1954 VW Beetle hides a supercharged secret

Joel Stocksdale


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Yes, you read that correctly, this 1954 Volkswagen Beetle is supercharged. And, while it is a hot-rodded Bug, it's a period-correct hot-rodded Bug. And it can be yours, as it's up for auction at BringATrailer.com.

It retains the same 1.2-liter air-cooled flat-four it had from the factory, not a later, larger-displacement engine, and it has a Judson supercharger fitted. Judson was a company that made supercharger kits for all variety of little import cars back in the 1950s and 1960s, including Beetles, and it uses a unique supercharger design called a sliding-vane compressor. You can get an idea of how it works with the video below or in this description by Hagerty.

What it meant for this little Beetle is that power would jump from about 36 horsepower to 50 horsepower according to a period Road & Track article, archived at TheSamba.net. It also made a solid 70 pound-feet of torque. Sure it wouldn't be a rocket, but it would be way faster than stock.

Besides the nifty powertrain, this Beetle is finished in a lovely shade of green with a light-colored cloth interior. It looks immaculately clean on top, underneath and inside. Being such an early Beetle, it has a small oval window and semaphore turn signals that pop out of the B-pillars. The ragtop is a nice feature, though we're not huge fans of the rear fender skirts.

The auction has three days remaining, and the bid sits at just over $17,000 at the time of writing.

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