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VW Rat Rod Pick-Up

VW Rat Rod Pick-Up

Posted by Glenn Rowswell on 23rd November 2012

Rat Rod VW Beetle
Dave Johnston’s VW Rat Rod Pick-Up

It’s okay, you’re 100-percent right to stare at this wacky beast. It hasn’t always looked this rustic though; there’s been plenty of work involved to get it to this rat rod to it’s impeccable rusty standard.
Rat Rod VW Beetle
You see, when Dave first appeared at the famous VW Run To The Sun, this particular little Bug looked almost the same as when it left the factory. Although, to be fair, by now the paint job was a bit on the tired side. The only thing for it was a complete overhaul on the side of the road and, as it turned out, the result was a thoroughly bonkers Tiki-inspired style.
Rat Rod VW Beetle

With the carpet ripped out Dave chucked sand down instead and after poking some palm trees out of the windows and a surfboard out the back, found the Newquay crowds were impressed with the Bug’s new found beach-style craziness.Rat Rod VW Beetle

Three weeks before the next Run To The Sun, Dave decided to go OTT on the mods. Tossing out the knackered chassis, he ‘borrowed’ a new one from another project and set to work creating this super-sick pick-up. He’d soon braced the shell and slid the body onto the new chassis.
Rat Rod VW Beetle
“I didn’t want to extend the wheelbase like so many Bug-rod owners choose to.” Dave said. Instead, running on pure trial-and-error, he set the cab back by a whole foot while lowering the windscreen pillars at the same time. The whole setup makes this Bug just as unique as any other rod on the planet.
Rat Rod VW Beetle

Luckily Dave owns his own garage and has the extensive fabrication skills to undertake such a task but he wasn’t finished yet, not by a long shot. The faux pick-up bed which houses the wiring loom, 1300cc engine and a one-off two-gallon fuel tank had to be custom made from scratch… and all that was before going anywhere near the front end.Rat Rod VW Beetle

He also spent ages fitting the bonnet but quickly decided his freshly painted suspension looked so trick he took the panels back out again. Controversial but, in our humble opinion, definitely the right decision.
Rat Rod VW Beetle
After re-crafting this whole motor, Dave packed the body off to be sandblasted and headed to B&Q for those all essential styling supplies. Final touches like the decked floor, bamboo trim and a head-height gearstick help complete a stand-out look that’s more Hawaiian than one of Del Boy’s cocktails. Not bad for a little German motor on the streets of Cornwall eh?
Rat Rod VW BeetleRat Rod VW Beetle
1300cc engine unit; 34 Pict-3 carb from 1600cc motor; single-outlet Camper exhaust; modified 10-litre Jerry can fuel tank.

Stock wheelbase chassis; one-inch steel box inner framework. Stock VW wheels, drilled for aluminium Moon discs; cross-ply tyres, 4-inches at the front and 6.70 inches at the rear; front end Sway-A-Way adjusters; rear-end dropped by a single outer spline.

Bamboo accented dash and door tops; beach mat door panels; decked floor; hand-made diamond stitched metalflake vinyl seats; Grant ‘flake steering wheel; modified Scat Dragfast gearstick.

3-inches taken off the bottom of the doors (capped bottoms and tops); modifi ed shock towers for driving lamp mounts; sandblasted metalwork treated with salt water.
Rat Rod VW Beetle