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.