We did it!
This just started out as an opportunity to build a dream project with a Volkswagen. Hell, putting 500hp and AWD in *any* VW is something we, as VW enthusiasts, would all love to do. When I started this site 15 years ago, I remember standing around some parking lot checking out other VW owners modified cars and humbly looking at mine thinking it would be cool to build something really over the top some day. Of course that all seems like a non-reality when money and time are involved and so I just drooled over stuff we saw in magazines like European Car, PVW, Max Power and others.
So to be able to build a car like the Super Beetle is an amazing thing all by itself. Backing the car into the Las Vegas Convention Center for the annual SEMA Show is another big moment of pride. There are few shows that will showcase the absolute best modified cars on the planet like this one. You’ve never seen more beautifully built cars in your life and I remain in awe at the blood, sweat and tears put into these amazing vehicles. To be part of this is another pinch yourself event. So when we submitted the car to the Gran Turismo awards for judging, we honestly didn’t think we had a chance as our humble Beetle is going up against twin-turbo Lamborghini Aventadors, modified Ferrari 458 Italias and loads more crazy European machinery. You figure why not submit it, we have nothing to lose, right?
So when it won the Gran Turismo Best European Import Award SEMA 2012 we were completely shocked and tremendously honored. We never ever expected to win anything in this arena and we couldn’t be more stoked. It is critical that I point out a few of the people that absolutely made this happen in just a mere three weeks time:
APR – APR did all the mechanical work on this car and Doug and the crew in the trenches of their shop pulled out some late nights and long hours to do a tricky AWD conversion, pull a motor and make it a completely built 500hp beast and numerous other things way above and beyond what we originally asked them to do. Just read our build blogs to see how much effort went into this.
H&R Springs – Roland and his guys not only provided suspension, sway bars and Trak+ spacers, but they more importantly provided a spot for our car in their booth at SEMA. They also scrambled to find new tires just one day before the start of the show and pulled and disassembled both front shocks to get us some extra lowering since we ended up using camber plates that raised the suspension a bit. H&R is going to give us a different setup to use on the car in the end and their attention to detail to make sure it was perfect was huge.
FMS – Rory and the crew at Foam Molders Specialties hand built the rear spoiler in just 14 days before SEMA and delivered a flawless piece that was absolutely perfect. His guys do beautiful work and they have a special relationship with Volkswagen and Audi doing much of the prepainted accessories pieces that many of us have put on our cars.
ORACAL, RECARO, HRE, FIFTEEN52 – ORACAL came through with the beautiful color we used on the car. Recaro secured a set of seats that are not only great to look at, but are some of the best seats we’ve put our butt in. HRE came through with a backup set of wheels for us when it looked like we may not be able to get our original set done in time for SEMA. Lon and the crew at HRE were awesome to work with even at the last possible moment and we’ll be working more with them in the future. Brad and Matt at fifteen52 stayed up late getting us a set of wheels produced under stress of suppliers that may or may not deliver on time. In the end, they came through and our Beetle has gotten a ton of compliments.
All in all this was an amazing SEMA Show and our Super Beetle project is just getting started. We couldn’t be happier.
SONY Press Release…
LAS VEGAS, Nov. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) hosted its tenth annual Gran Turismo® Awards at the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show last night at the Rain Nightclub in the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, with a headlining performance by Hip Hop icon Snoop Dogg. Celebrating continuing excellence and innovation in the automotive industry, the Gran Turismo Awards offers SEMA show exhibitors the opportunity to achieve automotive immortality for their vehicle with a feature spot in the world’s best-selling racing franchise exclusive to PlayStation®, the Gran Turismo® franchise.
This year, after heavy deliberations over dozens of entries, the judging panel and celebrated Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi himself, crowned “Hot Rod” winner, David Eckert for his 1969 Ford Mach 40 as the 2012 “Best of Show” winner, to be awarded the honor of being added to the Gran Turismo® franchise, and be driven virtually by millions across the globe.
“For the past ten years, the Gran Turismo Awards has recognized and rewarded automotive enthusiasts who demonstrate passion and enthusiasm for video games, and amazing car design and performance,” said Kazunori Yamauchi, famed creator of the Gran Turismo franchise and President of Polyphony Digital. “We continue to be blown away by the quality of the vehicles that are submitted and are excited to add 1969 Ford Mach 40 to our list of distinguished winners and to the Gran Turismo franchise.”
Additional prizes were awarded to:
“Best Truck/SUV” – Sean Morris for the 2008 Toyota Dragquoia
“Best Domestic Car” – Jim Holloway for the 2013 Ford Mustang RTR
“Best Asian Import” – Felix Marcelino for the 2013 Scion – Evasive FRS
“Best European Import” – Jamie Vondruska for the 2013 Volkswagen VWvortex Super Beetle
“Best Hot Rod” – David Eckert for the 1969 Ford Mach 40
This year’s Gran Turismo Awards also featured a special performance by Snoop Dogg. The Doggfather of Hip Hop treated SEMA attendees to a set of his greatest hits and best-known raps including “Gin & Juice,” “Nuthin’ But A G Thang,” “Drop It Like It’s Hot” and “Young, Wild & Free (feat. Bruno Mars).”
“Gran Turismo is the most real-deal driving game I have ever experienced,” said Snoop Dogg aka Snoop Lion. “I have been a PlayStation fan for years, and had a blast helping to make this 10th year celebration for the Gran Turismo Awards into an ‘off the hook’ affair.”
About the Gran Turismo® Franchise
With more than 65 million units shipped worldwide, the award-winning Gran Turismo® franchise for the PlayStation®, PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, PlayStation®3 and PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) is regarded as the best and most authentic driving simulator ever created due to its true-to-life graphics, authentic physics technology and design. Since the inception of the Gran Turismo franchise, famed creator Kazunori Yamauchi and Polyphony Digital Inc. in Japan have revolutionized the racing category as we know it today. His offerings provide the most realistic driving simulation in the industry and a unique medium for automotive manufacturers to showcase their products.
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