Historic rally Beetle returns!

Twenty-five years after battling it out in the Monte Carlo Historique, Bob Beales is set to dust off his 1958 Beetle and thrust it into action once more, this time at the Wales Rally GB. And we’re proud to reveal that we’ve been helping out along the way…

The car in question was rally prepared in 1961 by the legendary Bill Bengry and features an Okrasa (Oettinger Kraftfahr-technische Spezial-Anstalt) engine conversion. The car itself is thought to have had a rather colourful life – at one time it was owned by a Hereford taxi company who rolled it, and later on it while being driven by a garage mechanic it was in collision with a bus!


Hereford garage owner Bengry won the RAC National Rally Championship in 1960 and 1961 with a 1200 Beetle and later drove a VW 1500 Type 3 Notchback. Bob acquired the Beetle in around 1965 and used it extensively in rallies, autotests and autocross, the engine changing several times during this period, before Bob finally settled on a capacity of 2.1-litres. He also fitted Type 3 disc brakes. The car was then put in storage until the historic rally bug bit Beales in the late 1980s, Beales finishing 32nd in the historic event supporting the 1989 RAC Rally. In 1990 he lined up at the start of the Monte Carlo Historique…

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Bob’s recently teamed up with VrDMotorsport’s Dave Vardy and having taken part in numerous events over the past two years, including Goodwood Festival of Speed, where the Beetle was not just the only VW but also the oldest vehicle to grace the forest rally stage.


Obviously competing in a 1958 Beetle presents a unique set of challenges. If parts break, you need someone on hand with the necessary backup, which is where we’ve stepped in. Said Dave Vardy: “VW Heritage has kept us on the stages for years, with a team of experts who are enthusiasts. They know the scene and their website is slick and easy to use when searching, and usually we manage to find the right part almost instantly every time.”


As it happened, we played a crucial role in cajoling Bob back on to the world stage – without him knowing, Dave had made contact with us and together a plan had been hatched to get Bob and the car ready for this year’s Wales Rally GB!

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The gruelling off road spectacle takes place this November 12-15, but Bob will be taking the Bug to the official media day in North Wales on October 8. Meanwhile, if you want a glimpse of the Beetle in action and see Bob and Dave battling it out with Group B legends, head over to Rallyday on September 19 at Castle Combe.

We’ll keep you updated on progress…


The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of VW Heritage.


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