Clare Toman’s retro new VW Beetle
As I sit down to write this feature I’m wearing my Nike classic sneaks and listening to some ’90s trance tunes. What’s this got to do with this sick Beetle I hear you say? Well, the point is, whether it’s fashion, music or cars, we all love a bit of old skool!
Just ask 24-year old Lurgan-lass Clare Toman; she’s always fancied a ’70s Beetle but needed modern reliability and fuel efficiency. Many would have given up the dream and settled for a ‘normal’ daily driver but not Clare, she had a much better idea by combining the best of both!
It all began with a standard black 2.0 petrol bug of 2001 vintage. Clare bought it two years ago and immediately went for a ‘Barbie’ theme, slamming it on Pink BBS rims.
She soon got bored though and acting on an impulse, decided one day that together with boyfriend Graham, they were going to give up the weekend’s clubbing to strip, prep and paint the car purple. Luckily, Graham is a bit handy with a spray gun so even with a bit of bumper and bonnet smoothing, they managed it in good time.
That look lasted a few months but Clare really wanted something different which is when the retro theme took over. Online auctions then became a regular pastime as she spent hours on end sourcing a number of old skool parts.
First it was the ’70s Beetle interior. It arrived in great nick but the seats were a little too orange in colour so were dyed brown and cream before being slotted in place. The door cards were then neatly tailored to suit and a section of the dash trimmed in cream to tie it all in.
To complete the cabin, there’s an analogue radio, retro carpet, an old ’70s steering wheel that was cleverly modified to fit and yes, that is a door knob on the gear stick!
As interiors go, this is one cool place to be, so the exterior had to match. Steelies with chrome hub-caps and white-wall tyres were a must but finding the right rims was tricky. The fronts were easy; standard 15-inch VW steels but the rears are 8-inch wide Nissan drift wheels with a zero offset and wobble bolts!
The killer stance is courtesy of a Golf air-ride system, where top mounts have been adapted to suit, as well as a little chassis notching and camber work.
To cap off the styling, a genuine ’70s Beetle roof rack was carefully cut and fitted. It took a lot of work and swear words, but it really brings the whole car together.
Trying to blend retro mods with a modern car generally doesn’t work but Clare has really nailed this look. “It just feels like a 70s Beetle from the inside, but at least it starts every day!” she laughs. It’s even been converted to LPG so is cheap to run too. So there we have it; retro, cool, reliable, cheap to build and run, what more do you need? A hot girl to drive it? Done!
TECH SPEC NEW VW BEETLE
Debadged with smoothed bumpers and bonnet; resprayed purple with black gloss roof; ’70s roofrack customized to fit & period luggage.
6×15-inch VW Steels on front, 8×18-inch Nissan deep dish steels on rear with 0mm offset, fitted with wobble bolts; Genuine VW ’70s chrome Beetle hub-caps; stretched white-wall tyres; custom air suspension (from Golf kit) with modified top mounts; chassis notching and camber work.
Full ’70s Beetle interior including front and rear seats; period style custom door cards and carpet; ’70s Beetle steering wheel; Analogue radio; trimmed dash; extended gear lever with old door knob.
115bhp standard 2.0 petrol engine, converted to LPG.