The Volkswagen Beetle is an empty canvas - Carazee Artworks’ Volkswagen Beetle
Calling the Beetle an automotive icon is an understatement. Even non-car enthusiasts know what the Volkswagen Beetle is and recognize the famous profile of the car. The many heads that turned during our photoshoot were a testament to that. There are many ways that you can go around when it comes to building a Beetle. You can restore it to its original state, you could turn it into a buggy, you could take inspiration from earlier Porsche models, you could Hot Rod it, or if you’re like Ajie, you could make your own custom style with the Beetle.
Ajie owns a paint shop in Klang called Carazee Artworks and we first met during the very recent Art of Speed 2018. This Beetle was a 6-week long project and even though it didn’t win the “Best of VW” title during AOS2018, this candy red and orange chrome Beetle certainly caught our attention. With a flame paint job across the sides and orange chrome accessories, it is a good blend of quirkiness and aggression.
The Head Turner
This project prioritised on paint job and the final look of the car so the Beetle still runs the original flat-four carburettor 1.2L engine from Volkswagen. Like all old Beetles, the engine is air-cooled, making maintenance easy. What has always been intriguing is how the air gets to the engine. For the Beetle, air passing above the roof enters the engine bay via the vents above the bonnet.
There’s also air coming in from the wheel wells. It’s an interesting application of fluid dynamics.
Somewhat related: Visiting The Volkswagen Autostadt - The Car Tower Tour Is A Must Visit
1.2L Air-cooled Carburetted Flat-four
The Beetle has no power steering and runs all around drum brakes. It’s all traditional on the inside but the sub-800kg kerb weight makes it an easy car to drive. Is it fast? Of course, not. But that’s not the point of this build. This was an exercise in craftsmanship and the Carazee Artworks Beetle is a great cruiser cum head turner.
Almost every kid riding on their dad’s motorbike was shouting in excitement as they passed this parked VW in the historical town of Klang.
Refurbishing and improvising parts of the Interior
On the inside, the original dash is retained and made to match the red and orange colour on the outside. Ajie has installed an aftermarket air-conditioning unit and the seats are from a Daihatsu Mira L7. The white gear knob lets you select between four forward gears and reverse. Had the air conditioning unit not been installed, there is the option of adding a shelf below the original dash. Some local VW enthusiasts have created a rattan shelf and it gives a more Malaysian feel to this German classic.
A local-made rattan shelf for the classic VW Beetle (A different VW Beetle Shot during AOS2018)
Ajie and his team take pride in their completed VW Project. Obviously, the entire paint-job was done in house and the body of the Beetle needed a lot of work from the get go. The floor of the chassis needed a lot of attention and the body panels had to be smoothened out before applying the beautiful red paint that it has today. The roof lining was spray painted to match the colour of the seats and dash.
Spray painted roof lining
There’s stuff on the Beetle that you don’t get on modern cars. The Windscreen visor for instance, has long been replaced with the visor tint that works better aerodynamically. The visor adds character and gives the Beetle a more laid-back look when paired with the headlight ‘eyebrows’.
Although the roof rack adds some utility to the car, it is mainly there for aesthetic purposes. Ajie’s next plans include another roof rack that’s mounted on the C-Pillar. We’d love to see how that changes the look of the car.
At the end of the flat-four carburetted powerplant are two angled exhaust pipes, perhaps inspired by the Bosozoku style. The exhaust is not straight-piped. It’s also done for aesthetic purposes only. Adorning the tyres are custom tyre letters that proudly display the name of the paint shop. There’s a bit of a camber going on in the back and the track has been slightly widened so the car squats nicely, accentuating the flow of the already curvy Beetle.
Ajie’s Beetle is undoubtedly a head turner. It was definitely at home during Art of Speed 2018, and on the busy streets of Klang, it drew a lot of attention from passers-by. Kids love it and the older generation love seeing a pristine Beetle on the road every once in a while. It was greeted with smiles and curiosity from the people of Klang. We look forward to seeing this car in upcoming shows in the future.