Taking home one of the biggest honors at SEMA, the Super Beetle was crowned Best European in the 2012 PlayStation Gran Turismo awards. And since it was us who chose the winner in that category, we wish the car could have been included in our gathering. Sadly, it was shipped back to APR in Alabama after the SEMA show for some final tweaks.

Situated in the H&R suspension booth, the car won the hearts of practically everybody in attendance. You could follow the build thread on vwvortex and know this Beetle had been through extensive fabrication work to reach its final phase. Squeezing a Golf R 4Motion drivetrain into the Super Beetle was no small task. After weeks of cutting and welding, it was ready for the same Alpil body kit as the fifteen52 Bug. In fact, the same guys also provided 19" Formula TR three-piece wheels to further set it apart in its matte blue metallic finish.

The huge task of installing the AWD conversion was in order to cope with the 500hp motor built by APR for the occasion (goapr.com).

FMS Automotive

You'd be forgiven for thinking FMS Automotive is a relatively new name to the scene but has actually been providing quality accessories for more than 40 years. However, it does so behind the scenes, supplying body kit pieces to manufacturers such as VW for its genuine accessory range.

Having lived in the shadows for years, the company has been coming to the forefront more recently, helping us build several VW and Audi project cars in the past, including our current Audi TT. It also built a trio of Beetles for SEMA 2012, including our own Surf Beetle.

The most ambitious project was the complete restoration of a '56 Oval Window air-cooled Beetle that saw a bare chassis build-up. They also took the opportunity to bring the classic platform into the modern era with new performance parts such as a Wilwood big brake kit, H&R suspension and 17" TSW Donington wheels. These would ensure the 2.1L engine could be fully exploited.

In addition to a new leather interior, the car was painted in a toffee brown metallic, with matte black used on the hood and roof to call attention to the natural lines of the car.

FMS also built a 2012 Beetle to show off its custom design and prototyping services. As such, FMS developed a new front lip that's understated but enhances the new front spoiler. They also created a rear wing that definitely hinted at a Porsche ducktail. Furthermore, the rear bumper was modified to house an integrated diffuser.

Although the car wasn't lowered, FMS Automotive fitted a set of 20" TSW Nurburgring wheels. The body received some vintage-style matte black graphics plus a painted hood, roof and trunk to emphasize its curves.

1956 VW Beetle

Engine 2110cc four-cylinder air-cooled with dual 44IDF Weber carburetors

Drivetrain race-spec five-speed manual transmission

Brakes Wilwood four-piston kit with cross-drilled rotors

Suspension H&R springs

Wheels & Tires 17x7" TSW Donington wheels, 205/40 R17 Nitto NeoGen tires

Exterior toffee brown metallic and matte black paint, billet door handles, shaved antenna

Interior custom tan leather interior, billet steering wheel

2012 VW Beetle

Engine 2.5L five-cylinder

Drivetrain six-speed DSG automatic transmission

Suspension stock

Wheels & Tires 20x8.5" TSW Nurburgring wheels, 235/35 R20 Nitto NT555 tires

Exterior One-off front lip, side skirts, rear wing, LED lighting, matte black vintage-style graphics

Interior custom leather seats, black outers with red topstitch, lipstick red inserts

Contact foammolders.com

European Car

You no doubt read about our Surf Beetle in the previous issue (EC 4/13). What some may not know was how the project came together in the final hours. Having only been on the job three months, our fearless leader decided I should oversee the final, stressful hours of the build before it was wheeled onto the transporter to leave for Vegas.

With FMS having completed its work on the custom front lip, side moldings, rear diffuser, tailgate spoiler and roof rack, I was with the team into the wee hours of the morning to ensure the suspension was set, wheels mounted, spacers fitted and our big brake kit installed before the truck arrived. Needless to say, it was all hands on deck, calling in favors from Supreme Power Parts and Eurocode Tuning to get the tasks completed. As dawn broke, the car was finished and the next time we'd see it would be in Vegas.

We did have a bit of a problem with the paint color being wrong, but it seemed to be a hit nonetheless. By the end of the show, our Beetle had gained favor with attendees, and show girls were posing in our mobile shower system.

After the event we finally got to drive the car and the Revo Technik K04 turbo upgrade gives a kick in the pants. The engine conversion includes the Revo K04 turbo, software, intercooler, exhaust and intake. And while the production version will develop around 370hp, our car is said to be closer to 400hp thanks to a bit more boost. However, we're going to put it back to Revo's "stock" settings for the sake of longevity.

Acceleration gets the Continental tires spinning on the 19" Fuchs Performance Porsche wheels, but the Revo big brakes conversion quickly gets it all under control. And the high-tech Revo suspension with remote reservoirs means it handles supremely well once the surfboard has been removed.

Cruising with water cans and a surfboard means the car looks like fair game, but little do they know the performance our Surf Bug packs!

For comfort, the cabin has a Katzkin interior, bringing black leather outers and green alcantara inserts to the factory seats and door cards.

2012 VW Beetle Turbo

Engine 2.0L four-cylinder 16v TSI with stage 3 Revo Technik K04 turbo kit, 3" turbo-back exhaust, cold-air intake, front-mount intercooler and software

Transmission six-speed DSG transmission

Brakes 355mm Revo rotors and four-piston calipers f, stock r

Wheels & Tires 19x8.5" Fuchs Performance wheels, H&R adapters and spacers, 235/40 R19 Continental ContiProContact tires

Exterior FMS Automotive front lip, side moldings, rear diffuser, tailgate spoiler, roof rack, water cans and two-tone paint, Lost Enterprises surfboard

Exterior FMS Automotive front lip, side moldings, rear diffuser, tailgate spoiler, roof rack, water cans and two-tone paint, Lost Enterprises surfboard

Interior Katzkin Leathers seat covers and door card inserts, FMS Automotive shower system, OEM Fender audio

H&R Springs

Although not at SEMA this year, another Beetle was built during 2012 by H&R, reinforcing its long relationship with VW.

The H&R Beetle Turbo project used the company's Super Sport Springs to lower it 1.7" front and 1.5" rear, with 5mm H&R Trak+ Wheel Spacers all round to kick out the 20" Hartmann HRS6-204MA wheels into the generously-sized fenders.

It was a pretty simple overhaul but shows what's possible with the Beetle and the right performance parts (hrsprings.com).

By Ezekiel Wheeler
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