Hot Wheels has picked a 1968 Volkswagen Beetle as a finalist in the 2022 Legends Tour. While the company’s catalog has included dozens of Beetle replicas, the Volvo-powered example that wowed the judges at the Atlanta event is unlike anything we’ve previously seen.
Austin McNeil and his father built this Beetle — which is nicknamed “Hammerhead” — in their Cummings, Georgia, garage. They started the project with a rusty, dented car that they dragged out of a field and that most enthusiasts would have written off as a parts donor at best. They stripped it, set aside the salvageable bits, and debated what to do next. It sounds like the list of components that could be saved was relatively short, because almost every part of this Beetle has been extensively modified. Its fenders have notably been removed and replaced by a custom-built body kit, its back end has been chopped, and we’re told that a rear wing is nearly ready to be installed.
The duo documented the project on an Instagram account called CrewChiefCustoms, and the amount of work that went into this build is stunning. Look inside and you’ll spot a pair of sport seats, a roll cage, and several components that Volvo fans will immediately recognize (including the instrument cluster). That’s because this Beetle lost its air-cooled flat-four engine during the build. Instead, it’s powered by a rear-mounted five-cylinder Volvo engine equipped with a massive turbocharger. Output figures were not provided, but it’s safe to bet that the turbo five easily eclipses a stock 1968 Beetle’s 53-horsepower rating. The suspension system has been completely redesigned as well.
Like all previous winners (shown above), this 1968 Beetle will advance to the Legends Tour’s semi-final round that’s scheduled to take place this fall, on November 1. It will compete for the chance to be immortalized as a 1/64-scale diecast model and added to the Hot Wheels catalog.