It might not be able to call on quite as much power as its bigger, more illustrious brother, but Max Edwards’ Apple Beetle remains one of the most unique air-cooled VWs in the UK.
Have you ever noticed that, historically speaking at least, the bad things in life produced the best and most iconic race and rally liveries? It’s impossible to think of motor racing in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s without picturing John Player Special-bedecked Lotus 78s, Martini-clad Lancia Delta Integrales and McLaren MP4/4s in Marlboro war paint. Thing is, there are all manner of other, less well-known liveries from motorsport’s golden era that didn’t promote fags and booze, yet still looked amazing. And perhaps the best of all was the Apple Computers Porsche 935 K3 of 1980.
Hard as it might be to believe nowadays, Apple was once the rogue outsider, the plucky, technologically gifted upstart with its roots firmly in ’60s counter culture revolution. Which of course made it the ideal choice to sponsor the immense, flame-spitting 935, complete with a 750bhp twin-turbo flat-six slung out the back! Steve Jobs was very much a Porsche man in the ’80s and clearly had a thing for Le Mans, hence why the Apple-clad Porsche could be seen monstering the Mulsanne Straight in the summer of 1980 (until it retired with a melted piston of course).
All of which leads to the VW Beetle you see before you. No, it doesn’t have a monstrous Porsche flat-six where its air-cooled four-pot should be. And, no, it hasn’t been built to take on all comers at the most gruelling race in the world. What it is, is a tribute act. One built by a passionate Porsche fan without the six-figure budget needed for the real McCoy.
“The Beetle is actually my first car. I bought it six years ago and haven’t looked back,” recalls Max. “It was a tidy if not exactly immaculate car back then. It was structurally solid in all the important areas, but the interior was rough… a bit of a rolling resto.”
Max used the car on a daily basis for a good two years, adding parts as he went and generally trying his best to keep on top of the inevitable issues which arise from running a near 40-year-old car as a daily driver. Along the way he treated the Bug to a slew of engine tuning mods, using the 1641cc engine as his starting point. The motor eventually gained a chunky fast road cam, a lightened and balanced bottom end, larger carbs and a free-flowing exhaust system, enough to give the Wolfsburg icon a new lease of life and enable it to hold its own in the hurly-burly of modern traffic.
“I took the car off the road at the end of 2013 and began a complete strip-down. It wasn’t that bad bodywork wise, but I wanted to ensure it would be good, solid car for years to come. And I hated the idea of it needing welding for each and every MoT and winding up as a patchwork quilt of a car.”
A desire to turn the Beetle into a fully paid-up showstopper kicked in, hence why Max had the whole shell powder-coated. He also invested…
Want to know more? Check out the full feature on Max Edwards’ Apple Beetle in Fast Car magazine issue 388 on sale now in all good shops, the Fast Car online shop or alternatively download Fast Car magazine 388 now.