Car Spotlight>>the Heb Rod

When I was at the Fontana Bug-In earlier this month, I was walking around the car show when I spotted this gleaming roadster spread amongst the classic VW's on display. The car looked familiar, but I couldn't quite remember where I'd seen it before. After bit of thinking, I recalled that Rod posted a photo of this car during his May editorial. I spent some time checking out the car at Bug-In, but it wasn't until I got home and did a bit of research that I found out just how notable this car is. Unlike most of the "big name" builds out there, the car had a very low profile presence at the Bug-In. There were no signs detailing the build , and I didn't even see the owner during the several times I passed by it. Dubbed the "Heb Rod", this 1957 Beetle is one of the only VW's to be properly recognized as the real deal by the traditional hot rodding community.

You are probably familiar with the term "Volksrod". I've seen a few of these customized VW's at events in Japan and here in the USA, but all of these care openly embraced their "rat" roots. The Heb Rod on the other hand, has a show car quality to it that would make it fit right in at an event like the Grand National Roadster Show. Both the name and the inspiration for this car come from the ultra rare Hebmuller Volkswagen roadsters that were built in the late 1940's and early '50s. Parts of several different VW's and other chassis were used to get this car to where it is today.

While the car is certainly more "complete" than the primered and bare metal rat rod style VW's, it also avoids all of the show car cliches. There are no gimmicky billet or wannabe modern parts here. Despite the amount of work that's been put into it, you can easily tell that this car is NOT a trailer queen.

The stylish vibe can also be seen in the interior with custom upholstered seats in the front and rear.

Another cool touch is the steering wheel, which is a factory piece that was retrofitted from a '48 Chevy. I love the way this car incorporates factory parts from a number of different vehicles.

Fittingly, 16" spoked wheels from a '35 Ford are used with vented front brakes from  a '47 Ford.

Tall Firestone wide whites complete the wheel and tire setup.

Under the deck lid is a built 1914cc engine that gives the Heb Rod plenty of power for those cruises down the highway. Those chrome doors on the side of the body actually provide cool air to the motor.

This really only scratches the surface of the work that's been done to this VW-hot rod hybrid, but I knew this incredible car shouldn't go without mention during our VW-Audi features this month.

Check out the Air Speed Parts site for some cool build pictures of the Heb Rod project.

-Mike Garrett

Speedhunters VW Audi Group Features



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pervy nah)


Wow that car is amazing. I love it when a builder decides to keep a clean factory look, rather than go out and put all kinds of crazy non-sense into the build.


typically I don't like desecrated Beetles, but this one is clean.


I think this is beautiful! :)


Love it!


sorry chris, this is def not a factory look...the front wheel centerline has been pushed forward quite a bit and the window has been "chopped" along with the more obvious stuff fenders.

Im not a big fan of factory bugs....but i love this one for all the right reasons. and the baja bugs in the background are great, I want to run the 1000 in one of thos before i die.


-freakin' gorgeous.


Wow, I love that.


WALLPAPER IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


that is a rad build


This a pretty car. Really looks amazing and looks like alot of time went into making it happen, congrats to whoever made this thing. It is a success.

There is only one thing that I would change. This is my opinion so don't get all mad. I would round off the top edges of the front windscreen to angle with the chrome of the glass. The sharp corner throws off the smooth curves from the rest of the car. Although its still a minor detail. Time to go see how it looks in photoshop.

Good read Mike


Truely a stunning car, this car was always a inspiration to me when I had my Vw's.


I love this car! Thanks for posting more pics. I love the last shot!


gotta love the piston shift knob and semaphore turn signals! great article and shooting, Mike!


what kind of suspension is that? and this if freekn' sweet


BEAUTIFUL!! This is the best looking Volksrod I've seen! It seems a lot of Volksrods look out of proportion, if you know what I mean, but this looks just right! Traditional without being ratty. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of the rusted out "rat look" since rat rods are my roots, but you can't help but aknowledge just how much time and work went in to making such a gorgeous vehicle. I can't believe it is driven!


@ Andrew, I see what you're saying, but I think the owner was trying to make it look like he started with an authentic Hebmuller. If I recall correctly, Hebmuller and all the other early coachbuilt VW 'verts had squared off edges on the windshield, so that's probably the reason he didn't round them off.


I'd like to find out some more information regarding how the front wheels are moved forwards. If there are kits, or instructions to this?


@ DiscoQuinn- front suspension is a kit that moves the front wheels forward. they are around $800 to $1000 and come with every thing needed like the I beam front axle and the forks. my local hot rod shop ordered it for me so i dont know the vender right off hand but i can find out later.


I Really Loved Reading This Article..!!
And Love To Ride On These Cars

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