The original Volkswagen Beetle is a masterpiece of engineering, but there’s one attribute that it sorely lacks: speed. Installing a Porsche engine no longer makes financial sense because the parts have become jaw-droppingly expensive, so tuners who want to build a fast Bug are increasingly turning towards Subaru components. The result is a completely insane classic Volkswagen that sounds like a rally car.
A video posted on YouTube documents how to install a WRX STI engine in an unassuming 1965 Beetle. The swap is relatively straightforward because both the Beetle and the WRX STI use a flat-four engine, meaning it’s short and wide instead of tall and narrow. In this case, the four-cylinder in question is the turbocharged, 2.5-liter unit which powered Subaru’s hottest sedan between 2004 and 2007. It makes 300 horsepower in its most basic configuration; in comparison, a 1965 Beetle should have a 1.3-liter flat-four rated at approximately 43 horsepower.
Simply dropping a WRX STI engine in a Beetle would create a death trap. The chassis was never designed to handle anywhere near that much power. Besides, the Beetle still used drum brakes in 1965. That’s why the build includes comprehensive brake modifications, including four-piston Wilwood calipers that grip drilled rotors. The suspension is upgraded for a sportier, more sure-footed handling.
While some would leave the exterior completely stock to create a wolf in sheep’s clothing, the enthusiast who built the car shown in the video went all out with the modifications. It sits just a few inches off the ground, it rides on Porsche-sourced Fuchs alloy wheels, and it wears wider fenders. There’s a Ford-sourced Flex Fuel emblem on one of the fenders, strangely, but there’s nothing that indicates precisely what lies under the deck lid. The modifications extend to the interior with sport seats for the front passengers and a panel of switches cleverly concealed in the glove box.
The Beetle featured in the video is currently listed for sale on eBay. We don’t know how high the seller set the reserve, but we wouldn’t be surprised if bidding rockets into the vicinity of WRX STI money. The Volkswagen Beetle is steadily going up in value, and builds like this one don’t come around very often.
- 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid Limited AWD review: Extra power and efficiency
- 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 AWD first drive review: Gaining traction
- Inside the lab teaching Volkswagen’s born-again Bus how to drive itself
- Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf R blend power, practicality, and tech
- 2022 Nissan Pathfinder first drive review: More tech, more toughness