread before you even own the car?” Well, I guess I’m looking to do something a little different.

When I finally bought a floorpan, and began the rally bug project, it was after a good two or three years of planning. I had a binder fully prepared for the direction of the build, and modifications I was going to do. Minor details may have been sorted on the fly, but I had a pretty crystal clear idea and plan for what the finished product was going to be. And I guess that’s the real reason I’m starting the thread so early. I haven’t quite sorted out the vision for the final car, and I thought making the struggle part of the thread could be interesting. And hey, I could use the help.

With the rally bug, there were a couple of key friends who were on-deck for questions, thoughts and bouncing ideas off them. I can’t think of a better crew then the regulars here to do that with, so why not live on the forum?

So here is what I do know:
1) I’m going to be building a German Look.
2) This won’t be a cookie-cutter build.
3) It’s got to have my personal touch in it, and be recognizable as mine.
4) Budget can’t be insane. I’m afraid I’m unlikely to be shipping a full body of Carbon Fibre over from Europe.
5) No earplugs. I’ve already got one race car. I will be sacrificing a little bit of weight and performance for the joy of driving without hearing protection at all times.

And what I don’t know:

1) Vehicle? Standard, 1302 or 1303? Its killing me not knowing which one I want to use. I’m 100% sold on the 1303, I love the look. The front end, the windshield…it’s just, well, right. My biggest distaste for the 1303 has always been the dash, and I’ve even come up with a solution that is very ‘me’, very much along the lines of a ‘proper’ german look and something I haven’t seen before (aka: no cookie cutter). And, to be completely fair, I think a ‘proper’ german look really does need the curved windshield.

I’ve been thinking about a 1302 for a couple of reasons. A second ’71 in my stable could be interesting, and I can already picture the rally bug on gravels sitting next to my GL tucked down low on some track tires. In many ways I know the body shell like the back of my hand, and it would give me a chance to improve upon areas of the car I think (in hindsight) I could have done better.

Okay, lets be honest and get this out in the open: By traditional definition, you can’t make a ‘true’ german look out of a standard. I know a number of folks could argue the point, I may have inadvertently insulted some of your rides, but under the ‘original’ or historical definition of the german look, you can’t use a standard. Here’s the problem. I have a 1975 standard that I’ve been paying to store for 6 years now. That’s over $5000 spent in just keeping the thing in a box. It’s a family car, my mom drove it in University. I can’t sell it…but it just sits. Its been discussed, the family is 100% okay with it becoming a GL car. They know I’ll keep that for life, whereas a stock restoration won’t be much interest to me personally. So shouldn’t I just accept it’s what I’ve got and build accordingly? But a 1303, oh to have a 1303…

2) Powerplant? Type 1, Type 4 or Subaru?

I’ve toyed with the idea of fitting a 911-6 into the car, even with all the cutting that’s necessary, but truthfully that is only so I could for once satisfy myself during a gas station stop. How great would it be to kill the “my uncle/brother/friend had a porsche engine in his back in the day” conversation by opening the deck and simply saying "dude, X number of months to make that fit." :P

I have a Type 4 long block already, nothing exciting (and just a 1.8). The cost of doing a type 4 (vs type 1) is a bit ridiculous, and the longevity of one with the mileage I put on it is a big concern. But I do have the type 4 should I decide it needs to be done. Truthfully, I think I’ll go Type 1 if I go air-cooled. My 2110 built by Kroc has done roughly 48,000km so I’m not overly concerned about the lifespan issues. I am getting a little tired of all the tuning and cleaning my carbs require (gravel roads will do that to you), but to solve that problem I did pickup a CB fuel injection kit with 48 IDF style throttle bodies. They will be saved for the German Look car, as I really think it needs the joy of “turn-key” every time I get into it.

Speaking of turn-key, how about a Subaru setup? I’ve got a good friend with a lightly-used 2.5RS who will be pulling the motor around Easter time. He does engineering for the Subaru Canada rally team, and thus I know the engine is well cared for. 2.5RS might not be considered too exciting, but should I desire a turbo setup it’s as simple as having the guys at the shop build one up for me. 150,000km between head gasket jobs, and pretty much the most reliable engine choice I could make. The only issue is fitting the radiator in without mucking up the body lines. I’ve learned a few things at Global Rallycross which could help here…


Alright, this post is getting to be far too long for an introduction. But allow me to introduce you to entire basis for my German Look build. I present to you, my brake calipers:

They may look used, but they’re actually brand new. They were mounted on the Mk1 Escort Rally car we recently towed across Canada in the ice, snow and salt…so they look a little used. But when my good friend Warwick realized they wouldn’t fit under his planned 13” wheels, I made a deal to buy them. I think they’re kind of the perfect way to end the introduction to my new project. They’re a serious bit of kit, and certainly 100% inline with the idea of performance as the centre of the build. But at the same time, they aren’t just another Porsche caliper. Yes, I know the traditional German Look philosophy is to borrow as much from Porsche’s parts bin as possible…but this is me. It needs to follow the ideals, but be just different enough that you know it has “my touch” in it.


Steve C January 9th 2015 03:36


I cant wait to read about what your going to do.

I agree the 1303 dash is a pain. I've made mine a little easier to deal with, I moved the fuse box into the trunk and made all the panels across panels across dash easily removable. I fitted M5 nutserts to the dash and held the panels in with M5 screws.

Cooling with any water cooled motor can be taken care of by fitting the radiator in the front and using an air con front apron.


My fuse box

Gerrelt January 9th 2015 10:39

This sounds promising! I loved following your rally thread.

My vote: 1303 with a Suby engine!
Because it sounds like you want to create a "GT" Germanlook: performance and luxery. The things that define a Grand Tourismo.

70Turbobug January 9th 2015 13:57

This will be an interesting thread! The "original German Look" is actually based on a standard beetle. However, the 1303 does make things easier and in certain areas cheaper for a GL. A subaru is a good choice eventhough not "pure" GL, but parts are easier to source and overall cheaper because there's a big industry behind the subaru stuff. Good luck I'm looking forward on following this thread!

ricola January 9th 2015 15:40

There'd be no surprise where my vote would go! I actually like the 1303 dash...

Steve C January 9th 2015 23:14


I should qualify my dislike of the 1303 dash, I love the look of it combined with open feeling the curved windscreen gives.

Wiring can be a bit difficult on a 1303 with stuff behind the dash. A flat screen Beetle has most of the wiring laid out before you in the trunk, that's what I tried to achieve when I moved my fuse box into the trunk


owdlvr January 10th 2015 05:13

Lol, it's amazing how things suddenly get thrust into action. One of my dream list beetles is a '58/'59 with black body and red interior. Don't ask why, just run with it. Found one on Craigslist today...jokingly told a buddy and boom! sold one of my cars to him. Tomorrow morning I'm going to look at said '58. If I don't buy it, I really do have budget to find my GL donor car! Win-win either way!

owdlvr January 10th 2015 05:31

I think, before I fall asleep, that I need to mention how stoked I am to see some of the regulars jump in. Once we have guys like Joel, Wally and a few others check in I'm going to feel like it's the group of us suggesting and directing the build as I progress forward. The group if us whom, I think, have kept the forums running and interesting to return to. Make no mistake, in the end I will choose what _i_ want, but it will be done with careful consideration of each and every one of your pearls of wisdom.


Bogara_ZO January 10th 2015 09:57

Good luck with this project Dave, can't wait to see it!

Type1 is not GL in my book. It's not just about power and realibity but the philosophy of GL, how it became popular in the past. A Porsche style cooling is a must as well when speaking about "proper" GL.

To stand out from the crowd the "family car" sounds good if budget allows a mendeola or similar would be unique and light! However if you take it for longer trips, I'm with Gerrelt, take the subaru...but have you ever thought of a ghia or a 411/412? Speaking of a grand tourismo, I LOVE the idea of a suby powered 412LE with a/c :cool:

H2OSB January 10th 2015 10:57

I loved the rally bug build, and often refer it to others due to how thorough it was.

I am planning to install an EJ25/EJ22 hybrid engine into one on my '74 1303s (ala Joel) and an EJ22 in the other (the second one is my 15 year old son's car). I cannot see the feasibility of building an aircooled engine for any performace Beetle unless one is a purist or it is required for one reason or another. With a little effort, a conversion can be done for substantially less money than the cost of a T1 engine build.

Your brake calipers are monstrous! Should stop the car quite quickly. You might want to keep facial tissue handy, however, to stem the spontaneous nose bleeds you're going to cause. I'm using 911 M calipers on the front over 944 spindles and rotors. Fortunately, the M calipers bolt in place perfectly. For the rear, I'm using straight n/a 944 including the fantastic stock parking brake apparatus. For my son's car, I'm going to use early 924 brakes on the front and VW Mk3/4 rear brakes.

Anyway, I look forward to following your build.

dub_crazee January 11th 2015 07:47

Awesome, i look forward to watching this thread after your last build :D

cookvw January 11th 2015 14:27

looking fwd to this build for sure. i loved watching the build on your rally bug. i would suggest maybe using a waterboxer vanagon motor...why, it bolts right up, makes good n/a power, and a lot more when turbo'd, most type1 parts bolt on yo a wbx motor. and it still keeping it all vw. just my .02. i love my wbx motor. i love aircooled, but you know what they say, once you go watercooled, you dont go back. for reliability (for me) ive switched from megasquirt efi over to vws digifan1 efi cause its robust, tunable, and fires right up everytime.
for myself as well, ill agree the proper germanlook is a 1302/1303. my very first beetle ever was a 71 1302, then i had a 74' 1303, then a 73', and now the last of the 1303's a 75'. i will say after owing a few i like the 75 cause of the extra return fuel line factory, and the rack and pinion steering, BUT i think a 73' it better cause it has all the good body parts...i.e. no 5 m.p.h. impact bumper struts that are as ugly as sin IMO. lol as for my i love the 1303 dash, ive made i guess the cookie cutter mods to my dash to now house an array of porsche gauges.

well good luck with your build. no matter what you do with will be awesome.

Steve C January 11th 2015 17:12


Im a fan of the WBX as well, they are very light when compared to a WRX motor and dont take up much room in the engine bay.


owdlvr January 11th 2015 22:30

WBX eh? Hmmm, you know, I have never even considered that. In fact, I know very little about the waterboxer. I think I'm going to need to do some searches on that one. I do like the idea of keeping it in the VW family, but there is a serious advantage to having the Canadian Subaru Rally team 2min from my house!

I do hope everyone realizes I'm not intentionally insulting any personal rides, and wouldn't post here asking for input if I wasn't impressed with what everyone is doing with their cars. When I built the Rally Bug, even before I started, I had one goal: I wanted the car in RetroCars magazine. I dunno why that was the most important goal for me, but I love the cars that are featured in it, and I just decided that a car I built should be in there. Every job I did on the car had to be "magazine quality", or I knew I wasn't going to get in. For this car, my main goal is to not be a "cookie-cutter"...and I guess I should explain that. If I decide to go subaru, you can be damned sure I'm going to be looking at and 'copying' the work of the guys who have done it successfully already. I think with so many amazing German Look cars out there, it's too easy to look at one or two great ones, and end up building a copy of it. I love, for instance, the Blue Remmele 1303 with the carbon hood and decklid. LOVE that car. But if I build a 1303, I'm going to have to be very, very careful I don't build a carbon copy...that's not unique to me, and it's not fair to Remmele. By the same token, there's a light-greenish standard beetle that made a cover of Volksworld (I think) a few years ago. It's my 'reference' to the fact that you can make a standard look very good as a German Look car. But again, I don't want to just build the same thing they have. So "cookie-cutter" is not meant as a negative towards anyone's car, it's just my personal goal to not copy anyone outright.

I guess I should provide an example of how I'm thinking of it? Take the final shifter in the Rally Beetle. I bought and installed a Hargett performance shifter, designed for a 911. At the time I thought I was being unique about the whole thing, but in organizing my German Look project folder the other night I found photos of a metallic red beetle with one installed. I must have seen it prior to putting mine in. Now, I can't remember, but if we accept that I _knew_ someone had done it, I simply used that information as basis that "it can be done". I then looked at my car, and determined a mounting solution that I was happy with, and worked for what I was doing. I could have simply looked at the red car and copied his mounts, but instead took the time to make sure I was building something in my car that worked specifically for my build. We may have come to the same conclusion, in this particular case we came up with very different designs. So much so that I had to double take the other night and confirm that "whoa, I'm not the first".

Over the past few nights I think I've come to a few conclusions:

1) If I do a 1303, it is far more likely that I will do a Subaru engine, not sure why...but in my head it's starting to make sense as package. Though, apparently now I need to look at WBX engines!
2) If I do the standard, it will definitely have a double a-arm suspension. I won't be bolting in a Mendeola unit, or eye-ball engineering, simply because I think both designs have some issues I would change. I may, however, modify a Mendeola unit to be setup the way that want it.
3) Standard beetle isn't likely to be watercooled. My plan for the radiators doesn't require the AC grill of the super, but I think I want the option there should I decide my initial plan isn't a good one. (not sure if I'm ready to let that plan out of the bag yet)

Hey Cook, I really think you need to check this out: Classic Car Adventures is expanding this year, and one of our new events is right in your backyard.


Steve C January 11th 2015 23:54


If your going watercooled and not going to use the front AC vent, don't try to go down the rear mounted radiator path, it almost always ends with the owner fitting a front mounted radiator or being limited to low speed high way use.

Over on Shoptalk try searching for a user called Marco the steam engine (I think) for WBX info, they have a whole section devoted to these motors.


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