Fast Times In The Green Beetle
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Fast Times In The Green Beetle

May 11, 2016
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Smoking tires and a pile of rubber: an image most wouldn’t expect from the wheels of a typical Volkswagen. Nevertheless, it’s the most vivid memory I have of this wonderfully equipped ’62 Beetle; a far cry from anything typical.

While appearing predominately stock, make no mistake, this Sunroof Sedan is built for staunch performance. Belonging to Richard and Dawn Pittman, the Bug is the end result of a comprehensive three-year project. The Orange Park, Fla., residents purchased the car over 10 years ago from only its second owner. Richard, 33, still remembers the day well, driving away as the entire family of the former owner stood waiving goodbye at the curb. “They owned the car for twenty-three years” said Pittman, “It must have been like loosing a family member”.

Having worked in a German car repair shop during his teens, Pittman was exposed early on to first and second generation Volkswagens on a regular basis. Moreover, his father drove a ’76 Rabbit (among the first in North America), which further peaked his curiosity. It wasn’t long before this curiosity would later change the way Pittman viewed Volkswagens, fueling his desire to own and drive them.

“I’ve always admired Cal-Look Beetles, so I naturally went in that direction once the build up process began”, stated Pittman. Because he had so much shop experience, Pittman performed much of the project himself, including a considerable amount of wrenching.

Painted Fjord Green, the Beetle appears predominantly vintage with the exception of its lowered ride stance and a set of classy Porsche alloys measuring 14×5.5 and 15×8 in the front and rear. Bridgestone 185/60-14 and Dunlop 225/60-15 tires fill the corners respectively.

All stock trim is intact, including the headlights/taillights, chrome door handles, chrome window strips and body molding. The badly worn original bumpers were swapped with chrome units with over riders from Wolfsburg West. Other exterior components include German running boards, a Convertible deck lid, amber fog lights with Koch brackets and a dealer wood slat roof rack.

New rubber and seals throughout further accentuate the Bug’s expertly painted exterior panels. With bodywork performed by George Nasser and paint by Mark O’ Steen, the Bug shines radiantly, and for good reason. Once each and every bodyline was corrected, the entire shell was dipped and primed with zinc powder coating. The end result is quite impressive, exhibiting a deep glossy green finish.

The pan is equally impressive, also completely powder coated (matte black) and nicely detailed. The front beam is narrowed by three inches and uses Berg adjusters and CB Performance drop spindles, while the rear torsion housing was shortened by two inches at each side and carries Sway-A-Way adjustable spring plates, modified to accept 26mm bars. KYB adjustable gas shocks were used to complete the suspension. In addition to 1/2-in. tubing for through-tunnel fuel line, the Beetle received a complete wire harness from West Coast Metric, ensuring everything will work as new. With the intent of building a larger displacement engine, the brakes were upgraded using a CB Performance kit in the rear and Ghia units up front. The transmission and clutch were also appropriately beefed up to withstand the high horsepower of the new engine, not to mention Pittman’s relentless stomp of the pedal.

Perhaps as clean as the rest of the car, the engine compartment is a sight to behold. Stuffed with a giant 2332cc powerhouse, the Bug has no problem getting around slower traffic.

Assembled by Tracy Grimm in nearby Jacksonville, Fla, the engine features a 94x84mm bore/stroke with full flow and Berg 4-qt. case mods. Built for durable, long-lasting performance, particulars consist of a SCAT Pro-Comp 84mm wedgemated crank, Carrillo rods, Cima 94mm pistons with Total rings, and an Engle FK-87 cam with Autocraft studs. Grimm also gets the nod for the ported and polished VW 040 heads, which additionally feature Manley Stainless Steel 42/37.5mm intake and exhaust valves with Silicone Bronze guides, Chevy springs, Titanium retainers and SCAT 1.4 forged rockers.

The engine is force fed via dual 48 IDA Webers, utilizing Bugpack linkage and Skat-Trak manifolds. An electronic MSD billet distributor and Bosh Blue coil administer spark, while spent gas exits by way of an S&S 1 3/4-in. ceramic exhaust.

The system appropriately ends with a custom Dynomax 3-in. muffler, setting the tone of the engine’s harmonic roar in the process.

The hammer tone powdercoated stock dog housing and engine tin ads the right amount of detail, tastefully completing the compartment.

Aside from an original Empi GTV wood steering wheel, which Pittman personally restored, the Beetle’s interior has remained decidedly stock, thanks to Gray’s upholstery in Jax, Fla. Comprised of a TMI interior package, the seats and door panels are covered with tan vinyl with tweed inserts. TMI Oatmeal cut loop carpet rests underneath, while beige vinyl headliner resides overhead. Like colored fabric was used for the perfectly restored sunroof.

Next to an under dash-mounted Autometer tach with shift light and an oil pressure gauge, a vintage package tray and a pair of seat belts from Wolfsbrug West provide a the final touch to a near flawless interior.

If building the ultimate Cal-Look Beetle was this Floridian’s goal, he has in every way fulfilled his mission and an admirable one at that.

Article Source: www.vwtrendsweb.com

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