GEAR SLAM­MER

0–400M BEE­TLE BUILD

NZ Performance Car - - Contents - PHO­TOS: ADAM CROY

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.

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