Brian is a Chirco forum member and an active member of the Daily Driven Dubz – Phoenix Family. His 66 Deluxe is one special vehicle.
1966 Deluxe Beetle
1641cc, dual 40 Kads
4″ narrowed adjustable beam, drop spindles, 195/50×15 front, lowered 2 outer notches, 22560×15’s out back.
PPG Sunburst orange, black interior
We picked him in up 2004, he was sitting for sale on the side of the road looking all sad. The previous owner was a body man by trade and he and his son did all the body work when they lived in Northern California. After they moved here, the son decided he needed something with A/C to handle the Desert Summers and Clyde went up for sale.
He needed some work when we got him home. The bodywork was in pretty good shape, but a lot of the mechanicals needed to be refreshed. The engine was almost new and ran very well. The transmission wasn’t so new and was slipping out of second gear on a regular basis. A day trip to Chirco for a trans and some other parts, a long weekend of oil, grease, bloodied knuckles, and ugly steaks, and he was back on the road and shifting smoothly. While I had him torn apart, I replaced the trans mounts, brake components, lines, fuel line, shocks all around, and wheel bearings all around.
Next up was the suspension. He was way too high. I suspect that at some point someone had replaced the beam and had goofed on the torsions somehow, so he say really high up front. A phone call to Pete at Airkewld and Parts were quickly on the way. Out went the stock beam, spindles, and tie rods, and in went a 4″ narrowed adjustable beam, narrowed tie rods, and drop spindles. I also put in one set of caster shims and swapped the 205/60’s up front for a much lower profile 195/50 series tire. I love the “big and little” look, so the fronts are paired with a set of 225/60’s out back, all on AE 5 spokes. At first I didn’t lower the rear, and he had kind of a stink bug look:
After a few weeks of driving it like that, some of the guys in my car club performed an intervention and we dropped the rear end 2 notches. I was initially against dropping the back, but after we were done, I was instantly converted. The stance was exactly what I wanted, I just hadn’t realized it until I saw him sitting there lowered out back.
After that, it was time for some work in the oomph department. I traded my nice stock little 1500 single port straight across for a somewhat loved 1641 dual port with a knock (which turned out to be a weak spring on #4 intake). I know it’s not a big change, but it was very noticeable going from the SP to the DP heads. I ran that engine for a while and it eventually decided it was too tired to run and lost oil pressure. So I gathered up some parts and put together another 1641. This time with a 110 cam and dual 40mm Kadrons.
I deliberately didn’t build a bigger engine because I have an almost-driving teenager, and this will give him enough pep to be safe in traffic, but not so much that he’s going to be having thoughts that he’s an Andretti. Smiley
We’ve made some other changes as well, mostly cosmetic. Interior-wise, the Mistubishi Eclipse seats that were in him when we got him have gone away in favor of stock lowbacks. Recovering those is the next thing on the “to-do” list. We also replaced the stock shifter with a Scat Drag Fast unit, added a package tray, a couple of gauges to monitor oil temp and pressure, and of course, a fire extinguisher.
On the exterior, Rock guards, a roof rack, and a decklid standoff kit went on. I also found one of my 2 original Hella reverse lights I’d saved from my first bug (a ‘67 I hauled out of a field and rebuilt form the pans up) and wired that in.
I took some pictures for Lemorris so he could do a drawing of Clyde. You can see the image in the gallery.
In the big picture view, he’s nothing spectacular, just another lowered bug on 5 spokes. He’s not a show winning car, and that’s not what I envision as his purpose in our family. But he’s definitely unique. People know the car and he always turns heads and stops traffic. He’s really a way for my family to get out and meet people and hear their stories about their cars. Clyde represents a chance to share our passion with other enthusiasts. I can’t count the number of times we’ve gone to a show and people will stop and tell us their Stories about how their VW got them hooked on cars and ultimately led them to the (insert their current ride here) they’re driving today. Somewhere back in their lives, almost everyone’s owned a VW, and they all love to talk about them. To me, that’s what it’s about.
Special thanks to Chirco, Lemorris, all my D3 brothers and sisters, and all the other folks who’ve wrenched (and bled) to help me keep Clyde on the road. I’d be a lot more frustrated without all your help and support.
Brian, you define enthusiast. Chirco is honored that you let us share you story. Outstanding man, outstanding.