Sure, you can pack your Dub with go-fast goodies. But while we get the question about how fast can a VW Bug go a LOT, it’s a whole different matter when you’re looking at classics versus modern cars.
It’s all connected. Every modification you make impacts everything else in your build. A faster engine means you need a stronger transmission. Then you’re going to need to upgrade your suspension and brakes… Well, you get the idea.
One of the faster Beetles we’ve built in the last couple of years is Mojoe. Have you checked it out?
If speed’s your thing – and you’ve got Dub Fever – you’ll want to check out this guide to speedy VWs:
Change your life with a fast VW by CAR Magazine
► We take a look at three great fast used Volkswagens ► VW’s finest hot hatches, estates and coupes ► Andrew Chapple, owner of VolksWizard, acts as our guide
> Is this a good idea? ‘Oh yeah. The Mk5 Golf GTI Edition 30 was the first Anniversary model to use an engine that wasn’t shared with the standard GTI – a detuned 232bhp version of the strengthened 266bhp lump used in the Golf R and Audi S3. Coupled with the standard Mk5 Golf GTI chassis this produced a genuinely rapid and agile hot hatch with all the refinement and quality expected of the VW brand.’
> How much? ‘A decade ago the Edition 30, limited to 1500 in the UK, weighed in at £22,795. Today a meticulously maintained low-mileage model will nudge £18,000. That’s depreciation with a ‘d’ tiny enough to make a Leon Cupra driver cry.’
>What’s going to break? ‘The TFSI engine has a good reputation for reliability but coil packs can fail and the cam follower that drives the high-pressure DFI fuel pump can wear and needs periodic replacement. Oil consumption is not unusual but shouldn’t be confused with the dipsomaniac chain-driven 2.0 TFSI Audi engine used in the A4/A5. All Mk5s are prone to front-wing rust, DSG automatic models can suffer mechatronic module and clutch pack failures, and always check the air-conditioning.’
> Crippling running costs? ‘Edition 30 owners may be immune from depreciation, but money will need to be spent on cambelt changes which are due every five years or 60,000 miles – budget £400 when the recommended water pump change is included. Servicing is barely any different from more mundane Golfs although tyre life is understandably shorter.’
> Is this a good idea? ‘Sure – with 261bhp and no awd system to haul, it’s quick, with an adept ride and scalpel-sharp handling.’
> How much? ‘Early well-maintained models come in at £14k – small money for big performance – through to £25k for two-year-old low-mileage minters.’
> What’s going to break? ‘The drivetrain is much the same as the Edition 30 (left) so the same cautions apply. Check the drop-on-open windows work correctly, the ACC adaptive suspension is fault-free and the optional 19in alloys aren’t cracked.’
> Crippling running costs? ‘Tyres and fuel will eat into your savings, but this is an R for GTI servicing costs.’
So, how fast can a VW Bug go? Speed is not usually the primary reason Dub lovers start restoration projects. The originals weren’t all that fast – and especially not compared with today’s cars. If you’re considering a restoration, you’re going to have some important decisions to make – and some of them will be impacted by whether you’ve got a need for speed, or if you’re happier going low and slow.
Either way, there’s a lot that can be done to a brand new, very old Dub that’s restored at Airkooled Kustoms. It’s all about your priorities. We never say “can’t” – but your wallet might!
Do Classic Cars Need Seat Belts? Yes, unless you’re currently being attacked by a zombie.
In fact, if you’re asking, “Do classic cars need seat belts?” then you could be actually asking of two questions. One, do states require seatbelts even if the car was manufactured without them? Or, two, are they needed.
No, and yes. No, the state won’t make you install them in a restoration if your car rolled off the factory line without seatbelts. Yes, you need them – unless you plan on driving during the Zombie Apocalypse and want to make sure you can bail quickly… but you could even do quick-release belts then.
If your idea of fun is barreling down non-road roads, we’ve got two pieces of advice for you.
You definitely need seat belts.
You might consider a VW Baja Bug.
Usually our shop is known for high-end kustom restorations… like Miss Mabel, or Bumblebee, or Paz Ghia.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t roll around in the dirt like the best of them, too. Plus, an off-road VW Baja Bug would be blissfully free from the fear of a visit from the Dent Fairy.
In fact, a Baja Bug would be fun to build. If you’ve got one in mind and the build plan is kool enough, we’d do it. Rough and tumble, a strong suspension, and everything you’d need to go off road… and make it back – we can do that.
So, yeah, the whole Do Classic Cars Need Seat Belts question is a YES for safety.
Here’s a great little piece about VW Baja Bugs from The Garage at Jalopnik. Buckle up and enjoy.
Here’s why I love cars: They’re gender-neutral, colorblind, politically centered metal and fiberglass boxes of excitement, individuality, and freedom. One car that absolutely embodies everything I’ve mentioned is called the VW Baja Bug. Here are a few reasons why you need to drop everything and buy one.
I’ll start this love letter off with a full, total and long disclosure: I have not driven this car, but I got damn close. Let me explain. I heard D-list internet celebrity and Jalopnik veteran Raphael Orlove needed help with his small but eclectic collection of cars, namely his Volkswagen Baja Bug, and I volunteered to take some time out of my busy schedule of binge-watching Netflix and commenting on political Facebook posts to help him. I’m such a hero.
When I got there, the Bug’s battery was dead and The Raph (That’s what I call him, now that we’re best friends) said that the car was on a tow truck the night before, because she wasn’t running right. After sacrificing the battery in my S-Class, we got the Bug running, and before I could ask to drive it, some random guy beats me to the punch.
Yes, a man off the street asked to drive a complete stranger’s car, with jumper cables still attached, in the pouring rain, with a bad alternator, arguably running on three and a half of its 4 scooter-sized cylinders, and leaving his increasingly worried-looking dog Pepper in the questionable care of said stranger – which is probably as good a time as any to transition into my first point:
5. You Will Get An Insane Amount Of Attention
A VW Baja Bug isn’t a car as it is a lifestyle choice. Why would someone, of relatively sound mind and body, choose a car with an exposed engine, no mufflers or emissions equipment of any kind, and a body half-comprised of cracked fiberglass and rusted-through thinning steel, when they could get a Toyota Corolla for the same price? It’s the kind of question that perplexes people and they can’t help but stare and engage with the owner because of it. I was with the Raph-meister (That’s what I call him, now that we’re best friends) for a few hours on a weekend, and it seemed like every 5 or 10 minutes, someone would stop and do a double take when they saw the bug, and unlike Doug DeMuro’s dudebro-magnet Ferrari, everyone wanted a piece of the Bug.
Young couples looked at the car with an approving gaze, chuckling as they walked past, likely breaking the ice on their awkward first date. Elderly women came by and talked about how their husbands used to have one “just like this” decades ago, when net neutrality was a concept that applied only to tennis. Taxi drivers held up traffic to see if the car would start (Spoiler alert: It didn’t), and a heroic freelance automotive “consultant” came by and offered help, if’n we were so inclined as to pay him. (Spoiler alert: We didn’t). It’s was by far the shittiest and most unkempt car on the street, but I honestly don’t think a Lamborghini Veneno could’ve gotten more attention that this little slice of honest simplicity. And speaking of simplicity…
4. You Can Fix It With A Hammer
If you’ve been paying attention to James May’s Cars Of The People, you’ll have learned that the VW Beetle was designed to be extremely utilitarian, and that if damaged, its simple mechanical wizardry could be set straight on the side of a remote German town, in the 1930s. The Baja Bug takes this to a new level, by removing the things you don’t need, like a bonnet. The car barely has doors (which, by the way, close with a satisfying German thunk), and the rats nest of wiring is so simple and crude that any idiot with a roll of masking tape and a Sharpie would be able to completely overhaul the electrical system.
There are no radiators to speak of, no coolant to leak onto the ground, one tiny carburetor sitting below a slightly less tiny meshed air cleaner, and cylinders that you could individually rebuild. The entire drivetrain comes out with just 4 bolts, and you could perform nearly every bit of the car’s maintenance in a parking lot or side street. The only vehicles that are arguably simpler have pedals.
3. The Worse It Looks, The Better It Is
Immediately after returning to the lap of luxury that I call my Mercedes, I took to eBay to see what Baja Bugs I could find, and I came upon an issue: They were all too nice. I didn’t want a pristine example of a throwaway car, because that would negate the entire point. Raph-a-doodle-do (That’s what I call him, now that we’re best friends) straight up rolled his car into a ditch, putting some nasty welts into his primered bodywork, cracking some fiberglass. One of his headlights made a break for it during a rally stage, and was mended with some wood screws that were fastened into the brittle fiberglass overfenders, with the chrome surrounds left to rust slowly. The front wheels were blue, and the rear wheels were a shade of yellow reserved for dentists’ waiting rooms and IRS office bathrooms, made almost indistinguishable by the amount of dirt on them.
The interior had the build quality and feel of an out-of commission amusement park ride that was turned on one last time. The well-worn seats were from an unidentified 80’s car of some sort, and the dashboard was adorned with the gifts of owners past. The accelerator pedal was missing, leaving behind simply the lever and caster, so your foot could literally roll off the accelerator pedal if you weren’t careful. The vinyl and cardboard door cards were caved in, and the yet-fruitless search for flight MH370 had nothing on the search for one of the car’s 4 gears, through the world’s sloppiest shifter.
But all of that makes the car. It’s underpowered and loud, but it’s supposed to be. Every non-structural rust hole is a admirable battle scar. Every temporary fix-turned-permanent added character and personality. This wasn’t a car, but its own entity. It wore its age with pride, dents and all – a tall order, and not something any car could pull off. This car is a tribute to a simpler era, wearing completely different clothes than it did when it left the showroom, but having way more cool stories to tell.
2. It’s The Best SUV
The regular VW Beetle can be quite low. Not so with the Baja Bug. As I went to disconnect the battery from my car and bring it down the street to give some much-needed life support to the Bug, I found Rapharino (That’s what I call him, now that we’re best friends) just hanging out underneath the car, with his feet in the New York City street, obviously and/or obliviously unconcerned with the cars whizzing past. This car had crazy ground clearance. It also had meaty tires and had its engine in the back, which allows you to do this on a dirt track quite easily:
Even thought its engine produced a paltry 50-something horsepower on a good day (not too many of those), the chassis had a ton of pedigree and it was set up to kick some serious ass and have an even seriouser amount of fun. If you fold the backseat and clear out the frunk, you have ample room for storage, and it can seat 5 ’30s-era Germans with ease, or 2 modern-day Americans in relative discomfort. Even if you can’t fit something inside, strap it to the roof, or drag it behind you, it’s so damn frugal that you could make extra trips without having it put a dent in your wallet, and you’d be smiling the entire way. It’s the all-terrain vehicle that you never knew you needed, costing a little bit less than most new 4-wheelers, which brings me to my final point:
1. It’s Seriously Cheap
If you’re looking for thrill of ownership, no car beats this for the dollar, as you can buy these modified, personalized playthings for next to nothing. For around the same price as a used Corolla, you’ll have instant friends and onlookers wherever you go. It’ll sound like a pissed off WRX, and you could slide it around in the dirt. Dents make the car look better, and you could fix it with duct tape and silly string. They made millions of Beetles, and you could convert one into a backyard-destroying Baja Bug by yourself. This car will most likely outlive you, leaving only your legacy behind.
What Is a VW Type 1? Only THE Car of the 20th Century!
Whether you look through the film archives, popular TV shows, or movies from the last century, you see one steely recurring character popping up everywhere – the VW Type 1, or the Beetle. What is a VW Type 1, and why is it so popular?
Why is it so popular? Just look at it!
Our parents and grandparents bought them because they were economical. We restore them now because they are not only fine pieces of German engineering, but they’re also the cars that haunt our memories and appear in our daydreams. There’s nothing like the sound of a VW engine, and even the three-curved shape of its silhouette is an icon.
Whether it’s hanging on your wall or tucked into your garage (or even on our shop floor), your VW Type 1 is no doubt one of your most prized possessions.
VW’s Type 1 Beetle Really Was the Car of the 20th Century
It’s only the most manufactured car in history.
As the old commercial tagline goes: “A Volkswagen is never changed to make it look different, only to make it work better.” The Volkswagen Beetle is perhaps the most relevant car of the 20th century, surpassing the Ford Model T in production numbers. Yes, Volkswagen has a dark history regarding its relationship with the Nazis during World War II, but it did manage to engineer and build a cheap and reliable car for the populace. In production from 1938 until 2003 (NOT a typo), the original Beetle has rightly earned its place in automotive history.
And as we all know, VW has built not one but two successors. 1997 saw the introduction of the New Beetle. It looked like a bubble and was too girly. But the latest Beetle pays better design tribute to its ancestor. But is it worthy of its iconic name? XCAR gets behind the wheel of the original and today’s car to find out.
Barely driven, found in a barn, original EVERYTHING. Now, that’s a barn find! Most of the stuff we hear about people finding isn’t in nearly such good shape. Usually, it looks more like something you might find in the Airkooled Kustoms boneyard. Dirty, dingy, dusty… ragged, rotten, rusty – just like Oscar the Grouch likes it.
One like this, in pristine condition… probably just needs a tune-up and some fresh fluids.
Quite the rarity!
We’ve got a ’74 Standard Beetle at the shop right now that came in in DECENT shape. Checking out here.
Barely-driven 1974 VW Beetle barn find up for auction
Remember the little old lady from Pasadena who only drove her car to church on Sundays?
Well, Armando Sgroi was an old man from Genoa, Italy, who bought a VW Beetle in 1974 to drive to services when the hills near his home got too tough for him to walk.
According to Silverstone Auctions, it was a very short trip that Sgroi finally gave up for good in 1978, when it was parked in a barn with less than 56 miles on the odometer.
It sat there in its original condition, still with the oil and tires supplied by the factory, until it was recently discovered. It’s since been cleaned up, but unmodified, and will soon be auctioned. The metallic blue coupe featuring a 1300 cc engine and the flat under the trunk floor spare tire of the Super Beetle, as it was known in the United States.
This one isn’t stateside. It’s in Denmark, where it will cross the auction block at the Classic Race Aarhus event on May 28th and is expected to attract bids of around $40,000, about twice as much as a 1974 Beetle in top condition that hasn’t been stored in a time capsule is worth today.
VW’s been in the news for months now because of the whole emissions detection scandal. But there’s a whole area of discussion that applies more to classic VWs than their modern descendants.
The classic VWs have exactly zero computer components – which not only makes them interesting to work on (no plug-in diagnostics), but also makes emissions cheats impossible. An extra bonus? In the event of an EMP, they’ll still be able to function. Probably the same goes for a Zombie Apocalypse.
Also, though, if you look a bit deeper into what drove the whole race to zero emissions thrust – one benefit was to help the environment. While a classic Volkswagen might not be any better in terms of what it puts out into the air, it IS pretty interesting to consider how classic car restoration actually HELPS the environment.
Think about it. What’s the carbon footprint of a modern car assembly plant? What’s it take to produce all those parts, all that plastic, and all the computerized doodads that go into a modern car? That’s pretty much gone with a restoration project.
Could it Be that Classic VW Restoration is the Ultimate in Recycling?
We keep hearing how Volkswagen is looking for ways to “make it up to” their customers. Massive rebate checks probably went a long way toward soothing pissed off consumers who’d banked on better resale value. But maybe there’s more VW could do.
Volkswagen to be sued by Norway fund over emissions scandal
Image copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption Around 11 million vehicles globally have been fitted with the so called “defeat devices”
Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, plans legal action against Volkswagen over the firm’s emissions scandal.
It said it had been advised by lawyers that the company’s conduct “gives rise to legal claims under German law”.
Volkswagen admitted last year that it had installed secret software to cheat US emissions tests.
The move, from one of VW’s biggest investors, is the latest in a flood of legal actions over the scandal.
It faces action from US Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and its own dealers.
Norges Bank Investment Management is worth $850bn (£592bn; €751bn) and has stakes in more than 9,000 companies.
According to the Financial Times, which first reported the story, the lawsuit is expected in the coming weeks. It will be filed in Germany, joining class-action cases which are being prepared there.
“Norges Bank Investment Management intends to join a legal action against Volkswagen arising out of [the fact that] the company provided incorrect emissions data,” the statement said.
“As an investor, it is our responsibility to safeguard the fund’s holding in Volkswagen.”
Volkswagen has put aside some €16.2bn to pay for the emissions scandal.
Last month the German carmaker reached a deal with US authorities in which it agreed to offered to buy-back almost half a million vehicles and provide money for a fund to help develop cleaner car technology.
The Norwegian fund recently announced action to clamp down on excessive executive pay at the companies it invests in, as well as encouraging oil firms to report more on the risks of climate change.
The planned legal action against VW is part of the fund’s wider strategy for its investments to be “much more ethically and environmentally conscious”, said Christian Stadler, professor of strategic management at Warwick Business School.
However, he added, it was also a part of its campaign for minority shareholders to be given more of a say in German corporate governance.
“It has had disputes with Volkswagen for many years over its governance, as the Porsche family are effectively able to do what they want; as the largest shareholder, they really only have to consider the State of Lower Saxony, which has a 20% holding, and is where the company is headquartered.
“In Germany, minority shareholders don’t have much of a voice, which is something the fund has campaigned against before, as 4% of its equity is in Germany,” added Prof Stadler.
“It will not divest in Volkswagen, but wants to working towards changing its corporate governance structure.”
When She Found Out 40K Facebook Users Had Watched Him Caress Mabel During Winter Storm Jonas, She Nearly Lost It… But She Totally Saw It Coming.
A Post by Princess Patina
It’s not every day you find out that your husband-like being has drawn the rapt attention of a crowd a quarter the size of Huntsville, Alabama on Facebook. But it happened during Winter Storm Jonas at Darkside Central, headquarters of Airkooled Kustoms.
A video Spook shot of Miss Mabel’s shiny new hood has gone viral. People all over the world are watching – and re-watching – a jazzy little ditty showing off the black on black on black mirror-like shine that is her paint job… on her new hood.
New hood? Wait. Didn’t the krew JUST finish building her, like, a few months ago? Isn’t this the 1959 VW Beetle Ragtop that won the People’s Choice award at the Ultimate VW Build-Off in Vegas in October?
What happened that she needed a new hood? We know about the whole table-in-the-trailer-rubbing-off-paint incident that happened on the way to Vegas. We know about the subsequent bullet holes painted onto the right rear fender (by the guy who quite literally invented those bullet hole stickers some folks have).
But a new VW hood? That’s news.
Well, yes, and no. You only have to hang out at the shop for about three minutes before you’ll discover a whole new level of OCD unknown to most of the rest of the planet. What looks PERFECTLY… perfect to normal humans is often enough to make an AKK krew member puke with dissatisfaction.
Honestly, I can’t tell you what was so horrifyingly objectionable about Mabel’s hood – even though I’ve asked. There was something about the lines of the hood (that, by the way, came from the factory!) that disturbed Spook’s delicate aesthetics so deeply that he vowed not to rest until this atrocity was made right.
Classic Car Restoration Isn’t for Slackers
Rework. Not a lot of fun when it’s on a client’s car restoration (because it’s on the shop)… a whole lot less fun when it’s on a resto that’s already been marked “Out the Door”. And yet, casting aside all offers of bacon or evil cookies, Spook – as typical – torched “good enough” entail?
• WEEKS to find a good hood. It’s a four-tab hood, which is kind of rare.
• Prepping the new hood, getting it into sealer = 6 hours
• Bodywork on the new hood (the NEW hood, folks!) = 8 hours
• High build shoot and cut = 10 hours
• Sealer = 1 hour
• Cut sealer and prep for color = 4 hours
• Shoot color and clear = 6 hours
• Hand cut (and DA cut) FOUR stage polish = 30 hours
[Oh, that’s a little eery – the labor hour count comes to 59 hours. 1959 Dub. Spooky.]
Granted, all of that except the bodywork, cut, and polish, Spook ran in process with other jobs, but still.
No wonder he turned on some jazz and showed off his handiwork. I use this gorgeous hood as a shop mirror (you know, before we start a Periscope video – a girl’s got to know there’s no bacon in her teeth!). I can see why SO many people have watched her little 48-second debut. Sure beats watching more coverage of Winter Storm Jonas, don’t you think?