How a VW Beetle almost becomes a sports car


How a VW Beetle almost becomes a sports car

How a VW Beetle almost becomes a sports car-beetle

A man and his engine: Georg Memminger with a finished VW Beetle from his own workshop

Source: Thomas Geiger

His heart is on Porsche, but the Beetle determines his life: Hardly anyone tunes the legendary cars like Georg Memminger. And when he’s finished with a VW, not much is missing from the Porsche.

D.The first VW Beetle Georg Memminger drove right after his driving test. Even then, things couldn’t go fast enough for him. That’s why, after just a few weeks, he swapped the lame boxer in the rear for the engine from a Porsche 356. After all, the young man was a passionate racing driver and wanted to hurry away from the competition with the Beetle.

If it had been up to his father-in-law, that would be the end of the story. Because he put him more or less before the choice between a car or a wife and so thwarted the screwing business. But Memminger did not agree to this deal and remained loyal to the Beetle – just like his wife, of course.

And it didn’t stop with one car. In the meantime, Memminger runs a factory in Reichertshofen near Ingolstadt, in which he has already made more than 250 humpback Porsches afloat.

How a VW Beetle almost becomes a sports car-becomes sports including stopwatch Mini

In Memminger’s plant near Ingolstadt, around 200 old car bodies are waiting to be used for a new build

Source: Thomas Geiger

For the time being, however, Memminger actually kept his hands off the Beetle and, with the growing success of his temporary employment agency, is stepping up to the Porsche instead ascended. First on the street, then in sports. He climbed up in the racing classes, drove mountain races, 1000-kilometer races, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and – as he explains it in a conversational tone – even through the back door of Porsche 1982 to the brand title in the endurance championship in Group B and C helped.

In addition, he also founded a steel construction company and processed numerous large orders with it. However, because they weren’t all as successful and enjoyable as his races and sometimes drained his nerve, he had to reward himself at some point in between and remembered his love for the Beetle. “I had to do something for myself, something that I enjoy,” says Memminger of the moment at the end of the nineties that gave his professional life a new twist.

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Made by Memminger – a Beetle Cabriolet at full speed, with the boss at the wheel. Such a car usually costs between 130,000 and 150,000 euros

Source: Memminger

Because Memminger has – officially of course for his wife – a Beetle convertible bought and restored it. Just not in the way a normal classic car fan would do. Georg Memminger has completely rebuilt the car and, in the process, almost completely redesigned it.

Even while working on this car, he noticed how great he was still interested in the Beetle and how few restorers take care of it professionally. And before he knew it, he suddenly had a handful of prospects for whom he was also supposed to make bugs crawl again.

This is how the private passion suddenly turned into a business project, which meanwhile determines at least the professional life of Bavaria. Because the temporary employment agency no longer exists, and he has also left steel construction. Instead, Memminger is now the head of a ten-man team of experts and only takes care of the Beetle. Of course, the 911 would also have appealed to him, with which he has driven so many races. “But I didn’t want to be another exclusive Porsche mechanic, instead I saw a niche in the market in the Beetle.” And because the Beetle and Porsche are not far apart, he can still work on a sports car from Stuttgart every now and then.

He prefers to produce spare parts himself

As with the convertible for his wife, Memminger does not do any classic restorations. He does indeed recondition and reuse a few old parts. But because at some point he noticed how bad the quality of the late Beetles was, how few original spare parts are still available, how expensive they are and what lousy replica parts are on the market, at some point he started making new parts for the old cars himself to produce. First the doors and the side parts, then the transverse walls, the front axle and transmission parts.

And because he was there before, he also developed his own engine: On the basis of the Type 4 engine, he designed a drive unit that in the basic version has 100 and, in the best case, 175 hp and brings the Beetle closer to the Porsche than many a 911 driver does in his classic car should be nice. Memminger borrowed the money for this from the Reconstruction Loan Corporation. “Because we have twice as much power and half as much consumption as the original. That was worth a promotional loan to them. "

With the Beetle Cabrio in the left lane

Not much remains of the original, however. Parts of the floor pan with the old chassis number, the front frame and a few struts from the convertible top – Memminger doesn’t need much more from the old Beetle to turn it into a brand-new vintage car. "We build up to 80 percent of our cars with brand new parts."

When Memminger has finished with the Beetles after six to eight months, they not only look better than new, they also drive like this. Because the head of the company wants a classic to be safe, reliable and able to be moved in a contemporary way. With the 50 hp of the original, this seems a dangerous undertaking to him. It is not for nothing, for example, that he commutes almost every day in an open convertible between the apartment in Munich and the company outside Ingolstadt, at least when the weather is nice – and certainly not in the right lane.

How a VW Beetle almost becomes a sports car-almost

The boss at his favorite workplace, in the middle of the workshop. Ten people work in the family business

Source: Thomas Geiger

However, Memminger’s Beetles are not only better than the original, they are unfortunately also a bit more expensive: They only start at 95,000 euros, their cars cost an average of 130,000 to 150,000 euros, and there are also cars that reach 175,000 euros, admits the Beetle -King one. This doesn’t seem to bother his customers: He has already sold over 250 cars, mainly in German-speaking countries, but also in the rest of the world. And right now, his team is working on half a dozen vehicles.

While Memminger makes his fans happy, he brings on another faction against himself: The Grail Keepers of the Classical era consider him a charlatan, the rogue with the icon from Wolfsburg. Because, in their eyes, the 175 hp engine has just as little place in a Beetle as the xenon headlights, ABS, power steering or seat heating, which it can install on request. He’s even been working on an airbag for the Beetle for years.

Not collectibles, just junk

But Memminger is not concerned. “We don’t discuss originality, but quality. We don’t repair or mend it, but rather replace it when in doubt, "says the Beetle King, who has only one goal:" To build the best Beetle in the world. "

Because for him, it’s about customers having carefree fun with the Beetle and that the cars stay on the streets. At least the vehicles that he uses as a starting point are not collectors’ items anyway, but scrap – even if the prices for them have almost doubled in the meantime. After all, he mainly buys together accident cars, rust arbors and wrecks all over the world, which are often no longer even rollable and which have to be moved to his large warehouse in individual parts.

In the process, and with his racing career, which is still cultivated to this day, Memminger got to know so many car fans and collectors that it didn’t stop at buying Beetles. Because his heart still beats for Porsche, because you only get some classics in a package or because he has caught some bycatch in search of bargains from scrap, not only beetles are parked on the three floors of his large hall, but three or four Dozen other classics, mainly from Stuttgart, from neighboring Audi and from the rest of the finer car world.

The supplies won’t run out anytime soon

But the floor for the Beetles alone is now so well filled with more than 200 cars and hundreds of meters of shelves full of spare parts from the bonnet to the seat frame that Memminger will not run out of supplies anytime soon – even if the 67-year-old is still barely on his company age regulation adjusted once and given an extension up to the 70th birthday.

“The stock is so large that even my son can retire with it. And he’s only 32. "

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6 thoughts on “How a VW Beetle almost becomes a sports car”

  1. I don’t own a Memminger Cabriolet, but a VW 1303 Cabriolet built in 1979 and first owner, i.e. 38 years in my hand. Belongs to the family, just happens to live in the garage, does not lose any oil, but marks its location with a few drops of oil

  2. If you take a close look at the concept, the recipe is actually quite simple, precisely because restorations are still mostly done by owls in backyards, who unfortunately hardly any banker trusts a healthy business concept behind their actions.
    Memminger has consistently left out the following little one.

  3. It’s a great thing to bring the Beetle back onto the streets like this. Unfortunately, history has its prices. But there is nothing to be said against bringing a classic from old wrecks back onto the road, even if it is only for the eyes of other road users.


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