Five ways to make it better
Its modest power and performance suited the Bug, but there are options if you want a bit more grunt. Replacing the original Zenith carburettor with an SU or Weber is one route, and will probably set you back a few hundred pounds. Another oomph-inducing possibility is fitting a four-branch exhaust manifold and system for greater efficiency, obtainable from Reliant Spares for around £240.
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Depending on how you view originality, you can swap the engine for the larger 848cc unit used in Reliants such as the Robin and Rialto. Good for 40bhp, it will provide a useful boost in performance; you can find secondhand units from £500, with fully rebuilt items going for £1000plus. An all-synchromesh Reliant gearbox is possible, too, with Reliant Spares selling a reconditioned and adapted item for £500.
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Conscientious maintenance will pay dividends when it comes to a Bug motor’s longevity, and that starts with regularly refreshing the oil and consumables, which is especially important if annual mileages are very low. Also, don’t neglect the cooling system – regularly flushing the system and replenishing with the correct concentration of anti-freeze will protect the alloy parts.
4 elecTrical PrecaUTiONs
Fire and glassfibre cars don’t mix well, so adding an isolator switch to the battery is a good move. Fitting is easy and you can buy a good quality item for just a few pounds
5 TakiNG THe weiGHT
If you can garage your Bug, the club’s Ron Biggin advises propping the canopy open slightly. That takes the weight off both the body and the latching mechanism, which will be useful if the car is stored for lengthy periods of time.