Car Feature>> The Subynotch

I'm a rather big fan of food–any type food really. I'll eat anything if it's in front of me, but when I'm confronted with a dish and I have no idea what to expect, things can go either of two ways: this plate of food can be life-changingly delicious, or Mr. Toilet and I will get to know each other very intimately for the next couple of hours. As we close this month's Misfits and Maverick's theme, we'll take a look at a car that doesn't quite fit in any given category other than itself. At first glance, this looks like any other lowered VW you've seen throughout the internet; but as take your spoon and start to dig in, you'll find that the strawberries inside this orange and tart fruit and yogurt parfait to be especially fresh and especially mouth-wateringly sweet. It'll taste like summer with each bite, even during the coldest of winters.

Of course, not all delicious recipes start of perfect. There's always a game of trial an error: "should I add more sugar? More vanilla extract? Maybe it needs a bit more citrusy? A dash of rum will definitely set it off!"

The whole painful process started when the owner, Ryan, saw a patina '63 Notchback on jack stands every morning on the way to grade school. Each and every morning, he salivated at it. He knew in the back of his mind it would be the ultimate first car. Shortly after, he bought a '73 notchback and never really had any plans for how it came about today.

At the time, Ryan's only intentions was to clean the car up, get rid of the rust and lower it. He decided to keep it the factory orange paint. Once the body was presentable, he shifted his time to what every gearhead ponders: “how can I make this thing $#^&@% FAST?!” He went through that oh-so-familiar tune of trial and error before arriving at the current setup. The stock engine was very reliable, but to build a hot VW engine, you can only choose two of the following three choices: fast, reliable, or cheap.

Before we get into Ryan's unorthodox engine selection, we must talk briefly about this car's single moment of glory on the day of this shoot. When it came time to get some tracking shots for this car, Ryan hopped in his VW and I followed suit in the chase car. We both started rolling and I started snapping away. As we picked up a bit more speed, the VW hit a little dip; sparks flew from the rear of the Orange VW and the chase car, and my camera and my face got sprayed with a nice helping of warm motor oil!

I quickly flagged down ryan to tell him to stop, and we were greeted with this. The thing that sparked and broke was the oil filter. With the Notchback's lowered ride height, the oil filter has a clearance of one inch (give or take a few millimeters)! Luckily, I was able to get one decent shot out of what was just mere seconds on the road.

This is the rear bumper of the VW covered in a fine mist of motor oil. Let's talk about why the oil filter hangs so low.

Faulty lifters at the time pushed Ryan to look for something different. He ran into a Subaru engine by chance while test driving a mildly tuned
WRX. After a few measurements, he realized the Subaru boxer might
actually fit! This EJ20G engine is out of a Japanese Subaru Legacy and sports ~220 horse power stock. For the fuel and spark management, Ryan decided to use Megasquirt. As far as modifications that needed to be done to fit the engine, check out his website for a fantastic how-to.

The three inch straight pipe and stock header preserve the deep Subaru rumble that we have all heard. Inside the car, the turbo makes it sound like a tsunami is chasing you.The car is a blast to drive on the freeway. On boost it just keeps pulling and warps the speedometer!

One of the many challenges of the swap was the engineering necessary for the air-cooled car to accept a water-cooled power plant. Plumbing is hidden inside the center tunnel to connect the engine to the radiator up front. A custom air dam in front guides the air to the massive Griffin that was placed where the spare tire used to sit. An engine adapter from Kennedy allows the Subaru engine to mate with the VW transaxle. The engine components also had to be moved around quite a bit to fit in the stock engine bay of the notchback.  The most difficult challenge, according to Ryan, was having to do all of this in his garage.

The car's front ride height has been brought to you by KYB GR2 and stock Torsion bars. The rears are KYB Gas with 29mm Torsion bars.

Ryan chose Porsche D90 (which originated from the 944 Turbo or Turbo S) wheels because it is a very classy and simple
wheel that is not used very often amongst the aircooled VW crowd. The 5
lug conversion is relatively simple as you can now buy rotors for
aircooled dubs in just about any bolt pattern.

Front: Porsche D90 16×6 +52 wrapped in Advan Neova 175/55’s

Rear: Porsche D90 16×8 +52 wrapped in Federal 195/50’s

With all the added power to the car, you have to be able to come to a stop, right? Wilwood four piston Dynalite calipers on stock rotors were used in the front, and the rear was upgraded from drum to Generic Disc brakes from AC Industries.

From the outside, this bright little piece of summer still wears its VW summer dress well. Who would have known that underneath the dress lies the heart of a beast?

That classy piece of luggage in the front trunk space was a gift from Ryan's significant other. If the factory orange paint is the a dress, than this piece of luggage is definitely a seductive piece of lingerie….

Ryan plans on getting the complete luggage set to fill up the front trunk space for added classiness. The luggage design reminds me of the Marc Jacobs luggage from the Wes Anderson film, The Royal Tenenbaums.

The interior was kept fairly original. An old school Grant Steering wheel was originally a temporary wheel, but it was very comfortable to grip and Ryan grew to like it. He also skipped the need for a radio. Why have a radio when you have the orchestral music of a straight piped EJ20G?

The stock seats were replaced by these Recaros which originally came from an FB RX-7.

This is a car that deserves to be driven across the country once it's completely finished.

To finish up the car, Ryan plans on building a naturally aspirated EJ20, adding a dry sump to it, and of course, doing an oil filter replacement!

Who knows what roads will await this fun little car? I'm sure once this car's recipe is perfected, Ryan will introduce this Subaru Notchback (or Subynotch for short) to some new adventures. The car's heart has changed, but at its core it is still a VW, and VWs just love the adventure of an open road.

Being a purist has its advantages, but being too purist can plateau progress. Take for instance, royal families in history who wanted to keep their blood pure: after a few generations, they ended up with some interesting family members, to say the least! Same thing goes for any automotive scene. Volkswagen purists will most likely scoff at this frankenstein of a creation, but you can't argue with numbers: there's 220 horsepower (give or take a few) pushing just about 1940 pounds of car! This is a step in the right direction for the VW scene. Progress and forward thinking can't be stopped!

Ryan is dangerously close to perfecting his orange and tart fruit and yogurt parfait. The picked-fresh-this-very-morning-from-the-organic-fields-covered-in-sweet-dew strawberries that lay inside his delectable creation will bring a smile with the tang and intense sweetness that comes from what every bite contains.

Oh, I almost forgot; there's some really spicy hot sauce that's in Ryan's recipe, too–so watch out!


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i (sadly) remember when these were quite common...


Jesus christ that exhaust is hideous!Beautiful car but man,oil filter relocation kit!!!!

Love the wheel combo,suits it perfectly :D


damn! time for an oil filter relocation...


street-sleeper - wolf-in-sheeps-clothing - i could go on - the mods are 'sensible'... am a little more of OEM-'ist' fan but what Ryan has done is great.. i love the fact that he hasn't butchered it body-wise. the Dubber in me would'nt get upset about a Scooby power plant in a VW.. i think he's stuck to the general script but has just ad-libbed a bit. Good work all round.. nice choice of alloys by the way, just give the engine bay a clean my friend.. LOL


Ahh, such a sick build, love Type III's especially the Notchback. I just spotted this same car on the Dope Sh*tzzz thread over at Club Roadster a few minutes ago. Rad stuff Linhbergh!


+1 WeAreDying

why go to all that effort and then not do something as simple as relocate the oil filter?


Really nice car! I love how original the interior looks and the wheel choice is excellent! It's another car on the list of cars I'd like to own. And I don't even have a full drivers licence yet lol


Honestly, if you're DUMB enough to build a car with the oil filter 1 INCH off the tarmac, you deserve to loose it. And the engine it's screwed onto.


Hot wheels!

Tho, there is no such car as FB RX7, the first gen is called SA22C


Can I post pics of my '88 Puch Maxi, it loses oil too... I suppose that's cool?


lol when I was looking at these swaps, I came around owner's was two days ago :) such a nice job...I planning exactly same with my rear engined skoda rapid


This vw looks good but drop original vw motor and take JDM one was a big fail. Sorry dude power is not everything.


Well, this car is definitely slylish well-kept classics. Definitely WIP in engine department, but I see no big problem in relocating the filter. And I think I see some free place over pipes to move them a bit higher)) Good luck with your build, Ryan!


Absolutely love this car, every single aspect... Except that oil filter. A car with this kind of build quality should not have something that shoddy on it. That's a severe, severe danger, not just to his engine but to people behind him.

Has he not heard of a remote oil filter? The guy obviously put a ton of work and money into this--what's another couple hundred bucks to run some braided line up to an oil filter on the firewall? Geez.


Wallpapers, pretty please!


I love Notchbacks!!! That is awesome1


Just....... know he is going to do the relocate and enjoy the car for what it is, even if you hate the swap. :)


wow, Lindbergh, enough with the pseudo-artsy 'my first creative writing class' posts, especially as your photos are always awesome enough to speak for themselves.

The the car is cool though, as others have said why not get a relocation kit for that filter??


I love it! Its perfect! and great writing Linhbergh!


Siim, the US-bound first gen rx7's were vin'd FB3S, everywhere else received the SA if memory serves.

Great feature Linh! I love this car


This car is more amazing in real life!


I have an EJ20G in my Gm6

Motor sounds like a cropduster...easily the rowdiest sounding Subaru motor ever.


looks like Frankenstein... yuk :S


Nice color-wheel combo....awesome stance ,but dude loose the stupid suitcase and get yourself a small tool box or even a dufflebag with some small wrenches......looks like ur gonna need them!!!


In the U.S. 79-80 rx7's were dubbed SA, 81-85 are FB. Everywhere else in the world all first gens are SA'a


Man thats hot, something he can be proud of...


"This is a car that deserves to be driven across the country once it's completely finished."

He might want to do somthing about the ride height. I would guess there are worst roads out there than what he was driving on for the photo shoot.

Not a bad looking ride though. Maybe change the wheels, thats about all I would change.


Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the suby engine derived from a Porsche Boxster? To me, it's all German.


Awesome. Your car is like finally getin' a date with the hottest babe in the office, going out to a nice dinner, dance club, and awesome sex only to find out that now you have a nice case of genital herpes. Please get a oil filter relocation set up, add an oil cooler while your at it. (looks as if it would be good insurance). Maybe if you could swing it later have a custom manifold fabed up. Please keep the stance, dont raise it up. if need be get an aluminum skid plate. ( It would smooth air flow as well). Killer build nevertheless!



Didn't have the time for the relocation setup, but yeah i know it needs one, and it is even mentioned in the article. The pan hangs just as low, so I have been piecing together a dry sump setup.


Yeah stock cast iron exhaust is ugly, but all aftermarket setups hang considerably lower and cast iron can put up with a little pavement much more. The new NA engine that will be installed will sport a custom header that hugs the engine.


Subaru has been making flat engines before the Boxster. The original flat 4's that subaru built are rumored to be designed in assistance with Porsche.


The car with the subaru engine was my daily driver for over 2 years. It was about an inch higher at the time. Bad luck driving on an unfamiliar road combined with my sick obsession with slammed cars led to the result lol.


Could you please do a couple of desktop pictures?


Saweeet love the Notchback, cooling issues might be a prob on this though?? Great wheel/colour combo..


Very impressive. The look is very clean. It was ahead of its time. Perfect size and lines. Don't change a thing.


The subynotch seems to be Old car model, reversion of new technique..


Wow this thing is cool. As a lifelong VW fan the notch is super rare and the look was surprisingly timeless. I've been a Ghia fan forever but the notch and square back aircooled VW's are COOL. Subie is the logical choice.