During years of enjoyable discussions with potential clients regarding the merits of  Specialty Auto-Sports, Inc.  Subaru powered Speedsters  I found that most  really did not have a sufficient understanding of the typical VW Speedster in order to make a meaningful  comparison



 Comparisons are futile because there is so much to remember  in the presentation.  Because of this information void I have developed a comparison check list to assist prospects in preparing themselves for a valuable exchange of information with the various manufacturers.


   'click' on any topic










Specialty Auto-Sports, Inc.

         Fiberglass Body and molds-Knoxville TN USA

         Welded Chassis -   Knoxville, TN  USA

         Body Assembly -   Knoxville, TN  USA

         Final Assembly  -  Knoxville, TN   USA

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Typical VW based

         Fiberglass Body and Molds - Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Europe

         Body Assembly -  Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Europe

         Final Assembly  -  USA



21st century engines are very powerful and efficient ... 1938 design Beetle engines are 1938 design

Specialty Auto-Sports, Inc.

  • Subaru  Boxster 4 cylinder 2500cc  
  • water cooled
  • 170hp      166 #/ft torque
  • Single overhead cam SOHC - no adjustment required
  • multiport fuel injection
  • OBDII engine management
  • noise level - quiet

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Typical VW based

  • VW Beetle 4 cylinder 1600cc (1938 design)
  • air-cooled
  • 55hp       77 #/ft  Torque
  • in-block cam with lifters and adjustable rockers
  • 34PICT single throat Carburetor
  • Distributor, points, condenser, rotor
  • noise level - high



Engine Maintenance:


Specialty Auto-Sports, Inc.

  • Replace cam belts (75,000 to 100,000 miles)
  • oil change  3000 miles
  • platinum tip plugs (100,000 miles)
  • some engines have coil packs

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Typical VW based

  • valve adjustment (1500-2000 miles)
  • oil change 2000 miles
  • points, wires, plugs, condenser, distributor cap, rotor
  • carburetor cleaning and adjustment periodically




Specialty Auto-Sports, Inc.

         Subaru 4 Speed Automatic with Overdrive

         OBDII controlled for optimum efficiency


         Subaru 5 Speed manual with Overdrive

         hydraulic clutch

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Typical VW based

         VW Beetle 4 Speed manual - No overdrive

         1938 design and "rebuilt" with used parts

         Cable activated clutch





Suspension and steering


Specialty Auto-Sports, Inc.


         unequal length upper and lower wishbones - ball joint, tubular construction

         Carrera coil over shocks - adjustable dampening rates, selection of coil rates

         Rack and pinion steering




         High performance Subaru Legacy GT

         Heavy duty cast steel trailing arms

         double row cage wheel bearings

         3 adjustable lateral links - for alignment

         3/4" heavy duty Heim joint connection

         coil over shocks - spring rate selectable

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Typical VW based


         VW Beetle front suspension - some with king pin (1938 design) some with ball joint.(1967 design)  Cast trailing suspension arms

         Stacked leaf torsion strip springing - non adjustable

         Standard hydraulic shocks - non adjustable

         Recirculating ball steering with various linkage bars (1938 design)


         VW Beetle swing arm (1938 design)

         Welded sheet metal trailing arms

         spherical single row wheel bearings

         minimal alignment adjustment

         hydraulic shocks

         torsion bar springing - non adjustable






Our brakes are designed for 300HP......Beetle brakes are designed for 60HP

Specialty Auto-Sports, Inc.

Front - disc

         12" ventilated  rotors

         Subaru  Legacy Calipers

         Power assisted

         DOT 4 brake fluid

Rear - disc

         Subaru  10-3/4" non-ventilated rotors

         Subaru Legacy Calipers

         Power assisted

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Typical VW based

Front - drum

         1-1/2" drums

         Manual   (non-power assisted)

         DOT 3 brake fluid


Rear - drum

         1-1/2" drums

         manual  (non-power assisted)






Our chassis is designed for 300HP......Beetle chassis is designed for 60HP

Specialty Auto-Sports, Inc.

         Custom engineered structural tube design surrounding the occupants

         Front and rear diagonally braced structural crush members

         Steel frame reinforced doors

         Steel floor

         Forward steel firewall and foot wells

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Typical VW based

         VW Beetle pan (1960-1966) shortened

         Steel 2x4 lower perimeter frame positioned below doors

         Nothing in doors

         Steel or fiberglass floor

         No Firewall fiberglass foot wells



Fuel System


Specialty Auto-Sports, Inc.

         16 Gallon Racing fuel cell - foam filled

         electric fuel pump immersed inside tank with top outlet

         Fuel supply lines run on outside of frame rails

         Fuel cell located forward of occupant zone - separated by steel firewall and steel floor

         Surrounded by welded steel impact structure

         automatic safety fuel shut off in case of fuel line rupture

         tank secured to welded frame - with straps

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Typical VW based

         8 Gallon VW Beetle sheet metal gas tank

         uncontrolled gravity feed tank with outlet on tank bottom

         Fuel supply line run inside car.

         located in occupant zone over occupants lap - separated by fiberglass trunk floor

         Surrounded by fiberglass

         no safety shutoff

         tank secured to fiberglass trunk floor with bolts and washers



Engine Cooling System


Specialty Auto-Sports, Inc.

         High efficiency double pass custom aluminum radiator - rear mount

         Two 10" fans controlled by OBDII computer

         One fan runs at low rpm constant on

         One fan runs at high rpm on only at elevated temperatures and/or AC on - computer control

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Typical VW based

         Belt driven fan blowing air through a sheet metal plenum and over the engine cooling fins

         Air flow direction controlled by sheet metal shrouds on top of engine

         Very noisy system especially at high rpm






Specialty Auto-Sports, Inc.

         Meets 2006-2009 USA/EPA emissions

         Maintains catalytic convertors, Oxygen sensors, EGR, tank fumes control, Carbon canister systems, Idle air control

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Typical VW based

         1965-1977 VW Beetle emissions levels

         Import of VW Beetles was halted in the 1977 model year because they could not meet the USA emission and noise control requirements.



Heater-Defroster System


Specialty Auto-Sports, Inc.

         An independent heater-defroster plenum is hidden from view under the dash

         controls are electric servo actuated which gives a selective variable temperature control

         Heat is obtained from thermostatically controlled constant source 195F hot engine water

         Heat and defrost is  delivered by a 3 speed fan delivering a powerful flow

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Typical VW based

         There is no heater-defroster plenum

         Controls are cable/lever activated which open a flap on the engine exhaust manifold shroud to allow heat collected from the exhaust manifold to blow back through the sub frame and exit at your feet

         some of this air is tapped and directed to defroster slots on the dash.

         very little heat or air flow is extracted from this system and virtually no defrost is delivered


General Data


Specialty Auto-Sports, Inc.

         Weight Bias -  the true measure of performance handling.  Our 5 Speed Speedsters have about a 46/54 weight bias which delivers precise directional control and superior braking balance





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Typical VW based

         The typical VW Speedster has about a 38/62 weight bias.  Less balance which translates into less front braking and directional control, and slower responsiveness to driving commands