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Freeway VW.jpg
1- Big ED Freeway Volkswagen  |   


There was a time when anything was possible as far as performance VW was concerned on american racetracks! We often refer at the good old days... Those times have seen many one of a kind machineries looking for the fastest Volkswagen of the world title...

Ed KNIGHT FREEWAY VOLKSWAGEN bug, with his 3.5 pounds per horsepower ratio and its lighweight tube frame, helped by its full fiberglass body, was one of those crazy cars just like the EMPI Jouster or the Glass'n Wagen...

You all know I have a big passion for all those exotic VW race cars from the early days, so when my french friend Benjamin LAMOUROUX send me a special article on that Freeway Volkswagen bug, I thought it was a very good idea to share this on the Nostalgia corner.

The Freeway Volkswagen is certainly not the most documented, and certainly not the most competitive racing VW of the time, but Benjamin and I found two interesting period articles you will be able to read on the right side columns. Very informative...

Very nice picture from Lonnie REED with the race car on trailer with onlookers. Big ED standing on the back in white T-Shirt...

The World Fastest Volkswagen lettering is shown here on the roof sides. Hard to say if it really was, but that was a very fast bug for sure. Freeway Volkswagen was a VW dealer from Seattle, Washington.

In fact, Ed KNIGHT was an ex-employee of this VW dealer when he decided to left for turning professional drag racing...

How it is pleasant to have several pictures of the same period car at the same time from different angle. If you look closely, you will see Lonnie REED walking away after discussing with Ed about the setup motor and the car, with sunglasses and his white Newport Beach Volkswagen Association jacket (NBVA).

For sure, the car was quite impressive but if seems it was not that competitive... When the car came to Bug-in 2 at OCIR, it seems it never succeeded a complete pass after 2 attempts due to fuel issues...

Awesome picture by Mike DITTY! Bronze metalflake paintjob looks always amazing under the sun light... I especially like the ISKY cam sticker replacing the headlights... Image is a thumbnail

Another Petersen pictures from the second Bug-in. One thing is for sure : that bug attracted many curious onlookers...

And you thought you have seen all of the very early Bug-in staging lines queue already... Proof is not ;-) Look at that Lonnie REED awesome picture. You can guess the early orange DDS race car towed by the famous Chevy DDS van... Image is a thumbnail...

Unusual driver position at the back is evident on this picture by Lonnie again. You can hardly see the driver...

I think those early shots from Lonnie are from Bug-in 2...


Below is a very interesting article by Don EMMONS found in an old Dune Buggies & Hot VWs magazine!!!

Dune Buggies magazine this month take a look at the wild world of drag racing, on the blacktop that is. Yes, we are aware that the Purple Potato Chip is a drag racing machine, but it see very limited racing, whereas the Freeway Volkswagen was built to campaign at drag strips every week.

See how light the fiberglass full body was... 2 guys (Ed KNIGHT in the back) easily removing from the tube chassis while striking the pose...

This bug is known in drag circles as a match racer. These are cars that the track owners pair with other competition machines in 2 out of 3 matches or 3 out of 5 sets. They tour the country to race for money and to put on a good show for the many spectators drawn to the track to see a VW take on a small-sized, V8 engined dragster. It's always a crowd pleaser when a VW takes on a dragster and whips it, and the Freeway Volkswagen does just that, very handily.

Sitting on the transaxle driver position...

The Freeway team believes that it has the World Fastest Volkswagen ans that's what it's all about - there are so many Hot VWs running the quarter mile now that spectators are beginning to really get their money's worth watching the Wolfsburg Wonders take each other on, when they're not racing bigger cars. Drivers, pit crews, and engine builders are all intensely competitive and proud of their racing equipment, and those who are out near the front have to keep a wary eye on the rear-view mirror, because there are a lot of hot shoes in hot cars that are ready, willing, and eager to dispute any claims, where it counts, on the drag strip.

Chassis and body side by side!

The heart of this featherlight Bug is a 1600cc VW four-banger. KNIGHT frequently runs a heavy load (75 percent) of nitro, and he's quite aware of the fact that running this big a load doesn't do much for an engine's longetivity, so he had Iskenderian run some dyno tests. Reports are that, on alcohol, the engine put out 210 bhp at 6000. To get a better idea of where these wild ponies come from, let's start at the top.

Big Ed wrenching on the front axle at OCIR! Petersen picture. Image is a thumbnail...

Two aluminium injector stacks feed air to the very modified Enderle injection. This unit was built up using half of a Chevy injector, and Jim Diamond spent the better part of 6 months developing the system. The neat little huffer (blower) that sits below the injector is a 3-71 GMC unit. That's right, a GMC blower; the baby brother to the 6-71 unit that big dragsters use on the Chrysler, Chevy and Ford engines. Ed has this little blower setup working 100 percent overdrive, which gives him 18 lb. of boost. They made the manifold, as there is not a great deal of demand for a GMC blower setup for a VW. Heads are the VW Variant dual-port units.

No driver race bug...

Isky worked closely with Ed on the engine, and he uses their lifters and new Chrome-Moly push rods. The cam is an Isky V-1212 made especially for this car. After months testing, this cam has been added to Isky's line of VW cams. Ed uses stock valves and Isky springs. Jahns pistons are fitted to boxed rods and spin on a balanced 9/16 in stroker crank. Sitting under all this is an Isky dry sump oil system. A Fram dual filter setup is used to clean the oil. The megaphone headers are the work of Cyclone, and the fire to this mighty giant is from a Mallory ignition.

Close up view of the engine with its GMC blower and homemade manifolds. Note the lettering : Engine and Parts by Freeway Volkswagen.

The chassis side of the car is made from 4130 chome-moly tubing, with a wall thickness of 0.049. The roll cage is made up from 1_3/4 in. moly of 0.120 wall thickness. Don KIRBY did the torch work here, making this chassis a superlightweight unit but, we hasten to add, a strong one. The complete chassis weighs in at a mere 220 lb.

The steering is a modified Opel Kadett rack and pinion setup. The tubular front axle sports a large amount of weight, to keep the front wheels on the ground. The car had a tendency to do wild wheelies and, after wasting three axles, it was decided that something had to be done. Halibrand 12 spokes front wheels keep the unsprung weight down, and the American mags at the rear are fitted to a late VW transaxle, using Cragar wheels adapters. Tires are 10.35_15 Good'Year Indys.

Hard launch... Unknown racetrack...

The Bronze metalflake body is a one-piece fiberglass item that weights just 75 lb. The body is a stock sized uniit with the stock 94 inches wheelbase. The parachute pack at the back is a Saferide safety chite, used to assist the disc brakes in stopping the fast-moving draggin' wagen.

Anyone in the Seattle area who is interested in getting a closer look at this fantastic car should stop by the Freeway Volkswagen agency. The car frequently graces the showroom floor when it isn't smoking the tires down the drag strip.

Copyright 2021 El Dub - All rights reserved.

E-mail : eldub@cal-look.com


150 MPH VW!!!... by Bill NEUMANN

Not exactly for the street, but here's a budget approach to turnng the 1/4 mile under 10 seconds...

Another period article found in an old US Drag Magazine for your reading pleasure...

A Volkswagen that runs 150 mph in 9 seconds? Very interesting! Very interesting indeed, because with interest running so high in VW powered on and off road machinery this could open up a whole new drag claddification well within the budget of those who now can't afford to drag race

Grabing the track with a light whisper of smoke...

To be competitive in the stock classes it takes from 2000 to 5000$ to play, and you still can't go anywhere near 150 mph. You can get into the 150's in the low nines in an A/Altered, but here again you're looking at a 2500$ and up price tag.

Vertex magneto was used to supply the sparks.

One answer showed up at Orange County International Raceway, a long, spindly looking, dark-shaped VW-powered dragster with Schwinn bicycle wheels and tires up front. Another anwer is Ed KNIGHT's Freeway Volkswagen out of Seattle, Washington, which runs a 4140 steel tube frame. The body is a one-piece, stock size fiberglass reproduction so the wheelbase and tread width is all stock VW.

Iskiderian dyno facility was used to make all the dyno tests and adjustments to the engine. Ed KNIGHT on the left, and Sheldon BASS a the controls push engine to 235 hp at 7000 rpm.

The neat thing about the VW engine is that the transmission and complete rear end is all-there, nothing else to buy or modify. The VW transmission is more than 'tough', it's one part we've never seen come apart if assembled correctly and should be able to take up to 300 hp or more with no sweat. Ed runs a stock 180mm VW clutch disc and a Porsche pressure plate with the stock springs shimmed for more grab.

That bronze metalflake seems to be outstanding at night.

It's amazing that much of the 1600cc (96 cubic inches) mill is in stock or near stock form. Aside from being balanced, the crank and rods are stock (Ed tried the roller setup without success) and so are the cylinders.

Seems the Freeway Volkswagen performed a pass against a white V8 powered little bug at OCIR.

Ed uses the dual-port heads (7.5 to 1 compression ratio) which are polished and stock VW valves. At this point, with the reliability built-in, some groovy parts round out the block - forged pistons, Isky 1212 flat tapped cam, chrome moly push rods, Isky Vasco Jet valve spings with dampers, 3-17 GMC blower, Enderle injectors and a Cyclone exhaust system.

Pushing a lightweigt bug... Easy...

Ready to go, this little bomb weights only 813 pounds - man, what a power to weight ration! And something has to be said for ease of towing such a light car to and from the drags... To date, Ed KINGHT's Freeway Volkswagen has chalked up a 9.03 ET at 152 mph - where else can you go so fast for so little?

I always liked the full fire suit from the 70s... Serious...