Dude's 1969 Drag Car - "Dude's Beetle"

The concept! Welding done, and trial build finished,. Time for paint! The concept! The concept!

Dude's Beetle was a mostly home built VW engined drag car which I raced in the Volkswagen Drag Racing Club's (VWDRC) pro class. The car was originally my daily drive, but over the year a few upgrades turned into an all out race car! The car progressed massively over the years, starting off with a stock 1600cc engine, and finally ending up with a larger capacity 1914cc engine with a 50bhp of nitrous, turning out 175bhp at the wheels. This cumulated in a best ET of 11.82 at 115mph at Shakespeare County Raceway!

In order to finish the ragtop the car was sold to a good friend of mine, Graham 'Lead Foot' White, who is in the proccess of changing the car into a vintage gasser style racer!

Gasser! Gasser! Gasser! Gasser!

The car

Welding done, and trial build finished,. Time for paint! The concept! The concept!

The car was a 1969 Volkswagen Beetle. It had been lightened extensively, with a pre 67 fibreglass flip front (the flip front is actually off the ex Cardiff based drag car 'Mikes Beetle' which influenced the 'Dude's Beetle' name), race weight fibreglass doors, rear removable fibreglass wings and engine lid, and plexi glass windows .The rear wheel inner arches were also removed for better access to engine and gearbox (and to reduce weight), and power 'kill switch' mounted in the front scuttle. Paint was done by Phil (ex Autobodyworxs).

Roll cage/ interior


An 8 point roll cage was fitted by Jim Smith at Cotsweld (rear bar, door bars and window net, tied into frame forks, and beam).

Inside the car there was a single drivers bucket seat with 5 point Simpsons harness, aluminium door and quarter panels, custom made access hatch allowing full access to gearbox, Autometer monster tach and shift light, oil temperature and pressure gauges, drilled handbrake (converted to a staging brake) and drilled pedals.



The engine was a relatively small 1914cc engine (built by Jim at Stateside Tuning) with a 50hp of nitrous. Engine specs were:

  • 69mm balanced, counterweighted and 8 doweled crank
  • SCAT H beam rods
  • lightened flywheel
  • KEP 1700lb clutch
  • Magnum 044 heads (39mm intakes and 35.5mm exhaust) with dual HD valve springs (ported and polished by JMR)
  • 130 Engle cam with straight cut gears
  • standard rockers on Autocraft bolt up shaft with swivel foot Porsche style tappets
  • 48 IDA carbs
  • Phoenix 1 5/8 merged header exhaust with stinger
  • 2.5ltr CB deep sump

Fuel/ nitrous system


Fuel was kept in a Jazz racing fuel cell underneath the flip front. It was delivered by a Holley black fuel pump, The nitrous system was controlled by a Twisted Sanity nitrous control system, and included Dynotune nitrous fogger injectors, NOS solenoids and Dynotune purge valve.

Ignition system


The ignition system was all MSD, consisting of a MSD 6AL control unit and distributor, with a fully programmable 3 step controlling for burn out, launch and top end RPM.



The original gearbox was a unit built by BERG as campaigned in the well known UK drag car 'Beatleguise'. However due to wear and tear this was rebuilt by Bears Motorsport. This used a Rhino gearbox case with BERG internals, including close ration gears, aluminium spool, and short race axles.



Lowered at front with Bugpack shocks, 2 pairs of caster shims, and limiting straps to help weight transfer. Stock height at rear with up rated torsion bars, up-rated spring plates, spring plate retainers, and Bugpack shocks.

Brakes and wheels


VW disc brakes were used at the front and rear Type 3 drums at the back. A HURST linelock was used to hold the car in the burn out box.

Wheels we raceweight Ercho wheels (4.5" at front, 6" at the back), with 135 low profile tyres at the front, 6" M&H Racemaster slicks at the back.