It never fails. At the end of every year, I get a craving for a new car. Not necessarily a new car, but one that is new to me. A project car. I don’t know if it is the onset of winter that creates this longing, but it happens every year. Maybe all of those “year end events” while working in automotive has something to do with it.
My last project vehicle was a 1976 GMC Pickup. I only owned that truck for a year, but it was a blast to have around. It was a bare bones truck–manual steering, manual brakes, inline six cylinder with a 3 speed manual transmission (3 on the tree). It reminded me of the truck I learned to drive a stick on back in 1975. Memories…it’s what drives our car passion.
I’ve had a lot of fun cars in my life, which you can see in the article below. My tastes are varied (some might say eclectic), but always seem to steer me toward something different each time. This time, I might return to a past project car to get my creative juices flowing.
Related article: My Cheap And Fun Vehicles
The Search Begins
I bought the 1970 VW Beetle shown above in 2007. I sold it to a friend in 2012, but not after I transformed that car several times. In that five year span, I changed the look with a color change four times. It started as a simple beige bug, and ended as a blue and gray two-toned beauty. You can see the different looks in the related article above.
My typical day starts by scanning the cars for sale on Facebook Marketplace. I’m trying to keep my focus on vehicles 1972 or older, with a manual transmission. For some reason, Beetles keep popping up in my search. At the same time, my son keeps talking about a Porsche 911 Safari, which is an off-road Porsche with a suspension lift and big tires. They are awesome rigs, but with a huge price tag. I like awesome rigs, but not big price tags.
Class 11 VW Beetle
After researching Beetles and 911 Safaris, I discovered something cool–the Class 11 VW Beetle. Class 11 is a stock production Volkswagen Beetle class that competes in the SCORE off-road race series, including the Baja 1000, Baja 500, Baja Sur 500, San Felipe 250 and the SCORE Desert Challenge.
Class 11 is the most grueling of all off-road race vehicles as they are pure stock with modifications limited to only safety reinforcement and ground clearance. Essentially, a stock Beetle with a lifted suspension, taller tires and various safety equipment (roll bar).
For me, the Class 11 Beetle combines the simple design of a vintage VW Beetle and mashes it with the tough looking Porsche 911 Safari. Best of both worlds, at a price tag that is just right for me.
I need to find the right Beetle to start this project. My preference is to find one in good running order with minimal rust and in need of a paint job, like the starting point of my 1970 Beetle.
Do I plan to run the Baja 1000 with a Beetle? Not likely–this is about the challenge of building something cool. My son is very interested in participating in this project, which is awesome. He did a great job restoring and modifying his 1973 Honda 350 (full story HERE), so he is ready for something bigger. I can’t think of a better partner to have in this venture!
Keep a lookout for more news on this project in January. If all goes well, I’ll have a vehicle purchased and production ready to start.
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