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Porsche Boxster becomes Bugster

2011-04-05 08:38

SUPERBUG: Those side air-intakes just ahead of the substantially extended rear wheel arches tell you this is no mellow custom Beetle…

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Porsche
Model Bugster
Engine 3.2l flat-six
Power 198kW @ 6 250rpm
Transmission Six-speed manual
Zero To Hundred 5 sec
Top Speed 230km/h
Weight 1 089kg
Considering the Porsche family is Austrian, you would expect a faithful following for the brand in the country that gave the world a host of classical musicians and Red Bull.

Despite this, Austrians are not that well-versed in terms of tuning pure Porsche products. One man, Siegfried Rudolf of Hirtenberg-based engineering concern CarMaxx, might just have changed this perception with his recently completed VW family tuning project.

Rudolf’s company specialises in restorations of VW group products, mostly Porsche 911s and air-cooled Beetles.

Unsurprisingly, the idea of converting his immaculate 1973 VW Beetle into an unwittingly quick performance car, courtesy of some Porsche running gear, always appealed to Rudolf and his associates but it was only after his wife parked her Boxster next to his 1973 Beetle that a remarkable similarity became noticeable pertaining to the nearly exact wheelbase dimensions of these two vehicles.

There was no turning back. Project Bugster was born.

The result is that Rudolf’s 1973 Beetle is now powered by a Porsche Boxster engine (hence the name) and features a host of specially fabricated components and much tinkering.


In terms of configuration, the Bugster is not rear-engined, but has its flat-six engine nestled in the middle. Rudolf simply removed the Boxster’s bodywork and dropped the Beetle’s on to the mid-engined Porsche platform, crafting custom fenders (to house its 18" wheels and suspension).

The Beetle’s original door panels and self-winding windows were retained; the cabin architecture is decidedly contemporary, featuring Boxster switchgear and instruments.

BUG IN A HURRY: Most hot hatches will do well to stay on this Bug’s tail. The Boxster’s signature central exhaust gives fair warning…

Running Porsche’s first-generation 3.2-litre Boxster S flat-six at 198kW (Rudolf toyed with the manifold) the Bugster is indecently quick – thanks primarily to its low kerb weight of only 1098kg making the most of that Porsche power.

Rudolf says a 0-100km/h time below five seconds is entirely achievable, top speed is limited to 230km/h by the Beetle’s antiquated aerodynamic profile.

Beyond its timeless Beetle musclecar styling, Rudolf’s Bugster has great appeal in as much as its features a host of contemporary convenience and safety items such as power-assisted steering and anti-lock brakes. Best of all is that the Bugster remains officially registered as a Boxster S, albeit with an inscription denoting its modified structure status on its licence papers.

Dropping air-cooled Porsche 911 engines into Beetles is nothing new but this is the first hybrid Boxster-Beetle we have ever seen. It could be the neatest marriage of the two brands yet.

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