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VW Beetle clocks 330km/h on Bonneville flats


The Volkswagen (VW) Beetle is arguably one of the most successful stories of motoring history, if not the outright winner. It's production spanned 65 years and over 21.5 million were produced. That's some feat.

But perhaps even more impressive is making a Beetle capable of 330km/h. Granted it's not the original one, but VW's more recent recreation that's based on the Golf platform. Regardless, 330km/h is eye wateringly quick. So here's how and where they did it.

Sporting VW's EA888 four-cylinder motor, a bunch of specialists at THR Manufacturing gave the 2.0-litre powerplant a new turbocharger, pistons, camshafts and connecting rods to up power and keep the thing from melting all its internals. The result is 407kW and 570 torques. To give some perspective, that's about the same as a Ferrari 458.

"The Beetle is not the most aerodynamic car in our portfolio, so running 205 mph is a testament to the power that can be made from the EA888 TSI four-cylinder engine," said VW's Dr Hendrik Muth.

Then VW themselves got hold of the rest of the car, lowering the suspension, fitting better wheels and tyres, and stripping out the interior and filling it with bits of scaffolding in the hopes of protecting the poor soul who was to drive this thing.

That brave man was Preston Lerner in who's hands the VW clocked 330,18 km/h on the salt flats of Bonneville in Utah, making it comfortably the quickest Beetle in human history, even outstripping old Herbie.

"Exceeding 200 miles per hour in the Beetle LSR was a serious thrill," said Lerner afterwards.

"We had enough power to go even faster if the salt hadn't been so sketchy. But seeing 208 miles per hour briefly on the digital readout was an experience I'll never forget."

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