The Volkswagen Beetle, a car which is neither fast nor safe nor very good looking, went on to sell tens of millions of units across the world. And while it wasn’t the perfect platform for performance, plenty of gearheads have taken up the challenge of making the Volkswagen into a fast and furious little car.
Among them was Paul Newman, who had Indy Car builder Jerry Eisert somehow cram a mid-mounted V8 engine into a convertible Beetle. The New York Times reports that this celebrity-touched machine recently sold at auction for a whooping $250,000.
Newman, a world-renowned actor and race car driver, bought the red ’63 drop-top convertible and immediately brought it to Eisert. Eisert was well known in Indy Car circles at the time, and with an expert team they managed to cram a 300 horsepower 351W V8 engine into the Beetle, right where the backseats should have been. Covering the engine and the ZF transmission (taken from a Ford GT) was a padded hump that hid this monster motor from view.
What Eisert and Newman basically built was an Indy Car Beetle that looked shockingly stock, and was fast enough to put an ear-to-ear grin on the face of famed racer Bob Bondurant. The suspension, as you might imagine, was thoroughly beefed up, giving this one-of-a-kind car supercar-like performance.
Newman eventually turned the Beetle over to Sam Contino, an intrusctor at a local college who has put the Beetle up for sale for a whooping $250,000. He’ll probably get it too, as there are millions of old Beetle and Paul Newman fans out there with money to burn. For more pictures and info, head over to OldBug.com.