Joakim Karlsson’s BMW-powered 1973 Beetle

Aug 30, 2017 7:46 pm / Published in Featured Cars
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Just when you thought you've seen it all, here is something that you don't see every day. A BMW-powered front-engined 1973 VW Beetle.

The spot where the car’s original air-cooled flat-four used to sit actually is more than ample enough to accommodate a variety of other interesting boxer motors, but Joakim wanted to go for a more balanced set up. One that would allow the car to be steered on the throttle and be far more docile when being thrown around.  So he decided to borrow a BMW M50B25 and then somehow managed to kill two birds with one stone. Supplying power as well as taking care of the weight balance by dropping the motor into the front.

This isn’t exactly what you'd expect to see when you pop open up a 73 Beetle’s hood! As you can see, things are very tight in there and it took a lot of custom work to make it fit. Starting off with a BMW E30 front clip, cut up and strategically mated to the base chassis. This, aside from allowing the big straight-six to fit, allowed the use of more modern suspension, which he made up of Golf Mk2 coilovers and modified knuckles to guarantee as much steering angle as possible.

The M50 itself has been turbocharged, its 192 stock hp doubled to around 400hp courtesy of a GT45 turbocharger mounted on custom exhaust manifolds and kept to optimal boost thanks to an external wastegate. A compact yet thick intercooler just manages to fit in front of the motor while the custom intake feeds each of the six cylinders.The custom driveline is composed of a Getrag five-speed transmission with the 400 horses juggled via a Sachs 618 pressure plate and uprated clutch, with an E30 rear end apportioning drive to the rear wheels. Joakim’s Beetle was built from the ground up for the sole purpose of having tons of fun out on track.

Engine
BMW M50B25 swap, GT45 turbocharger, HKS-style 60 mm external wastegate, custom exhaust manifold, custom intake manifold, cooling all mounted back in the trunk, Megasquirt

Driveline
Five-speed Getrag tranmission, Sachs 618 pressure plate, six-pad clutch, E30 rear end

Suspension/Brakes
Golf MK2 coilovers, rewelded/modifed knuckles

Exterior
Widebody glassfibre fenders

Interior
E30 frontclip, custom roll cage, Sparco bucket seats, five-point harnesses, suede steering wheel, hydraulic e-brake, Auto Style gauges


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