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Unread 10-26-2008, 07:37 PM   #1
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Default Interested in buying a classic Beetle to play with.

Well I'm [hopefully] getting my license in a few months and (call me crazy) I want a classic Beetle. My dad used to own one (thinks it was a 61) and he says it was really easy to work with. I want to know how easy it is to find parts for them, how easy they are to work with, and what kind of engine I could put in one (I'm thinking a big 4cyl or a really small 6cyl) and if I'm stuck with an aircooled car or if I can go to water (this is my PC brain talking here ).
Also, I would probably be buying it this summer when I'm in Washington because the winters and road salt destroys most cars here in Maine.
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Unread 10-26-2008, 08:23 PM   #2
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There are lots of parts suppliers for bugs because of their popularity, they are real easy to work and they are very simple vehicles. As far as motor swaps go, it is usually not necessary to swap a motor. A lot of suppliers offer cylinder and piston kits (the cylinders are removable/replaceable) so it is really easy to make a big-bore motor. Any six-cylinder will be a tich fit in the back of a bug, but I have seen several with Porsche motors (also aircooled). Watercooling is only accomplished via a motor swap, and I have seen probably everything from a G60 to a VR6 to a Chevy V8. I am also sure you are aware that you would have to run cooling hoses and find a spot for a radiator. I personally would stick with an aircooled motor for the sake of simplicity. These cars are super light (1100-ish lbs) so it really doesnt take much to get them moving.
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Unread 10-26-2008, 09:42 PM   #3
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It would be really cool if you were able to drop the bug body onto a newer frame (GTI or VR6 or something) you'd get all the new suspension and frame rigidity plus the old look.

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Unread 10-26-2008, 10:18 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by StreetRacingTechno View Post
It would be really cool if you were able to drop the bug body onto a newer frame (GTI or VR6 or something) you'd get all the new suspension and frame rigidity plus the old look.
QFT, that'd be ghetto
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Unread 10-26-2008, 10:43 PM   #5
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There is no "frame rigidity" as watercooled vw's are a unibody, and that goes away when you mess with hacking it apart. Besides, not all bugs had the dreaded swing axles; at some point they switched to true trailing arm IRS, and the torsion frond suspension is not half-bad either. There has been some pretty wild stuff done to bugs, but IMO its an excellent package "out of the box".
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Unread 10-27-2008, 06:42 AM   #6
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Because of my lack of experience, I'm probably going to be sticking with the stock frame .
I do realize that I would have to run coolant hoses around the car, but it sounds like there's plenty of engines that I could keep on air.

I also like the idea of keeping the original engine (to save money) and just replacing the cylinders and pistons.
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Unread 10-27-2008, 03:34 PM   #7
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There is no "frame rigidity" as watercooled vw's are a unibody, and that goes away when you mess with hacking it apart. Besides, not all bugs had the dreaded swing axles; at some point they switched to true trailing arm IRS, and the torsion frond suspension is not half-bad either. There has been some pretty wild stuff done to bugs, but IMO its an excellent package "out of the box".
So how would I be able to tell the difference? I don't even know what a swing axle is exactly :s

Also, for safety, would it be a good idea to have some sort of a roll cage built into the trunk (front of the car)? Or would it be smarter to just get a normal one made for the cabin part?
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Unread 10-27-2008, 07:27 PM   #8
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Swing axles have a pivot only at the transmission. This causes the characteristic camber change when raising and lowering a bug. The trailing arm setup on bugs is called "IRS" (independent rear suspension). This has an arm on each side that pivots from in front of the axle, and the axle itself has two CV joints on each end.

I looked it up, and beetles from 69 and up were IRS.

This is what IRS looks like:


Swing axles setups do not have the diagonal trailing arm.
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Unread 10-27-2008, 07:54 PM   #9
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I looked it up, and beetles from 69 and up were IRS.
That is correct for Deluxe Beetles; the Standard Beetle never had IRS.

From a distance you can tell the Deluxe Beetles, they have the chrome trim around the windows, the Standard Beetles are just plain black rubber seals.

Also it's not something you want to try to upgrade to so don't even think about it, buy an IRS to Beetle to start with. The easiest thing to look for is the rubber boot at the wheel end of the axle. Good picture BTW.
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Unread 10-28-2008, 08:43 AM   #10
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So I'm looking for a deluxe beetle from 69 or up?
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