Words: Nicholas Farrington / Photos: Ronald Veth
Air-cooled Beetles have something about them that just seems so natural; regardless of their condition.
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They have amazing appeal restored back to pristine showroom condition, speeding down the quarter mile, or completely rusted out with aggressive fitment.
The beetle can do all of that and more. The rusted look has been imitated in the new age car community for quite some time now, but nothing compares to what Mother Nature and some time laying around in field or kept in a shed for many years can do to a car; until the moment when that vehicle has been spotted and saved from an eternal death
Barn finds like Erik van den Heuvel’s air cooled Beetle show our community that the ugly can be beautiful in their own way.
Erik, a 28 year old from The Netherlands stumbled upon this Volkswagen in a shed in Denmark about a year ago. Once he obtained the bug, he decided to take the route and keep the car in its appearance as it was found in.
He wanted to have that patina that cannot be achieved by “faking it”, but have the car in perfect operating condition. Van den Heuvel overhauled the chassis to make this gem drivable, including a 1500cc engine to climb up to cruising speeds.
After the mechanical bugs were worked out, it was time to tackle the killer stance of this beetle. It has been achieved by creating a smaller front axle with height adjustment, a cambered rear axle (which happens to be his favorite part of the car); 6J wide wheels wrapped in white wall tires and finished off with the original hub caps. His inspiration for the project has come from the ratlook that has transpired over many car groups.
When asked how pleased he was with the bug in its current state, he rated it a 10 out of 10, and then continued to state that his largest obstacle with this car was his inability to get it on jacks.
He is his own biggest critic so if he didn’t like something, he’d change it in a heartbeat. We asked Erik if he allows people to drive his car, and he simply stated “if they dare to.”
Van den Heuvel lives by the motto that “Old bugs never die” and this old VW lives up to that testament. He would like to thank Ruben Rietdijk, Marko van der Want for helping assist on the build.
The only thing this Beetle has in store for its future is to be cared and loved for by Erik and remains as it was found.