Since introduction in December 2002 we have had many requests to make direct comparisons between our mid-engine water-cooled custom chassis Speedster and the very popular VW air-cooled Speedsters. We found this to be quite difficult.  

     Because of the completely different mechanical nature of the two cars the only meaningful direct comparison is the appearance and dimensional specifications.

    At first glance the two cars appear the same.  The significant differences which do occur are a result of our using and adopting the specifications from original Speedsters where the VW based cars have altered features resulting from the adaptation to the VW chassis. 

    The value of owning a more accurate appearing Speedster has to be weighed by each owner; however......

The mechanical, electrical, safety, and structural comparison is another story. 

 You will find listed below a checklist of our standard features found on every water-cooled Speedster we build.

  This list can be used to make comparisons, where possible, with the standard features for any of the very worthy VW Speedster replicas available world wide.


It should be noted that engine cooling method is only a very small part of the difference between the cars ...see below


Here is some of what you  DO NOT  get with our Speedsters  

  • NO  noisy VW engine, cooling fan, and valve train-you can hear your radio at 75mph

  • NO  35 year old manual 4 speed transaxle 

  • NO  engine and transmission oil drippings on your garage floor

  • NO  constant valve lash, points, and spark plug gap adjustments

  • NO  frequent brake shoe adjustments

  • NO  concern about engine temperatures on hot days 

  • NO  burning oil smell from heater boxes - which do not heat adequately or at all

  • NO  heart stopping Porsche tail wag on high speed curves

  • NO  light front end woes at speed or during wet weather steering or braking 

  • NO  useless trunk storage space

  • NO  disinterested or non-existent VW air-cooled service centers......much more

 Remember that these are our Standard features

everyone knows the old saying about comparing apples and oranges

  Specialty Auto-sports, inc.  Speedster  

 Standard Feature list  (S)                                   (O) optional


   Compare  with  

other Speedsters   and  their             typical standard features  

Additional Cost to equate their Speedster with our Speedster standard features

Standard Cost  $29,700.00




Summary: fuel injected 170 hp mid-engine water cooled/automatic overdrive transmission/4 wheel disc brakes/ independent front and rear/hot water heat-defrost/ see more below


Engine Type


Air-cooled- VW





Rear engine mounted - VW


Mid-engine mounted

(S)   $$$$$$$$$



63 hp


75 hp


90 hp


150 hp


170 hp  166 lb-ft torque

(S)   $$$$$$$$$

265 hp   266 lb-ft torque


315 hp   300lb-ft torque




1600cc   4 cyl


1776cc   4 cyl


1835cc   4 cyl


2010cc   4 cyl


2100cc   4 cyl


2500cc   4 cyl 

(S)   $$$$$$$$$

Fuel delivery


Carburetor 1V


Carburetor 2V


Carburetor Twin 1V


Carburetor Twin 2V


Electronic Fuel injected - multi port

(S)   $$$$$$$$$



Emissions compliant





(S)   $$$$$$$$$

Trans axle type


VW 4 speed manual


VW 3 speed automatic


Automatic 4 speed overdrive

(S)   $$$$$$$$$

5 Speed Manual Overdrive


Chassis type


salvaged 1960-1977 VW pan -  repaired and shortened


Tubular VW sub-frame


All new - Custom designed structural tubular frame

(S)   $$$$$$$$$

Wheel base  1957 356A


Actual Speedster 82.7" (82.7")


Front track  1957 356A


Actual Speedster 51.4" (51.6")


Rear track   1957 356A


Actual Speedster 50.1" (50.0")


Empty Finished weight (lb)

     * VW Speedsters we weighed                 ** VW Roadsters we weighed


*1650 4 speed


**1850 4 speed  


              + 1850  5  Speed                      +1980   automatic

(O) (S)    



Front/rear weight (balance)

* VW Speedsters we actually weighed                                                  **VW Roadsters we actually weighed   






     +46/54    5speed

    ++44/56 automatic








 weight/power ratio


(1650/63)   26.1 #/hp


(1650/75)   22.0 #/hp


(1850/63)   24.0 #/hp


(1850/165)  11.21 #/hp 5 speed   (1980/165)  12.0  #/hp automatic

(O) (S)    

      (1850/250)   7.4  #/hp         (1980/250)   7.8  #/hp    




Front suspension


  VW King-pin (1936-1967) US


  VW Ball joint (1968-1977) US


VW torsion leaf with cast steel upper/lower trailing swing arms (1936-1977) US


Unequal length tubular upper/lower control arms with adjustable coil-over spring gas shocks


Rear suspension


VW Swing axle (1936-1968)US


VW independent (IRS) (1969-1977)US


VW torsion bar and welded trailing arms with hydraulic shocks(1936-1977) US


Independent (IRS) with triple lower control arms- double upper wishbones longitudinal trailing arms- adjustable coil over shocks

(S)   $$$$$$$$$

Front caster       +5.0 


Front Camber      -0.5  


Front toe-in        0.25"


Rear caster        +2.0 


Rear Camber       -0.75 


Rear toe-in        0.125"  




VW  recirculating ball/worm gear box with link arms


New Rack and pinion

(S)   $$$$$$$$$

Brakes (front-rear)


 manual adjust VW  Drum-drum


  manual adjust VW  Disc-drum


Power assisted Disc-Disc (4 wheel)

(S)   $$$$$$$$$
Park Brake      
VW  style handle between seats      
   356A style Tee handle below dash      (S)    

Wheel size


15 x 4.5  8 slots


15 x 5.0  8 slots


15 x 6.0  10 slots

(S)   $$$$$$$$$



Bolt pattern


VW  Wide five


VW  4 lug


5 lug Porsche wide 5

(S)   $$$$$$$$$



Tire size


165-75 15


175- 70 15




Steering column


Used - VW 


New - GM style

(S)   $$$$$$$$$

Wiper system


VW link arm


2 speed/park/washer - cable drive

(S)   $$$$$$$$$



VW exhaust pipe heat exchanger


Open flame VW gasoline  heater


195 degree hot water

(S)   $$$$$$$$$

Convenience features


Fold down canvas top


canvas Tonneau cover

(S)   $$$$$$$$$

Door Map Pockets


Kick panel storage pockets


Seat back storage pockets


Roadster Seats - tilt/slide/recline


Side curtains


Hazard lights


VDO Style instrumentation


concealable AM-FM-CD stereo


Interior courtesy lights


Front trunk storage


Rear trunk storage

(S)   $$$$$$$$$

15+/-  gallon fuel tank frame protected - steel protective firewall

(S)   $$$$$$$$$

Halogen seal beams


full engine access for maintenance


cup holder







Total added features $

Standard Plus added $

Take a look at our Standard Build Sheet

Some options we offer for our standard Speedster :

AC-(heat-defrost is standard), cruise control, all leather interior, 265 hp engine, 5 speed manual shift, flared fenders, custom wheels, bumper guards, nerf bars, seat head rests