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Friends of the Challenge

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Friends of the Challenge

Post  Giobus on Tue May 22, 2012 10:20 am

Today, at the Mojave Mile in southern California, Dan Durie recaptured the SS36 Beetle record from Juan Cole. Dans amazing speed was almost seven and a half miles faster than Juans 75 mph Bonneville effort. In their "Dual in the Desert" competition, Juan and Dan battled for two days in almost perfect conditions ( some side winds caused minor problems ) amassing a combined run total of twenty passes down the paved mile with Dan topping out at 82.4 miles per hour.

After the event, Dan has graciously given me permission to post ALL of the details about the engine and drivetrain in his car so the folks reading the newsletter can see the combination that culminated in this phenomenal effort. Below are the specifics for the Beaver Geezers "Orange Thunder" racer:

1958 European VW Beetle (lightened by removing all insulation, installing lightweight aftermarket metal fenders and bumpers). Weight is approximately 1600 lbs.

Engine is a stock 1192cc 36hp unit meeting all 36hp Challenge requirements (per my physical inspection after his record run!)
Engine Details:

Heads by Ray Schubert with 3 angle valve cut using Manley stock size valves, no porting or polishing!

Case machined by Rimco
Assembly by PO

Exhaust is stock style dual tip with resonators inserts removed from tips. Oxygen sensor is welded in for tuning purposes.

Engine oil used is 0-20 Redline

Cooling fan is stock 36hp 16(18?) blade with all blades- Fan belt is run extremely loose!

Charging system is now 12 volts.

Intake manifold is the best of five tested on a flow bench by Ron Chuck and has NOT been ball honed for additional inside flow.

28 PCI carburetor has been rebuilt by Ed Fall at Vintagewerks using the larger VW venturi. Jetting for Mojave was a 140 main jet and a 185 air correction jet.

Ignition is a Pertonix Ignitor installed in a Bosch 009 distributor(German or Brazilian is not known!).

Valve adjustment is set at "0" for maximum lift(not recommended for street or extended driving!).

Gasoline used is ERC Racing Gasoline in tank since last Se[tember at Bonneville-Octane unknown!

Engine was removed for service and dyno tuning at Ron Chucks in the bay area of northern California near Dans home. Before servicing, engine dyno tested at 31 horsepower at the flywheel. After tuning by Ron Chuck, engine dyno tested at 37.8 horsepower with an excellent torque curve designed to provide top end power at maximum RPM's. Air fuel ratio is set to run between 13.5 and 14 to one at top speed.

Clutch-stock 180mm components.

Transmission is a 1961 "tunnel" style full synchro unit which has not been reconfigured. It still uses the 4:37 ring and pinion and stock "long" gear spacing between 3rd and 4th gears.


Fronts are 145-15's inflated to 45 pounds.

Rears are 135-15's inflated to 50 pounds(yes, that is correct, this is the one major change Dan performed between Bonneville and the Mojave Mile!).

Moon Disc hubcaps are fitted to all four stock steel wheels.

While the car is equipped with a front axle beam lowering device, it was set in the stock position and with the unusual front and rear tire selection, the car sat almost level. On his last two passes, he reinstalled his front license plate on a bracket that placed the plate below the front bumper and acted as a minature spoiler( the VW factory did not provide front license plate mounting so plate mounting location is at the owners preference!).

At the Mojave Mile, 1st through 3rd shift points were around 5000 RPM's and 4th gear topped out at 42-4300 RPM's and the air fuel ratio gauge indicated the engine was "getting richer" neat maximum speed.

Mojave Mile performance figures:


Run 1.....................79.2 mph Cool, no wind.
Run 2.....................79.4 mph Warm, slight side wind
Run 3.....................80.3 mph Hot, stronger side wind
Run 4.....................82.2 mph Hot, strong side wind.......rewaxed front body panels, hood and fenders.


Run 1.....................79.4 mph Cool, slight side wind
Run 2.....................78.0 mph Warm, heavy side wind......with front license plate
Run 3.....................82.4 mph Hot, very heavy side wind...with front license plate...new SS36 Beetle record !

I would like to thank Dan for gratiously supplying all of these details. It was not required but very generous of him.

Because of the tremendous battle Dan and Juan put on at the Mojave Mile, Car & Driver magazine, who were there racing a Bugatti Veyron (201 mph) asked the two 36hp Challengers to bring their bugs to the far end of the pits where a photo shoot took place with the Veyron. The photos taken had Dans Orange Thunder in front, the $1,000,000 dollar, 1005hp Bugatti Veyron in the middle and Juans Herbie at the back. Hopefully one of this photo series will reach print in a future Car & Drive issue and when and if that occurs, we will let you know as soon as we find out. I would like to personally thank both
Dan and Juan for their tremendous effort at the Mojave Mile and for all the good PR they generated for the 36hp Challenge and VW land speed racing in general.

In other news, the new midwest ECTA race course in Wilmington, Ohio, opened last week for their first event. Heavy rains dramatically affected the amount of runs that were made at this inagaural event but both Zach and Talor Burns were able to tes the 2.0 engine in their 74 Karmann Ghia coupe. Zach reached a top speed of 142 mph and Talor saw a top speed in the mid 130's. They will be racing their Ghia this August at the SCTA Speedweek and will in the future hopefully join us next year at the September World of Speed event.

I have just received word from Australia that as of this date, the reschedule DLRA Speedweek at Lake Gairdner is still planned for May 28th. Due to the rescheduling, two VW's will not be able to run however Steve Muller is still planning on racing the Roo Shooter Kombi, John Weninger the SS36 56 oval and Dan Kendall the K36 1192cc Sir Godfrey supercharge 75 Super Beetle affectionately called the Taxi for it's Mexican taxi livery. In addition, it has just been confirmed that if the event occurs, Volkswagen Australia will field four watercooled VW's in attempts to establish more Volkswagen speed records. After two years of rainouts, let's hope the weather co-operates and the boys down under get in their VW land speed racing.

I would also like to thank Larry Gregg, Craig and Rose Wilson, Bob and Dan Chilson, Ronnie Feitlesen, Karl Barnett, Rick MacLean, Dan and Joan Durie and Juan Cole for bringing their Bonneville race VW's to the Bug In a week ago. We enjoyed sunny So Cal weather and great events while sharing our landspeed racing enthusiasm with folks who would normally never get to see a Volkswagen Bonneville racer.

I will post some photos of the Mojave Mile in late May after they have been downloaded and cataloged.

Thanx again to all for your interest and congratulations to Dan on his amazing new record.

May the Speed be with you and I look forward to seeing many of you in person this September at the World of Speed. RK from Hot VW's is planning to join us again for coverage of your efforts on the salt.



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