So I’m letting YouTube serve me up some random stuff this morning and I came across a channel I have not watched before called Nicole Johnson’s Detour and more specifically, and episode titled SLEEPER BUG: 517 WHP Subaru-Powered 1973 VW Super Beetle.
Now I’m a purist in many ways, going so far as to not being a fan of swapping in parts/engines from any cars other than possibly Type 4 engines to stay within the “family”. I mean, it is very easy for me to question if it is really a true VW Beetle anymore if you’ve put an entire different power plant into it? I mean, you’ve turned it into something else at the core that brings it to life.
But I have to say, the effort that John Reynolds put into his 73 Super Sleeper is just amazing.
The restomodding of this 73 1303 is just perfection. And the engineering done to make the mods necessary for putting in a 517HP Subaru engine are sound, clean, and he does absolutely nothing obvious to detract from the exterior stock look of the car!
Now he’s done some interior mods, most of them for safety reasons. The car has a custom fabricated roll cage installed to support the body and frame connection given the forces the engine produces. The Beetle body was just not designed to go to the speeds this car can reach, and of course, there’s a risk of flipping it. You can see the body movement during the clips in the vid when they are on the road driving.
There’s no rear seat anymore, as to keep the stock look required moving the engine/transaxle space 4″ or so into the vehicle space. This was also needed to fabricate the increased frame and rear suspension supports needed.
The pea shooters are not real, and you can see the true exhaust tucked up under the passenger rear fender.
However, the exhaust tips that replace the pea shooters serve a function – they are the waste gate for the turbo!
And speaking of other mods, look at that meat on those rear wheels.
He’s modded the special edition Marathon Rims, enlarging them and changing the spacing to allow for very wide tires to allow that drive train to transfer all that power to the road.
It truly is an amazing car.
That Marina Blue paint job is exquisite, and nothing easily visible to a causal bystander would imply this car packs a 517HP power plant in it.
Here’s his video on the restoration and modding of the car.
The craftsman ship and skill used to build this vehicle are just amazing to me.