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Take one air-cooled Beetle, add a Type 3 Squareback engine with crank-driven cooling fan, stir in a differential set up for drag racing, and then mix in a draw-through turbocharger setup. Bake for a weekend on the Buttonwillow Raceway track. End result: a race car that can’t get cooling air to the engine, stuffs 12 pounds of boost into hardware that was stressed out at about 45 horsepower, and redlines the tach at any speed above a brisk walk. In other words, the ideal 24 Hours of LeMons car!
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The team had some sort of toxic-waste theme, or maybe they were supposed to be aliens.
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It was impossible to tell, because their giant full-body condoms made any sort of communication impossible.
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We’re not particularly skeptical about a rig like this when we see it on a VW air-cooled engine, since we know it’s no threat to run away with the race; an E30 team with this setup would be sweated for incontrovertible proof that the whole mess was assembled within the $500 budget limit. Hey, what happens when the carburetor leans out at full throttle?
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As it turned out, the Team-ing With Bad Ideas Beetle didn’t overheat, nor did it burn holes in all the pistons, shoot rods into the next area code, or simply disappear in a giant fireball. What did happen was a contact incident that destroyed one of the tall rear tires, which meant that the team had to install smaller-diameter tires, which exacerbated the screamin’-engine revs problem. Still, Team-ing With Bad Ideas didn’t give up!
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That is, they didn’t give up until something terrible happened with the engine. Turns out that all the 7,000 RPM madness caused some of the cylinder head nuts (that’s right, nuts) to back out, with predictably unpleasant results.
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The team then spent the rest of the weekend beating their heads against the immovable object that is a broken ghettocharged Volkswagen engine. Seven total laps, 162nd place out of 173… and Legend of LeMons status!
Top photograph by Nick Pon

9 Responses to “Many Terrible Ideas Merge To Form One Great Race Car: the Ghettocharged Team-ing With Bad Ideas Beetle”

  1. Allan

    *slow clap*

  2. mechimike

    mmmm…air cooled forced induction. Always a good idea for an endurance race!

  3. Mad_Science

    Some day…some day someone will bring an air-cooled VW that doesn’t suck to LeMons.

  4. Crazy Mike

    Oh, we’re working on it, trust me. That’s why we’re team-ing with bad ideas!

    Our future: 1) taller diff. 2) re-work turbo for boost that won’t put us in orbit. 3) re-route waste-gate exit to even more unique location 4) Rev limiter 5) Bumpers! Big bumpers - as in don’t-hit-me-in-the-turbo sort of protection. 6) Quick-Change spare engine(s)

    Somehow I think we’ll end up here on the Murilee blog again…

  5. Archbishop Smith

    When we entered our Bug at LeMons in Altamont we brought a spare engine. We brought a spare everything except the one thing that failed. The right rear wheel takes a lot of pressure and it sheered off.

    We were making jokes about using a leaf blower as a supercharger but in your case, use it as a cooling fan.

    I looked around and found a picture of the Drunken Monkey bug. We had a great cage that went in front of the front wheels and we found a stinger and an engine cage at Pick n Pull.

  6. theeastbaykid

    In the last photo, it should be noted that the Beetle is NOT the turbocharged, carbureted car creating the giant smoke cloud. That would be Spank’s Mini.

  7. Crazy Mike

    And yeah, that would be Spank’s Turbocharged carbureted draw-through Mini…

  8. Little Buckaroo

    Post after Mike’s:
    I think the diff depends on the track and horse power. I have ran a few different combo’s and I really think you have to dial it in for where your at. The hills on the Colorado track made a huge differnce. Not sure what you guys ran but anything over a 4.12 stock ring and you will have no top end. Dump the rearend and cage it easier… Love to get some details about the turbo though, I’m working on one for my Baja Bug.
    Archbishop Smith:
    We sheard the drum out during the Houston 2009 Race. I alwasy tighten the things with an impact as tight as it will go. I have also found if you can score German Drums it lasts a ton longer.

    I love the pics, looks like you guys had a great time. We need more Air Cooled Cars in Lemons Events.

    Little Buckaroo

  9. Crazy Mike

    Hey Buckaroo - I’ve gone over that calcs and for where I am two of three tracks are good-to-go with the stock 4.13… the other one might be better a wee lower, but there is always opting not to shift to fourth. that unknown is, well, unknown.

    For those of you looking to see this fine automobile on track again - it will gain in aesthetic value! It will have BUMPERS next time! Finally procured a ratty set of over over-rider types that will make the car look showroom new!

    Also, chatted with a reputable shop re turbo - THEY say I am not crazy, but also end with “let us know how that works out”… Chromo studs and copper cylinder gaskets. 12psi should be OK at 93 oct, but 7-10 was an agreed upon sanity check.

    Last plan - I scored TWO 1600dp’s from a barnyard for $100 - I’m making at least one extra engine (n.a.) to do quick-swap if need be.

    the team *really* thinks this platform has potential ;-)

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