VW Beetle built for speed

Richard is our most experienced team member, and our oldest too. He’s been in the VW parts game since 1978 and is still an avid enthusiast to this day. He works as part of our trade team and is based in Colorado, USA, only 5 miles from Pikes Peak.

Start at the beginning

Growing up in the UK, Richards’s affinity with the People’s car started with a 1965 LHD Beetle. He bought it from his Dad, who had purchased it new, 9 years previous while working in Naples.

Cracking back catalogue

Richard estimates he’s had over 40 Volkswagens to date including 7 Trekkers, it’s fair to say he has a soft spot for them! This Sea Blue ’65 Beetle has been in his possession 5 years now and has just undergone a 4-year build.

Jumping over the pond

Richard and family moved from Wales to the US in March ’99 to work for Colorado-based aircooled parts supplier Rocky Mountain Motorworks. However, it soon became apparent this wasn’t going to work out, so the following year he set up his own company called OE VeeDub.

Health scare

In 2004 Richard was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, (cancer of the bone marrow). His cousins kindly came over from the UK to help his wife run OE VeeDub while he received titanium to replace some bones, chemotherapy, radiation and 2 stem cell transplants. After several years of treatment, the doctors suggested he sell his VW business for the sake of his health.  He’s philosophical about it and even published a book called ‘a reluctant miracle about his journey with this illness.

On a lighter note

Richard met back up with Heritage founder David Ward in 2014 (they had been friends since the mid- the 80s having moved in the same circles) and Richard agreed to work for us. His role similar to our Trade Team in the UK, liaising with businesses and assisting with making purchases from Heritage Parts Centre in the UK.

Rekindled enthusiasm

Joining Heritage in 2014 clearly kick-started some unfinished business with the beloved Bug, and he set to work on a rather special abandoned Beetle project.

Coming ready equipped with a Mendeola suspension system, a 5 speed 911 gearbox, and a Jake Raby built Type 4 engine, it was the perfect base for a car that would become affectionately known as ‘Laxative’ – “for its effect on passengers” Richard adds!

Whaooooahhh!

There’s no messing about here, this car is fast, and thanks to the trick suspension it’s got the handling to match. Rolling on 7 x 17″ and 8.5 x 17″ Porsche Boxster wheels, these are not just for looks, but to accommodate the Wilwood 4pot Calipers and the 12.5″ Porsche 996 discs without fouling. At the rear, a pair of Porsche 944 hubs are matched to 11″ cross-drilled discs with Wilwood 4 pots taking care of slowing things down.

Cool touches

Something you may not have ever noticed is the clever oil cooler set up mounted behind the back seat. Richard has created a sealed ‘plenum’ area where cool air is ducted over the oil cooler and then the warm air is piped out the other side. All this is hidden under a false ‘boot floor’. The Propex heater is a necessity as the temperature is typically below freezing for 5 months a year in Colorado!

Growing old tastefully

Richard’s choice of tasty mods continue to a custom vented W decklid, 1.5″ widened wings, lowered bumper ‘towel rails’, cabriolet reinforcement rails under the heater channels, Scat Procar seats, a 914 Tacho and that’s before we even touch on the engine particulars which generates 208bhp at the wheels.

Hang on for the geeky bit…

So what has Richard done exactly to hide over 200 horses under his stock-looking deck lid? Here’s a quick resume. Based on a 1974 Porsche 2.0 Type 4 crankcase it has had the stroke increased to 78mm and is built around a forged counterweighted and balanced crankshaft. CB H-beam con roads connect to KB Hypereuctectic 96mm pistons, sliding inside cast-iron cylinders. The cylinder heads have been fully ported and polished and house 44×36 Marnel stainless steel valves with dual springs and balanced chambers. Manton cut to length pushrods operate forged VW rocker arms (1:3:1 ration) with solid lifters.

The slippery stuff is circulated thanks to a modified Type 1 Gene Berg/ Shadek pump and passed through a full-flow system with oil cooler hidden below rear luggage area. Fueling comes courtesy of Mallory Comp Series pump working in partnership with a Mallory regulator and filter, before supplying a pair of Weber 44mm IDF’s to do their job. This is all bolted up to a Porsche 915 5 speed transmission (from an 80-86 911) and utilises a lightened and balanced RAT 200mm flywheel to enable the conversion. Kennedy supplied the clutch components and an OS Giken LSD has been installed to ensure Richard can actually use the power he’s invested quite heavily in!

What a beast!

Andy

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