If you’re a Volkswagen purist, chances are you loathe them with every fiber of your being. On the other hand, if you’re an avid hot rodder, you probably think they’re the baddest rides on the street. But love ‘em or hate ‘em, there’s no doubt that customized Volksrods have grown in popularity over the years.
For the uninitiated, this is what a Volksrod basically is: a classic VW Bug that is modified by replacing the original front axle with an extended one, usually from a Ford. This gives it a long, low, sleek look highly reminiscent of the classic hot rods of the 1950s. Other common alterations include a chopped or convertible top, pin striping, and an intentionally low budget paint job involving several spray cans and a sunny afternoon.
Black is the most popular color of choice, and aluminum or chrome parts are almost never seen. Body molding, bumpers, and fenders are removed to complete the no-frills, back-to-basics look that most Volksrod enthusiasts consider to be the ultimate in automobile aesthetics.
The Volksrod phenomena began a few years ago, with a handful of custom car fanatics. They were on the verge of insanity after failing to locate a restorable Model A or model T, the traditional starting points for hot rod projects. Eventually one of them noticed that the VW Beetle
would do just as well. Like the Model A’s and T’s, it had a 1930’s-style design and was eminently simple in its construction. But unlike them, Beetles could be found in decent to excellent shape across the United States.
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As far as auto projects go, the Volksrod is among the simplest, requiring nothing more than basic shop tools (including welding equipment) and an average amount of mechanical skill. A common refrain heard among Volksrod builders is “cut, weld, drive,” a testament to the no-frills attitude that underlies their approach to vehicle customization.
Volksrods enjoy a high visibility presence on the Internet. Volksrod.com is a great site to visit if you want to see tons of cool photos and get step-by-step directions on how to build your own. For those on the other side of the Atlantic, volksrod.co.uk covers the scene in Great Britain. If you want a classic hot rod look at a bargain basement price, then the Volksrod just might be the project car for you.
Photo credit: flickr.com/ribeye274