My New Car Project

I just bought a “new” car. That is, it is only 45 years old. A 1972 Super Beetle or, as we say here, Vocho. The first question you will ask is, why? I have lots of reasons. Here we go.

  1. I am sick of fixing stuff that you really don’t need. For example, I just “bypassed” a power steering fluid pressure sensor on the car in the background. It exists to tell the computer to increase the idle speed if the pressure is high. To me that translates to the idle needs to be very low to meet emission standards. So, I wanted a car without a lot of “extra crap” on it.
  2. In the late 1990s I converted a diesel Rabbit to electric. It was a success. I want an electric car again and this seems like a good place to start.
  3. It is very easy to find parts for these suckers. While I may order some stuff from the US, there are places in Guatemala who sell restoration parts as well including an EMPI dealer in Guatemala City.
  4. It will project a cool image for the B&B.

I considered a Rabbit (Golf). With LiIon batteries it would be an easy conversion and get around the excess weight problem. But, it would just look like a Golf and there are lots of them around. This will be way cooler.

I considered a regular Beetle (actually found a nice ’96) but the Super Beetle has a McPherson strut front suspension. The result is a much larger trunk area. The gas tank will be replaced with a box for batteries. If that space is not sufficient, more batteries can be placed behind the rear seat.

Evwest offers a conversion kit. Basic means it does not include the batteries and battery box. I am reasonably sure I can find less expensive batteries (such as used from a Fiat 500e) for my conversion. I need to do a bit of measuring and shopping before I make the final decision. Note that their kit is way higher performance than I need (check out the first video on the page) but with a large investment I might as well end of with a fun vehicle.

What’s Next?

There is some work to do on the car first. Too much play in the steering, direction signals not working and an assortment of body issues. I want to fix critical stuff (like the direction signals) and use the car to see what other issues it has. And get the battery space measured. I will then order the kit, batteries and assorted body stuff like all the rubber pieces, seat covers and carpet. And, most important, put a concrete floor in the garage so I am not working on gravel.

While waiting I will lots of time to find any other issues with the car. Some body issues may need to be dealt with soon such as damaged hinges on the driver’s door (due to a broken door check) but I will then do the electric conversion before a body shop does all the serious body work and painting.

Is this going to be fun? Yes, it is.


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