1.
At the starting point: A journalist and his crazy idea.

On his instagram account, the renowned journalist Alexander Bloch says about himself, that he is an automotive nerd, engineer and explainer, tester and moderator at the VOX tv show named „auto mobil“ as well as a chief reporter for the trade magazine at auto motor und sport. He’s full of ideas by profession – and this is especially true when it comes to creative Volkswagen cars with some Porsche-DNA: air-cooled, of course, that’s almost clear without even saying it. For some time now, Bloch had been pursuing this idea for his tv show at VOX „auto mobil“: a Volkswagen 1.600 L – a Type 3, often enough characterized as the „Volkswagen Beetle for advanced drivers” – to be realized and then raffled off among the spectators. In the notchback-model with a slightly hanging rear section, according to Bloch’s vision, a 3.6 litre Porsche engine with more than 300 HP should do its job – knowing too well, that the upright citizen from the sixties was never really designed for this purpose. An expert, a true connaisseur of the subject, was needed. But where was he to be found? The Volkswagen Type 3 Club had an answer on hand. It referred to one of its active members, the journalist Thorsten Elbrigmann. After an initial contact was made among colleagues, the name of Christian Wilms soon came up. The owner of dtw Germany | das triebwerk in Schwelm and Elbrigmann had known each other for many years. They had been hanging out with the „Straßenräubers” (aka mugglers) at countless events – the best prerequisites to start an extraordinary project. Theoretically, at least.

2.
From theory to practice: A cool powerhouse emerges.

As far as more serious Type 3 conversions to be listed, Christian Wilms actually had a repertoire of – cautiously estimated – 18 similarly demanding projects to point to. And so the spectrum ranged from turbo performance enhancements with a quarter-mile background to exactly the technology and performance the editors envisioned. After a visit to dtw germany | das triebwerk, the decision was made: “This thing has to work out!” Alexander Bloch was, of course, the instigator at the first shooting with the production team from VOX „auto mobil“ in Schwelm to accompany the stocktaking. The first task was to find the right base for the entire conversion. No one suspected at this early stage that Walter Röhrl, who together with Stephan Rohleder, the second owner of dtw germany | das triebwerk, had already been competing in rallies, would test the result someday on the racetrack. Christian Wilms states: „When we think back on it today, we realize what kind of madness we put ourselves in. What we didn’t quite realize at first were all the technical hurdles that we would have to overcome, to actually be able to install a six-cylinder boxer engine.” Massive interventions in the bodywork were necessary. The revision of the air-cooled Porsche engine was the smallest problem. The consequence: numerous night shifts. The pure construction time was nine months – or 1,200 to 1,300 working hours, which were rich in insights and experiences.

3.
The power transmission: a central, quite a challenging chapter.

Right from the start, the participants agreed on the exististing rear-axle tube. In view of the targeted 300 HP engine power, it should not be cut, no matter the circumstances. Therefore, the use of a longer Porsche five-speed manual transmission with the description „G50“ was not an option. Instead, intensive considerations had to be made, on how the Carrera-type engine could be associated with a four-gear-Volkswagen-Beetle gearing mechanism. The gear wheels of the VW Bus in South Africa design and the stiffer, more heavily ribbed housing seemed to be the most suitable. In addition, it was clear from the outset that the rear axle would have two semi-trailings similar to those of the Porsche 911 would be indispensable. Christian Wilms had been able to gather some empirical values because of his own VW Type 3. In addition, the Porsche variant would be significantly heavier than the previous. His approach: trailer arms which are welded to an inclined-steer drive stool and the assembly to cup-style struts. All of this was necessary to provide more stability, especially since the inclined steer drive stool does not have a frame fork. The transmission itself was not a problem. Christian Wilms had already bolted together some sturdy quarter-mile units and was confident that he could make the transmission durable for the expected maximum torque. The adaption of the gear ratio did not pose a hurdle either. However, the flange-mount of the six-cylinder boxer engine proved to be a real challenge …

4.
Special designs: essential for an efficient flow of pure power.

„All in one, it’s quite an insane thing” – with these words, Christian Wilms sums up the work on the drive components. Finally, it was necessary to find a coupling that would be able to handle the maximum torque of the 3.6-liter boxer engine. A matching flywheel did not exist. Therefore, it had to be designed on the screen, and then, in a second step, it had to be produced as an exclusive special design on the company’s own machines. Furthermore it appeared to be absolutely necessary to rebuild the clutch for it to be similar to the Porsche-type „G50“ gear transmission to an hydraulic actuation with an adapted pedal system – just another problem that could be overcome with time. And some more indispensable component in the driveline: the Torsen-style differential and suitable drive shafts. In another Type 3 with a special turbocharger retrofit, Christian Wilms had very quickly put an end to the standard driveshafts. „They looked like corkscrews when I took them down the airfield at Mendig” he points out. „That was of course another important experience that took me a step further. I now knew, that 2.4 liters of displacement and a turbocharger in the VW 1.600 L would entail some measurements.” Now he gets down to facts and figures: „In purely mathematical terms, 250 km/h with the four-speed transmission gearbox are possible – but from 200 km/h on, it’s no longer fun, the rear lacks any aerodynamic downforce. There’s no wing to generate airflow. We have built accelerators for the quarter mile and not for some high-speed range.”

5.

Chassis and brake system: two more cases for real specialists.

As a provider of good ideas, Alexander Bloch advised to get specialists on board from the start. For the chassis, it should be Bilstein, not too far away from the workshop, located in Schwelm, with its team of experts. It was soon clear that the wheels would need to be a set of Fuchs rims. And with the brake – yes, the brake – more about that later! First of all the „Bilsteiner” appeared from nearby Ennepetal to take the measure. Their approach was to develop a rebound and compression adjustable „MDS” suspension chassis. With the given space conditions, that target was not easy to be reached. Nevertheless, the shock absorbers could be delivered quite quickly. After some length adjustments, they simply fitted perfectly – everyone involved was very excited to see how the so called „Straßenräuber“, based on a 1968 VW 1.600 L, would feel with the new sports suspension. When the car finally stood on its wheels and the engine was mounted, it became clear that different torsion bars would have to be found. The slightly thicker version of the type 3 proved to be not sufficient. The braking system was quite a shock. The german TÜV stipulated, that the braking system would have to be one of the Porsche Carrera 2. How could that be done? Well, definitely not with 15-inch Fuchs rims! Thus, Christian Wilms once again sat down to his working station to design a solution at the screen. The fitting of the brake calipers on the front axle had to be milled off and a special aluminum hub part, suitable for the VW wheel bearings, had to be fabricated and drilled. In addition, suitable fitting for the huge calipers were needed – all that with the blessing of the german TÜV. A helpful aspect was, that Christian Wilms – before founding dtw germany | das Triebwerk – had learned professional fabricating and milling …

6.

Somehow obvious: major effort in the area of brakes and axles.

A short stopover in Burscheid, Germany: A motorsport specialist company is based in there, that has been machining chassis components from Sachs, H&R and Bilstein for 40 years. It had been exactly there, that Christian Wilms learned professional fabricating and milling. The contact could be maintained even after his own company was founded, and Rolf, as the Volkswagen specialist is pre-named, is also TÜV-certified – a basic prerequisite for the further procedure. All special parts had to be produced, including a strength certificate and the license to be able to manufacture such components at first. The installation of the braking system was based on a well-known principle: the journey is the reward, and many nights were bound to be long – or short. A similarly immense effort was required at the rear axle, not to mention the double wishbone front axle, based on a classic racing car. It made sense, however, because the six-cylinder boxer power unit with the Porsche-internal type description M64/01, which was rated at 250 bhp from stock, was to be given a few more horsepower. In brief: a programmable, digital engine management system, a special manifold exhaust system and a single throttle valve system with open intakes, which was still under development at the time and is now exclusively supplied by dtw germany | das triebwerk for many different Porsche engines. The result: more than 300 hp – in the retrospective, it is somehow obvious that a major effort was required in the area of brakes and axles.

7.

The interior: stylish, puristic – a rolling concert hall.

The interior was to be stylish and puristic at the same time. With this goal in mind, Alexander Bloch went to Recaro to procure sports seats in a classic design. Dzezmin Aliti was in charge for the upholstery work – he had already cooperated with the VOX editorial team several times in the past. The cooperation with the master craftsman from Cologne went smoothly at all times. He delivered highest quality work at the highest speed – everything really had to be perfectly coordinated in order to meet the tight deadline. For a blistering sound within the vehicle, Michael Zeitler from „Dr. Boom” in Cologne made his way to Schwelm. The VOX editorial team was thrilled to learn that an absolutely invisible sound system was planned – and it would transform the car’s interior into a rolling concert hall. At this point, it should be noted that the music system in the project Volkswagen 3.600 L is indeed a „hammer”. For Christian Wilms, true euphony always comes from the rear, as he understands it – but he also has to admit that „Dr. Boom” conjured up a veritable firecracker. His conclusion: „You have got the feeling in our tiny highwayman, that you’re sitting in a true nine-eleven – quite different from the Volkswagen Beetle, for example, despite all the technical parallels. I guess it really is as the experts tend to say – the Volkswagen 1.600 L is the Beetle for advanced drivers – and this Volkswagen 3.600 L even more so!“

And then there also has been …

… a two-time world rally champion.

Walter Röhrl, who achieved title honors back in 1980 as well as in 1982, is not only a friend of dtw germany | das triebwerk. He made extensive use of the opportunity to test drive the unusual Project Volkswagen Type 3. According to reports, the tall Bavarian from Sankt Englmar was very impressed, especially by the directness of all the dynamic reactions.

Possible summary: Röhrl. Approved. Once again.

Volkswagen 1,600 L, dtw conversion to performance version 3,600 L - inspired by Alexander Bloch.

Model year of the base vehicle: 1968

 

Body (standard state of delivery from the factory): sheet steel, structure on central tubular frame

 

Body shop (dtw | das triebwerk): complete restoration including repainting in “golf blue”; relocation and widening of the inner wheelhouses for later use of 16-inch Fuchs wheels; rear carrier comprehensively changed; engine mounts analogous to Porsche 911 (generation 964); adapted cooling air inlet; outside refueling in the front fender converted to inside refueling (analogous to model years up to 1967)

 

Lighting: front LED main headlights (Kaege, originally designed for VW Golf I); original rear lights

 

Electrics: custom engine wiring harness; original complete vehicle wiring harness

 

Basic engine: revised six-cylinder light metal boxer type M64 / 01 (MY 1991, version with cylinder head gaskets); two valves per cylinder; drive of the two camshafts via timing chain; specially manufactured dry sump oil container; oil level sensor taken from the Carrera 2 (964) and connected to the petrol tank display via a switch – selectable via a switch under the dashboard: The engine oil level can be read of the petrol tank gauge on the dashboard; engine control via DME (Motronic)

 

Engine structure (dtw | das triebwerk): individually manufactured, single throttle valve system milled from solid aluminum in a CNC process (adaptive, fits every six-cylinder boxer engine from 911 S 2.4); open intakes; open sports air filter; freely programmable, digital engine management; own manifold exhaust system with individual throttle valve system

 

Engine output (dtw | das triebwerk): 333 hp at 6,900 rpm from a displacement of 3,600 cc

 

Power transmission: manually shifted, modified four-speed gearbox from the Volkswagen Beetle in South Africa version, reinforced by stronger ribbing; reinforced gear wheels; Torsen-style worm roller limited-slip differential; custom-made specially rotated flywheel; reinforced, hydraulically operated clutch with adapted pedals; drive via specially configured drive shafts on the rear wheels

 

Brake system: original light metal fixed caliper housing type Porsche 911 Carrera 2 (generation 964); specially made / milled knuckle saddle mountings; special wheel hub parts made of aluminum, turned and drilled to fit the Volkswagen wheel bearings; specially manufactured brake caliper holder with TÜV approval

 

Wheel suspensions (front, series): double crank arm axle, transverse torsion bars

 

Wheel suspensions (new, dtw | das triebwerk): Bilstein “MDS” shock absorbers (MDS = modular damper system), adjustable in rebound and compression stages; reinforced torsion spring bars type Porsche 944 turbo; front conversion to double wishbone axle; rear conversion to semi-trailing arm axle analogous to Porsche 944; subframe rigidly bolted to the body; aluminum “cup” struts for support; trapezoidal reinforcements; replacement of the permanently elastic parts with specially manufactured versions with TÜV strength reports

 

Wheels: Fuchs (16 inch analogue Porsche 911)

 

Tires: 185 / 55-16 front and 195 / 60-16 rear

 

Interior: Recaro sports seats in a classic design; saddlery by Dzezmin Aliti, Cologne

 

In car entertainment: invisible sound system from “Dr. Boom “, Michael Zeitler

 

Empty weight (series): 920 kg

 

Empty weight (new): 1,036 kg

 

(Theoretical) top speed: 250 km / h (0.82 fourth gear)

 

Acceleration: 0 – 100 km / h in 3.5 seconds

 

Construction time: 9 months; 1,200 – 1,300 working hours

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