The original Volkswagen Beetle and the performance aftermarket are well acquainted with one another, so featuring the new model at the country’s biggest aftermarket show is a no-brainer. That’s exactly what VW is doing at this year’s SEMA show, rolling out radical creations like the chopped-top custom bug and the 500-hp all-wheel-drive “Super Beetle.”
European Car “Beach Battle-Cruiser”
Recalling the “Cali-look” Beetles of the old days, European Car magazine’s SEMA show car is a beach-going bug with a modern twist. The staff began by adding a larger Revo Technik turbocharger along with the appropriate software upgrade, then installed other go-fast bits like an intake and exhaust system. Combined, the upgrades are estimated to bring the Beetle to 400 hp. Complementing the car’s power mods are upgraded brakes and suspension, also from Revo Technik.
The show car rides on 19-inch Fuchs Performance retro alloy wheels, and gets a body kit from FMS Automotive. Because this Beetle was built for the beach, a deployable shower system was built into the car’s body to wash off sandy behinds before making contact with the Katzkin leather seats.
VWvortex/APR “Super Beetle”
Volkswagen enthusiast forum VWvortex paired with performance specialist APR to build a 500-plus-hp all-wheel-drive 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo. To handle that kind of power, the stock fuel system was upgraded, and a high-performance intercooler was installed. In addition, the car received an ECU upgrade, high-flow head and intake manifold, beefier internals, an APR Turboback Exhaust System, DXD Stage III Clutch, and Volkswagen Racing short-throw shifter.
To put the Beetle’s newfound power to the ground, the team installed the 4Motion all-wheel-drive system from a Golf R, along with a Haldex all-wheel-drive racing controller. For suspension, the Super Beetle gets H&R Adjustable coilovers and sway bars with Volkswagen Racing StreetSport+ camber plates. A matte Azure Blue Metallic vinyl wrap from Oracal covers the Beetle, which rides on 19-inch three-piece fifteen52 Split Formula TR wheels.
Galpin Auto Sports “Chopped Top” Beetle
The roof on this Beetle has been lowered for an extremely raked look, with the A-pillar dropped 5.5 inches and the B-pillar lowered 2.5 inches. With its Onyx Black with Candy Apple Red metal flake paint job, the “Chopped Top” Beetle looks right at home on the SEMA show floor. The VW is lowered and stiffened with Neuspeed springs and sway bars, and rides on three-piece 20-inch wheels that ape the look of a vintage Porsche wheel. Inside, the Beetle gets black leather seats with red contrast stitching, a custom headliner, and Candy Apple Red-painted trim pieces.
FMS Automotive 1956 and 2012 Beetles
The FMS Automotive booth gets a sort of “then and now” theme, with one original 1956 Volkswagen Beetle, and a 2012 model. The ’56 bug was restored from the ground up and modified with a performance powertrain, four-wheel disc brakes, and extensive custom bodywork. The 2012 Beetle, on the other hand, gets a two-tone paint scheme as a tribute to custom VWs of old. The car rides on H&R springs and TSW wheels, and gets a custom dual exhaust and Rostra LED lights.
Volkswagen specialists Rotiform wanted to lend its SEMA build a bit of old-school flavor, and installed a new rear axle for an Air Lift air suspension system. With that setup, the car can now “lay-frame” with the best modified air-cooled Volkswagens. The show car sits on Rotiform concave wheels wrapped in Nitto performance tires, and is covered in a Matte Gray Aluminum vinyl wrap from 3M.
H&R Golf R
The handling gurus at H&R gave a 2013 Volkswagen Golf R a reworked suspension setup for SEMA. The Golf R receives H&R’s Street Performance Tuner coilover suspension kit, which lowers ride height 1.3 inches in the front, and 1.6 in the rear. For increased rigidity, the company added its own 26-mm rear Sport Sway Bar. For wheels, a set of silver 19-inch BBS Super RS alloys were chosen. The car comes to a stop with help from the Baer Decela slotted rotors and Phantom-series G-Stop brakelines. Golf R LED taillights, a rear foglight, and factory rearview camera complete the build.