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V8 Super Beetle 01-02-2008 12:44 PM

V8 1973 VW Beetle Project
Hello all!

I'm in the process of building a V8 Bug out of my 1973 VW Super Beetle. I know this is possible because it's been done before. I'm on the forum where you can find a handle full of example and different ways to accomplish this, but I still have questions. There's a lot more traffic here so hopefully I can get some help. I'm pretty much a beginner hot rodder that's a DYI kinda guy.

I'm looking into building a custom 2"x3" tube chassis for my build. I've took some measurements from my bug and designed a chassis in Illustrator to size. I'm trying to design the frame so it'll use the stock suspension up front.

I currently have a 283 SBC and th350 to put into the bug, but at the moment the motor is the block, with pistons and all, and heads. The motor is at my old mans (he works nights) so I don't have access to measure the motor off for mounting and what not.

Could anyone tell me, ballpark figure, about how much distance I'll need from each frame rail to fit the engine with mounts and shorty headers?

Here's my frame design, the distance between each frame rail is exactly 27.5". Also I intend on mounting the motor to the crossmembers that hold in the front control arms / suspension. Is this enough distance? Could I bring the distance between the two main frame rails closer? How should I mount the engine to the cross member with then motor mounts I have (see picture below)?

Here's some pics of my beetle and progress. I'm still working on cutting out the trunk!

V8 Super Beetle 01-02-2008 12:46 PM

V8 Super Beetle 01-02-2008 12:48 PM

Here are some more!!!

V8 Super Beetle 01-02-2008 12:49 PM

Here are the motor mounts I will use!

71Maverick 01-02-2008 03:37 PM

You are a sick, sick, man...

I like, :mwink: can't help you but that's gonna be a sweet ride :thumbup: I'm too chicken s**t to cut into my damn shock towers to sneak a 351 in my car

MrPhotographer06 01-02-2008 03:53 PM

haha i was workin on 3 70's.. but i gave up .. too steep of a project for right now.. main car was 70 A/S

V8 Super Beetle 01-02-2008 04:05 PM

LOL! Yeah, I've restored a 1974 VW bug before and it wasn't too hard. The cars are really simple and cheap to fix up.



Having a father that's an old school hot rodder, a love for V8's and a basic knowledge of vw super bees, I decided to take on one of these projects. I got a complete running vw super beetle for $500 (needless to say I'll be selling the parts I don't use, engine, etc.) and my old man threw in a V8 and rebuildable tranny after I told him what I want to do.

2-manytoyzs 01-03-2008 12:20 AM

The dimensions of the floor pan of the VW and the chassis of a Morris Minor are almost identical. There are a lot of small foreign cars that have the narrow short wheelbase as the VW. Look at sites that hot rod cars like English/British Ford, Morris Minor, MG amd Triumph for more info and ideas on this type of swap. Use the search feature on this site for more info. I looked at the differential out of my XR4TI (IRS) and took measurements. It appears if I made mounts for the 3rd member it would bolt up to the VW axles. The read end uses the same axle flanges as the VW. I have a 71 VW sedan I would like to do a swap on also.

F&J 01-03-2008 06:02 AM

Looking at the chassis looks like you plan to use the stock VW control arms & strut towers???

NOT strong enough by any means! The VW front half of the car is wicked lightweight and the front end was designed for that low weight. The tire pressure was like 17 lbs on the front end of a "standard" beetle with bias tires! Even with beefier springs, the rest will fail.

Try there are quite a few guys there that have v-8 VWs

MARTINSR 01-03-2008 08:09 AM

OH MY GOD! I was just watching the History Channel and they had photos of a long lost VW Super Beetle that Elvis gave Lisa Marie and that VW is YOURS. OH MY GOD, and you CUT IT UP!!!! It was worth $MILLIONS!


I would plan on using a "T BUCKET style frame" with a tube axle. That is how I have seen many of these cars. OR run Mustang II style, but not that stock front end. When I was a kid my dad had a used car lot where he had a VW Bus with a small block Ford in it mounted midship. Now, it was the early bug, not the McPherson strut super beetle which is a little better but MAN OH MAN was that thing dangerous! It went all over the place when you stabbed it!


V8 Super Beetle 01-03-2008 08:50 AM

LOL! Oh well, I'll take the quarter mil it's worth and invest it! Nobody likes that Bee anyway, j/j!

Yeah, I designed it to use the OEM front equipement. I was thinking about reinforcing the top of the struts with a fabricated bolted in bar like you see on ricers and possibly fabricating some lower control arms, but really I intend to use the stock stuff, so it'll look stock (sleeper).

I got this idea from the forum (on my own). The owner of the "Bug from Hell" uses the stock front end on his and he has a big block, but his is more of a mid mount.

If the McPherson suspension is stronger then I don't see why it wouldn't work? Right?

As of now, nothing is set in stone......but I think it would work. That's why I'm seeking advice before building so I really appreciate the help!

F&J 01-03-2008 02:02 PM

That drag car has the standard beetle "beam axle". That type of beam was redesigned & beefed for use in the VW bus & pickup. Those bug beams can be beefed to handle the 100 mph jumps at Baja.

I think the idea of a wimpy super beetle strut front end with a v-8 is all wrong. Some of them are prone to shimmy probs as well.

Also, take a look at how wimpy the coil spring "seat" is on the strut tube....beefing the coils will just let you find the next weakest link.

V8 Super Beetle 01-03-2008 02:26 PM

I understand what you're getting at! I was thinking about using a 2wd drive blazer chassis and shorting the wheelbase before this idea. If I want to do something similar to what I've designed, using struts and all (doesn't have to be the OEM stuff), what would you suggest? I'm looking for a solution that can be achieved with a simple inexpensive trip to the junkyard. I'm building this on a budget.

dalesy 01-03-2008 04:40 PM

I've seen a few of these little monsters over the years, but have never gotten to look at the innards. I think the frame design you did might be quite adequate.....simple is better. I wouldn't use the mcpherson front end though.That type of front end is fine, but the VW one isn't strong enough. You might want to check out Jeg's or Alston, or one of the altered-style front ends.....or the Mustang II, for the budget. You could also find the universal-style motor mounts, plates, etc. for your engine. You'll probably need some kind of narrowed rearend.

For a budget mind....look for a Rearend out of a Ford econoline or a Jeep (70's-80's). A lot of them had the rear end pumpkin way offset to one side. You can cut down the long side, and use 2 short side axles....if the width will work. Just an idea. There may also be other vehicles like this, but these I'm aware of. Either of these should be strong enough for your use.

Chevrolet4x4s 01-03-2008 10:07 PM

What about mustang or camaro strut towers and control arms the hook up the vw steering linkage to it.

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