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looking for a few measurements from a Sterling


New member
Hi guys.

My name's Drew Joseph, and I live in western Michigan. I've been a member here for a while, but am mainly a lurker -- don't own a Sterling or related car, and just kinda look at others' posts here. Very interesting site, and informative.

I do hope to own one of these cars someday, but for now, it's kind of a long-term dream. If I do ever end up with one, I'd like to mount it on a tube chassis, and so am now studying & pondering the design of one. I've done a fair amount of measuring VW pans & sketching things out, but am still in the early stages. (And I need to gradually win over my wife, the gatekeeper of All Fun Guy Things, with the idea of a Sterling.) (I hope.) (Too many hopeless-junker projects in my past for her to not be skeptical.)

I was wondering if any of you guys out there with a Sterling, Sebring or Cimbria might possibly be willing to measure a few dimensions on your car for me. I believe that, on Sterlings, the VW donor pan doesn't sit at the stock ride height, and so the measurements I've taken of a few VW's only go so far in usefulness. I'm not sure if there is anything like a "standard" ride height that's typically used on these cars, but I was hoping to get measurements from a few different cars to come up with a 'consensus' figure as a starting point. Below are sketches of the measurements I'd like to get, if anyone would be willing & has the time. I'd greatly appreciate any info anyone could offer.

In this first pic, I'd just like to get the distance from the ground to the underside of the raised pan lip at the sides of the pan, with the Sterling at typical ride height, normal tire pressure, level ground, etc. The sketch assumes that the pan has a lowered area, for seating height.

In this one, I'd like to get the distance from the ground to the center of the transaxle output shaft, and the distance from the ground to the center of the frame horn bolts under the transaxle.

Thank you very much. Any info would be great. Sorry for any hassle in asking you guys to crawl around under your cars for this stuff.


Honorary Admin
Hi Drew,
I take it your an engineer or something close... those drawings are suspiciously good, and the call-out writing style is very typical engineer :D

In any case, I'll try to get some of those tomorrow, but your results will vary simply for the reason that not everyone has drop pans, and those who do may not all match. Engine, suspension and wheel/tire combos all come into how the car sits and are all adjustable. Strictly speaking, the Sterling/Sebring/Cimbria sit on an unmodified chassis, which means the body will sit as the Beetle body would sit. Sometimes, that's a little too high in the back and/or in the front, and sometimes it's just right depending how worn the donor chassis is.

Really, unless you want the challenge of building your own tube frame which has issues of their own on these cars, you could always simply purchase one of Dave's beauties from SSC: Tube chassis mid-engine

He's got both mid and rear engine chassis and mounts for a multitude of engine and transmission styles.


New member
hi rick --

thanks for the reply. i'm not an engineer, but used to work as a detailer (glorified draftsman) at a metal-fab company, drawing blueprints.

i'd appreciate it if you could grab those measurements from your car, if you get a chance. i probably actually shouldn't have included that lowered section on the vw pan in my sketch, as it is (i believe) irrelevant to the height of the pan lip from the ground and doesn't really have anything to do with the ride height of the body (although you, obviously, do have to watch ground clearance under lowered pans). i had just included that lowered area in the drawing so it would be clear that i was looking specifically for the measurement from that vw stock pan lip, and not a measurement from the bottom of a lowered pan area.

i've looked at, and drooled over, dave's chassis many times before, but just don't have anywhere near the $$ for one. very well-thought out, though. he must be a really talented guy.

One incidental thing i've wondered, when looking at his Sterling RX chassis, is that there's, seemingly, no body-mounting area on it that closely matches the profile of a vw pan. Doesn't the Sterling body have a mating flange molded into the upper tub that is shaped like VW's pan profile, for bolting the body down? When I had my basket-case Sterling body, while in college, it had such a flange, with sloped areas F & R to accommodate the center tunnel.

Did Dave change that on his newer Sterling moldings, since VW pans aren't as desirable or available for donors as they once were? It just looks kinda like the old bodies might not fit tight onto his chassis. I'm probably just missing something, though.

Anyway -- thanks for the reply.


Honorary Admin
Hi Drew,
Dave's chassis' use the forward mounting points at what would be the frame head on the VW chassis, and a couple points behind the cockpit. There really isn't much holding the body on! But it seems to work - his bodies are the same as the original, he just trims some areas out to accommodate the tube frame.

I'll work on getting those photos shortly.



Take these with a grain of salt - I highly modified the floorpan and running a much heavier engine.
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