Durban - The air-cooled Volkswagen Beetle is undoubtedly one of the most personable classic cars still to grace our motorways.

Its reputation for economy and reliability has carved it a place in automotive history, with more than 21 million made since the start of production in the 1930s.

I stumbled across this example through a personal inquiry about a classic vehicle put up for sale by its owner, 20-year-old BCom student Laeeq Mohamed, an Overport resident and air-cooled Volkswagen enthusiast.

I was impressed to discover that Mohamed also owned another feature-worthy vehicle, a tastefully upgraded, classic gloss-black 1966 Beetle. He and his father bought it as a “scrap” project and put it through a full “nuts and bolts” restoration that took the better part of three years.

“It was a slow project which ended in 2014," he said, "but as all petrol-heads know there’s no ‘end’ to cars.” 

They replaced the laid-back original 1300 flat four with a 1600 twin-port engine, and added a Dellorto 36 IDF down-draught carburettor, Bosch 009 electronic distributor, gas-flowed intake and heads and a customised four-into-one exhaust system with a Phat boy tailpipe.

Mohamed commissioned the building of a 2.2-litre performance engine, which has just been completed and is awaiting installation.

“Almost all the trim has been replaced with new,” he said.

His Beetle has lowered suspension, using customised adjusters welded in to mimic the effect of a set of coil-over lowering springs. The effect is enhanced by a set of customised original rims painted bright red and shod with 165 OEM-spec 15 inch tyres with white walls, giving an era-appropriate look.

The interior includes customised re-covered red leather seats and door pads. There’s a gloss-black dash, red carpets and an MPH sports steering wheel - a temporary fitting while the original is restored.

Mohamed thanked Marian Motor Spares & Accessories, Reo’s Driving School, Infinite Detailing, Piper Racing Exhaust Specialists, Loco Vochos Car Club and Autotrix Motorsport - but he wouldn't say how much he'd spent on this car.

The Herald

Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter