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Old August 2nd 2018, 17:06
eskamobob1 eskamobob1 is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 7
74 Standard - Formula Vee inspired GL Build

Hey guys,

So I figured it was probably about time I stop lurking and actually start a build thread for this project. This bug was my first car and now that I'm out of college and actually have some money I figure I should give her the make over she has always deserved.

The Plan

Mission Statement:
So, I love the German look, but with this build I dont want to exactly take it too far style wise. The plan is make a fantastically performing bug with a more subdued styling. Here are the set in stone requirements.
  • She must look like it could have come that way to non beetle people
  • She must be a capable daily driver for mostly freeway miles
  • She must get over 20 MPG (american), but preferably ~30MPG
As with any performance build, the absolute first mod one should ever do is making it handle. The plan here is actually fairly simple. Stage 1 is to off with soft ride KYB gas shocks front and rear as well as dual 3/4" sway bars. Stage 2 will be to lower the car roughly 2 1/2" with front drop spindles and convert to early 944NA rear trailing arms and spring plates (and figure out how to lower those). Once I get the weight/power of the engine and transmission more figured out, stage 3 is where will start playing with stiffer springs/bars and different size sway bars and probably adjustable shocks and a kafer bar system.
The car currently sits with a front disc conversion and rear drums all of which are in fairly nice condition. The primary upgrade on the brake system will be a big one though. The brakes will be upgraded to early 944NA brakes on all 4 corners (donor parts already obtained) which will require rear trailing arm/spring plate swap as well as having the front spindles and hubs being machined by VDubEngineering for proper fitment on a standard beetle.
Wheels & Tires
The plan for wheels is to move to 15x6 or 16x6 early offset Porsche wheels for the best wheel width without running into clearance issues or needing to narrow my beam. As for which wheels specifically, I like the idea of black cookiecutters, but we will see where I end up. Tires are still something I have no clue on though.
The interior is something that will largely be worked on intermittently throughout the entire project. My current thoughts are that I would like to somewhat replicate the 1970 Formula Vee Edition package with the gauge layout of the 1600SP. This will include sourcing an appropriate walnut sifter (obtained) and steering wheel as well as fabricating actual wood dash panels and button inlays and black door panels and carpet. The seats I am torn on though. The two major options I am considering are obtaining and reupholstering some sports beetle seats or possibly just going with EMPI race trim seats.
This is possibly the easiest, but may take the longest. The plan is to black out the trim, possibly go with smoked light covers, and patch/repaint to get rid of all the chips. I likely wont do much until I have the small rust patch in the rear driver side patched and and can afford/justify a full paint job. This will likely all happen when I finally take the body off the pan fairly far into the build.
This is one place I still have quite a bit of thinking to do on. My 3 basic options are a Subbie swap for an EJ207 and Subaru transmission (will have done professionally), type 4 conversion with a Porsche tranny (slightly cheaper than the subbie but not much and still aircooled), or a more mild type 1 engine with a better trans (either higher 4th or porsche). What this basically comes down to is just how far I want to build this car. It will continue to be my daily driver for at least a long while, which does make the less efficient engines a bit less appealing. Ultimately, I believe the choice is going to come down to if I want to build my bug to the 9s or do a more moderate build and put the money that would have been used on a more exotic drive train to get another car. Luckily I have a while to think about this one though.

Last edited by eskamobob1; August 2nd 2018 at 17:30.
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Old August 2nd 2018, 17:06
eskamobob1 eskamobob1 is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 7
The Build

Green = Done
Blue = Parts Obtained
Red = Not Done
Phase 1
  • ball joint and tie rod end replacement
  • KYB soft ride gas shocks
  • Front and rear 3/4" swaybar
  • Locate gas smell
  • Better front seats
  • Begin mock up of dash panels (3d print test fits?)
  • Install lighter port
  • Full inspection of electrical system
  • Repair turn signal switch
  • Upgrade headlights/install stealth light bar
Phase 2
944 Conversion
  • Obtain donor parts
  • Have front spindles and hubs machined and order replacement rotors and pads
  • Decide on MC
  • Finalize wheels and tires
  • Install Conversion
  • Black out Trim and smoke light covers
  • Wolfsburg emblems for wheels
  • Front damn
  • Fastback Window Cover (?)
  • Walnut Steering Wheel
  • Walnut Formula Vee Shifter
  • Make Dash Panels
Phase 3
Body Off Restoration
  • Fix all Rust
  • Patch Paint/Repaint
  • Replace Cracked Dash pad
  • Install New Carpet
Drive train
  • Engine
  • Transmission

Last edited by eskamobob1; August 2nd 2018 at 17:45.
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Old August 3rd 2018, 14:36
eskamobob1 eskamobob1 is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 7
So, not a full update here, but kind of a small one. I currently have the entire front end of my bug pulled apart with everything off except the steering box and the beam. Though I would like to pull the beam off, clean it, and paint it, I just dont think I have the time for that currently as I would like to be driving my car again by the end of this weekend. There were a couple of weird things I encountered when pulling everything apart, so here is a list of my anomalies/what kicked my ass

My front sway bar was only connected by fittings on one side with the other side completely rotted out, and the sway bar its self was cracked (looked like someone beat on it with a hammer, but its hard to tell). My front passenger side shock hemorrhaged all of its oil when I finally got the weight of the car off it. The same shock was missing its lower retaining nut and only held on by being seized to the bracket its self. The driver inner tierod looks like it still has a good end (being replaced anyways) but the not was not tightened down at all. When pulling the spindles off one of the ball joints was so shot that the pin the nut was on was spinning inside of the joint making it an absolute pain to get off. I had to go buy wobble socket extensions for my impact and literally just let it run and smoke a bit until the nut let go and I could get the ball joint out of the socket.

I also have a gas smell that I seriously cant locate. I have an early 68 tank and have just gone about replacing the vent lines (larger one and running one off of the cracked cap in the picture), fill hose, gas cap, and the sender seal to no avail. I do not have the carbon canister installed, but I didnt think that should play too big of a role. The hose connecting the tank to the had line is never wet at all and doesnt smell of gas from what I can tell. Maybe the issue is where the bottom hose comes out of the tank as the grease around it isnt dry, but it doesnt realy smell of gas either. Over all this one is kind of kicking my ass.

Here are some teaser pictures for my front end overhaul post

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Old September 7th 2018, 23:55
rioprelude rioprelude is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 104
Nice project! Keep up the good work!
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