How well does a 47-year-old Beetle keep up with modern traffic?
The TFL long-term Beetle bears something of a special designation among the cars we test. It’s the oldest one of the bunch. Designed in the 1930s and built in 1971, the Volkswagen Beetle stands out against its contemporaries. It’s air-cooled engine creates a notable, charismatic clatter against the relative silence of today’s water-cooled engines. Volkswagen is even going one further, in the case of its electrified I.D. series. In fact, their I.D. R Pikes Peak racer just shattered the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb record with French professional driver Romain Dumas at the wheel.
Times change, and cars have moved on quite a bit from the days of the Super Beetle. However, it’s still a fun, quirky and charming car to drive. With just 60 horsepower in 1971, the flat-four Super Beetle engine was never going to win any races. Can it still keep up with modern traffic, though? How well does the Beetle, which has been around nearly half a century, cope with modern traffic conditions? Check out the video above to find out!
TFL’s own Mike Curtis took our newest long-termer on a road trip to test its abilities nearly five decades after it was built. With just over 53,000 original miles, the Beetle is still pretty young by most standards. It also has enough space in the front to swallow up our camera gear, and its low curb weight and air-cooled engine may deliver on fuel economy. To find out, Mike heads to Colorado Springs, Colorado – home to the world-famous Pikes Peak – to see if it can keep up with today’s automotive world.
At the end of the trip is the 96th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, an event that attracts competitors and spectators from all over the globe. Cars from all segments of the industry take part, including today’s hyper-modern electric racers. The Volkswagen I.D. R packs all the latest technology Volkswagen can pack into a bespoke racer, but can it beat the record? Join us as we find out what the racer and our 1971 Super Beetle can do!