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Is This GT-R-Powered VW Beetle Junker a Waste of a Skyline Engine? In Short, No

There is nothing cooler than building your own car, even if the result will likely be less than perfect, to put it mildly. Still, the satisfaction of knowing every inch of the vehicle's body, every little wire, and each of the hundreds of bolts that went into making it can't be underestimated, and it's not something a lot of car owners can claim to have.
GT-R-powered Volkswagen Beetle custom build 12 photos
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Matt can. He's the man behind this build, and the dedication he's shown toward the project is worthy of all the appreciation you can spare. It's taken him six years to reach this point, and during those years, he even had to teach himself TIG welding just so he could make the roll cage himself.

It may sound like he's a control freak or something, not trusting anyone else with his car. In reality, the explanation is a lot simpler than that: he just lacks the financial resources to have the car built for himself by somebody else. Along the way, though, we suspect he started to quite enjoy the idea of making everything by himself, so it became more of a challenge than a necessity.

Like so many other great things, this car, too, came to be by chance. Matt, the owner, got kicked out of a garage he was renting, and since trailer services are expensive (not everyone has a friend with a truck and a trailer in the UK), he stuck the Beetle body (his first-ever car) on top of a BMW E36 chassis (his first drift car). And it just clicked.

No, not the body and the chassis - those two needed a lot more convincing before they would become a single unit - but the idea in his head did. It took six years to reach the point we're at right now, and we think you'll agree that a lot of people seeing this car will think it's far from finished.

Indeed, at least from an aesthetic point of view, it looks precisely like what it actually is: a collection of parts from various cars. So, it has the chassis of a BMW E36, the body of several (at least two) Volkswagen Beetles, the limited-slip differential of a BMW M3, and, perhaps most importantly, the engine and transmission of a Nissan GT-R.

As for the result, we're looking at a car weighing roughly one ton (that's 2,200 lbs) with a turbocharged straight-six capable of developing up to 510 horsepower at the wheel. Since all the vehicles that make up this Frankensteinian creation feature a rear-wheel-drive architecture, it should come as no surprise that Matt's ride also sends all of that power to the rear wheels alone. It is, after all, a drift car at heart.

Matt and his RB25-powered BMW Beetle are the guests of rising British YouTube channel Motor Addicts, though we suspect we might be seeing more of this pair now that the build is done - well, at least the mechanical bit. After the mandatory static presentation - that's hugely more captivating than what we usually get with the clean, professionally built customs - it's time for Matt and the channel host, Owen, to go for a drive.

The moment they step out - well, drift all over the place, more like it - it's instantly clear this isn't going to be an ordinary experience. Not for Owen, a man acclimatized with speed, but not necessarily with drifting, and not for everyone else on the road that day. Just look at the poor Land Rover driver they first encounter and imagine what he must have been thinking. Probably something involving "kids" and "these days."

"It's predictable, you know exactly how it's going to work," says Owen, right after Matt pulled off some mad steering maneuvers to keep the E36 Beetle Skyline heading straight on the slippery wet British roads. "Yeah," Matt says, and, after a very short pause, he adds: "Still scares me every time." He wasn't joking.

Do you know how YouTube's auto-generated subtitles can mess things up very easily? Well, as of today, the feature has earned our eternal respect because, during one of the Beetle's passes where it revved the RB25 into oblivion, the caption read "[Music]". It might have a hard time telling between "pink tutu" and "stink doo-doo" at times, but it sure knows how to appreciate and describe a beautiful-sounding engine, and that's all that matters in our book.



 
 
 
 
 

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