Sometimes you meet folks who, when they tell you "Hey, I have an idea," your reflex response is to stop what you're doing and tell yourself, "Get ready...." We imagine Mike Niemans is one of those folks, and the idea in question is putting a tank engine on a Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle. Not just any old tank engine – as if there were such a thing when we're talking about putting them in cars – but a 668-cubic-inch, 220-horsepower radial engine built by Continental in 1941 and procured from an M2 tank.

In the image above Nieman is using the tank clutch hub to get the motor set up, but in one of the images below you can see what really belongs back there is: a two-inch, reverse-pitch prop taken from a wind generator. He says there's enough mojo with the propeller action to get the car rolling down the runway like a jet when he gives it gas – and speaking of gas, the engine's been refitted to run on propane.

After a few safety tweaks Nieman's going to take the matte-black Beetle to Bonneville, "put the prop on, let her go and see what happens!" We can't wait to see the video of that. There are two shakedown videos below to get you ready.






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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 39 Comments
      Fonin
      • 1 Year Ago
      come on, someone give this guy props.
      misterbertram
      • 1 Year Ago
      the last vehicle in the world you would want to rear end
      Drakkon
      • 1 Year Ago
      I've never been to Bonneville, but I have seen a lot of specials and footage about it. The safety crowd there does usually not tolerate 'Hey, how 'bout this!' kind of ideas. They may let it fly (HA! get it? I crack me up) but I bet this thing gets shot down (there I go AGAIN!) before it even gets off the trailer.
      wilkegm
      • 1 Year Ago
      It belongs in the desert, but more like Burning Man than Bonneville.
      joejoe509
      • 1 Year Ago
      Would have been a lot cooler if it moved.
      Lucky Vanos
      • 1 Year Ago
      This will be in the Darwin Awards 2013.
      Peter_G
      • 1 Year Ago
      In the second video, around the 1:20 mark, I would not be standing where the camera guy is standing. I've seen "Final Destination", I know how that ends. And talk about rear wheel weight bias; this bug could make a Porsche blush.
        MONTEGOD7SS
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Peter_G
        No biggie, toss 1klb up front and you're set. In land speed racing you intentionally make regular cars weigh 4klb+ for traction and to try to keep them on the ground. Weight has no affect on top speed.
      Greg
      • 1 Year Ago
      668 cubic inch, 220 horsepower? This isn't so much an idea as it is a "Well, we got all this junk lying around that isn't good for anything, so let's just throw it all together & see what happens," kind of like a car casserole.
        Mr E
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Greg
        horsepower sells cars, torque wins races!
      good
      • 1 Year Ago
      Only 220 hp Stand back. Wheelstands ahead. Heads will roll in Bonneville.
      The Wasp
      • 1 Year Ago
      At last someone has found a way to make an old Beetle produce even more smoke and noise! Pretty cool car anyway, though.
      KAG
      • 1 Year Ago
      Looks like a cool idea but weight distribution looks like it would handle bad over 100 mph unless he gives it a longer wheelbase.
        muspod
        • 1 Year Ago
        @KAG
        put a sprint car wing on the roof and you're good!
      DRAGON
      • 1 Year Ago
      Is it April 1st already?
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