Memminger is one of the best Volkswagen Beetle restoration companies out there. They’re somewhat unique in the vintage Beetle restoration world because they tend to focus on the generally less-loved Super Beetles, but the cars they produce are outstanding. This time they’ve taken things a bit further, re-imagining a Super Beetle as a mid-engined roadster, and it’s pretty fantastic.
Memminger actually re-creates a significant number of body parts for their restored 1303 (the official name for the curved-windshield Super Beetles that were built from 1973-1980) Beetles, so they were well-equipped to create the new and very modified body parts for their roadster, which hardly shares any actual body parts with a stock Beetle at all.
The roadster they designed is clearly a 1303 Super Beetle, but stretched and squashed and inflated and tucked all over. I think the result is great, and manages to bridge the Volkswagen-Porsche design language very nicely.
The integration of certain old-school Beetle parts like the distinctive black-striped Europa bumpers, the “Elephant’s foot” taillights and the iconic butterfly-wing hood stampings is quite well done. There’s other familiar cues as well, such as the running boards and vent pattern on the very expanded engine lid, and all of these details clearly identify the roadster as a Beetle, even with all the proportions changed so dramatically.
Under the body is a custom tube-frame chassis, and the drivetrain has been flipped 180° to make a mid-engined car. This was, if you’ll recall, the exact same approach taken when the very first Porsche was built from a 1948 Beetle.
That engine is a 2717cc Type 4 block, still air-cooled, of course, and making an impressive (for a Beetle, at least) 210 horsepower and 182 lb-ft of torque. It’s got manifold fuel injection and a five-speed transmission.
This thing looks like a blast.
The interior has plaid seats and keeps the original all-in-one VW instrument cluster, but adds a nice big tach and other gauges, but manages to keep things nice and simple.
I like the way the rear wing/headrest fairings were integrated into the vintage Beetle design cues as well.
Maybe this is the sort of thing that will manage to piss off both Beetle and Porsche fetishists at once? I hope not, because this should be seen for what it is: a fun, imaginative re-working of an automotive icon, especially one that’s never been so precious that it can’t get played with. A lot.
They may build about 20 of these, and they’ll be crazy expensive. I think I’d need at least six extra kidneys to even consider it. I better start growing some.