THE LUV-BUG

Kyle Mcguire’s take on the clas­sic Volk­swa­gen Bee­tle!

Ultimate Diesel Builder's Guide - - Contents -

It’s highly likely that you’ve seen clas­sic VW Bee­tle’s slammed to the ground; and you’ve prob­a­bly seen old school Baja Bugs set up for dessert rac­ing; but hon­estly, how many clas­sic bugs have you seen turned into a mini-mon­ster truck? Well, Kyle Mcguire set out to rev­o­lu­tion­ize the VW world with his clas­sic Bug…or maybe he just wanted to have some fun. And why not? Off Road­ing is all about free­dom, so what’s to stop you from lift­ing a clas­sic and throw­ing a diesel in it. Mcguire and a tight group of friends set out to build an ad­ven­ture with a sim­ple mind­set of…why not?

So a rear engine gasser with be­tween 30 to 50 horse­power and just a pinch over that in torque? No thanks. Mcguire de­cided to swap in a 1982 Chevy LUV C223 diesel engine and throw it to the front of his Bug in a cus­tom fab­ri­cated chas­sis. Now that may not seem like a huge im­prove­ment with an engine clock­ing in at just un­der 60 horse­power, but this swap did take him up to nearly 100 pound feet of torque. (Hope­fully you are not read­ing this ar­ti­cle af­ter read­ing about a 1,000 horse­power drag racer, be­cause that will put a se­vere damper on our 100 pound feet of torque brag.—ed.) This con­ver­sion also came with a 5-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion swap, grab­bing an­other gear past the stock VW engine. With this diesel swap comes the apt nick­name of the LUV-BUG, both from its Her­bie in­spired looks and Chevro­let Luv diesel engine.

One of the other ma­jor ben­e­fits (be­sides now qual­i­fy­ing for this mag­a­zine) is open­ing up room in the rear for a sick Pi­o­neer sound sys­tem! Now when the crew is joyrid­ing through the trails, they can bump their jams for all to hear. The rest of the cock­pit is straight trail rig, with twin rac­ing bucket seats in red and blue set into the stripped down cabin. The only other ac­cou­trements are the

aux cable into the head unit and a screw driver seem­ingly mounted into the cen­ter con­sole… don’t ask.

For the ex­te­rior, the Her­bie-esq num­ber 53 red white and blue paint job is hard to miss, but Mcguire and his friends couldn’t quite stop there. Ob­vi­ously the diesel hood stack changes the vibe, so why not take it fur­ther? A lit­tle bit of di­a­mond plate here, a Bud Light can there (try to find it…it’s on there), a litany of stick­ers like NOS, Hol­ley, and Ford that have no ap­pli­ca­tion to this project, and then you might as well throw in a po­lice light bar and some head­light lashes (cre­ated us­ing zip-ties of all things). All of this comes to­gether to warn you that th­ese guys will have fun, and if you hang around too long, you’ll end up catch­ing some of the fun your­self.

Now of course one of the first things you may have no­ticed is the height of the Bug beast. With

some cus­tom fab­ri­ca­tion, Mcguire and his crew tied into the frame and gave them­selves plenty of ground clear­ance by drop­ping the sal­vaged IFS ax­els used in both the front and rear to give the LUV-BUG front and rear steer­ing while mak­ing new mount­ing po­si­tions for their lifted strut sus­pen­sion as well as con­nect­ing points for the front and rear tube bumpers. Th­ese heavy duty chas­sis mod­i­fi­ca­tions made room for Mcguire to make this front engine Bug into a four-wheeldrive mon­ster with 44-inch TRXUS STS tires on 16-inch wheels.

So what’s the pay­off for all the fab­ri­ca­tion and la­bor that went into the LUV-BUG? A fun­filled ad­ven­ture, and isn’t that what mo­tor­sports is about? Plus they made their way into this awe­some mag­a­zine that all of you fine read­ers surely must al­ready have a sub­scrip­tion to (hint, hint, if you don’t, ku­dos if you al­ready do). So the next time you have a whim and the means to ac­com­plish it, go for it. Cus­tom­ize some­thing the way you want it, not just the way some other peo­ple have in the past. Why not? UDBG

Ig­nor­ing the Bud Light can (did you fi­nally find it?) the rear steer on this Chevy, VW, and ap­par­ently Ford, Her­bie Bug helps the tall ma­chine with a short wheel­base to ma­neu­ver even tight trails.

Al­most ev­ery inch of this cus­tom cre­ation shows the at­ten­tion to de­tail as well as the fun lov­ing spirit of Mcguire and his friends.

Mcguire’s cus­tom rig­ging and fab­ri­ca­tion takes the LUV’S power and sends it to both front and back axles us­ing a chain drive rather than a tra­di­tional trans­fer case, al­low­ing the full-time 4WD mon­ster to over­come nearly any chal­lenge.

This trail ready cock­pit is prepped for the out­doors, com­plete with par­tially peeled away and slightly in­ap­pro­pri­ate stick fig­ures on the cus­tom dash.

Com­plete with hood stack is this Isuzu-built ’82 Chevy LUV diesel engine swapped into the front of this clas­sic Bug. LUV-BUG?

Re­move an engine from the back and sud­denly there all this space for a sub en­clo­sure, imag­ine that.

More cus­tom work drops the axles low for plenty of clear­ance and enough room for the one-off IFS/IRS 4WD sys­tem with front and rear rack-and-pin­ion steer­ing to do its job.

Th­ese 44-inch TRXUS STS tires mounted on 16-inch steel wheels give plenty of trac­tion, plus the lift gives plenty of room for crew sig­na­tures and stick­ers, which we’re told add up to five horse­power each.

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