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[T3] Que sera, sera...or, Who builds a quality motor?

Hey, everybody:

I drove my '67 Square over open roads for the first time today, not
including small sojourns around my neighborhood. The voyage (about ten
miles) started well enough, but ended badly.

My wife and I just moved to a new house, and during the process, I had
the Square (which at the time had a locked-up engine that turned out to
be a case of wrong starter/flywheel combo) towed to The VW Shop. I asked
John out there to see if he could free the engine, do a little routine
tune-up stuff, and check out the brakes.

Today, Lucy and I drove out to pick it up...the battery in it wouldn't
hold a charge worth a damn, so we had to jump it. (I brought a newer
battery, but it was also discharged after hoodlums went through my car
parked at home and left the interior lights on until the juice was used
up.) The Square started fine, and for the first three or four miles,
drove pretty well for a car with nearly-shot wheel bearings. Then things
started to get ugly.

The engine started to lose power somewhat about halfway home, so I
pulled over and gave the rearend a once-over. I added the half-quart of
oil I had in the car, because the oil cooler seals are not so good, and
the engine does blow oil there. It seemed to idle a bit smoother, so we
continued, my wife following behind.

About two miles from my house, the engine started a clattering sound
that immediately brought to mind the death rattle of a connecting rod.
Smoke began to pool in the cargo bay. After having to stop once again,
go buy more oil and jumper cables (the battery was that crappy), and
repeatedly try to get into busy shopping-afternoon traffic, I finally
nursed the cacophonous little Type 3 to its new driveway.

I may be assuming too much, but I am preparing to look into buying a
factory-built longblock. I have found several places that offer them for
reasonable rates, and wanted to see if any of you listees had any
experience buying from these companies.

STRICTLY FOREIGN (Grants Pass, Oregon): I bought a cylinder head for my
Type 1 from these guys a few years ago, and it was fine...but does
anyone know about their engines? Their ad doesn't specify Type 1-2-3,
but their 1600 longblocks go for $599 w/exchange, and 1641s go for $649.

ROGER'S EUROPEAN ENGINEERING (Downey, California): Stock longblocks
(Type 1-2-3) are advertised at $500 w/exchange, and 1641s are listed at

STRICTLY VW (Irwindale, California): 1600s for $649 w/exchange, 1641s
for $689.

I know at least two people who have bought factory-fresh motors from GEX
and regretted it. I don't want to have a similar experience, and would
like to balance quality & budget as best I can. Any help from the list
would be most appreciated, including other places I should look.

Keepin' the faith,
Squareback Rescue Adventure 2000

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