Great article!!! I've never seen pics of your Rabbit Cabrio, do you have any on hand?AtomicAlex said:Guest Opinion: Confessions Of A Corrupted Daughter
March 12, 2004
My dad and I are having on ongoing discussion. I want to turbocharge my Rabbit, and he can’t understand why. It’s made for some pretty strange looks at both houses.
I grew up with his project car, which happened to be his daily driver for about 12 years. My mom refers to it as his girlfriend. It’s a 1959 Austin Healey 3000 MkI. If you know about British cars, you will have already figured out why I am even bothering with a Rabbit. Oh, and it’s a Rabbit Convertible. There’s a good possibility that I was genetically bred to tinker with power-generating hunks of metal encased in steel and aluminum skins with some sort of passenger transporting capacity.
The Healey started out life black over yellow and when Dad got it, it was Hugger Orange. Most of the electrical system was disconnected with wire cutters (there’s a warm beer joke in there), and the oil pan was full of water. A full rebuild ensued, with minor tweaking over the years. Eventually, he started a frame-off restoration. Now it’s some sort of Ferrari red with a charcoal grey velour interior waiting to go in. Custom gauge panels that look factory are hanging from the dash. And the engine? Perfectly stock. Concours level stock. Color-matched factory paint and all. I swear he has the right kind of rubber in the vacuum advance diaphragm.
So when I start describing my travails with compressor maps and air/fuel ratios and intercooler efficiency, he kind of blows a gasket. My plans for the Rabbit are nearly the exact opposite as his plans for the Healey. I plan to go back to the stock paint, do some minor interior twiddling, and generally put on a pretty stock looking exterior show. I’m worried about under the hood. Not what it looks like, that’s for sure, but how is it going to propel me faster than it does now. How am I ever going to get from the über-girlie 70hp 1.7l motor to a screamer that will enable me to get from point A to point B without worrying about getting rear-ended. I think 140hp will be fair. I will gladly even settle for 122hp that the Healey puts out. The cars weigh just about the same. I’ll just be going on 57% of his displacement!
I suppose I have some sort of complex. Maybe I’m just growing into my own as the daughter of a guy who really enjoys his car. Whatever it is, I am having fun. Good, cheap, clean fun. The kind that’s really hard to come by these days with electronic engine management and emissions control. I just hope my drive to be faster doesn’t disappoint him.
Dad, if you read this, nothing was ever as much fun as cleaning valves with a toothbrush or trying to blow out the needle port on an SU. Pre-stressing a frame was a real education, and I’ll never forget to disconnect all the wires before I try to pull an engine. Thanks for passing on the most wonderful hobby out there – making stuff work.