Meet Mental Breakdown, a 1,700-horsepower VW Microbus dragster

Who said Volkswagen Microbuses were only for hippies?

This 1,700-horsepower VW Microbus-based dragster is named Mental Breakdown, probably because only a person with psychological issues would ever think of building such a monster. It looks like someone grafted the front half of a VW Bus onto a Top Fuel dragster.

The Volkswagen front end and the massive engine, drag slicks, and rear wing behind it make for quite the juxtaposition. While it may look outrageous, the VW Bus design probably doesn’t help this dragster in the area of aerodynamics. With so much frontal area, it’s probably about as aerodynamic as a house, notes Speed Society. But 1,700 hp can deal with that.

In the video above, Mental Breakdown turns in a 7.6-second quarter-mile time at 182 mph at the U.K.’s Santa Pod Raceway. Not bad for a vehicle that, in stock form, has a reputation for leisurely acceleration. With its standard-issue flat-four engine, the Microbus was never mistaken for a race car. Mental Breakdown runs an 8.4-liter supercharged Hemi V8, fueled by methanol.

Volkswagen is considering bringing back the Microbus, which is one of its most iconic models. But the automaker is going in the opposite direction of a fire-breathing dragster. The recent Budd-e and I.D. Buzz concepts both combined modern versions of the Microbus styling with electric powertrains. Volkswagen hopes to sell 1 million electric cars per year by 2025, and a new Microbus could be part of that mix.

Both concepts utilized VW’s new MEB platform for compact electric cars, which was designed to accommodate a variety of different model types, including the I.D. hatchback and I.D. Crozz crossover concepts Volkswagen has also displayed at recent auto shows. MEB places the battery pack in the floor and electric motors at one or both axles, for maximum space efficiency. But can it accommodate big drag slicks?