I’d like to think what we’re doing here today would really irritate Adolf Hitler. After all ’twas he of the silly ‘stache and overbearing megalomania who conceived of the first Beetle, a humpy little economical runabout built for an entirely homogeneous population. Conformity, obedience, docility – a slavish worship of military strength and a suppression of the individual.
Well to hell with that.
With two fingers up in a flicked-V, this punch-buggy skitters out of a corner and blows an air-cooled flat-four raspberry right in that hateful face. Up yours, you anti-Semitic failed watercolourist!
*skkkrrrrkkk* Oops, that’s second, not fourth. Better try that again.
Meet Dave Hord’s 1971 Volkswagen Super Beetle, emphasis on “Super.” On the outside, it looks like one of the factory rally-spec Beetles that Porsche Austria fielded in the early 1970s; known colloquially as the Salzburg Beetles, the cars were meant to boost VW’s sales, sliding through the gravel in European rally stages and right into European driveways. At least that was the theory.
Dave’s car is half a tribute to these little-known machines, half a labour of love, half a bonkers rally-spec machine, and half a faithful old friend. I know that’s too many halves to make a whole, but it did take him three separate cars to get enough rust-free sheet metal to build this one.
Out back, there’s a professionally built 2.1L flat-four making something like 150 hp, more than twice what 1600cc Bugs made over here. It makes a noise like whackata-whackata-blat-blat-blat-blat-hrrrnnk-hrrrnnk-rrrrrrrr-RRRRRRR-YAAAAAAA! Or wait – that might be me.
The interior is entirely stripped, with a roll cage fitted by Rocket Rally (the shop currently running Subaru Canada’s rally team), and a pair of narrow racing buckets of the kind that Dave’s had in every one of his previous projects. Wait, how many of these things have you had, Dave?
“Licensed?” Hord, lanky and prone to grinning, pauses for thought, “Um, four. Eight to ten on top of that. For my dad’s fortieth birthday we went through the photo albums counting all the Beetles he’d owned, and stopped when we hit fifty Bugs and he was still only thirty-five.”