Metal Worked: An RWB-Inspired VW Beetle

By this point, I am certain Volkswagen Beetles have been fettled in every way imaginable. From drag cars to beach buggies, narrow-beam stance cars and even concours-worthy restorations, there are one-thousand-and-one recipes for building a Bug.

Sweden’s Rebecca Fritshagen, however, has managed to build her 1972 VW 1302 Beetle using all manner of influences, and it certainly stands out as a result.


The most obvious change? Undoubtedly the RWB-inspired wide-body. But unlike Nakai-san’s creations, this isn’t a set of bolt-on over-fenders.


The Beetle’s arches are hand-fabricated from sheet metal – all Rebecca’s own work – and add a whopping 400mm to its width. The front chin spoiler, canards and Abarth TCR-esque spoiler/boot lid hanging over the engine are all steel, too.


Audi Exclusive Deep Green paint shows off the custom bodywork, with the emerald pearl shimmering under the spot lamps at the 2024 Elmia Custom Motor Show in Sweden. There is absolutely no fibreglass on Rebecca’s Beetle, and this old-school approach to building extends to the car’s underside, which has been treated to a nut-and-bolt restoration.


Reliability was a top priority, so the plucky 1,300cc flat-four was given a full refresh with new gaskets, ancillaries and consumables. The exhaust is a statement piece, again fabricated by Rebecca herself.


Unlike the earlier Beetles, which featured a front beam suspension, the 1302 model uses MacPherson struts. As a result, Rebecca was able to fit a pair of Mk2 Golf adjustable struts to the Beetle’s front axle, converted from coilover to airbags. At the rear, the original torsion beam remains, but now also benefits from airbags.


Tucked underneath the incredibly wide arches are some incredibly wide steel wheels – 17×10-inch at the front and 17×13-inch at the rear. Opel vanity wheel trims and original Beetle hub caps have been combined for a unique wire-spoke design with traditional domed inserts.


The award-winning interior of Rebecca’s Bug is the pièce de résistance, having been re-upholstered from the carpet to the rag-top roof.


Brown leather is everywhere and gold stitching is in abundance. The original dashboard is now home to a touch-screen multimedia display, allowing Rebecca to make the most of the audio install nestled beneath the bolt-in half cage and visible air install.


Rebecca’s 1302 Beetle may not be built for speed, but considering the level of effort, personality, detail and craftsmanship the 22-year-old has put into this build, I think it should be celebrated.

Let’s keep having fun with cars; Rebecca certainly is with her one-of-a-kind Bug.

Mario Christou
Instagram: mcwpn

Photography by Alen Haseta
Instagram: hazetaa

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