Determining the size of a VW engine:

It is impossible to know what is inside an engine by looking at the outside of it. You can not tell if an engine has been bored or modified internally without opening the case and taking measurements to calculate displacement. Engine Calculator Tool That being said, it is possible to narrow down the list of engine options and make an educated guess based on what engine came stock for your in the vehicle.


Step 1: Identify Year of the Vehicle

Classic Aircooled VW engines are known for being easily swapped. Do not determine your engine based on vehicle year alone. These cars can be upwards of 60 years old and potentially had a dozens owners whom could have swapped out the engine to gain more power or to replace a faulty engine.

  • Beetle

  • 1954-60 1200cc Single Port (36HP)
  • 1961-65 1200cc Single Port (40HP)
  • 1966 1300cc Single Port
  • 1967-69 1500cc Single Port
  • 1970 1600cc Single Port
  • 1971-74 1600cc Dual Port
  • 1975-77 1600cc Dual Port (Fuel Injected)
  • Super Beetle

  • 1971-74 1600cc Dual Port
  • 1975-79 1600cc Dual Port (Fuel Injected)
  • Karmann Ghia

  • 1954-60 1200cc Single Port (36HP)
  • 1961-65 1200cc Single Port (40HP)
  • 1966 1300cc Single Port
  • 1967-69 1500cc Single Port
  • 1970 1600cc Single Port
  • 1971-74 1600cc Dual Port
  • Type 2 / Bus

  • 1955-59 1200cc Single Port (36HP)
  • 1960-62 1200cc Single Port (40HP)
  • 1963-65 1200cc OR 1500cc Single Port
  • 1966-67 1500cc Single Port
  • 1968-70 1600cc Single Port
  • 1971 1600cc Dual Port
  • 1972-73 1700cc Type 4
  • 1974 1700cc OR 1800cc Type 4
  • 1975 1800cc Type 4
  • 1976-79 2000cc Type 4
  • Type 3

  • 1964-65 1500cc Single Port
  • 1966 1600cc Single Port
  • 1967-73 1600cc Dual Port
  • VW Thing

  • 1973-74 1600cc Dual Port

Step 2: Check Engine Code

Second step is to find the engine code stamped on your engine block and compare it against our engine code list. Making sure it matches will confirm if the engine case sitting in your vehicle was original for that year.

  • Engine Code Locations:

  • Beetle/Super: Alternator/Generator support flange.
  • Karmann Ghia: Alternator/Generator support flange.
  • Type 2/Bus -71: Alternator/Generator support flange.
  • Type 2/Bus 72-on: Before breather tower.
  • Type 3: To the right of oil cooler.
  • VW Thing: Alternator/Generator support flange.

Step 3: Visual Confirmation (Type 1 Based)

Classic Aircooled VW engines are known for being easily swapped. These cars can be upwards of 60 years old, had multiple owners, and multiple components replaced. Once you have an idea what engine should be in your vehicle, you can make a quick visual check to confirm if the engines features match the year and engine code.

1200cc Engines

  • 1200cc Single Port (36HP)
  • 1200cc Single Port (40HP)

1200cc Engines can be identified by their vertical intake manifold ends. When the engine is viewed front-to-back the intake manifold ends appear to go straight up. Another feature is the mounting nuts sit on top of the manifold flanges. 1200cc cylinder heads have vertical studs and a flat intake port.



1200cc Engine Identification Diagram
1200cc Engine Identification - Intake Manifold Side View
1200cc Engine Identification- Intake Manifold Front View
1200cc Cylinder Head Intake Port
1200cc Single Port Intake Manifold Flange
1200cc Single Port Intake Manifold Gasket O-Ring





1300-1600cc Single Port Engines

  • 1300cc Single Port
  • 1500cc Single Port
  • 1600cc Single Port

1300cc-1600cc Engines use manifolds with ends that slightly bow inwards to match the angle of the intake port on the cylinder heards. The mounting nuts sits inside of the manifold flange when installed. These cylinder heads will only have 1 intake port however it is slightly larger than the intake port on their 1200cc counterparts. The intake port and studs are offset at a slight angle for smoother airflow.

Note: 1970 was the only year VW produced a factory single port 1600cc.



1300-1600cc Single Port Engine Identification Diagram
1300-1600cc Single Port Engine Identification
1300-1600cc Single Port Engine Identification
Single Port Cylinder Head Intake Front View
Single Port Cylinder Head Intake Side View
1300-1600cc Single Port Intake Manifold Flange
1300-1600cc Single Port Intake Manifold Gasket O-Ring





1300-1600cc Dual Port Engines

  • 1600cc Dual Port

1600cc Dual Port engines were offered by VW starting in 1967 in Type 3s. Beetles, Ghias and Type 2 Bus models first came with a dual port engine in 1971. They are most easy identified the the dual port end castings which are usually attached to the intake manifold with black or red rubber boots. The dual intake ports and studs are also offset at a slight angle.

Note: Earlier engines can be converted to dual port engines, so it's not uncommon to find dual port 1300cc & 1500cc engines. This was a common practice when brand new single port heads were unavailable.



1300-1600cc Dual Port Engine Identification Diagram
1300-1600cc Dual Port Engine Identification
1300-1600cc Dual Port Engine Identification
Dual Port Cylinder Head Intake Front View
Dual Port Cylinder Head Intake Side View
Dual Port Intake Manifold End Fitting
Dual Port Intake Manifold Gasket