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						356 Suby Coupe 5
Tube-Frame Suby Coupe

Subaru-powered Beck 356 coupe

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, Craigslist

For the sake of cost, simplicity and availability, you just cannot beat the Volkswagen air-cooled driveline as a donor or swap candidate. But in the interest of evolution, there are several more contemporary options that work with, or in the place of, the old air-cooled flat-fours. Subaru’s are one hot option right now, as donors span a couple decades, and these engines have been used with VW transaxles, and even configured with the Subaru’s front driveline.

While doing the bi-weekly Craigslist crawl this morning, I came upon this most righteous application of the Subaru flat-four donor, in the form a Beck 356 coupe. But a quick look at the underside reveals that this isn’t your average VW-based adaptation.

Where most 356 re-creations utilize the VW pan, along with its engine, transaxle, front beam axle and rear swing axles, this coupe is based on a stainless steel tubular chassis with A-arm suspension up front, and coilover suspension in the rear. Said to be one of five built, this platform is a significantly stronger and better handling base for the more powerful Subaru flat-four. Disappointingly, the seller hasn’t revealed the exact specification of the Subaru engine, other than that it’s used, but we’re betting its something like an EJ 20, 22 or 25. It looks like most parts to get the Subaru engine working are included in the sale, like a wiring harness, ECM, clutch and a Kennedy adaptor. The Subaru mill spins a Rancho VW-type Pro Street transaxle and four-wheel disc brakes are fitted from Empi.

The 356 coupe bodywork comes courtesy of Beck/Special Edition, and consists of hand-laid fiberglass. Most exterior features, like the lights, door handles and bumpers have been fitted, but none of the cabin glass is installed. The interior is also incomplete, but a banjo-type steering wheel and Wilwood pedals and master cylinders are installed. The car rolls on matching Fuchs-style wheels with good rubber.

The seller is likely taking a big hit on this car at the advertised $18,200, especially with the inclusion of the Subaru engine and stainless steel chassis. Finished to a high level, this coupe could ask in the high $40,000s, and all of the major components are there. But don’t be fooled, there’s quite a bit of work necessary to make this car roadworthy, including paint. At this price however, we think there’s room to work with if you’re handy.

See the 356 here on Orange County Craigslist.

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