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Electric Powered Beetle Rips Across the Drag Strip

The Black Current III, as it’s called in the United Kingdom, first entered into the publics attention when it showed up to the Santapod Raceway. Appearing up at the starting line in a modified 1965 VW Beetle chassis and frame, it looked very similar to other Beetle dragsters which had been making a resurgence. The original 1965 Volkswagen Beetle was made from the floor up to be an economy car ideal for commuting. Though its engineers at Volkswagen would claim it was made for sustained high speeds on the autobahn, most markets had no need at that time for a European competitor to the muscle car. Plus, in its small, compact package size – it was far ahead of the trend of compacts as racing vehicles.

Initial Successes on the Racetrack

When the classic Beetle first stepped onto the racetrack in 1951, it was equipped with a 1.3 L diesel engine. Not at all turbocharged, it still managed to turn heads at Nürburgring when it made it from 0-60 mph in 60 seconds. While that’s a yawn-able feat by the 1960s, it did show that a resilient, smaller form factor could still get up and go – which was ideal for the marketplace Volkswagen was looking to gain international renown.

By the time 1965 rolled around, the Volkswagen Beetle was built with an engine that could displace much larger volumes. It’s new engine had the equivalent of 50 hp and 78 lb ft of torque at 4,200 rpm. When compared to present day mopeds, the Beetle was right on track. Beetles really didn’t get teeth until 1975 when Volkswagen began experimenting with fuel injection systems. The Bosch L-Jetronic became the first air-cooled fuel injection system used on the Beetles and gave it considerably more power. However, because the VW Beetle had great rearward weight distribution, it started to be a pet project car for drag racing enthusiasts, off-roading competitors, and European rallycross.

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Taking out the classic Type III engine and fuel injection system and rebuilding from the frame up, the team that built it was looking to break previously held drag racing records