Something Wicked This Way Comes

Quietly hunting Hemis.

[Our beloved Ambersand submitted this some time ago, and due to my own incompetence I somehow missed it, or forgot about it, or lost it. We tried to get it all polished up and ready to run yesterday, but we weren’t quick enough. As such, we’re running it today. Got an article you think we’d like? Send it to [email protected] for us to review, and maybe we’ll run it on a Submission Thursday sometime soon. I’ll warn you right now, we won’t run everything, and I may send it back to you asking for a re-write. I’m not a total grammar nazi, but your writing voice has to be clear and coherent. Also, if you’re including photos, embedding them in the article is fine, but please include them as attachments to the email as well. Pulling images out of a Word file can be painful. So, that said, click through to enjoy Amber’s contribution!] The evolution of the Beetle has been a long, sordid one. It started out as the “people’s car,” having been designed by Ferdinand Porsche back in the day for the German masses. The first two ever to touch U.S. soil were imported into the states in 1949, rockin’ sweet 25hp motors. They gained popularity with the hippies in the 60’s and up until mid 2003, the old school version rolled off assembly lines in Mexico. People have experimented over the years with those little motors, hoggin’ em out, making em bigger, badder, MOAR, and they’ve been doing something right because in today’s drag racing circuits, it’s not uncommon to see an air-cooled VW spank many a muscle car or ricer off the tree. Today we take a trip down nostalgia lane, to where all the insanity really started, the Black Widow.

Naw, it's not a Hemi. Hemi-eater, maybe...

She was born a 1955 Oval. For those that don’t know, she’s an Oval simply because that’s the shape of her back window. A cute little unassuming bug, she was just putt-putting along at 36hp, minding her own business, that is until the guys at Turbonique got hold of her a few years later. Out came her tiny motor and pathetic transmission. In went a purported 850 horsepower microturbine engine that’d suck the stripes off the road if given half a chance and a Turbonique exclusive jet engine transaxle. She went from struggling to do 55 mph to clocking 9.36s and 168 mph in the quarter mile, beating out a car that was just as impressive – Tommy Ivo’s, Showboat, with not one, not two, not three, but FOUR Buick V8’s.

Photos of the illustrious spankage.

Roy “Mr. Pitiful” Drew was her driver and they had many an impressive run until that fateful day back in October 1966, just a month after spanking the V8’s off poor Showboat. He was giving her one last test run down the track before heading out west to show off her mad skills. She was hauling along, pickin up speed, but as we all know, everything has a point at which it’s no longer aerodynamic. Roy found this out at 183 mph, just shy of the ¼ mile traps. She spun, lifted, launched and rolled into a nose first heap. The Black Widow was damaged so badly she was, by 1966 standards, beyond repair. Unfortunately the damage was never fully documented save for a handful of photos. Based on those photos I’m guessing she was in need of at least an entire front clip, hood, doors, roof, front beam, rims, tires, steering column and the list goes on. Her whereabouts have never been verified but the assumption is that she was scrapped after the accident. Luckily for Roy, he walked away upset but unscathed. And what was the first thing he said? Yeah Roy, so are we. Sources:

By |2010-07-11T18:08:43+00:00July 11th, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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