The Last Homologated Beetle
Homologation for the Beetle eventually ran out in 1992. Although saloon Beetle manufacture had ended in Germany in 1978 (with homologation for German Beetles therefore ending in 1983), the Brazilian factory had homologated the Fusca in Group A. As the Fusca was still in production until 1987, it's homologation ended in 1992.
As such, Francis Tuthill, a well-respected rally car driver and builder (especially of Porsche 911s in recent years) decided to set about building a Fusca to the Group 'A' regulations. It was to be entered in the 1992 RAC Rally of Great Britain, as the final appearance of the Beetle in World Championship rallying.
The Fusca was a typical South American hybrid of different Beetle styles, with the 1966 bodyshell, but the large 'elephant-foot' rear lights of the later cars. It also had swing-axle rear suspension and torsion bar front, with disc brakes and a 1600cc engine. As luck would have it, the Brazilians had homologated the car with twin carburettors.
The car was on show at VW Action in the summer of 1991, as a painted bodyshell only. It started the rally as car number 166, and did make it all the way to the finish, which is more than can be said for a lot of the other, more modern cars that took part.
After the rally, the Fusca went into retirement, until bought by Ben Hayman and Julie Pearce, who started to use it in club special stage rallies. Unfortunately, it is now back at Francis Tuthill's workshop, as they have managed to roll it a couple of times (once uphill even!), so now the car looks a little the worse for wear:
Ben Hayman and Julie Pearce on the 2000 Tour of Cornwall - photo courtesy of Mike Halley.
As you can see, the car is resplendent in a multi-coloured paint job at the moment, and the owner's do intend to get it back on the road.