In the wake of the Volkswagen announcement to pull out of WRC rallying, one man has kept the flames of classic Volkswagen off-road competition alive by shipping a new historic motorsport VW Beetle rally car to the mother continent for the Great Rift Valley 1000 Rally.
Francis Tuthill has just shipped his latest creation to Africa: a 1974 classic Volkswagen Beetle rally car. Prepared for the inaugural Rift Valley 1000 Rally, the Beetle was built in Francis’ own workshop in the Tuthill Porsche grounds to the famous Salzburg rally VW spec.
Classic Volkswagen Beetle Rally Car build
“I’ve had this idea for a simple, affordable endurance rally car for a while,” says Francis. “People are now rallying all over the world, in search of great experiences. The question that so many of these adventure seekers ask is, what car can they use for rallying that does not cost a lot of money relatively speaking, but is reliable and enjoyable to cover thousands of miles in? There is only one answer for me: it has to be a Beetle.”
“The concept here is to offer a turn-key endurance rally car for roughly the same price as the donor Porsche 911 required to build a top-flight Tuthill endurance rally car. The Beetle may not be as quick as the Porsche, but these are tough little rally cars. Beetles have featured strongly in the Safari Rally down through the years, and remain highly regarded in African rallying. They are reliable cars and good fun to drive.”
Tuthill’s new Beetle is built to FIA Group 2 spec, using the 60bhp 1600cc air-cooled engine proven on the London to Sydney Rally, with a four-speed transmission and some Tuthill tweaks to chassis and suspension. Future cars may feature the homologated 125 horsepower Salzburg-spec engine with five-speed transmission, as used to great effect in Tuthill VWs on British championship rallies many moons ago. This configuration would give the Beetle a great turn of speed, and allow it to compete on any FIA event.
Rift Valley 1000 Rally
Taking place from the 9th-12th December 2016, the Rift Valley 1000 aims to run at least 300 kilometres of competitive rallying per day through Kenya’s Baringo and Elgeiyo Marakwet counties. Forty-five historic rally cars have been entered and we’re delighted that the Beetle will take part. Who knows, we may even see it on the Safari next time out!