VW tuning: when beetles gone wild put down the rocket launch


When beetles gone wild lay down the rocket launch

VW tuning: when beetles gone wild put down the rocket launch-gone

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On the rise: The souped-up VW Beetle from Duisburg-based Thomas Kemp has 332 hp.

Source: dpa-tmn / cw fz

VW tuning: when beetles gone wild put down the rocket launch-beetles

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With a big motor in the rear, it even leaves a Yamaha V-Max drag bike behind during acceleration races.

Source: dpa-tmn / cw fz

VW tuning: when beetles gone wild put down the rocket launch-down

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The Kafer tuning scene is colorful. An employee of the Japanese tire manufacturer Yokohama, for example, polishes a VW that has been converted into a rally vehicle. Has next to a steel frame he also has a roll cage.

Source: picture-alliance / dpa / dpaweb / ps_gr

VW tuning: when beetles gone wild put down the rocket launch-gone

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The May Beetle meeting in Hanover is a performance show for VW Beetles.

Source: picture alliance / dpa / pst; bsc tig

VW tuning: when beetles gone wild put down the rocket launch-rocket

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According to the organizers, it is the largest beetle meeting in Europe. About 8000 air-cooled, including 3000 beetles, are found. Also this beetle with wide tires.

Source: picture-alliance / dpa / ps / sm_rh

The VW Beetle has a loyal fan base. She lowers the cult car, puts on special rims and pimps engines. The tuning industry even builds original parts and makes millions in sales.

D.he dark blue shimmering flap on the rear of the 1968 Beetle can no longer be closed completely – the engine underneath is so thick. Wide tires with special rims, sports suspension and the car nicely set low: the VW Beetle from Essen-based IT specialist and hobby mechanic Matthias Budde hangs out on many modern sports cars at the traffic lights. A 139 hp engine from a Golf GTI roars in the narrow engine compartment of the classic car. The driving experience in this car is more intense than in a modern car, says Budde enthusiastically: "Hard, close to the road, and the car always smells a bit of gasoline."

More than 30 years after the Beetle production stopped in Germany, many fans continue to love the old boxer cars dearly – and help with their performance. Because the 50 HP of the last series Beetle are not enough for spectacular starts. A colorful tuning scene with millions in sales is flourishing around the former favorite car of the Germans.

Over 50,000 original Beetles on the road

According to statistics from the Federal Motor Transport Authority, 51,800 old Beetles with air-cooled engines were still registered in Germany in 2010 – according to estimates, at least 10,000 of them with a new engine or one with more power and profound changes to the technology. In addition, there should be at least 10,000 Beetles that are currently under construction or that are only driven with red license plates.

Specialized craft businesses and mail order companies or suppliers such as Custom Speed ​​Parts (CSP) in Bargteheide and Tafel Tuning in Witten live from the Beetle passion. The CSP catalog has 1264 pages. “There are more bug parts today than 15 or 20 years ago,” says employee Johannes Sagner. In view of the constant demand, many parts that have actually already been discontinued are being rebuilt today – some with the old production machines that were saved from scrapping.

For example, Tafel offers complete engines based on the old air-cooled Type 4 VW engine that has been installed in VW buses and the Porsche 914 since 1968 – completely revised and with a displacement of 2.8 liters and 184 kW / 250 PS upgraded. The engine alone costs 23,500 euros. The same rule of thumb in the scene is that the same thing is due for the car so that it can handle the performance.

Help through online forums

When buying a Beetle to be tuned or refurbished, Sagner recommends looking for unrestored vehicles if possible. "Otherwise you will only get annoyed about crookedly welded sheet metal." And: "Ask, ask, ask and don’t strike quickly and naively," advises Budde. The scene exchanges ideas via online Beetle forums such as Bugnet or the Motor-Talk car network out. Many tuners forego the Type 4 engine with VW tradition, not least for reasons of cost, and instead use a 2.2 liter Subaru engine – also a boxer, and strong enough with 136 hp.

With particularly extreme vehicles, some Beetle fans even make it onto television – like Thomas Kemp from Duisburg. With its bright red Beetle with Type 4 engine and currently 332 hp, Kemp called for a Ferrari or one of the most powerful production motorcycles, the Yamaha V-Max, to take part in the acceleration race.

And he won every time. When the Beetle takes off, the enormous power of the engine regularly stretches its front wheels about a meter into the air. “The car initially only had 44 hp when my father gave it to me for my 18th birthday,” says Kemp. "Now the acceleration is really brutal: 2.4 seconds from zero to one hundred."

Car mechanics as tuning fans

Such spectacular dragster appearances are the exception. In the Beetle scene, the number of after-work tuners who consciously strive for a production-like appearance of the car predominates. The scene is very mixed, reports Sagner. The fans are car mechanics or lathe operators who buy scrap-looking Beetles for little money and assemble them completely themselves, or doctors and lawyers who want to fix a car themselves once in their life and also like to have it screwed.

Beetle fans with money and no technical ambitions can buy complete vehicles, for example from the Memminger company in Reichertshofen. The company builds Beetle convertibles at the customer’s request, prices start at around 50,000 euros. Another provider is the Kaferschmiede in Essen.

The Kaferfreunde family reunion takes place every year at the beginning of May in Hanover. Thousands of cars fill the fair park at the “May bug meeting”, and proud Beetle owners show their cars on the open-air stage. The four to five-digit investments in the cars are secondary at this point. “All the bills for the Beetle,” says Budde. "I always refused to add them up."

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