The aircooled Volkswagen Beetle just might be the perfect car to get started with the automotive hobby. They can be found on the cheap, aftermarket parts are plentiful, and perhaps most importantly, it’s hard to think of car that’s easier to work on. Depending on your taste, you can build a factory-style resto, a slammed cruiser or a wicked-quick drag machine. While you don’t see too many old VWs built for circuit racing, they actually have plenty of potential in that department as well. Case in point, this neat little Bug we came across at Gatebil.
The car was built by Norway’s Baard A. Christiansen, who originally picked up the ’73 1303 S back in 1997. At the time the car lacked a motor, but in the years since he’s built the Volkswagen up into a formidable little track weapon. A baby Porsche 911 if you will.
Sitting out back is a 1,914cc flat-four with twin Dellorto carbs and other high performance goodies which help the car generate 118hp at the rear wheels. This might not sound like a lot of power at first, but when you factor in the Beetle’s light weight it becomes a potent combination. There’s also an LSD, adjustable suspension and disc brakes with 15-inch Porsche Teledial wheels.
Inside there’s a full roll cage, a set of OMP Volkswagen Motorsport seats along with VDO gauges and custom carbon fiber door panels using Porsche 964 door pulls.
Outside, you’ll find the bumpers, running boards, front spoiler and headlight rings all made out of carbon fiber too. There are also Mk4 Golf side markers and a Mk1 Golf fuel filler, and the whole body is coated in Porsche’s Midnight Blue Pearl.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about embarking on an aircooled VW build, and seeing how Baard’s project turned out only makes me want one even more now. As this circuit-tuned Beetle shows, the possibilities are endless.
Photos by Larry Chen