Mad Matt’s V8 Volkswagen

Anytime you go to an automotive event, be it a casual Saturday morning meet or something massive like the SEMA Show, there’s bound to be a car or two that constantly have big crowds milling around them.

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In the case of last weekend’s Orange County Cars & Coffee meet, one of the vehicles attracting a lot of attention was this unique Volkswagen.

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Of course, I use the term ‘Volkswagen’ very loosely, because there’s actually very little this custom creation shares with the 1968 VW Beetle that donated its body for the project. Its creator – a guy named Matt out of Covina in Los Angeles.

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Beneath the heavily-chopped VW body sits a custom chassis that was built entirely from scratch by Matt and some his buddies in their own private shop.

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Mounted in the front of the custom chassis is a small block Chevrolet V8 which sits completely exposed in true hot rod fashion. You can also see the trick suspension bits, including the Fox shocks and airbag setup.

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Seeing as how the VW body sits over a front-engine, rear-drive chassis, the interior has been heavily customized with a tall transmission tunnel consuming much of the space. The feeling is more rat rod than it is Volkswagen Bug.

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Then there are the wheels and tires: beadlock off-road rims with massively tall BF Goodrich rubber. Together they absolutely dominate the exterior of the car – but they’re not just for looks.

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In addition to seeing street use, Matt told me he actually has another set of paddled sand tires for the rear which kick up massive rooster tails when they take the car out for some fun.

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It’s a little bit VW, a little bit off-roader, a little bit hot rod and it definitely wouldn’t have looked out of place on the set of Mad Max: Fury Road.

If one thing’s certain, Matt’s wild machine was definitely deserving of the crowds that congregated around it all morning at Orange Country Cars & Coffee.

Mike Garrett
Instagram: japanifornia_media
mike@speedhunters.com

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65 comments

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1

Yes ! Finally a closer look for this V8 Rat Beetle !
I still remember my excitement when I found the video of it's dyno run on YouTube !
I normally don't like Rat Beetle like this , with V8 & stuff ... but this one is so nicely done !

2

It need smaller wheels in the front.

3

Hail the Volksrod! or wait, ratwagen?

4

Sweet, any chance of a picture of it with the suspension at full lift? i love a committed build.

5

Come on, it has to be said:

V-Eight and still emits less than a golf...


*runs away*

6

I spy with my little eye...  yesterday's Mazda pickup ;)

7

This looks like something copied off of a napkin dropped by Daniel Simon.

8

Serge914 i don't know, they seem pretty functional to me

9

There must be an error in this article, my dad owned a beetle and it didn't look like that.

10
jbfromsiliconvalley

Mad.....Fricken......Max

11

dovvv you mean the diesel ones? lol

12

I don't get how that's street legal with no fenders and no bumpers. I would not want to get in a collision in that thing. Mad is right.

13

Totally ugly.  Like most rat rods its all about looks but no attention is paid to make sure it looks good. The proportions are terrible.

14

No hate, I think this thing is cool. Though I wouldn't take it over a standard Beetle

15

No hate, I think this thing is cool. Though I wouldn't take it over a standard Beetle

16

So much style here. I immediately want to take this for a ride.

17

So much style here. I immediately want to take this for a ride.

18

AwesomnesPrime Register it as a 1968 VW Beetle with modifications. Cops don't really mess with my beetle at all, even though it's louder than a Harley at full throttle.

19

AwesomnesPrime Register it as a 1968 VW Beetle with modifications. Cops don't really mess with my beetle at all, even though it's louder than a Harley at full throttle.

20

Very cool.I agree with that statement Mike ! hahaha

..."definitely wouldn’t have looked out of place on the set of Mad Max: Fury Road."

21

Very cool.I agree with that statement Mike ! hahaha

..."definitely wouldn’t have looked out of place on the set of Mad Max: Fury Road."

22

AwesomnesPrime totally agree, 99% of rat rods are idiotic at best, this being in that 99%, but the car scene has and always will be full of idiots, look at the current trend of bolt on fenders and air suspension,it`s like trying to save weight only to put a 500kg lump of metal in the car because "it looks cool" but hey, each to their own, just be glad these horrific looking modded cars aren`t sitting outside your house

23

I can't believe the criticisms coming from some of the people on this site. Almost every article features a custom build or crazy mods, but apparently some of you are willing to rule from on high that *this* is stupid, while your favorite modded skyline or rx7 is automotive perfection I'm sure.
Try opening your minds to different aspects of car culture. The guy who built this is an enthusiast. So are you. You're on the same team, it would be prudent not to forget that.

24

Holy cow. Its amazing. Make something this crazy its on my bucket list but its highly illegal on Spain. However, how much visibility does it have? haha

25

slug bug......very cool

26

Engine is in the wrong spot.

27

Hahahahaha

28

This thing gives me the giggles, like a schoolboy in the girl's locker room. Although, I wonder how it does off-road with ground clearance that low. But I don't care, it looks like a blast.

29

AaronPTorres You're everywhere m8 :D , carthrottle, youtube, here :D.

30

VladMitrofan If you have seen me there its because you are everywhere too mate hahaha

31

Those tires cost more than my entire car.  I want a ride in it!

32

The tires really kill the look of this thing. It's just stupid looking with these wheels. The whole setup is more rat rod than hot rod. Do like it yes but the wheels are really crappy pick for this look. It would look better Baja style and lift than slammed.

33

this thing is absolutely awesome i got the chance to look over it in detail at begin last year and it was absolutely badass though it might be a bit of a deathtrap if u crashed but who cares this things awesome and you guys should have spotlight featured that roadster next to it that thing is absolutely gorgeous with its duvall windshield and color scheme

34

Nice vehicle but I'd like to see what it looks like with regular street wheels and tires. Like a 245/45/15 or 17

35

Woahhhh! Sick, nuff said

36

Woahhhh! Sick, nuff said

37

AceAndrew2 That's the dude that designed the vehicles for Tron: Legacy right?

38

Slappy_Pistons imagine the visability issues trying to see past those front wheels!

39

Budget Batmobile/Tumbler

40

Budget Batmobile/Tumbler

41

jlivingood Wheels are too small.

42

jlivingood Wheels are too small.

43

donkyyyyyy maybe next time YOU should go and build YOUR OWN vw ratroad/hotrod/baja/whathever.... so WE can critisize it ;)

44

donkyyyyyy maybe next time YOU should go and build YOUR OWN vw ratroad/hotrod/baja/whathever.... so WE can critisize it ;)

45

donkyyyyyy I actually think the wheels MAKE this thing something cool/special, rather than another one of those fenderless VW bug rods.

46

donkyyyyyy I actually think the wheels MAKE this thing something cool/special, rather than another one of those fenderless VW bug rods.

47

Peter_Kelly AceAndrew2 Yeppers.  Our generations Syd Mead.

48

Ground Clearance...

49

Ground Clearance...

50

Peter_Kelly Yeah I was thinking the same thing. The induction is kind of in the way also. But something like this is just not about practicality.

51

If they cut the top 3 inches shorter, you could keep driving if you flipped over.

52

If they cut the top 3 inches shorter, you could keep driving if you flipped over.

53

Chri5 Duncan I believe he actually has a set of narrow steel wheels with vintage type tires as well.

54

Chri5 Duncan I believe he actually has a set of narrow steel wheels with vintage type tires as well.

55

RB430 Yeah don't think it was made for serious off roading, but I'm sure it's a ton of a fun.

56

inspector_exacto Can't miss that paint job!

57

very cool!!!

58

From the rear it looks fairly nice but the front end is utterly horrible. A car with a beetle body should have a rear engine or at least hide the fact that it doesn't.

59

@basic im sorry what is this thing you call 'ground clearance'?

60

Anyone knows the brand of those wheels?

61

Anyone knows the brand of those wheels?

62

kanadanmajava Disagree. The whole point of Hot Rods is that there aren't any rules.  Especially in the realm of Rat Rods.

63

kanadanmajava Disagree. The whole point of Hot Rods is that there aren't any rules.  Especially in the realm of Rat Rods.

64

The first time I saw this episode on TV, I was fucking DYING at the part about the psychiatric exam.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5GnBvpFnzA

65

CharlieZard Walker Evans

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