GT Beetle

OK this is an old hypothetical but what do you think Volkswagen should have done before putting a GT badge on a Beetle. What they actually did was take a 1300cc swing axle Beetle and put in a 1600cc engine, added disc brakes and some velour upholstery - quite nice but hardly a GT.
Remember that VW would actually have to sell the car to Joe Bloggs in the showroom, so 2007cc turbo’d doesn’t work as a marketing ploy. VW would be looking around to use off the shelf parts. I know what I think, but what do you think that Volkswagen could have sensibly and realistically done in 1973 to create the GT vervion of the Beetle.

I think different wheels to start, but of the vintage. Leather interior perhaps. Mechanically, well that is a fairly big one, but obviously areas that come to mind (thinking of what things were added to make GT’s in 1973). Altered exhaust. perhaps modified heads, tuned suspesion and a cassette player :smiley:


Not too sure but didn’t they release the type 4 engine around 1973, now that would have been a start. Followed on with some uprated antiroll bars and IRS rear would have been the business…


Well let’s not forget that VW had already pioneered multi point fuel injection on the type3 and type 4 by '73 so it wouldn’t have taken too much to make a “GTI” beetle back then, lets face it the golf GTI wasn’t too far down the line after the GT Beetle. And if they had really made the effort an upright cooled, fuel injected type 4 wouldn’t have been out of the question. Of course this would have had to have been coupled up with the IRS rear end, maybe type 3 rear brakes, big type 4 brake callipers up front and some sort of up-rated shocks / anti roll bars. Hmmm, I feel a future project in the making!
Perhaps if VW’s GTI inspiration had hit a few years earlier then the whole development of cars since would have been much different!

Handling wise, the most basic ‘GT Beetle’ should at least have had IRS & rear anti-roll bar, with an uprated anti-roll bar up front.
Performance wise, I’m sure they could have spared an extra Solex to make the 1600 a twin-carb motor.
The ‘GTi Beetle’ as suggested by Kenny could have been an even higher spec animal altogether…

gt beetle just look round the club alex 1966 rob 1966 keith 1776 me 2.1 twin turbo ~( well soon)

Having had a good look at the current crop of kids in their “modern” cars, VW would have done well to have had a crystal ball and looked into the early 21st century. Obviously, knowing what we know now, what you actually need for a truly fast and stylish car has nothing to do with engines or suspension…

Here’s what you need:

1 large spoiler on the back, the bigger the better, you can never have too much downforce
1 large diffuser on the front… see earlier comment about downforce
Scoops on the bonnet are obligatory, whether your engine under it or not
4 Large wheels with rubber bands round them… the larger the better, let’s face it, you’ll be too cool to need to go round corners
1 kickass ICE system, preferably one that could drown out the pyramid stage at Glastonbury… oh, with Playstations and DVDs, obviously
1 large sunstrip across the front windscreen, this should obscure no less than 50% of the whole screen - putting the manufacturer’s name across the front should be worth a few extra horsepower, I’m sure
1 centrally-mounted windscreen wiper… to save weight
At least one extra set of fog/driving lights… but don’t bother with a switch for them (save weight) 'cause you’ll never switch them off
While we’re talking weight saving, remember to remove all badges and identifying marks so that the public think you’ve got an expensive, custom-made bespoke vehicle rather than a Nova or Beetle… For extra exclusivity, add a “limited edition” sticker to the rear
Under car neons… so you look like you’re driving at the speed of light - blacking out your side and rear windows makes your car look even faster
Lexus-style rear lights should add a few extra mph to your top speed
Don’t forget your decal shopping list of “must have (when I can afford them) but don’t actually have yet” parts down each front door or the front wings

That’s all I can think of off the top of my head but I’m sure that if you added all of this stuff you your Beetle you’d have the best “GT” possible… and VW would be jealous as hell.


Yep, Ni, you’ve defo got a point! I guess we can be grateful they never had that crystal ball at Wolfsburg HQ back in the day and carried on pushing the basically stock Beetle with various go fast factory accessories such as a ‘GT Beetle’ badge on the back, and er, different pattern steel wheels.
However, we can also be much more grateful that when it comes to customising the Bug nowadays, we have a better understanding of what the spirit of ‘GT’ really means, and can leave our Bug bodies relatively stock whilst going to town on the chassis & engine mods!
Does anyone else think the new NASCAR Herbie rocks? I do, with one proviso. It’s gotta kick out 200+ horses to back the looks! B)

Suppose we’ve been spoilt by choice and not thinking so much of what could really be done with VW supplied parts… thinking about off the shelf parts from other suppliers might be the answer - for instance:

not sure if the VW -Porsche partnership would’ve been close enough in '73, but new edition of Ultra VW had pics of a bug that’d qualify - 1969 bug that had been fitted with 912 engine, early 911 transmission and rear brakes and 356 discs up front - all put together back in 71 (with stock looking exterior and wheels - bit of a sleeper!)

Would of been a pretty sweet period option - but probably more in the Lotus Cortina bracket rather than GT… along the same lines a Porsche-Ghia would be really sweet with a flat 6 option!

Well put Martin!
I guess the VW-Porsche 914 & 916 were the true GTVWs of their day - big motor and mid-engined, but only had two seats and limited luggage space.
A GT Beetle could at least have had the 2 litre type 4 914 engine and four seats, but somehow I don’t think VW would have considered putting the engine in front of the gearbox too - can you imagine the re-engineering of the Beetle chassis required for that?!
How’s yer carbs and engine getting on anyway? :rolleyes:

Peter Noad’s ‘Retro’ page in July’s VolksWorld makes some interesting reading!
Never knew this SP 1600 version existed as an official factory special edition, but then it was only the lucky South Africans who got it!
Still, you only got a slight increase in power from the twin carbs and ‘free-flow’ exhaust, and it only had single circuit brakes (probably drum all round too as discs aren’t even mentioned!)
All seems a bit lame compared to what VW could have achieved performance & handling wise…
One thing I noticed with amusement was the sloping wing adaptors for the ‘football / elephant’s foot’ rear lights. I had these on my 1303S thanks to a SA student friend who brought a pair back from a Jo’burg scrappy. :slight_smile:
Not the prettiest way to keep a 1303 looking ‘correct’ from the back, but with 2" wider UVA fibreglass wings that didn’t have the shaped cut-out for these lights, they worked, and were certainly rare in the UK!

You could play “what if” and “if only” until the cows come home with this one… In fact, the cows DID come home here at the weekend but thats another story.

VW could have built quite a tasty Beetle by raiding their own parts bin. Here’s my (realistic for 1973) take:

1600cc lump with twin carbs or injection from the Type3. Sports exhaust? Warmed up camshaft & heads? The Type4 lump was around but I reckon VW were too conservative to have used it in the Beetle.
Balljoint/IRS floorpan with front disc brakes and larger Type3 rear drums.
3.88:1 diff with a ZF LSD.
5.5" x 15" wheels, maybe alloys? 175/75 Michelin XWX tyres.
Bilstein sport shocks.
Stiffer rubber used for engine/trans mounts & suspension bushes.
They could also have fiddled with the ride height, used stiffer front leaves & rear torsion bars and applied anti-roll bar tweakery front & rear?
“Sports” interior trim: steering wheel, seats, gearknob. Special materials & colourways.
Extra instruments: Tacho, oil temp, volts etc. Speedo with tripmeter. Quickshift kit. 8 track!
Tinted glass with top-tint, rear pop-outs.
Heated rear screen, electric blower fan for windscreen.
H4 headlamps, reversing lights. (its good to see)
Kamei front airdam & rear engine lid vent cover.

Ok, ok. They would NEVER have built it due to price issues. 70bhp at best but with all the other tweaks would have been a WEAPON in the right hands!

8-track as standard! - why aren’t you workin’ for Volkswagen’s marketing department?
Excellent spec all round, doesn’t look too pricey either.
Might be strugling a bit on power, never mind just turn up the volume on Deep Purple…“Smoke on the water…da…da…da… daa… da… di…da…da… daa…”

Gettin’ a bit misty eyed for a slab of old skool auto lo-fi aren’t we? I seem to remember pretending to help my Dad wire up a PYE auto-reverse cassette deck to our 411LE back in erly 70’s. That wis cuttin’ edge back then - wee plastic music databases with the equivalent mp3 capacity of a 40MB memory stick - and with the push of a button, you could instantly listen to side B of the home-recorded album! Mind you, early ELO & Fleetwood Mac weren’t quite as ROCK as the’Purple…! :axe

Turn up Volume,

Click link

lo-fi indeed :axe

You pair of hairy old hippies, you!

Alex, EARLY Fleetwood Mac kicked major arse…

I can’t help about the shape I’m in
I can’t sing, I ain’t pretty and my legs are thin,
But don’t ask me what I think of you
I might not give the answer that you want me to…
Oh well… :slight_smile:

Or possibly “Born to Run”

Nick - 2005-05-19 9:24 AM
Alex, EARLY Fleetwood Mac kicked major arse…

Peter Green = legend!

Getting back to VW SA; Don’t you just love those crazy guys there! I didn’t know about the featured car model either but it’s just typical of VWSA. Not only would that car have had single circuit drum brakes on it but we’re talking 5stud drums and don’t forget the king and link suspension!
Another model that VWSA came up with (and I think may still be in production) that always makes me smile is the T25 van with the VR6 motor in the back, boy would I love to get my hands on one of those bad boys!
Does anyone else know of other VWSA “engine tunnel vision” models?