Ohio One Off Volksrod
For twenty years, David Beadling drove his ’74 Baja Bug, and in 2007 chopped it.
From Louisville, Ohio, David Beadling fancied VWs at age 14, when, as he puts it, “I owned a rail buggy so that I could ’cruise’ the neighborhood, with friends that owned them too.” Today, at 60 years old, his V-Dub stable includes a ’59 sunroof Beetle, ’60 Single Cab, ’72 daily driver Bug, ’74 pop-up camper, and what you see here......a ’74 he bought as a Baja Bug in the mid-’80s, and now wows the crowd as a one-of-a-kind Volksrod.
It was in 2007 when a big change was made to the Baja Bug — it received a 5-inch chop by David, along with Greg and Mason Shreve. For a little over a year, David drove his Baja-turned-ratrod, then in January 2009 met-up with Akron, Ohio’s Bruce Main of Mains Motorsports. There, Bruce and his son, Tom, did some serious rework over a seven-month period. With the body off, first they modified the pan with a 6-3/4-inch tranny-raise (lowered the pan via DOM 1-3/4-inch tubing) and raised the front framehead 1-1/2 inches to accommodate an adjustable, installed-by-owner Pegasus 8-inch-wider beam (now with molded and smoothed welds) with 2-inch drop spindles and stock ’74 drum brakes (now with Ford bolt-pattern, thanks to Ron Nemeth of Barberton, Ohio). Spoked wheels are ’34 Ford Kelsey Hayes, 17-inch fronts, 16-inch rears, all shod with Firestone bias-ply tires, 5.00 and 6.50 respectively. Bruce Main fabbed a form-fitting rollcage, not to mention gauge/switch pods rising from the tunnel and into the smoothed-over dash with molded center cutout for the pods. With the body mounted to a special stand, the Mains grafted-in a ’56 rear oval window clip, massaged-in a one-off two-piece windshield, plus side-hinged hood and decklid that slide out prior to opening. During the pan and body rework, the shell was test fitted nearly fifteen times, making sure everything lined-up perfectly. With the completely assembled 1915cc engine (and trans) in place, and the body temporarily on, Bruce cut two holes in the decklid, and trimmed them accordingly to clear the exhaust pipes and alternator/pulley, due to the extreme tranny raise.
Once the pan and suspension were up to par, and a roller, Mains Motorsports got the bodywork smooth and prepped for paint. With the 3-piece bolt-in roll cage off the pan, Bruce sprayed it with BASF Diamont Mixing Red, followed by clear urethane, the same two-stage system he used for the car’s interior sheet metal. As soon as the body was on the pan for the final time, Bruce and Tom sprayed its exterior shell (and separate pieces such as hood, doors, and decklid) with a black base and flat clear. Then it was taped-off so the entire interior could be painted Mixing Red then clear.
Engine-wise, it’s a 1915cc that was built by David Beadling. He used a DPR crank, Scat rods, and Mahle 94mm pistons (with Teflon buttons), as well as an Engle 110 cam, Empi full-flow oil pump, Scat lifters, and Empi dual-port heads (fly cut and utilizing 42x37mm stainless valves) with Auto-Craft 1.25 rocker on solid shafts. Spark comes from a Bosch 009 distributor and Bosch double platinum plugs, air-fuel mix is atomized via dual Brosol/Solex 40/44 carburetors on 2-inch-shorter Empi intake manifolds, and exhaust gases exit by means of a 1-5/8-inch merged header with custom tips fabricated by Ron Nemeth. Other facts include an 8-doweled, lightened (13 lbs.) flywheel with Stage II Kennedy clutch (Daiken disc), and machine work was done at Jim’s Custom VW in Columbiana, Ohio, the same place that handled the stock ’74 IRS tranny rebuild, with welded 3-4 gear hubs and steel shift forks.
With all the exotic body modifications, and custom interior sheet metal done, owner David Beadling wanted to keep the seat upholstery simple.......as in no padding, just diamond-pleat tan burlap over red painted springs of the stock ’74 highback black frames. For door panels and headliner, David followed suit with the same burlap material, and laid-down non-pleated burlap in the ex-back seat area, plus front firewall and kick panels. The Main-made gauge pods (welded/molded 2-3/4-inch and 4-inch diameter exhaust tubing) feature Sun Pro Sport ST gauges, along with larger 160mph speedometer and 10,000rpm tachometer. Steering wheel is from LeCarra, while stock shifter sports an authentic hand grenade, color-matched to the Mixing Red interior metal.
First time out for this one-off Volksrod was at Manassas, Virginia’s Bug-Out 67 in May 2010 and resulted in a first in Radical class as well as winning the Ricky Lee Smith Award! Then at the Jim’s Custom VW show, David went home with People’s Choice and Promoter’s Choice honors. Canton, Ohio’s Wade’s Foreign Auto Parts played a supporting role in this project, as they supplied quite a few VW parts, and Mr. Beadling appreciates them and all those aforementioned, but he pays double-big thanks to Bruce and Tom Main at Mains Motorsports in Akron, for their dedication, top notch custom fabrication and painting expertise, and meeting their goal by debuting this car at the Bug-Out, all done in seven months!
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FRESNO FRIENDSIf custom VWs are your thing, then you'll want to check out the March issue of Hot VWs featuring Bruce Bewarder's wild VolksRod from Fresno, California. A long-term project, it was finally finished with a lot of help from his friends, and besides massive amounts of bodywork, features A-arm front suspension, tan leatherette interior, and a sizzling 2110cc engine.