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...

T-minus 3 hours till we load up the Beetle and head out to SEMA and things are moving along nicely.

The APR boys worked till the wee hours of the morning installing the modified drive shaft into the Beetle. It turns out that not only does the Golf R drive shaft not fit in the Beetle, but neither does the Audi TT driveshaft. We anticipated this though and have a custom driveshaft on order. While we could have taken the easy way out and left the car in two-wheel drive till after the SEMA show, we agreed with APR that we wanted this sucker to have a functioning AWD system. So APR had to modify the Golf R drive shaft to fit. This meant cutting out a small section and welding the whole thing back together plus rebalancing it. Since we don't plan on doing any 6000 RPM clutch drops or drag racing in the next few weeks, the modified drive shaft will work just fine till we get back from SEMA.

So APR's techs had to weld in a driveshaft center bearing support:

Here is the modified driveshaft prior to installation:

So we thought it would be cool to do a custom logo for the car and find a creative way to build a badge to put on it. That's when we remembered that APR has a 3D printer that they primarily use for rapid prototyping of parts. We sent our Illustrator file over to APR and they extruded it and beveled it in CAD and then sent it off to the printer. This is the result straight out of the printer and being prepped for paint:

So let's talk about wheels. We approached our old friends at fifteen52 asking if we could do a special one-off wheel for the Beetle. We wanted to do something that has a nod to motorsports, but with a little retro flair and in a three-piece design. All was going according to plan until we attempted to build the wheels just two weeks before SEMA when we ran into a supply issue with the barrels for the wheels. So last Friday we found out that there could be an issue and we may not get these built in time for SEMA. If this were the only snag in the crazy-short-time-frame we tried to build this thing, then so be it. Worst case we get the wheels after SEMA, but we're still pushing literally to the day of show setup to get the planned fifteen52 wheels on the car.

So we started making some phone calls and as you could imagine, we aren't the only ones looking for wheels to put on a car going to SEMA. The hopes of getting something custom made in the ultra-tight timeframe is tough. So I gave a call to our friend Lon Mok at HRE Wheels and asked what he might have. It turns out that HRE is going to make some big new announcements at SEMA, one of them being a new line of low pressure cast flow formed wheels called HRE FlowForm. This new lineup of wheels will launch with one design initially called FF01 in 19" and 20" fitments starting at 22 lbs. per wheel, available in Gloss Silver and Satin Black and starting at $2,900 per set. It turns out Lon had one set of 20" x 9" FF01's that he could send out immediately as a back up set of wheels. After scrambling to secure another set of tires, we mounted and balanced them and put them on the car for shipment to SEMA. These are one of only a small handful of samples made and don't even have center caps made for them yet. You're getting to see them here as a sneak peek before the official SEMA announcement. We'll have more on the fifteen52 wheels later in the week.

So we finished sanding and prepping the rear bumper for our center mounted exhaust:

As you can see in the photo below, that rear bumper is now wrapped and APR's guys are prepping a tape line to install the special badge on the back:

And the other side:

At the front, our wrap installers are busy dealing with the absolute worst part of the car to wrap - the front bumper:

And from the other side:

Our Oracal Azure Matte Blue metallic wrap color really pops with some daylight coming in. Plus the 20" x 9" HRE FF01's:

And finally the placement of the badge letters starts...

We'll have another update later today when things are buttoned up and ready to ship...