The VW Bug’s Great Horsepower Chase

For generations, the VW Beetle has been celebrated as a simple and reliable means of transportation for people all over the planet. While the Beetle’s engine displacement steadily grew from 1100cc to nearly 1600cc (and, in turn, its power output doubled during the car’s life), the car was never thought of as a “performance car,” at least as it came direct from the factory. Despite its lightweight, the Beetle was always characterized as a “slow” performer. With less than 60 SAE horsepower, its lack of performance is not surprising.

In the 1960s, however, a few individuals looked beyond the Bug’s meager performance. Individuals such as Dean Lowry, Darrel Vittone and Gene Berg found that the VW’s flat four was extremely accepting of performance modifications. In the case of Lowry and Vittone, by the mid ’60’s these two became notorious for building and campaigning the most famous VW drag sedan of all time, EMPI’s “Inch Pincher.” Though it vaguely resembled the same Beetle that was available at the local VW dealer, eventually the “Inch Pincher” was making FOUR times the stock Beetle’s horsepower, topping 200hp. This was enough to push the car to a quarter mile e/t of less than twelve seconds. The VW had become a serious… read more >

Mr. Bug 1973 Vintage Men’s T-Shirt

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