The Second Coming – The Drag Racing VW Bay Window Single-Cab Type2

Words by Toby Walker & Photos by Dan Du Cross & Julian Hunt

I’ve mentioned in previous features how the abundance of social media platforms make it virtually impossible to have not seen build progress photos of most new vehicles on the scene. I say most as this one was definitely kept on the down-low for the whole FIVE YEARS it took to create. With only the crew involved in the build being in the loop.

But unless you’ve decided to ditch the wonder of modern life and join some sort of freaky Acid Cult over lockdown, you will have seen the amazing photos and videos of Alex “Jesus” Leiserach’s insane early bay single-cab race car that appeared after his first outing and maiden run at Santa Pod in September this year. These videos were circulating not only because of the fact it is an amazingly detailed race car, fresh out the garage that no-one had seen. But mostly, because Alex ran a 10.3 on his third ever pass! YES that’s right, the third pass this car made was a 10.37 second run at 136 mph! That is damn impressive for a brand new car. Pretty much test runs with boost and everything tamed down to allow Alex to get used to driving it.

I guess what I’m getting at is with the absolute social media buzz the Single Cab created, there are lessons to be learned here. Don’t be craving those social media love hearts half way through your build. Hold fast, be a bit humble and then bask in the appreciation once your car is completely finished. This also gives us, the general public, the absolute stoke of seeing a fresh build for the first time with out knowing the wheel choice, colour, ride height and what you had for breakfast etc. Apologies for pushing my social media gripes on you, but I just miss the old days of rocking up to a show or race track and seeing never-before-seen cars appear on the circuit. We know Alex is a very humble human, and would not accept any credit for the incredible amount of time, money and effort he has invested in this build. But we would just like to say thank you to him. For upping the bar and creating one of the most exciting Aircooled VW’s we have seen for a long time. 

A lot of you will know Alex, or Jesus as he is more affectionately know, from racing his 1969 Early Bay Micro Bus and crewing for the Outlaw Flat Four. He also worked in sales for a VW parts supplier for some years. So, he has been a part of the VW scene for a fair while.

Alex always had a love for classic VW’s but admits he was a bit of a boy racer in his youth. After writing off his first car he thought to slow him down a bit, and combine his love of camping. He bought a Bay Panel Van. But it wasn’t long before the ‘need for speed’ crept back and the ’69 Race Bus was created, a very cool car indeed. 

The whole race car idea started in September 2016 when Alex was at Das Drag day with fellow Outlaw Flat Four member Trevor “Hot Wheels” Sharpe. After watching plenty of fast Aircooled VW’s tearing up the tarmac of Bitburg Airport all weekend, he had managed to persuade Alex to chase his dreams and build a full blown race car. In the words of his good mate Trev “whats the worst that can happen apart from financial ruin?” Point taken – Alex started the search for a suitable base. Alex knew the team he wanted to work with on the build and he also knew he wanted to build a full blown race Bus. So, calls were made to Andy of Robinson Race Cars ( The go to company in Alex’s mind for the build.

While a Bay Window single-cab may not be the first choice for most to turn into a blisteringly fast race car – I mean who in their right mind wants to be propelled down the 1/4mile strapped to the front of a projectile with a 2931cc motor with future potential of 900 BHP? Well, Alex obviously. But, with that in mind a Single-Cab was sourced from an olive grove in Italy which was suitable solid. Trev & Alex spent weeks removing the Green emulsion paint to reveal the original ‘L345’ Light Grey paint – bonus.

Fast-forward to March 2018, it was time to start cutting up the body. With the initial plans of installing a cage and strengthening the chassis and the 2442cc motor, Alex set to the task at hand. However, thanks to a post on the Cal Look Lounge – spotted by good mate Peter Shattock – those plans were soon to change in the shape of a Pauter Engine. This motor in-turn forced some re-thinking of gearbox as a ‘091’ would no longer be appropriate for all the horsepower the new motor could produce. A lot of phone calls and emails were exchanged with Sean at Weddle and Big Pete at Cogbox was also consulted on the gearbox ratios. From this, a 4-speed Sequential Mendeola box was built. You can now start to see this project was no longer going to be a humble Aircooled strip toy. It was going to be a Monster! Roland Lebrun of Roland’s Bus Farm was a massive help – arranging shipping from the USA to Belgium, then delivering it to Alex at Maidstone Services. Alex always knew the wheels to use for his dream race car build, Weld Magnum with double bead lock rears running Hoosier Slicks. This vision would serve as the main building-blocks to set out the whole stance and layout of The Second Coming Single Cab!

It’s May 2018 and now the fun begins! Lots of brain scratching, discussions, planning, suspension modelling and calculations took place over the following months. 

The bottom tubes were mounted to the chassis table and the beast grew from there. As more tubes were added, the chassis strength grew. This thing really is a work of art – every time you look at the chassis, the attention to detail and technical finesse just blows your mind. Although this will only ever be legal to an 8.50 pass due to the seating position over the front axle but because of this the chassis has been over-engineered due to the vulnerable nature of sitting in the crumple zone…

Double wishbone suspension was chosen for front and rear, with the rears featuring ‘rockers’ to transfer the load longitudinally along the chassis rather than across. One of the only VW parts used in the build was a T25 bevel box to get the right angle from the column to the rack. A really cool cockpit feature is the steering wheel that Alex played with at his Nan’s house – it’s been in the family since the 1970’s! The brakes and consumables are off the shelf parts to enable easier maintenance down the line. Mainly Camaro fronts and rears are an Empi 930CV microstub kit while the pedals, shifter and the staging brake were then created with the same attention to detail as the rest of the build.  The Co2 bottle, battery and fuel tank were all sorted and mounted which took the build to October 2019.

By which time, the chassis was fully welded and the bodywork was back at Alex’s home. Trevor Sharpe and Rob Hewish assisted/taught Alex to weld and they sorted out the bottom edges of the drop sides. Chris Tullett of CT Fabrications in Lancing tackled some of the body repairs – most importantly the replacement of the lower inner front valance. Chris also helped out in the later stages of the build with loads of little bits of welding and fabrication, Alex mentioned “I am very lucky to have him so local”.

The tonneau cover, front wheel tubs, rear wheel tubs, complete flat under tray, wheelie bar, parachute and rear engine cradle were constructed next. The rear tubs are ridiculously complicated as they needed to obviously clear the rear wheels but also allow plenty of access to service the engine. In fact, the Robinsons thought they were probably the most complex they had ever made. The tonneau cover was created with a slightly convex radius allowing plenty of nuts to be fitted. The idea is, if needed, a lexan Gurney flap can be added to increase rear downforce and separate the air cleanly from the back of the cover. Alex says “Seeing the parachute on the back was a big turning point visually. Because…… Race Car!

Towards the end of January 2020, 3 years and 4 months after inception of a full rolling chassis, the engine and gearbox was collected from Robinson Race Cars. “It was the first time it had been out in the open air and that I was able to look at it from a distance. I was well chuffed with how it was looking”. With the chassis nearing completion, the engine was sent to Richie at RJ Volks Performance at the beginning of November 2020. Although this was a brand new never run motor, it had been in numerous shops for many years, so a strip down, inspection, clean and assembly seemed the logical way forward.

At the same time the gearbox was dropped off with Big Pete at Cogbox to engineer an input shaft sensor.

With chassis and body reunited again the SC moved to Phil at Brickfield Autos – Phil had painted Alex’s blue bay window all those years ago. So was naturally who would paint the Single Cab. The original plan was to keep as much of the OG paint as possible. It soon became clear that this wasn’t going to work. Alex didn’t want shiny, so the original colour L345 Light Grey paint was sympathetically aged. At this time Alex was on furlough, so spent a month stripping, rubbing down and sand blasting the chassis and all the suspension components ready for paint.

I can’t even put into words what an excellent job Phil achieved! He straightened all the dropsides, repaired the very battered rear drivers corner, repaired the creased cab doors and just generally made it a much better finished article than I could ever have imagined”.

I spent as much time as possible working on the Single Cab down at Phils. Be it making tea, rubbing down or just getting under his feet. It was great to be involved and really start to do some work on the truck myself.

It’s the details that count. It took a long time to decide on lots of things on this build. But, one that really challenged Alex was where to tow from. Especially as he wanted to retain as much of the “stock look” as possible. The decision to go through the indicator pulled this off perfectly. The front bumper is one piece fibreglass and Neil from Prosign never fails to delivers, he painted it to look like just like an original, even including rubber cab steps – He also painted the front and rear number plates.

Being a race car, obviously all the glass was being replaced with Lexan and fitted with seals to retain the stock appearance. The front screen was a serious challenge. Ian Clark had a friendly powder coat chap whose oven they borrowed. When you add direct heat to lexan it turns into a prawn cracker. So, it was a case of gently does it – Sandwiching the lexan between two front windscreens. Roland Lebrun came through again with a pair of opening 1/4’s for the cab doors (a bit of fresh air on the tow back from the top end is a necessity).

7th of May 2021: The first time the Single Cab lands at Alex’s house as a complete unit “…and the sudden realisation that for the first time in the project, it was all down to me.”

Alex plays his abilities down buy stating “I consider myself an amateur mechanic at best”. Andy Goodwin, Lee Maynard and Ian Clark come over to help get the big bits in place so that Alex could finish rest and Rob Hewish helped to pin out test everything. Alex had been fitting the build around working his normal full-time job at GoodWood Motor Circuit, not having any real time off in 4 months.

This was not like anything he had ever done before. When putting stock or even modified vehicles together, there is a rough road map of what to do. With a bespoke scratch build race car, it was literally a completely bare rolling chassis. No tabs for brake lines, no mounting points for anything, no wiring diagrams – A completely blank canvas.

The way Alex tackled the finishing of the build was to break everything down into systems and then those systems into little sections and so on. Trying to just start and finish each stage before moving on to the next. “It was massively daunting as a big lump, but in pieces didn’t seem as bad I definitely learnt a massive amount and in hindsight would do a few things differently.”

First was all the hydraulic clutch and brake hard lines. Alex says stupidly he decided on stainless steel, it obviously looks great but was a nightmare to work with.

Next was mounting all the little bits and pieces – The electronics, solenoids, relays, boxes, Co2 systems etc then plumbing in all the teflon lines and fittings.

Alex says the wiring took him a long time and he was not happy with some of it. I know Alex and know he’s probably being hard on himself and you or I would be super proud to be able to even start such a task. 

It fired up on the 24th of July. So when you think of all the jobs Alex had to carry out, he turned it round pretty quick.

Unfortunately, over the debut weekend where Alex set his PB, there was a failure at the fuel rail and the single cab caught fire causing substantial damage to the wiring loom and all of the hoses. Alex released a T-Shirt to help fund the repair and the VW community supported. This enabled Alex to rebuild and get the Single Cab back out on the track in October 2021, which was no mean feat – re-wiring and re-hosing and getting the bus back on track in the space of around a month!

This outing – the bus ran a 10.7 but we know there is much more to come from this very special race car, so make sure you keep your eyes pealed for it next year!

Tech Spec:

  • 2931cc Pauter,
  • 80mm Pauter crank
  • 108mm bore Pauter Super Pro Siamese ali barrels with steel liners,
  • JE Pistons with Total Seal piston rings
  • Roller cam
  • 6.2” Pauter con rods
  • 1.5 Pauter rockers
  • Pauter Super Pro Heads with 57mm intake
  • 43mm exhaust valves and PAC Springs
  • 4 stage dry sump oil pump
  • 8.5:1 compression
  • Billet Atomiser 550 Injectors
  • Fuel-tech 8A/2A Injector driver
  • Methanol
  • Mechanical Enderle fuel pump and Bosch 044 (for priming)
  • Precision Turbo Gen 2 64/66
  • Fuel-tech FT550 ECU with Nano O2 sensor
  • EGT8 Box for the EGT’s
  • Cylinder head Temp and Oil Temp sensors
  • Mendeola MD4S 4-speed sequential transmission and a Twin Disc Floater Clutch

The engine hasn’t been dyno’d yet, currently it has only runs at 16psi of boost (600BHP). This is while Alex gets used to things – But, they estimate the turbo 2931 will make around about 900BHP when running 36psi of boost. We can’t wait!

It goes without saying, a build of this scale comes with a lot of Thank Yous:

Luke, Andy, Kate and the team at Robinson Race Cars, Phil at Brickfield Auto’s, Neil at Prosign, Richie at RJ Volks Performance, Chris at CT Fabrications, Jason at Flow X Injectors, all the boys in the “secret single cab WhatsApp group”, and last but not least his wife Louise for being very, very understanding.

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