Mike's Cars

1968 Volkswagen Squareback Type 3

Mike's Squareback

The 1968 Squareback pictured here has been in the family since 1981, and Mike’s daily driver since 1992. It has probably more than 300 thousand miles on it (can’t vouch for the time before my acquisition), and survived camping trips to the American Southwest, especially Utah, nearly every year since 1981. It has been re-painted several times and received rebuilt motors at least five times.

Squareback engine
Squareback engine rebuild
Mike's Squareback Type 3, High-output Type 3 motor

The current motor features bore and stroke dimensions of 90.5mm by 78mm, and so displaces just over two liters. The CB Performance heads have 40mm intake valves and 35.5 exhausts, and mount Weber 40DCNF carbs and a 1.5 inch-tubing custom exhaust system with twin high-clearance mufflers. The cam was ground by Delta Engineering in Tacoma to the Engel 110 profile. A high-volume oil pump feeds the bottom end through a full-flow filter and large external oil cooler. This cooler is mounted next to the transaxle, not above it, and is fed cooling air through a custom-fabricated air scoop with a cable-operated control flap. In addition, the stock engine-mounted oil cooler has been replaced with the taller Type 4 item. Even in summer heat at fast speeds oil temperature does not exceed 220 degrees F. I believe this engine produces at least 120HP, i.e. nearly twice the stock power. I have achieved 110MPH on level ground with no tail wind several times.

Wheels are currently modified 5.5 by 15 chrome-plated items mounting 185/65 Pirellis in the front and 195/65s in the rear. The stock suspension has been lowered a few inches in the interest of better handling, but is so modified as to make it possible to raise it again to above stock ride height in only 15 or 20 minutes, working with only a bottle jack and hand tools. This is very useful when exploring backcountry roads!

1957 Volkswagen Beetle

Mike's BeetleMike's Beetle

The 1957 Beetle shown here was acquired in 1979 and used for many years as a daily driver, until supplanted for that purpose by the Squareback. It, too, has been repainted a few times and is currently awaiting a more complete body restoration. Also slightly lowered, it features 5.5 by 14 Bus rims and Type 3 rear brakes and gearing. Its new engine will be a near copy of the one in the Squareback.

Back to top