The Rrrrrrrrrrrreturn Of Herbie

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Volkswagen personnel at the LA Auto Show is intently studying reactions to a Beetle with possibly 270 hp. After all, it was public reaction at the 1994 NAIAS that brought the New Beetle to life. Originally, it was meant as a lark, but enthusiasts pounded the table until the car was made. It suffered the fate of cars powered by enthusiasts: An initial pop, then declining numbers. On display in LA is what they call the “Beetle R Concept.”

Careful: This is NOT the 2012 Beetle Turbo as tested by Jack Baruth. If they ever build the Rrrrrr model (and the ooohs and aaahs in LAhhhhh will influence that), it will come with an impressive added oomph. Nothing is known about the motorization of the brawny bug, but Volkswagen’s press department offers-up enough material for educated guesses:

“At Volkswagen, the letter ‘R’ as an added identifier promises top-notch performance. Currently, this claim is being validated with turbo pressure by the Golf R with 199 kW / 270 PS of power and the Scirocco R (currently only in Europe) with 195 kW / 265 PS. As an ‘R’, the Beetle could demonstrate a performance potential similar to that of the Golf R and Scirocco R.”

Well duh, all three are based on the same platform. All it needed were extra air intakes for the blower and a rear spoiler that is “significantly larger than the one on Beetle production models with up to 200 PS in power” to generate the required “ideal downforce values.”



Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Andy D Andy D on Nov 21, 2011

    One Labor Day @ Lime Rock, I saw an olde bug sand rail with a watercooled I 4 hanging off the trans axle It was street legal with NY plates on it. Sort of a poor man's Ariel Atom.

  • Mark MacInnis Mark MacInnis on Nov 29, 2011

    Tres butch!

  • MaintenanceCosts You expect everything on Amazon and eBay to be fake, but it's a shame to see fake stuff on Summit Racing. Glad they pulled it.
  • SCE to AUX 08 Rabbit (college car, 128k miles): Everything is expensive and difficult to repair. Bought it several years ago as a favor to a friend leaving the country. I outsourced the clutch ($1200), but I did all other work. Ignition switch, all calipers, pads, rotors, A/C compressor, blower fan, cooling fan, plugs and coils, belts and tensioners, 3 flat tires (nails), and on and on.19 Ioniq EV (66k miles): 12V battery, wipers, 1 set of tires, cabin air filter, new pads and rotors at 15k miles since the factory ones wore funny, 1 qt of reduction gear oil. Insurance is cheap. It costs me nearly nothing to drive it.22 Santa Fe (22k miles): Nothing yet, except oil changes. I dread having to buy tires.
  • AZFelix 2015 Sonata Limited72k when purchased, 176k miles currentlyI perform all maintenance and repairs except for alignment, tire mounting, tire patching, and glass work (tint and passenger left due to rock hit). Most parts purchased through rockauto.com.Maintenance and repairs during three years of ownership:Front rotors and all brake pads upgraded shortly after purchase.Preparing for 17th oil change (full synthetic plus filter c.$50), one PCV valve.Timing & accessory belts, belt tensioner.Coolant full flush and change.Fibrous plastic material engine under tray replaced by aftermarket solid plastic piece $110.One set of tires (c.$500 +installation) plus two replacements and a number of patches due to nails, etc. Second set coming soon.Hood struts $30.Front struts, rear shocks, plus sway bar links, front ball joints, tie rod ends, right CV axle (large rock on freeway damaged it and I took the opportunity to redo the rest of items on this list).Battery c.$260.Two sets of spark plugs @ $50/set.Three sets of cabin and engine filters.Valve cover gasket (next week).Averages out to c.$1400 per year for the past three years. Minor driver seat bolster wear, front rock chips, and assorted dents & dings but otherwise looks and drives very well.
  • 3-On-The-Tree 2014 Ford F150 Ecoboost 3.5L. By 80,000mi I had to have the rear main oil seal replaced twice. Driver side turbo leaking had to have all hoses replaced. Passenger side turbo had to be completely replaced. Engine timing chain front cover leak had to be replaced. Transmission front pump leak had to be removed and replaced. Ford renewed my faith in Extended warranty’s because luckily I had one and used it to the fullest. Sold that truck on caravan and got me a 2021 Tundra Crewmax 4x4. Not a fan of turbos and I will never own a Ford again much less cars with turbos to include newer Toyotas. And I’m a Toyota guy.
  • Duke Woolworth Weight 4800# as I recall.
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