No Beetles were harmed (fortunately) in this TFL off-road adventure.
The 1971 Volkswagen Super Beetle was one of the most common years for the entire model. That year alone, the German company sold 1.3 million units. One of the traits that made the car so popular undoubtedly its charm, but another was its rugged simplicity. With an air-cooled flat-four engine and a curb weight just under a ton, the 1971 Super Beetle can scamper over just about anything…or can it?
In this episode of the Beetle Diaries, we put our new long-term 1971 Volkswagen Super Beetle to the test. More specifically, does its 60 horsepower engine (mind you, that’s when it was new) have enough oomph to make it up Gold Mine Hill? Will those skinny tires and lack of four-wheel drive see it struggle even getting to the trailhead? Fortunately, because it’s rear-engined and rear-wheel drive, it should have some decent traction as the weight is over the back end. Sure, the 1971 Volkswagen Super Beetle is no Jeep, and that’s exactly why Tommy Mica brought his lifted Wrangler along. You know, just in case something goes wrong.
Gold Mine Hill is one off-road gauntlet we use to test the prowess of trucks, SUVs and crossovers. There are three stages to the trail – a steep, rocky ascent; a sharp, off-camber corner; then a narrow, steep, and off-camber climb to the top. Each stage is a test of traction, momentum, ground clearance and skill. While the Beetle has low weight on its side, it doesn’t exactly have power. Or much traction. Or ground clearance. Bearing all that in mind, can it defy the odds and crest the top of Gold Mine Hill? Check out the video above to find out!