0–400M BEETLE BUILD
his year’s V 4&Rotary Nationals presented a few surprise builds for the team at NZ Performance Car, but one really stood out, even though it’s not quite complete — the candy-coated VW Beetle owned by David and Lindie Du Toit.
We clearly were not the only ones who took notice of the Beetle’s unveil, as rumours floated around that it was a US import, but, in fact, the car was built right here in New Zealand. It’s been a five-year labour of love, with 90 per cent of the project completed in David’s shed, despite the fact that, when they started out, they had no idea of the rules involved with a project of this magnitude.
David’s no stranger to building drag cars, having spent his life growing up in the shed and helping his dad build and race cars in his native South Africa. Prior to immigrating to New Zealand, he built and modified a string of 10-second street cars, including Datsun 1200s and Mazda 1000s.
After settling in New Zealand, he said it was time to get stuck into a project. “I started searching Trade Me for an RX-3 coupe, but found they were out of my price range,” he told us. “I had owned a Beetle back home, and they were in my price range, so I decided to build one.”
Originally, the plan had been to stick the engine in the rear, but one thing lead to another, and David found himself getting quotes for a full tube chassis. With none coming in under $20K, he decided to buy the tools to do it himself and proceeded under the watchful eyes of tech inspector Mike Reed and master fabricator and friend Jason Sellars.
The result is a full tube-frame chassis, with ladder-bar rear end and Green Brothers–built Ford nine-inch. The diff is a serious piece of kit too, with a chromoly full spool and 35-spline Moser axles. The front suspension features Strange struts and chromoly arms. The roll cage was built to see the car into the seven-second zone.
POWER EXPECTATIONS ARE SET AROUND THE 600KW TO 670KW MARK!
Weight is expected to be around 700kg thanks to a one-piece fibreglass front end, doors, and boot lid. “As I started getting into the bodywork, [I found] it was a real mess. It was easier to just make moulds and produce fibreglass parts than it was to repair the steel,” David said. All the panels were then Zeus clipped to the frame for easy removal. The paint colour was chosen by David and Lindie’s two daughters — a DNA special mix called Fuchsia Candy, laid by David, who is a painter by trade. The chassis work was coated in a red candy clear with a marble-like effect. This must be one of the best-presented cars we will see at the track.
It won’t just be a good-looker either, as there’s a very serious methanol-drinking 13B sitting up front. It was based on a JC Cosmo engine, built up by the team at Dynopower using lightened S4 RX-7 rotors, stage-two porting, and a full dowel kit. The turbo is a custom 83-millimetre BorgWarner S400 from the Abbott Racing FD RX-7, which exits through the front guard. Eight 2400cc injectors will feed the meth from a small front-mounted tank.
Plumbing is one of the last jobs left on the list. Power expectations are set around the 600kW to 670kW mark, which David hopes will see him reach his goal of chasing Brad Jonson’s 13B H-pattern record of 8.59 @ 162mph. To do so, David has elected a Tremec TKO 600 built by Green Brothers Racing. It also runs a Green Brothers steel bellhousing and McLeod eight-inch clutch.
The nationals marked the public debut of the car in a near completed state, with only the wiring, plumbing and a few other small jobs, including the sourcing of a Link ECU, left to do before it can be fired. The goal is to have it running next season, and the team is on the hunt for sponsors to ensure this will happen — so get in touch if you want to get on board.