Super Beetle / GTI Strut Modification


My friend Matt gave me a call. He had purchased a basket case VW Super Beetle project car. The car had had a lot of work done on it but wasn’t completed and it needed an engine. Matt had a line on a Porsche 914 engine that would drop right in. He purchased both and he is getting the car going.

The suspension was a mess. VW GTI struts had been swapped in but they had been ‘upgraded’ with aftermarket springs and hardware. The problem is that although this work was better than the original system and did provide ride height adjustment, the system to adjust the height was still the same crude OEM system. Further, the spring was a size to be a replacement for the stock spring but not a commonly available motorsport spring size for this stroke.

Matt purchased a few parts that he figured would adapt the good springs and a better adjuster into the system. He came to me to do some “simple” work to the system. For me the work was simple but it did force Matt to do a bit of workshop engineering and grunt work on the lathe while I fiddled with making my new road bicycle.

It took a bit of time. 2 bearing perches machined, 2 thread tubes bored and notched, 2 seat rings machined and fabricated and welded to the strut. Simple.

The results look great and now Matt can take these struts and a bunch of other parts to the powder-coater before he does final assembly of the car.

I really love projects like this that make low performance objects into high performance objects by using know how and ingenuity rather than just forking over tons of cash for solutions worked out by somebody else. We learn more, spend less, and have a lot more pride about the end result than the ‘retail’ solution could ever provide.

Below shows the ‘original’ setup on top and PVD modified setup on the bottom.