The VANAGON VW T3, 1986

My first project and the reason why HCR was made is this car: 1986 VW T3 van (also called vanagon, bulli). There was a desire to install a more powerful engine so that the van would be able to integrate into nowadays traffic flow.

While searching for engine options which would be suitable for this project, the choice led to Subaru 4 cylinder boxer engine. During the project I faced the commonly accepted opinion of the car society that this engine is a bad choice because it often has tehnical problems. Investigating this topic further I understood that there are two main problems – engine main bearings excessively wearing-off and head gaskets unable to bear the increased load.

Trying to find out how to avoid these certain problems I came to a conlusion that in nearest area there is no solution to prevent these problems. Thats why I attempted to do it myself with the equipment I had.

As it happens with this kind of car projects, things fast got out of control and now the car’s power is 6.5 times higher than stock.

The problem of the main bearings wearing-off was resolved by line boring the crankshaft tunnel thus correcting it, this way ensures very precise oil film thickness. The problem with head gaskets was solved by strenghthening the wall of the cylinder (making block closed deck). This solution is applied in approximately 50 engines for street and competition cars.

This van’s rebuild was certified and it is a fully legal for traffic use. It has traveled Europe and Scandinavia, been in the Hockenheimring F1 race track, driven a steep serpentines in the Norwegian fjords, participated in a dragrace competition and surprised many powerful car owners in everyday traffic. And now it is ready to go on it’s next adventure with its powerful and reliable Subaru boxer engine.