Built to look and perform like the ultimate "sleeper", AZN's '66 turbo'd Bug has a starring role on the Discovery Channel's Street Outlaws reality TV series.
BY MICHAEL SOMMER
PHOTOS BY SHIN WATANABE
Truth be told, there have been a lot of requests for us to feature the "Dung Beetle" over the past few years. It's the perfect car for an in-depth story, simply due to the fact that it's a highly publicized VW on cable television and there's not a lot of information about how this boulevard brawler came to life, or detailed specs about the components used to build it. Needless to say, a feature article on the Dung Beetle is long overdue. The car is owned by AZN (pronounced "Asian") who is a resident of Oklahoma City, and it has a starring role in the very popular reality television show called Street Outlaws, which airs on the Discovery Channel. If you have yet to see any of the episodes, you can view video clips on YouTube or the Discovery Channel's website.
Because of the show's premise, which is based on the street racing subculture, there's been some controversy regarding whether or not Hot VW's magazine should promote the people and cars shown on the Street Outlaws program. Some have argued it would advocate illegal street racing activities. While, on the other hand, most people realize the program is somewhat fictitious; an entertaining TV show produced with legal permits and staged activities. The producers do such a good job at making it seem like the stars are engaging in underground street racing that some viewers forget it's really a television show. The racing is 100% real, the stars and cars are authentic and professionally built, but all the competition takes place in a controlled environment under the watchful eye of safety crews, emergency medical services and the fire department.
One of the newest cars to join the Street Outlaws team is the Dung Beetle owned by AZN. Prior to putting this car together, AZN was the "barker" for Farmtruck (another star on the show who owns what is essentially a Pro Stock drag car camouflaged by an old Chevy pickup with a camper shell). AZN, who has a background in marketing and graphic design, is known for his competitive spirit and an obsession with fast cars. He and "Farmtruck" are best friends, and together they came up with the idea to build a fast Bug to add variety to the Street Outlaws program.
We asked AZN why they chose a VW since the Oklahoma-based show features mostly V8-powered American cars, and here's what he said. "Originally, my goal was to help Farmtruck keep his truck on the road and popularize his brand nationwide. I had no intention of racing my own car, but we soon realized it was important for me to have my own vehicle on the show. After brainstorming for about three days, we decided to build a VW Bug. I've always loved VWs and I'm a Bug fanatic, but i just never had any idea they could be a competitive racecar. I was wrong, dead wrong."
If you watch Street Outlaws, you'll recall that AZN showed up one evening with a running VW Bug, but it looked completely different than it does now. He purchased the 1966 street car for five grand and proceeded to transform it into a sleeper with the help of his "405 crew" during the following month. AZN told us that one of the biggest challenges was finding good technical information on how to assemble a safe, well-handling drag Bug because that type of information is not posted on the internet. He found some articles in Hot VWs magazine that helped, but they also learned a lot from talking with the guys at both Rancho Performance Transaxles and CB Performance.
While the Dung Beetle is made to look like a crappy broken down Bug, underneath the Hollywood facade are sound mechanicals. The mild street roll cage was fabricated by Ron Lummus and installed by Rancho Performance, the front suspension was upgraded with adjusters, and CB Performance drop spindles, and the rear suspension utilizes Geers Engineering spring plate retainers and Jamar disc brakes. It even appears the engine and trans were raised in the car to lower the stance and provide improved handling. They also equipped the sedan with Sway-A-Way 30mm torsion bars, Erco axles and a set of QA1 double adjustable shocks front and rear.
Even though the show's racing happens in a controlled setting, on closed roads wiht permits and law enforcement supervision, driver safety is the utmost concern. For this, AZN is strapped into a The Joie of Seating racecar seat with a Jaz 4-point harness and he wears a Simpson helmet. The car is also equipped with a Jaz fuel cell in place of the stock VW gas tank, and an XS Power dry cell battery is secured in a mount that's welded to the roll bar and center tunnel.
At the heart of this street sleeper is a turbocharged and fuel injected 2332cc engine that was built by VW drag racer Shawn Geers of Geers Engineering. The engine is mated to a pro-built gearbox supplied by Rancho Performance Transaxles. You can see a detailed list of the components used to build the engine and trans in the spec sheet we've provided with this story. Because the theme of Street Outlaws is based on tweaking and improving the performance of the cars between shows and races, AZN continues to make slight changes over time. The Haltech ECU was originally programmed when the engine was tuned on the dyno at Redline Performance in Anaheim. It has since been taken to Brad Golden's RIP Tuning shop in Oklahoma and tuned for VP C16 race fuel (117 octane) and a Nitrous Express water/methanol injection system. We're told the motor produces about 415 horsepower at 7,000 RPM.
While not a lot of people will go through the trouble and expense to build a VW Bug like this and then paint it with house paint from Home Depot, we think AZN and his crew did a great job carrying out the Dung Beetle theme. He asked us to pass along a note of thanks to Mickey Thompson Tires, CB Performance, Energy Suspension, Heat-shield Products, Turbonetics, SCAT Performance and ESAB welders for their support. It's really cool to see a VW Bug hold a starring role on a reality television series, especially when the owner tapped into the knowledge of well-known VW industry leaders for their help putting the car together. AZN and his crew of 405 street thugs are definitely having a good time running their cars and doing their thing which, when you really think about it, is what VW enthusiasts have been doing for more than 50 years.
City, State: Oklahoma City, OK
Vehicle: 1966 Type-1 VW Bug
Builder: Shawn Geers; Geers Engineering, Westminster, CA
Crankshaft: 84mm CB Performance, Balanced by Gears Engineering
Rods: 5.700" H-Beam with 3/8" bolts
Pistons: 94mm JE Pistons, 1x1.2x2.8mm design
Rings: Total Seal
Camshaft: .430" lift, 280 degree duration, 114 lobe centers
Cam Drive: Bugpack
Cylinder Heads: 1429 CB Performance Competition Eliminators
Valve Size: 48mm Intake, 40mm Exhaust
Cylinder Head Modifications: CNC Ported, polished and reworked by Jeff Denham
Compression Ratio: 9.9:1
Rocker Arms: Pauter Machine 1.4's
Pushrods: 1629 Chromoly Dual Tapered Pushrods (Manton for CB)
Pushrod Tubes: Geers Engineering
Valve Covers: 1702d CB C-Channel Valve Covers
Intake: CB Performance, FURO Racecraft and Ron Lummus
Throttle Body: Holley
Injectors: Precision Turbo & Engine
Turbo: Turbonetics T3/T4, 62mm
Waste Gate: Turbonetics
Fuel Pump: MagnaFuel
Spark Plugs: NGK D8EA
Engine Computer Management: Haltech Elite ECU
Headers: FURO Racecraft
Exhaust: FURO Racecraft
Oil Pump: 1860 Blue 30mm Full Flow Oil Pump
Oil: LAT 20w50
Special Modifications: Heat-shield turbo wrap, FURO Racecraft breather system, custom aluminum throttle bodies, CB Performance's Crank Trigger Ignition System, Nitrous Express water/methanol injection for turbo boost. Engine has been dyno tested and tuned by Mike Porter at Redline Performance, as well as Brad Golden at RIP tuning.
Type: Type-1 Swingaxle
Builder: Rancho Performance Transaxles, Fullerton, CA
Ring & Pinion: 3.88:1
Gear Ratios: 3.44:1 1st, 2.08:1 2nd, 1.44:1 3rd, 1.04:1 4th
Side Covers: Dual Heavy Duty Side Covers
Transmission Modifications: Rhino Case with gussets, JayCee aluminum spool, chromoly pinion plate, ERCO axles, Timken bearing.
See the Panchito 044 Cylinder Heads Here