You can tell it's going to be a cold winter here in Nebraska. The wind is thick with it, sweeping across the cornfields. It all matches pace with the dotted white clouds, running way out to the horizon line. And I'm sitting in a stripped and caged Super Beetle, two carburetors about to roar away behind me.
I'm at the SCCA Rallycross Nationals. Today was tech inspection, registration, practice and scrutineering. I'm here thanks to the Nebraska Region SCCA and Doug Leibman, sharing the driver's seat of his prepped 1971 Super Beetle. Here's a quick rundown of the car:
It's built for affordable, reliable power. This means two simple carbs, a new flywheel and timing pulley, and nothing new inside the engine itself. It runs and idles sweetly without any problems. The stinger exhaust sounds like it should.
The suspension is tight. The front is an inch lower than stock, its shocks adjustable. There are swaybars front and rear. There are no swing arms in the back — post-'68 Beetles have a more sophisticated independent rear suspension and all Super Beetles have MacPherson struts up front. The bushings are urethane. Or polyurethane. Or whatever you call them. It's a stiff little Bug.
The transmission is ultra slick. The engine is mounted solid to the chassis with no rubber and there's no slack in the rebuilt shift linkage, so the little four-speed is perfectly deliberate and direct.
The handling is fantastic. Set the car up at the right speed for a corner (as Doug can) and the car is totally adjustable, nipping in and out of the line with your throttle. As the corner opens into a little straight, the thing just sits and shoots you down the course.
As I said, the only driving done today was a few practice laps. Tomorrow morning (Saturday), business starts in earnest at I-80 Speedway outside of Omaha and continues on Sunday. Look for two loons in the yellow Bug.
Photo Credits: Raphael Orlove