1960 Volkswagen Beetle

Nicknamed the Jade Grenade by our friend Matt ‘the Mechanic’ (who is not a mechanic), our 1960 sliding ragtop Volkswagen Beetle is our period-correct 1960s VW / Porsche hot rod. The hue is actually called Ceramic Green, and minus a few touch ups here and there it is wearing factory paint, trim, interior and 50-plus years worth of hard-earned patina. 

Another friend of the shop actually found this car for sale online and purchased it in nearby Northern Virginia. Originally a Texas car from a military owner, and in extremely good overall condition as far as corrosion, the plan was for a full restoration. Luckily for us the project stalled and we received a call to come pick up the pieces before anything had been touched beyond initial disassembly. 

We put the body back on the pan, reinstalled the fenders, doors and various interior pieces which had been scattered around and for a short time, the original engine out of our Porsche Bus motivated our homely Beetle. The original split case crash-box transmission began to give us problems on our way to an event and so we decided to start the hot-rodding process. 

The Jade Grenade now has a 1750cc big-bore Porsche 356 engine (originally a 1600 normal from an early 1960s coupe) along with a significantly more stout Rancho Pro Street transmission and Porsche 356B brakes all around, plus a dual circuit master cylinder. Upgraded 12v electrics and an adjustable front beam with a big front sway bar round out the changes. 

All-in-all, a simple, pure and amazingly fun to drive hot rod Beetle. It’s not the fastest car or the prettiest, but it’s definitely one of the most loved. 

-Chassis: All-original 1960 Volkswagen Beetle, factory sliding ragtop car w/ original interior, radio, accessories, paint, converted to 12v electrics.

-Drivetrain: 1600 Porsche 616/1 356 engine, big bore 1750cc kit w/ 86mm pistons, ported heads, mild sport camshaft, dual Zenith ‘Super’ carburetors, lightweight aluminum oil cooler (for improved thermal efficiency), extractor exhaust, Rancho Pro Street 4-speed tunnel type transmission w/ welded 3rd / 4th synchros and 3.88 ring and pinion, new bearings & synchros, Porsche clutch, electric fuel pump.

-Suspension: Lowered all around, big front sway bar, adjustable front beam.

-Brakes:  Dual circuit master cylinder w/ 356B aluminum drums all around.

-Wheels: 15×5.5″ Porsche replicas w/ 205/60 R15 tires.

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