My first car was a 1964 VW Beetle, which my father purchased for me for the large sum of $600. It was during the summer after I graduated high school, and I needed a car because I was going to be working my way through college in another state, some 300 miles away.
While I was working that summer, on my way home from work, the car started to slowly lose power, and then it started making a very loud banging noise from the engine. I pulled over to the side of the road, and shut the car off. Well, if you have been around original aircooled VW's, you probably know what happened here. The center main bearing saddle was pounded out, and the pistons where hitting the cylinder heads, and the engine almost caught on fire!
That was my foray into the mechanical side of aircooled VW's, as I spent the rest of the summer working, and commuting with a borrowed car, and rebuilding the Bug! In fact, the first time I drove it was the 300 mile trip to college! I had no idea if the car would make it, and my mother followed me in her car to make sure I got there. Well, it all went very well, and the car took me through college, not without some interesting issues along the way, but by then I was a competent mechanic and could handle anything that came up.
Fast forward many years later, I'm married and have two children, and at the time they were nearing driving age, and they were talking about cars, and my daughter asked me if I would ever buy them a car. I thought about it for a second, and I said, probably not. My son then chimed in with, "I would like to build a car". Then I thought about it for a moment, and told them both, that I would consider doing that with them. That's what set in motion a couple of custom car projects, that reintroduced me to the VW aircooled scene again.
My daughter was first up, and we purchased a '73 Beetle, and we turned it into a Baja Bug. It was a fun project, as we took the car down to bear metal, removed the body, and the pan halves (rusted out as usual), and all that was left was the center tunnel, and rear framehorns.
As you can see from the image, we even cut off the front suspension frame head, because a '73 is ball joint, and we where putting on a longer travel king pin front suspension. Needless to say, good welding skills come in handy for that!
In any case, we managed to finish this car, with a nice 2110 cc engine, a transaxle with 930 CV's, and a torque biasing limited slip differential. Longer travel suspension front and rear, and a lot of custom work, besides, including a custom dash. We converted the dash to flat, without the padded cover, and had the body shop weld in the original dash and add a custom set of VDO gauges.
In any case, most everything on this car was customized in some way. It was this project, and a subsequent '66 Karmann Ghia project that inspired me towards starting this business.
In working on these cars, I quickly found out that there are some very good products on the market, and there are some mediocre products too. For these two projects, I ended up designing and manufacturing quite a few products, just because the ones you could buy where really not very good, in certain spaces. I also found that many products use SAE hardware, instead of metric, which really bothers me. You have a German car, where everything is metric, and as a result you have metric tools, and then all of a sudden you have this custom part, and the hardware is SAE? This really makes no sense, as metric hardware is available everywhere, and its not any more expensive, so any products that bring to market, that requires nuts, bolts, washers, will all be metric!
So, earlier this year, Andrig's Aircooled Techology was born, and we have a first couple of products about to me to market.