Someone’s Turning Old Beetles Into Sportscars, as Was Intended

There's nothing sluggish about this bug

April 19, 2018 9:00 am

Did you know that the Volkswagen Beetle was designed by Ferdinand Porsche?

He was commissioned by one Adolf Hitler in 1934 to build a volkswagen (aka “people’s car”) that would complement the sportier, higher-end models he was already making under the Porsche moniker. Enter the Beetle, which officially reached production in 1938. If you’ve ever wondered why the Porsche 356 (which followed a decade later) bears such a striking resemblance to a Bug, well, there’s your answer.

Now, some 80 years after the Beetle first hit the roads, German aftermarket specialist Claus Memminger is giving them a facelift worthy of Ferdinand’s name, with his Memminger Roadster 2.7.

Memminger Roadster 2.7 (3 images)

A former Le Mans driver and steel worker by trade, Memminger has been a VW whisperer for some time. His company was one of the first to build replacement body panels for classic Beetles, and they’ve evolved into the world’s premier restoration shop for the model since.

The Roadster 2.7, of which Memminger plans to build around 20 editions, is perhaps their finest work. It packs a 2.7-liter, fuel-injected four-cylinder engine (good for 210 hp and a top speed of around 125 MPH), five-speed gearbox and brand new welded steel frame and body. But you won’t find many bells and whistles beyond that: everything else is still definitively analog, from a lack of proper door handles to exposed interior steel and nothing in the way of entertainment.

The thrill, after all, is in driving the thing.

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