Patrick found this picture in some Facebook feed, and, of course, my attention was grabbed, just like this picture had grabbed my attention’s hypothetical attento-nuts. A New Beetle, with a proper vintage Beetle drivetrain? What a great, non-trivial swap! It makes a statement, is technically interesting — too bad it’s not real.

I mean, at first glance, it looks plausible, until you really start thinking about what’s under the skin. Those exhausts are pretty far away from where the exhaust ports would be, but a custom, huge header could justify that. The real issue is that the engine is just too high.

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The lower pulley there is the crankshaft, and the opposite end of that would be centerline with the transaxle. And that would put the half-shafts way too high (and forward?) to actually drive the wheels where they are. So I’m sad to call fake on this one.

Still, this seems like a fantastic concept, though. I think the way to approach it would be to not use a VW pan, as you’d think — it’s about 4 or so inches too short in the wheelbase, and the unit-body new Beetle would be difficult to mount well on it. I think I’d consider taking just the engine, transaxle, and possibly frame fork from the original Beetle and implanting them (lower) in the New Beetle’s body/frame. This would be tricky, but I think achievable.

Plus, you could make a twin-engined Beetle like the 2CV Sahara, if you wanted to make your back seat into a gas tank, too!

Still, I am a bit disspointed this is just a Photoshop. Oh well.