1968 VW Beetle 1500: Our shed

By: Glenn Torrens, Photography by: Torrens/Cackling Pipes photography

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1968 VW Beetle 1500 1968 VW Beetle 1500 1968 VW Beetle 1500
1968 VW Beetle 1500 1968 VW Beetle 1500 1968 VW Beetle 1500
1968 VW Beetle 1500 1968 VW Beetle 1500 1968 VW Beetle 1500
1968 VW Beetle 1500 1968 VW Beetle 1500 1968 VW Beetle 1500
1968 VW Beetle 1500 1968 VW Beetle 1500 1968 VW Beetle 1500

Glenn Torrens rounds out a merry month of motorsport with a few blasts down the quarter-mile

1968 VW Beetle 1500: Our shed
Our shed: 1968 VW Beetle 1500

 

1968 VW Beetle 1500

Sometimes I simply can’t be bothered unloading on a Sunday evening, so my weekend warrior VW Beetle was still sitting on its trailer a few days after a hillclimb. Trouble was I was required in Sydney for an early Thursday appointment and it was Wednesday afternoon…

Then I remembered Sydney’s Wednesday night street-car drags. Why unhook the trailer?

So with helmet and $55 at the ready, I arrived at Sydney Dragway a little over two hours later. Paid-up and pointed to the pit area, I unloaded the Beetle, bolted on last year’s track tyres, pressed the starter and idled over to scrutineering.

I had drag-raced before, but not for a long time. I reckon 1995 was the last time I paid cash for a dash, when I was working for Fast Fours & Rotaries magazine. I raced a VW then, too, but my enduring memory of the Eastern Creek Raceway drags was of hours of standing around in chilly darkness while boofheads in old Monaros and Mazdas openly pushed in ahead of my VW before squabbling over what lane in which to blow their engines.

Thankfully, my memories can remain just so: I had a terrific night at Sydney Dragway. I was impressed with how the regular ‘Race 4 Real’ nights are run. With terrific organisation, two cars running every minute or so and a sensible limit on participant numbers, I reckon the paying punter really gets his money’s worth.

So how did I go? That night my little VW ran a best of 14.27sec at 94.7mph. And I had a few laughs with a bunch of other racer lads and ladies, who all seemed to be grinning about my diminutive 1.9-litre Beetle’s mouse-that-roared performance. Many were P-platers, ‘having a crack’ in safe conditions. Better in here than out there.

That night at Sydney Dragway concluded a glorious month of rev-headedness. Inside four weeks, I ran 124mph on a dry salt lake in South Australia, competed in back-to-back hillclimbs at Bathurst’s Mount Panorama, ran at a Kempsey Sporting Car Club hillclimb on NSW’s mid-north coast, then blasted off five low-14s at Sydney Dragway.

In two subsequent visits to Sydney Dragway, I’ve improved to a 14.12, mainly due to better launches on the strip’s grippy surface. Over summer I’ll change the gearing on the little yellow terror and hopefully unleash a 13.7. Yee-hah!


*****

More reviews:

> Salt Lake Racer VW Beetle

> Our shed: Hillclimb Beetle

> Our shed: VW Country Buggy

> Volkswagen Beetle buyer's guide

 


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