Issue 47 is in stores now!
In it is a great write up on a beautiful GT40, historic racing, Targa South West, Clubman racers, and a great technical article on how laser scanning can be used to design the impossible! In this instance, a bellhousing adaptor to mate a Mercedes Benz V8 to a Subaru transaxle.
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Volkswagen nut GLENN TORRENS reveals why he reckons a Beetle is a perfect first – as well as competitive – weekend race car
THE VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE was designed in the 1930s to be a cheap and reliable get-around car. World War II nearly saw the demise of the design – off-road and amphibious military versions of the VW Beetle were made, so the factory was bombed – but (to cut a long story short!) it was saved from death by an Allied management team who got the production line going again.
By the 1950s, the VW Beetle was a legend. It found incredible success in the USA as a simple, modest, affordable vehicle sharing American roads with the over-styled, over-weight and updated-every-year ‘yank tanks’. Around the same time in Australia, the Beetle found almost instant success and forged a formidable reputation for performance and reliability with success in several Around Australia trials… car destroying rallies over outback trans that, in the days before the mining and oil exploration companies opened up the Outback, were little more than two wheel trails across hundred of miles of sand, rock and scrub.
The reason for it success was its light weight, function over form design and simple, reliable layout for chassis and suspension. The air-cooled engine was low on power but high on reliability – with no coolant, it was just about impossible to overheat and of course it couldn’t freeze. By the mid-1960s it was one of the biggest selling cars ever. And of course, it spawned the first Porsche – yes, it’s true, not just a desperate boast from Beetle nuts – which even today retains the familiar rear-engine layout.
Now, nearly 80 years after it was first drawn, and nearly 40 years after the last Aussie-made Beetles were built (1976) the humble VW Beetle is quite appealing for motorsport use, for beginners and more experienced racers alike. The rear-engine chassis and overall light weight allows a Beetle to leave the line hard and handle well, with quite high limits despite modest power. With the right amount of hardware and modifications put into it in the right areas, it can not only be a great first race car, but can be made into an outright winner!