To Be OFFERED AT AUCTION WITHOUT RESERVE at RM Sothebys' The Taj Ma
Garaj Collection event, 28 September 2019.
$40,000 - $60,000
- 2008 Hot Rod Top 10 of the Year
- One of the wildest Beetle customs ever built
- Chopped, dropped, and ready to roll
Franz Muhr's interpretation of an Outlaw Beetle strays as far from
Volkswagen's original mission as perhaps any custom Bug. This car
stands just 36 inches tall, a mere three feet separating the
highest point of its curved roof from the asphalt under the tires
wrapped around its American Racing wheels. Even in the world of
chopped and channeled lowriders, that's an impressively low
roofline. Lower yet, it barely clears two inches above the ground.
The custom Beetle is so impossibly low that the editors at Hot Rod
called it "the most outrageous thing we saw the entire year" when
they named it one of their top 10 customs in 2008.
"Squat" is an understatement for the car put together by Muhr's
Kustom Coach Werks in Grand Junction, Colorado. Muhr sourced a '56
Baja Bug project that had been abandoned long before and reimagined
it as a VW-powered car that might come from a cartoonish
interpretation of a wild Bonneville weekend. The roof was chopped a
full eight inches at the B-pillars and an extra inch at the
windshield and rear window, resulting in a four-inch windshield
from which the driver peeks at the road ahead. The car gained its
nickname, "Death," by virtue of its outward visibility through the
gun-slit window openings.
The car stays as planted to the road as it looks due to torsion
bars nabbed from a pre-1963 Type 2 that are mounted without shock
absorbers. Disc brakes provide stopping power. Because the body
sits so low to the ground, the engine and transaxle were actually
raised with custom mounts to avoid excessive negative camber. The
car's builder relished in its propensity to bottom out, joking to
Hot Rod that adding power helps extract it from perilous
situations. The 1,914 cc flat-four features Mahle 94-millimeter
flat-top forged pistons and runs at a 9:1 compression ratio. Given
that the minimalist Beetle tips the scales at a mere 1,300 pounds,
power is not an issue.
"Death" is a raw machine, with the scars, wounds, and patina to
prove this Beetle is a cheeky Bug no longer, even if a bright
turquoise hue that once covered its body is visible when the doors
are opened. Its interior features a right-hand-drive dashboard,
seats with visible springs, and burlap-covered door panels and seat
backs. Comfort hardly extends to its interior.
For the unintimidated, "Death" awaits.To view this car and others
currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at