Congratulations to Volkswagen for setting a record at Bonneville this week.
But more importantly, after nearly half a century we can finally retire Black Widow, the former fastest Beetle of all time that’s held that title for over 60 years.
From the time when smoking was still good for you and lawn darts were a great way to bring the neighborhood together, comes Turbonique. This company spent the '60s delivering rocket powered engines right to your door.
Turbonique took out ads in Popular Mechanics promising up to 850 horsepower (625 kilowatts) bolted to your rear axle. And all you needed to do was send $1 to Orlando for the catalog. So in the same way the son sent away for x-ray specs, father bought a home Buzz Aldrin kit.
One of the most successful ways Turbonique showcased how much power they could put down was with a 1955 Volkswagen Beetle nicknamed the Black Widow. Bolting on their turbine "Turbo Drag Axle" would bring plenty of successful 150+ miles per hour (241+ kilometers per hour) runs on the dragstrip, but it's the final one that made this bug a legend. The car went airborne at a reported 183 mph (295 kph), and since the driver survived the landing, Turbonique used it in their advertising.