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type 3 wagon
matt - June 28th, 2009 at 07:24 PM

i am after some info on what i should do to turn my 1970 type 3 wagon into a "cheap" off roader or rally car (if i cant sell it). I have limited funds for this project.
any info would be great

shaihulud - August 9th, 2009 at 11:59 AM

Hi Matt.

What you need to do is to increase the ground clearance. The front and rear suspensions in a Type 3 are adjustable, so that's not too difficult. I'm sure that there are threads here about how to do that.

Fit a strong aluminium bash plate under the engine and gearbox. Make sure that it protects the push rod tubes and the rocker covers. Cut oil drain holes in it.

If you want to, remove the body and fit a lift kit to the pan. In most states 3 inches is the legal maximum. That may need permission from you local registration office. That requires some 2x3 inch RHS, some welding and some design inventiveness on your part.

Of course, fit bigger wheels and tyres. I would not recommend light truck type off road tyres, unless you are going to bash your way across big gnarly rocks, as on road they are too hard and they don't pouch down much when you reduce tyre pressures for sand. Good quality passenger style off road tyres will give a good on/off road compromise. Generally speaking, don't make the front wheels and tyres too big or with too much offset, as you can affect the steering. Just make sure the the tyres don't interfere with the bodywork on full jounce and/or steering lock.

Legally you can only increase the offset of new wheels by 1/2 inches each side, have 6 inch wide rims and one inch bigger or smaller in diamater from stock. In WA you can have only one size difference between the front and rear tyres. In SA that may be two sizes. Check that. If you want the small front, big rear look, you could fit, say, 205 60 15s to the front and 215 75 16s to the rear and still be road legal.

To look the part, fit a nice tube steel front bumper with a set of big flood lights, maybe a winch, or a way to loop a big fat tow rope onto the front. Keep in mind that "they" are about to ban roo bars on cars, so make sure that it doesn't look too much like a roo bar, even though it will be one. Fit a very strong place to attach the tow rope to the front. To the front chassis/torsion bar tubes is best if the front bumper is not super strong.

On the rear fit a tube steel bumper that has foot rest places for helpers to bounce you out of trouble and a couple of hand holds onto the roof, or maybe a very strong roof rack. Fit a strong tow bar while you are at it. Be careful, as it will need to comply with the regulations.

If you need to remove some of the edges of the mudguards to fit the big tyres, weld a steel rod to the new edge and roll the metal over the rod to get a safe rounded edge.

I also suggest that you get a copy of Jeff Hibbard's book Baja Bugs and Buggies. It's printed by HP Books. It's full of good ideas. It will cost you $40. Your local book seller will be able to get it for you.

Good luck. Keep us informed an I am thinking of doing something similar and I'd like to see what you do.


Baja Wes - August 10th, 2009 at 08:02 AM

I wouldn't do a body lift on the type 3. Plus the engine mounts are on the body which will complicate the process somewhat. I have seen some type 3 Baja's. They normally cut the body to clear the bigger tyres, and fit 4x4 style wheel arch flares to cover the wheels.

shaihulud - August 10th, 2009 at 08:11 AM

Thanks for that feedback Wes.

I wasn't sure if a body lift on a Type 3 was a good idea or not. Also fitting rubber 4WD wheel arch flares would be a lot easier and cheaper.


One more suggestion. Fit steering brakes to the hand brake system. They will get you out of all sorts of trouble and are really cheap to build and fit.


sgetty - September 24th, 2009 at 10:34 PM

theres a local auto elec buisness that used to race a baja type 3 wagon with a one peice fibre glass front and 2l

PHAT BUG - December 2nd, 2016 at 06:01 AM

Digging up an old thread, any Baja Type 3's on here??

wombatventures - December 5th, 2017 at 04:52 AM

Possibly something in the pipeline... More info next week...:cool:

wombatventures - December 12th, 2017 at 06:52 AM

Not going to go totally BAJA but will make it suitable for getting to the surf.....:lol:

wombatventures - December 12th, 2017 at 06:54 AM

First job get the engine running...
Second Job cut some rust...
Third job get it registered...
Forth Job enjoy the ride! :yes:

Bone - December 23rd, 2017 at 06:31 AM

We had Baja's in the late 80's but my brother also had a early wagon in the early 90's he took to Fraser Island.

wombatventures - December 25th, 2017 at 02:17 PM

That square looks cool Bone.

PHAT BUG - March 5th, 2018 at 06:28 AM

My Baja Fasty............

Still a way to go with it, need to sort out RGB rear end for it next.