SLEEPER BUG: 517 HP Subaru-Powered 1973 VW Super Beetle | Nicole Johnson’s Detour EP1

Today we are on the outskirts of LA and we are going to visit my friend, John Reynolds, and he built this amazing sleeping bug. And you're like, I don't even know what that is. but that's okay because we're going to show it to you and it's not like anything you've ever seen and it's really fast. His insect is a small rocket ship and I want him to show it to us. We can go check it out. Yes? Let's see, since you came all the way here. Wait a second. Just really fast. Do you even know who John Reynolds is? OG13. Okay, time out for a second so you know my background is rock crawling, I raced King of the Hammers, monster trucks, whatever.

And this is the very original King of the Hammers. He won that very first year. Well, you're the first girl to win, to finish, so that's all that matters. I'm the first woman to ever cross the finish line at King of the Hammers and you're the first winner, winner. OK wait a minute, I want to surprise myself. Well, this is not impressive! This is a car made entirely of bones. So why are we here with this, great, you know.

It actually looks like we're in what's 1973 now? That's 1973. But that's what you want people to think. That's the facade, see? That's what he wants you to think. The original VW had, I don't know 30 or 50 horsepower? How many horsepower would have been in this? Okay, so I guess it was rated at 50. Uh huh. But that's net horsepower, so what gets to the tires is more like 32, 35.

Sure. There are different estimates out there. So there are different ways of assessing horsepower, like if you're just dynamizing the engine, yes, the horsepower, but then all that power has to go through, you know the gearbox and everything down to the… It's called parasitic . to drag. Parasitic resistance. That's what it's called. I knew that. Parasitic resistance. First off, if I had no idea what you'd already done with it, I'm sure you're freaking people out, that thing is in great shape.

It is beautiful. You know, that's the fun thing when I take it somewhere and a lot of people come up and say oh that's such a cute Volkswagen, my parents had a Volkswagen, my grandparents had a Volkswagen. That draws her there. Yes. Here's the nice thing if they don't notice anything different about it, I don't mention it because it makes the conversation a lot shorter. Turn right! Right, right. You will be caught there for a long time. When I go in, you know, the engine and this and that, they go uh what? You just say thank you! Good day. Turn right? I mean, it literally looks like a brand new vehicle. That was the whole purpose. It's beautiful. Wait a minute until you leave. There's a roll cage in there. Wait a second. Yes. And if someone gets under there and looks at those tires, they're going to wait a minute, are those drag tires there? It's insane. This project, you know, the beginning of it was, the whole idea was, to be a sleeper and you know you have to make it as close to stock as possible.

Turn right. But there are a few things you need, because you can't reduce 517 wheel horses to 560 tires. 517 wheel hp. Okay, what does the engine do then? Well, it just produces a lot of power. Do you want to see the engine? Yes? It's not up front. It's a VW. It should be somewhere in the back. Okay, so there's the engine. Holy crap. It's a weed killer. That is no longer a type 1. Did it have a type 1 in it? It did. Yes. OK, so a type 1 had a 1600, it was a 1600 cc engine. Double gate. Yes, and was it naturally aspirated? Naturally aspirated with carburettor. Someone commented on my video and said oh you are polluting the planet with your car and I said do you know how much cleaner this car is than the original version? Not only is it fuel injected and modern standards, but it also burns E85 that comes from corn, so little that they know it's much cleaner than the original.

And you know what? Whatever. People like that? Whatever, whatever. That is amazing. What made this possible is that I wanted to use a Subaru transmission that has a 5-speed manual transmission, so a lot more robust. It was factory made to handle 260 horsepower, as opposed to a Volkswagen transmission that was made to handle 50 horsepower. The WRX it came from would have been four-wheel drive. Yes. So you have to remove some of its capabilities to make it just a rear-wheel drive . Correct? Yes. Am I thinking about that? Well, you don't have to. there are a few people trying to make four wheel drive Volkswagens. OK. And they are still working on it years later.

Turn right. It's not just a Volkswagen bug, it's a Super Beetle? Yes. What's the difference? Okay, in a Super Beetle they put strut front suspension and that's the first Super Beetle with strut front suspension instead of a beam axle. Is there anything from the outside that you can normally tell the differences? The window. Oh. The sexy curved window, the windshield. So many of the purist Volkswagens, they don't like Super Beetles because they don't look like the traditional flat window and that's why I chose this one because most people don't like them.

OK. So if this is the original fuel tank. I didn't change it. People say why you didn't put a fuel cell on it? OK, because you can't use the gas door. if you put a fuel cell in it, it's too high. And that was one of the things, okay. I want the gas door, so we're going to work around the gas door. Secure. Naturally. That means a stock fuel tank. This is the intake fuel pump. Understood. It has a large fuel pump in it. Or a powerful pump. Yes. Yes, so this was the original fuel pump for the EFI engine. Understood. But what happened is that the acceleration was so hard that all the throttle would push back to the back of the tank and the engine would starve and the engine would die. Even with fights or there is nothing like that there? Unfortunately with the Volkswagen, the standard shade is that there is n't much room to do all that. Understood. And when I . I came out of this thing called a buffer tank and that's its purpose.

Turn right. It's always full of fuel and it's got the pumps in it, so now, so all that, you know, fuel sloshing backwards when you take off, that compensates and keeps it under pressure. Precisely. Yes, very cool. And then this part, this is the radiator because Volkswagens were air-cooled. So you need a radiator. You can't rely on air alone. Turn right. There are two important messages that say something is wrong with this car.

One is the wide tires. Yes. But I put them in, I did some narrowing so they're under the stock fenders. Is this like a stock wheel you modified or something… Yes. … to be able to accept that? That's unbelievable and did you weld it and do it all yourself or how did you do it? I touched your car. I have a wheel expert. Someone who knows how to weld. Turn right. That had to be set up, you know, to weld the wheel. So it's an 8 inch wide brim, but it's all on the inside. Yeah, so you really had to like cutting? You cut out the center and place a center of 20 cm wide on it. But it's like most of it is backspacing. Yes, of course, of course. So the whole tire is inside and that meant a lot of narrowing of your torsion bar and everything else. All components are compacted. Yes. And this car goes fast enough that it takes a certified 850 cage and it holds the car together. So tiny, tiny twin exhaust sticking out doesn't function anymore if… No, they work. I know, it's your garbage gate.

But they are misleading. It's your turbo waste port, right? But they lie to you. I bet they sound nice. So it's the only tire I could find in 15 inches that is really narrow and has an H speed index. Right, which one is judged on what? Higher. I don't know, but it's still not fast enough, but at least it has a rating. Yes, it won't fall apart. All your lines are so neat. And have you done all your own welding and everything here? TIG welding? Yes. It is beautiful. So the air comes in through these louvers that are made for Volkswagen air conditioning.

And then it goes through the air… through the radiator and then down again, you know, through the underside of the car here. Turn right. So this is where all the magic happens here… Yes… all this structure… This is your structure that you built. Yes. You had to support that whole … er … yes … system , because this just wants … you know. I also wanted to push the whole motor forward 4 inches which meant strengthening the original truss. Is that because you needed more space or weight distribution over the axle? Because you have to fit all this and to get a quad-cam Subaru into a Volkswagen you either had to lower it ridiculously low or push everything forward or else you'd have to carve out the outside of a car for the valve covers. So it's called a low-mount turbo, the exhaust comes out of the head and it's a very short distance to get to the turbo. So all the heat and energy goes directly to the turbo, so having the turbo close to the exhaust valves does help with the response.

OK. and then suction pump pulls the coal the oil out of this little something. Ok and so it pulls it out. And then it just pushes it back to the pan, which is here. As for the pea shooters, this is the waste gate. Secure. And this is how I just made the pea shooter. You can see him getting along with the pea shooters. So you built all these brackets and stuff or did you buy these? Did you build all that? Yes, it's all everything, all this metal is all custom made to fit this.

Yes man. How long ago was this painted? How old is this paint job? It is about 4 months old. It just feels… Can you hear that? Is this the standard color…yes it is…that would have been sitting here, this white? Yes. This headliner is beautiful. Is this dashboard in stock? It is. It's an original that came out of the 1978 car… OK… And I found the original with no cracks in it, which is really hard to find. Do these impress you? We get the wipers going. Oh my God. Look at that. Is that impressive? Holy cow.

They spin around, they blink at you. Oh my gosh, it suddenly feels like a much more modern car. Anyway, I didn't really think this would be cool to have hidden meters and lots of people… yes that's so cool… but I never look at it. Okay so I'm itching to ask you if we can take a ride and eventually I want to ride it but you know what I'm not going to like of course I've ridden a lot of things but I'm never gonna come here and pretend you're a slander, something I'm not. I have no experience with this kind of car, you will have to teach me about the gearbox I have no experience with this kind of car at all, so of course I want you to drive away with it tell me what we can do.

Show me what we can do and then if you would be so kind as to let me take a cruise I'd be super excited. I think we can, I think we can. It has what is called a dog box… OK… so the transmission has no synchros and that makes it a bit more challenging to drive You have to get your RPMs to the right tune… Yes, tune in order to get it shift? Yes, it helps. Or you really have to hammer on the gears. Understood. What have you done with this bike to take it beyond what it was originally designed for? Well, the block is a closed deck block from IAG. And it has, you know, forged internals and what not, and the heads are ported.

OK. And it's a different intake manifold and a bigger turbo and injectors and it was at a certain level and the whole thing just went up… Sure, sure… to get 200 more horsepower. Yes. And then when you run on the E85, you know, that adds 100 horsepower because it runs cooler and has a naturally higher octane rating so you can do that when you do. You can give more boost… get it… and more timing in the engine, the fuel gives you more boost and timing. How much boost do you get from this? Uh, about 29 pounds.

Holy crap! Wow! And it depends on how hot or cold it is outside. Yes of course. And yes, of course, cooler air is going to perform better. Yes. So winter we're in the right time of year to drive this thing, right? Oh yeah. Okay, so let's go, let's play with it. Okay. Is your seat belt on? My seat belt on. I'm ready to rock. Holy! Holy crap! Oh my God! Holy crap, John. I know. How much does this weigh? About 2,000 pounds. OK. Fairly quickly. Holy crap. You knew it was going to be squirrel-like, right? Not me. huh? You never know. How fast was that? About 110. 110? something like that. Maybe 115. Wow. Oh my God. Oh my God.

Wow. Yes. One of the things when I built this car was to increase the distance between how it looks and how it performs. That's why I chose this color because it's like, oh that's cute, so it widens the gap between how it performs… Yes, it's very ironic… Yes, ironic. Ironic. And watch me move up one more time. So if you go slow, it's very easy. Just take your time… Yes… Be firm. You get used to the clutch and throttle. OK. Press the clutch very easily. Just go in. OK. Third gear. Fourth gear you wait a little longer. Get up to speed a little more. Or, waiting, you say while shifting. Yes, I'll wait. Yes. If you want to grind for free … … but that's the challenge.

I like to make it as smooth as possible. But that clatter is normal, right? Yes. The engagement? Yes. And that gearbox is what you call a dog box. dog box. Why? I don't know why it's called that. So it has no synchros and there are things called dogs and they work like a motorcycle transmission. Oh okay. So you literally have to find the right spot… Yes… every time… or you have to deal with it. Or you push it in. Yes. oops. Yes, if you don't do it right, let you know. Pass him. Holy. Don't capture that in front of the camera. Holy mackerel. You can pass in the most unsafe conditions because it is so fast you can do it. So you may take, you may delay, may not. We'll see how good your talent, your technique is.

OK. Normal 4 gears. OK. So your legs have to be longer because that's a long way off. Was that? Now you are the first. That's the emergency brake. Should it roll a little? That's why I bumped into the clutch. Bump bump. No no no. And okay. Okay. Will it go away? Well, you find where the right place is. I'm so nervous because it's just going to work. New. Not much gas, a little gas. OK. Press the clutch. John.

exhaust. You don't have to give it… you're in fourth place. I'm fourth? Yes. dude. How did it go from first to fourth? Is it that tight? Well… First gear. It's in the first. OK. Just find where the, there is a place where the clutch engages. Hardly. Just a little bit of gas. Press the clutch in and firmly. You don't have to give it a lot of gas. Put it firmly in gear. OK. I'm third. I'm third. OK. Now, fourth, remember to wait a minute. And firm. OK. Well, I got fourth place. OK. Wait, was that it? That is it. That's first? Yes. That's the third. No, we are still in third place. That was third gear. Yes. Push it all over. Completely over. Now we're in, is that first? That is it. That should be it. Do you think that's it? That is it. That's first.

OK. ok whoa! Woah. I don't trust anything. I wouldn't go any faster than that, John. But I did it. I scared you. Yes, you scared me. But I know this thing is explosive. No no. I barely pressed the accelerator. I wasn't around to hit the accelerator. I don't trust it, I'm not going to drive it crazy, but I did it. I am a fast study. I did it. You did it. That's funny. OK. Would you like to try again? Yes, I will try again. Is this safe enough, there's no one around. So just try to be very gentle. Try not to race at all.

OK. Not me. I will not race. I promise you I won't race. We are gentle. I think that's the first. It just makes a clean, non-grinding shift. I think that's the first. That's first. Slightly longer between shifts. OK. Because we don't… Let it catch up with itself. Understood. Look, I just let it roll out and it just won't even do it, it just wants to go… No, you don't want to go… Much faster.

But I don't want to go much faster. Trust me, I won't go faster than this. It's like having foot on dynamite. Were you at points in this car where you were something like crap. And have to stop and troubleshoot all the time? Uh, yes. Was it constantly like every time you turn a corner you have another… About twice a day. Yes. And it's just a little bit, you know, the whole thing is split into such little segments, you know… Yeah… … and you work through a little segment. Yes. Holy crap. Why isn't that getting old? Wow. OK. OK. wooo! Now you scare me. Yes. As we approach the neighborhood. Oh my God. Congratulations, we made it through. We didn't go to jail. We didn't die. Turn right. We're not dead… We didn't destroy the car. You know what? I hardly ever die. So we're good.

Dude. That was a fun day. I can't even honestly believe it. See more things John has done. Where are they going to find you? Oh, probably John Reynolds on YouTube. I have several other projects running. I have a V8 Corvair conversion. Tough. I'm turning off the UFO, that's an Ultra4 race car… Yeah… …and I had the whole build of that car on YouTube so… Great if you're interested in this sort of thing, John Reynolds on Youtube. And you told me that besides you, I was the first person to ever drive the car. I'm probably the last person. Tree! You're awesome, dude. Or we can loot. Won't you take the loot? Not really… Boom! I'm doing it now. There's a hair stuck somewhere. I can feel it in my face, but I can't find it.

Uh, I forgot what I wanted to say. Check out more details in the description… I forgot when I'm going to say it here. Make sure to like, subscribe, leave a comment and we'll see you next time..

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