This article is part of a series of articles called the VWvortex Super Beetle Project. We are transforming a stock 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo six-speed manual into an AWD, 500hp street car. Our goal is to make the transformation as close to how an original equipment manufacture (OEM) like Volkswagen would have built it to start with. That means we are diving into the Volkswagen empire parts bin to assemble this car. The AWD system, transmission, spare tire well, rear brakes and a few other odds and ends will come out of a 2013 Golf R. The stock Beetle Turbo engine, a 200hp 2.0l direct injection four-cylinder turbo will get APR’s Stage IV upgrade and be a fully built motor that will output more than 500hp when we are done. Mating all of these parts and pieces together and doing it under a tight frame just makes this challenge even more fun.
You can find the main project index page HERE. On that index page you’ll find all the installments so far, large photo galleries and a list of sponsors that helped make this project happen.
We hope you enjoy it as much as we do putting it together!
On to the next installment…
TICK, TOCK, TICK, TOCK…
SEMA is looming large and things are moving along – and rapidly. Lots to cover in this update, so let’s get rolling…
First off the engine is back in and we have the a quick video of the first time it is fired up:
(and there was much rejoicing)
Here is a quick shot of the engine back in the Beetle with APR’s Carbonio carbon fiber cold air intake system:
And a view underneath where the TTRS aluminum front subframe and aluminum lower control arms are all buttoned up:
A last minute decision was made to use Volkswagen Racing camber adjustment plates up front. This will give us the most latitude when it comes to suspension setup:
Then it was off to the laser alignment rack:
There are a few more mechanical bits to address (driveshaft, exhaust and some shake down runs) but things are more or less ready mechanically for SEMA. So next we move on to the exterior…
One of the difficult things about this project (beyond pulling off an AWD conversion and complete motor rebuild in two weeks) is what to do with the exterior on our Beetle. The new Beetle has only been on the market for a short time and started to look high and low for any kinds of exterior mods that might be available. We called our friends at fifteen52 and they told us about a couple new products available from a Japanese company Alpil Newing that fifteen52 would be selling here in the States. They make a complete front and rear bumper replacement that we thought might work. We are critical bunch over here and didn’t want to end of with some horrible Fast and Furious looking shogun kit. The Alpil pieces have a Porsche-esque design to them and would fit well with our performance theme. So fifteen52 rushed out one of the only sets in the U.S. and, if time permitted, we’d mount them up and see how they look.
Our first test fitting was the rear bumper which has cutouts for either the stock location or a centrally mounted dual tip system. The stock cutout slugs can be seen taped in place in this photo:
After looking it over we discussed it and decided to go the central exhaust route and use APR’s Golf R exhaust system (modified for this application of course) with the optional Diamond Black exhaust tips. Why black? We’ll get to that in a minute. So went ahead and did the fill work on the stock exhaust openings and also prepped the piece for mounting and to remove mold lines and other minor things from the bumper:
Next we slid the Alpil front bumper on to see how it looked. In the photo below the bumper is not bolted in yet, but you can see that the bumper uses all the stock mounting locations. The light color makes it a little tough to see the details, but overall the fit was pretty decent and only require some minor tweaks:
While the sanding and prep work were done to the bumpers, we moved on to the overall car color. With our Beetle RS project we decided rather than repaint the car, we would try a vehicle wrap to see how it looked and holds up to daily use. A vehicle wrap is a specially designed vinyl material similar to what you find at a sign shop. This vinyl is designed to stretch a bit (especially when heated up), be repositioned during installation and have built in air channels that let some air escape to avoid bubbles. It is far cheaper to apply to a vehicle than a show quality paint job and if we don’t like it, we can always peel it off and try a different color.
A few years ago the only vehicle wrap colors you could get were matte black, white, military green and a small handful of other colors. Today there are a wide variety of colors and we poured over lots of color charts trying to find something that would fit this project. We’ve always been a fan of Volkswagen’s Rising Blue which is a signature color on the Golf R and Volkswagen’s own Scirocco race cars. If we could find it in a matte finish even better. It turns out that a German vinyl company Oracal, just introduced 75 new colors in their 970RA lineup back in July and one is nearly a dead match for a matte version of VW’s Rising Blue. The Oracal color is called Azure Matte Blue Metallic.
So the installers showed up this morning and started working on wrapping our Super Beetle. First up is the roof:
With two people these large flat surface are easy to do and it is easy to make solid progress. Next we move on to the sides where the door, sills and c-pillar are done from one large sheet. Notice that the material can be lifted up and repositioned until pressure and heat are applied:
Here you can start to see that this particular color, while being a matte blue, also has a metallic in it and has different hues depending on the light. Another view from the front where you can again see the Alpil front bumper:
The next photo below is probably the best at showing the dynamic properties of this particular wrap material. We can’t wait to get it outside…
And lastly how it looks once the material is down:
So it is about 11pm on Tuesday night and the truck comes to pick up our Beetle at 3pm tomorrow (Wednesday) to take it to SEMA. Expect a few more updates between now and then…
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More photos from today’s progress can be found in the gallery below in much larger sizes:
Super Beetle – Engine Work Begins
Super Beetle – Final Push to SEMA Show