February 11, 2012 at 8:54 am #233970
I have a flimsy lead on a front engine TD (not sure if it is a Ford or Chevy)(Fiberfab??). I am soliciting opinions on front engined TD’s vs VW powered. I am reminded of my brother who had a V8 powered Triumph TR6 that was sooo front heavy that it was undriveable. When I was in my Sunbeam years, a friend let me drive his Sunbeam Tiger (factory V8). I preferred my little 4 cylinder Alpines to the Tiger. So, would any of you who have had both, please give me some good advice?February 11, 2012 at 9:27 am #249087MarkParticipant
I think you’d have to drive them to see and feel the difference. My front engine Fiberfab is a Chevy V8 283 bored out, with Edelbrock headers, a muscle car when paired with the fiberglass body.
The VW London Roadster is fun to drive, but it’s an old Volkswagen, not a speed demon. Great for motoring the local streets and highways, but not at racing speeds. Enjoy the drive with either.February 11, 2012 at 9:44 am #249088Larry MurphyParticipant
Roy, Here’s my perspective. The MGTD is a front engined car so the front engined replicas are more like the originals in that respect, However,the FiberFab/CMC cars have wider fenders to accomodate the wider wheels that were provided by the kit manufacturer which takes away from the authenticity.BCW and Classic Roadster have the same size fenders on their VW based and Ford /Chevy based cars since they both use Chevette suspensions .Since I got the BCW, my VW based London Roadster has not seen much use ,but every time I drive it,I am reminded of what a great car it is,I just seem to have difficulty concentrating on both at the same time.
As to which is the better choice,it’s a matter of personal preference. I am most richly blessed to have both types in my garage.
If you decide to go with a front engined car ,the Chevette based cars are comparable to the MG in power while the Fords far surpass both the originals and the Chevette cars in the power department.February 11, 2012 at 9:47 am #249089MarkParticipant
How does the VW powered London Roadster compare to the Chevette engine?February 11, 2012 at 10:44 am #249090
MGLR, this question has not been asked, but my old stock 1500sp VW TDr feels much faster than my old MGTF-1500 did. Certainly the VW is more responsive to the pedal. Also the VW seems more stable at 65+ mph. I’m sure that someone out there has some 0-60 times for both but I’m not aware. I suspect that the MG guys might not be proud of head to head comparisons. I would be interested in some closed course times also. The MG did not seem as sensitive to buffeting cross winds as the TDr but that is probably largely/solely due to front end weight. (PS before you suggest otherwise, – my TF was perfect. Michelin radials on 60 spoked wires. 48 spoked silver painted with bias plys in garage – for show only. As a reminder for you young whippersnappers: radials didn’t exist in 1952.)February 11, 2012 at 10:54 am #249091
I’m sure that most of you know that the original TD’s were 1250cc powered as were the TF’s. The MGTF-1500 was the racing version with a 1500cc engine. If someone has some #’s that dispute my seat of the pants comments regarding “how fast”, – I did sell my TF 27 years ago, so it may be a matter of euphoric recall having faded.February 11, 2012 at 3:32 pm #249092Larry MurphyParticipant
MGLR, The VW in my LR is a dual port engine with a progressive two barrell carb and monza exhaust. It is at least as good performance wise as the Chevette based BCW but it’s not a fair comparison since the BCW is heavier . The BCW has a well designed chassis made of rectangular steel with the firewall and most of the floor made of 1/8 plate.February 11, 2012 at 4:49 pm #249093edward ericsonParticipant
VWs have storage space. This is surprisingly significant if you drive the car to any overnight events, and can be relevant even on day trips. They are also lighter, usually. The front end lightness promotes understeer just as long as you don’t correct it via the remove-some-leaves-and-adjust-the-ride-height procedure. Even slow VW-based replicas will likely out-do the stock original TD’s 0-60 times, which tested in the mid 18s to low 20-second range. My own very slow, very stock 1 bbl 1300 (probably now 1500) sp will top 80 mph without much trouble, and that seems like plenty, thanks.
If you want to make your VW-based TD Replica go fast, there are many options for the Type 1 VW engine, or you could go to a Type 4 and get more power or, to make it scary, find an early ’90s Subaru 2.2 engine and bolt that in. You gain about 50 pounds over the rear wheels and about 100 horsepower straight from the box, with an additional 100 or so available before the project gets absurd.
VWs also have much bigger “foot boxes,” allowing for big-foot American males to potentially be able to use the gas, brake and clutch pedals as intended. Plenty of front engine guys say they must run automatics because they can’t keep their feet off multiple pedals when there’s three jammed in down there.
With the stick shift, front engine TD replicas have authenticity on their side and can be made to handle better, I suspect, than any VW-based version. One of our number (Bill Ascheman, “Billinparts”) has auto-crossed his Ford-powered replica with success. The sound of a front engined car makes more sense than a VW “Clatter Jet 1600,” particularly close up, and of course you can lift the hood on one and find what you’d expect instead of a couple lawn chairs and a cooler of beer.
All depends on what you’re looking for, I suppose.
edsnova40950.7033333333February 11, 2012 at 6:08 pm #249094john barryParticipant
good points Well said !February 12, 2012 at 7:14 am #249095Scott A ChynowethParticipant
One of the nicer advantages of the VW based.I can plunk myself on my wheeled shop stool and work on the engine.Sure beats leaning over a fender and getting a sore back.February 12, 2012 at 7:59 am #249096
Don’t know what I said that gave the impression that I was going to trade MiGi for some “trophy replica” with a bigger front end? The front engined replica is likely gonna pop up for sale this spring and I was trying to get smart as to how much $ to offer and whether I even want to play. Gotta tell you that MiGi (wheezing VW warts and all) is here to stay, and 1notsooldbuzz’s reason tops the list of the things that I admire about her. She had more energy than I did when she went under the knife to fix a leaky valve and now she’s even gonna get an extra 100cc’s.February 12, 2012 at 8:10 am #249097edward ericsonParticipant
The front engine cars seem to command slightly higher prices, all else being equal. I think it’s because there are more VW versions around and most buyers assume that the front engine is better because the configuration is closer to the original.
I’m less convinced than I used to be.
Have fun and let us know.February 12, 2012 at 8:48 am #249098john barryParticipant
Parts for the chevette are harder to find than VW. The VW versions are
more practical for a person like me
And a V8 has no similiarty to the orginal TD. ImhoFebruary 12, 2012 at 5:36 pm #249099Montie HendersonParticipant
Ford parts are easy to get too. Seems like everything I have wanted or needed is available. Well with the exception of some of the custom stuff I made myself, but those were more of personal prefference (I was too cheap to buy the other one )February 12, 2012 at 5:41 pm #249100Dan RosaParticipant
GEE , I always thought it was the body style that sold us on the TD weather a chevette , pinto or VW just have fun with what ever you buy i DanFebruary 12, 2012 at 7:25 pm #249101Steve CritesParticipant
Haven’t had the pleasure of driving a VW TD, but Iv’e had 4 VWs in the past. I can say that I did not look for a VW powered TD when I bought the Duchess. Kinda’ a been there, done that thing. But I will say that to me the Ford engine is a lot more forgiving than the VW since you don’t have to keep the RPMs up to make her happy and the low end torque is great fun between stop lights.
To each his own. If they only came with 2 stroke chain saw engines, I still probably would have gotten one and enjoyed the hell out of it.
PERMAGRIN either way!February 12, 2012 at 11:47 pm #249102Dennis BrockParticipant
I have both, and enjoy both! The Ford engined version feels more substantial, rides better and is more pleasant to drive long distances. The Vw is zippier (not faster), gives you more of a 50’s feeling and has more storage and footroom. They BOTH ride better, handle better, squeek and rattle less and are faster. The Vw is easier, if not a little wierder< to work on. In order to mount a mirror or some other accessory on an original you can ruin it's collector value. On a replica, it's your car, do what you need to. Oh, termites aren't nearly the worry. I'm going to sell the VW model this spring, it's chassis is fine, but mine is wearing out
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