Don’t see too many VW engines on the dyno, but rest assured there are plenty of these air-cooled, opposed 4-cylinder workhorses around the world that offer impressive performance for the amount of money invested. Often a hot-rodder’s first car in high school, the VW usually stays in the family and is great for backyard projects because so many parts are made for it. It continues to be a popular entry at the drag strip and even scores trophies in the dirt when dressed up as a Baja Bug or dune buggy. No question they are popular with engine builders, and here’s a sweet-looking, reliable 1,904cc Type 1 from CB Performance that boasts a rather impressive flat torque curve.
Built for a father-son project on the East Coast, this little bullet sports CB’s 74mm-stroke 4140 steel crank and 5.400-inch rods. The 90.5mm-bore pistons are from Mahle and squeeze out to an 8.2:1 compression ratio.
“We fight heat on these engines,” explains engine builder Pat Downs. “If the compression gets too high, you’re just generating more heat.”
CB also provides the CNC-ported cylinder heads that are fitted with 40mm/35.5mm valves. Cam specs are 256 degrees duration at .050 with .445-inch valve lift and a 107 LSA. Induction is via a pair of 44 IDF downdraft Webers through match-ported CB intakes. Ignition comes from a Magnaspark distributor while the spent gasses are handled with a set of 1.5-inch headers from A1 Performance.
“It was built to be low maintenance, high mileage,” sums up Downs, noting the cost is just over $6,000. “And it still has good power output.”