Electric Drag Racing Beetle
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New species of Beetle discovered in Berkshire

I saw this car pull into the market place whilst I was chatting with some other owners at the recent car show in Hungerford. I didn't rush over to see it as, when it arrived, there was an amber beacon on it's roof and I have seen many other Beetles done out to represent German municipal cars and few that really carry it off. Later in the afternoon as I was wandering down the HVWC turnout I took a second look, from the front it was apparent that it was no half assed replicar, the one piece 'glass flip front with blanked lights started whispering race car, shortly followed by the bright orange full cage bellowing it, obviously worth a closer inspection I wandered over.

I started chatting to Olly Young, who with his brother Sam had built the car. Whilst we were exchanging small talk I glanced in the back seat area and my heart sank, full of batteries, how could I break it to him that I didn't give a toss how loud his stereo was, or maybe it could jump a bit, great. To be polite I stayed with it while he told me that he had raced it at Santa Pod and got out some timing tickets to show me. Expecting to see three or three and a half second sixty foot times, I got my glasses out and read again, 1.8 ! that's only four tenths off of ours and we have seven litres of Mr Chevrolet's finest to pull us down the track. Now I had to look in the rear, got to be best part of three litres, Pauter Machine maybe, turbo? possibly twin ? nitros for sure. Olly took me round and stood back, all of a sudden the batteries made sense, not a lot, but sense all the same. Two bloody great electric motors, twin triplex chain drive and a big magic box.

The motors were dyno'd and balanced in the States before being sent over and cost about £1400 the pair, obviously powered by the batteries they are controlled by the magic in the box, another $4500 quickly spent, there may have been technical details to go with that but it was hot and I may have missed them. the whole lot is mounted in a custom ali frame, as I guess it would have to be, I bet "German and Swedish" haven't got them in stock, the chain drive gives a 4:1 reduction and is coupled to shortened but otherwise standard drive shafts. These do give problems apparently and plans are being made to ultimatly go with a Ford 9" axle. The car has barely ten runs on it and already has got down to a best of 1.89 in the 60' and cruised through to a 16.2 quarter and all of that at about 40% power, pretty impressive stuff for an old '71 bug.
Olly said that an early donation from H2O Lifestyle, a watersports equipment supplier whose name the car carries, gave them the push to develop the current car from it's previous guise with a milk float motor out back, thanks also to Amtecs, an electrical motor and ancilleries supplier, and his club the Hungerford VolksWagon Club, all in all an interesting variation on the almost standard drag race Beetle formula and I for one will be looking for it at the track and cheering them on. thanks to Olly for taking the time to talk.

Visit their website here - Hungerford Volkswagon Club


view from the front, no lights and 'glass front end
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full race cage
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40 , 12V batteries at about 5kg each, giving 240 volts at 1600 amps
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A pair of DC motors rated at 22hp each and run 10X over powered