Subaru to VW engine conversion

A relatively popular engine swap for rear-engine Volkswagens is the Subaru motor. Purists may scoff at putting a Japanese engine into a German car, but the motor looks suspiciously like a later Vanagon motor. If Fuji Heavy Industries figured out how to make a boxer engine that's more reliable and efficient, why not upgrade?

parts suppliers

  • Kennedy Engineering is the biggest supplier of adapter kits to fit engines to VW and Porsche transaxles. Subaru included, of course. Based in the USA.
  • Sharpbuilt is a sand buggy maker that now offers Subaru kits. Based in Australia.
  • D.S.Tuning is a German company that offers various adapter kits for VW & Porsche. Phone: 0049 591 74737


  • a superbeetle (1303) that got a serious power boost.
  • Ricola's speedster replica with WRX propulsion.
  • PerformanceGhia is a Mr. Ghia's work turning a classic beetle into a Porsche performer. Technically not a Subaru swap, but some good ideas for tuning up a Subaru-powered type 1.

resource sites

other notes

  • Experimental aircraft hobbyists and companes can be helpful in obtaining Subaru adaptation ideas, since the Subaru is also popular in light planes as well as Volkswagen aircooled.
  • Radiator placement is the trickiest part of putting a watercooled engine in a vehicle that originally was aircooled. Up front is ideal if you have the room, but people have been successful with other locations. most popular, in vans particularly, is in back with a fan blowing inward.

    I found some instructions for one way of mounting a radiator, in a bus, and it sounds pretty slick.