9 years ago
This past spring I found a 1965 Bahama Blue beetle sitting in a back yard, knocked on the door and it turned out it was the 75 year old original owner! He said the bug was part of the family and couldn't be sold, but I kept going back and convinced him to sell it!

It has every receipt from its entire life! It is original to my city, Charlotte, NC. I got it running and driving again and was able to use it as my daily driver over the summer and even drive it a few hours on the interstate out to some lakes. Sadly one Saturday morning on the way out to a cars an coffee meet the engine and tranny blew out:( so I decided to do a entire rebuild.

I currently have the body off the pan and disassembled and the pan disassembled. I am starting on the body which will take a lot of new metal and fabrication work. I am keeping the Bahama blue patina look though. I plan on lowering the bug and I want to do a vintage speed build on the original 40 hp engine. After talking with a old Porsche mechanic I know I am considering putting a Porsche 356/912 5 speed tranny in, or at least a freeway flyer VW one. For the engine I want am thinking a Porsche 356 crank and rods or (please don't hate on this) a SPG roller crank. A performance cam any idea on which one, Engle, Norris, or Porsche? For pistons I was thinking either a original 83mm Mahle set or a Porsche 356 set.

If I use Porsche should I use a stock 82mm set or a big bore 86mm set? And then for heads I am torn between either modifying the original 373 single port heads, porting and polishing them, or sourcing a original 40 hp Okrasa set. And then a dual carb set up and full flow Fram filter. So any advice is greatly appreciated!

I need to do this build as affordably as possible as I'm a student, but I have been working on Air cooled for some time now and this isn't my first build by any means so all expenses will just be in parts. I will be starting this same thread on the samba and if you have any ideas or help that you want to get to me quickly just pm me on there. My username is the same there as here: vwhavermahan
Thanks! :d
Haver Mahan
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9 years ago
Welcome to the forum, sounds like you've got some project on your hands there.

I'd recommend getting this book and having a good read through it:


Throwing in a Cam isn't as simple as choosing between Engle, Norris or Porsche - you have to decide/work out your lift and dwell that is going to work with the rest of your configuration. You need to work out the whole package depending on what 'kind' of power you want.

My experience of all this is that it constantly puts stress on the weakest part until you upgrade that as well (push rods, rockers, clutch, fuel pump), so it gets expensive fairly quickly (for starters genuine Okrasa 40hp heads are going to be hard to find and expensive). Be prepared for a lot of break downs and rebuilds until you get it right :wink:

If the car is as nice and original as you say it is, then keep the original 40hp motor stock and get yourself a replacement engine to play with. This gives you 2 advantages, 1st - you can put the stock engine back in each time you're rebuilding your hot motor and 2nd - you still have the original engine when it comes time to sell the car. :thumbup:
Rob Amos
Happiness is a stock VW
  • JD
  • pre67vw Junkie
9 years ago
It`s no easy job fitting a Porsche five speed. Far from a bolt in and plenty of fab work required. The Freeway flyer box will be a far better bet, but clearly you need enough power to push a high gear.

I don´t hate SPG cranks, but you understand that they are far from ideal for all around performance and can supposedly twist under hard acceleration. I certainly wouldn´t go looking for one. I´m not at all sure that the 356 crank and rods fit 40hp engines. Early cranks will fit 30hp motors though.

As Rob says, maybe rebuild your original motor and then try to find a hotter engine in your own time. A 356 motor would make a nice vintage speed unit, though the exhaust apparently needs to be chopped around to fit under a Beetle. Or just warm up your original motor with twin carbs and a better exhaust. These two things alone really wake up a standard engine.

You could also be different to all the others and leave it stock height. Not many left like that these days.
"John, you need to get a grip and STOP MOANING AT EVERYTHING. ThumbDown "
9 years ago
Thanks I think I defiantly will do the two engine idea! And if I do decide to lower it I will keep the original beam, plates, and spindles so that it could go back to stock in time :lol: