A German VW restorer has created a 2.7-litre mid-engined Beetle that weighs just 800kg. Why? Because he could...
The VW Beetle, as we all know, was created before World War 2, to provide cheap motoring to the German masses ready to save money using special KdF booklets. A completely new car factory was built in Fallersleben (renamed Wolfsburg in 1945) and opened with much fanfare.
Already at that event some roofless Käfers appeared, one of them specially built for Adolf Hitler, equipped with a supercharger to hide the fact that the regular KdF engine could only be described as wheezy.
Beetle production in Germany ended in 1979, and cars were made in Mexico until 2003. Convertible VW Beetles remain among the most popular classic cars, their value climbing steadily, with everyday usability remaining their forté.
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Claus Memminger was a fairly successful racing driver, who competed at Le Mans in 1983, and who ran a steel workshop. He produced some structures for the Munich Olympics. In 1998 he helped a friend restore his Beetle, and found that some body panels were no longer obtainable. Therefore he started to stamp out brand new panels, thus creating a market niche for himself.
Today his company not only produces and supplies parts, but also performs exquisite restorations, specialising in his favourite models, the 1302 and 1303, in regular and cabriolet forms, the pinnacle of VW Beetle development. It sells fuel-injected engines, gearboxes, body and interior parts. Take a look here.
The company he now runs with his son Schorsch has launched an entirely new product, the Memminger Roadster. This streamlined creation is based on a standard Beetle floorpan with the 2444mm wheelbase, but with a crucial difference: the engine is now mid-mounted. It is a 210-hp 2.7-litre fuel-injected unit, based on the so-called Type 4 engine, formerly used in the VW 411 and 412 models.
The factory in the Bavarian town of Reichertshofen can potentially produce up to 20 units of the Memminger Roadster, which designer Phillipp Eberl describes as 'the ultimate development of an icon'. The car, which weighs only 800kg and is capable of at least 200kph (125mph), has no infotainment systems, no digital screens.
Claus Memminger is adamant that it should be used to produce driving pleasure, and such systems distract from that aim. Porsche-sourced brakes are more important!
Images courtesy of Memminger Feine-Cabrios & Stahlbau GmbH