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Purple Frog
Purple Frog New Reader
1/6/20 4:01 p.m.

OK ...  Here goes.

I'm a 70 year old Curmudgeon that has been involved in racing since the 60s.  In the 60s and early 70s I was heavily involve with VW beetle performance.  Did some serious Autocrossing up to the point of building a Midengine formula special so that I could rack up a bunch of FTDs.   At that time my road racing experience was all on the grass side of the fence as a spectator.  Starting with the '63 Sebring 12 hour, we did a lot of watching.  We would sit around campfires a talk about what kind of serious bug we would build if we had the money.  

Well sportsfans, I guess I now have the time and money...  I hear most of you readers already screaming, "OK Boomer!"

My pet peeve with all the thousands of build projects on the interweb is that folks start. ..  Then they dismantle a car...  Post a lot of pictures, then as the months (years) pass by they quit posting.  So, with that in mind I decided not to post until the project was being really driven on the street. Licensed, insured, etc.

This is what is in my shop this evening:

 

Purple Frog
Purple Frog New Reader
1/6/20 4:03 p.m.

But.... There is more there than meets the eye.

That rusty '63 sunroof is perched on top of this:

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy UltraDork
1/6/20 4:11 p.m.

That is astounding. I'm sure I'm not alone in my want for more info.

Purple Frog
Purple Frog New Reader
1/6/20 4:11 p.m.

A few details.

We set out to build a complete street "sleeper".  Lets call it a Pro-Touring VW Beetle.

A few specs we started with:

* Mid engine.  All real cars are Mid-engine.  CG and all that stuff

* Independent racing suspension.  No flexible bushings for us. No swing arms.

* Four wheel disc brakes. Duh.

* Penske multi-way adjustable coil over shocks with remote res.

* Finished inside with fire walls etc.

* Fuel cells

* Air-cooled engine to be "Old Skool".    Chassis is designed for a 911

* Rack and pinion steering.

* Look as stock as possible from 50 feet away.

Started with a '63 Sunroof.  I know of all its owners back to its purchase.

 

Purple Frog
Purple Frog New Reader
1/6/20 4:13 p.m.

We finally came out of the closet late in 2018

Purple Frog
Purple Frog New Reader
1/6/20 4:17 p.m.

This build was a long process.

The car was Eric Langbein's high school car.  He started the build around 15 years ago.  Eric is a high end race engineer up in Annapolis Maryland.  He does a lot of race car builds and prep.  He likes to do serious rallies in some of his creations.

Anyway, the build was Eric's idea.  He is a freking artist when it comes to TIG welding.  So... he started....

Purple Frog
Purple Frog New Reader
1/6/20 4:21 p.m.

Eric's business took off.  More race chassis to build/modify, more cars to prep for Amelia Island, more children, bigger home.  In other words life was getting in the way of his project.  In 2010 I was leaving Watkins Glen for Florida, when a friend asked if I could drop off an engine at Eric's shop.  So, in 2010 I saw this collecting dust in the back of his shop:

Purple Frog
Purple Frog New Reader
1/6/20 4:26 p.m.

I was seriously racing a FC car and had no business  taking on any projects... but... Imade the off-hand comment that if he ever got tired of that project to give me a call.  In 2014, Eric heard that I had sold a race car and called me and said he was only working on it 6 hours per year... could I take over.

He had gotten this far:

1SlowVW
1SlowVW Reader
1/6/20 4:30 p.m.

My name should tell you that I am bias but I think this is fantastic.

Purple Frog
Purple Frog New Reader
1/6/20 4:33 p.m.

I said "NO!"   Eric didn't believe me, and shipped it to Florida.  Without the 911 engine.  Magnus Walker had created a air-cooled 911 revival and the engine became too valuable for the project...

I was immediately in way over my head.  Holy Poop!  All I had was a 1972 Sears Craftsman stick welder.  

So... I started slowly.  During the "build" I had the body on and off maybe 30 times...

Purple Frog
Purple Frog New Reader
1/6/20 4:45 p.m.

I found a Jake Raby 2300 engine on Craig's List.

Bored, stroked, cam, oversize valves. 13/1 compression, Webers, Yadda, Yadda.

Dyno sheet showed 191 hp at 6000 rpm.  Not a 911, but i thought it was enough for a 1500 lb car... plus it was cheap.

When I first ran it, it did run.  But it had been stored 10 years in Central Florida.  The rings had become very fond of the ring grooves.  So, having built about 50 VW engines in the 70's I decided to refresh it myself, especially after Raby quoted me $19,000 for a refresh.  Yes sportsfans, welcome to the other-worldly cost of Porsche performance.  e gads!

Shadeux
Shadeux Reader
1/6/20 4:45 p.m.

I subscribed so fast my mouse caught fire

<cough> (fans air)

Recon1342
Recon1342 HalfDork
1/6/20 5:10 p.m.

In reply to Shadeux :

You got the vapors too, huh?

Purple Frog
Purple Frog New Reader
1/6/20 5:23 p.m.

Anytime you do a build, you really build the car multiple times before you can really start painting and doing finish assembly.

As with all of us that are hobby builders, family, work, and all that stuff can take priority.  Then in the middle of this build, I spent 11 months building us a new home, and that also meant a new shop.  So, the project was on hold for over a year.

After finding an engine that would fit the Porsche 5 speed gearbox, I was faced with the dilemma of building an exhaust that would fit inside the chassis that sits only 3 to 4 inches off the pavement.

There were certain specs that the engine builder wanted in terms of tubing diameters, primary lengths, secondary lengths, collector, etc.  I had never built an exhaust system before.  It took about three weeks of evenings.  I ordered a truckload of mandrel tubing bends from Jegs and Summit and went to work with a bandsaw, and my then new MIG.

Purple Frog
Purple Frog New Reader
1/6/20 5:27 p.m.

The goal was to get the exhaust to come out through the stock dimples in the rear bodywork.  Remember, we were trying to build a sleeper.

I thought the "trial" exhaust would be a throw-away unit.  But, it turned out so right, I kept it.  But it wasn't stainless... so I sent it off to Jet_hot to be coated inside and out.

It was a chore but I think I got it.

 

Purple Frog
Purple Frog New Reader
1/6/20 5:28 p.m.

For track days, or just pissing off the neighbors... there is a loud version:

The panel in the middle of the engine compartment is a heat shield to keep the exhaust heat from getting back into the engine bay.  Its insulated on its underside.  I also shielded the Penske shock resoiviors (sp?)

Purple Frog
Purple Frog New Reader
1/6/20 5:34 p.m.

One thing I soon learned.  There is a lot of "stuff" that all has to fit in a street legal car.  

Obviously, Eric is a true artist.  He went over the top with pedal design.  Of course twin brake masters with balance bar was mandatory.

Purple Frog
Purple Frog New Reader
1/6/20 5:36 p.m.

To be a real sleeper, we wanted to hide the "stuff".  Sort of looks "stock"....   Hallowed out fuel tank.

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise Dork
1/6/20 5:44 p.m.

Wow just amazing.

 

I loved this quote of yours: 

 

"All real cars are Mid-engine."

 

Purple Frog
Purple Frog New Reader
1/6/20 5:44 p.m.

The chassis has its own complete wiring harness.  There is an 'umbilical cord' that ties the chassis power into the original VW fuse panel.  All lights, signals, wipers, etc work off the original car harness.  Add a brace for the steering column and you could drive it as a go-kart...

The right side tail pipe is just a fake to carry out the theme of making it look stock with two pipes exiting through the dimples.

Purple Frog
Purple Frog New Reader
1/6/20 5:49 p.m.

Twin fuel cells sit behind the seats.  They are connected with a sump tank in between and about 2" lower.  From the sump the line runs forward into the console where the fuel pump resides, then back to the engine.  Always a chore finding places to hide things...

Bill Mesker
Bill Mesker Reader
1/6/20 5:50 p.m.

In reply to Shadeux :

My trackball spun so fast that it tore a hole in the berking space time continuum.... and it's funny because the trackball looks like a small Earth lol

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
1/6/20 5:58 p.m.

Oh my god. Im gonna need a minute. And a napkin. 

Purple Frog
Purple Frog New Reader
1/6/20 6:00 p.m.

I didn't want this thing to roll half finished.  I didn't want the interior to look like a hallowed out baja bug.  I must say the interior panels took many many hours.  Had to be aluminum, had to be light weight.  And had to be a real firewall that would pass tech inspections.  (I am a SCCA Scrutineer after all).   

A huge challenge:  We were putting an air-cooled engine in the muddle of a car.   (Yes I considered a Subaru... but... really)

So there had to be a sealed engine bay so that the hot air going out the bottom didn't re-circulate back into the fan.  That job required many hours.  Many cardboard prototypes.  Then prototypes out of thin aluminum.  Then cut the real pieces out of heavier guage.   

Purple Frog
Purple Frog New Reader
1/6/20 6:03 p.m.

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