REDONDO BEACH, Calif. — We see a lot of extraordinary vehicles through our Just Cool Cars series, but we’ve never seen anything like this.
The license plate says it all: HUGE BUG.
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The formula sounds fairly simple: Take a 1959 Volkswagen Beetle and find a way to make it 40% larger. Basically, it’s a custom-built Bug riding atop the chassis of a 2010 Dodge Ram full-size pickup truck with a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine in front.
It’s unabashedly outrageous, and that’s one of the reasons to admire it so much.
The credit — or blame — goes to Richard Tupper of Gardena, Calif., who took on the project that required creating 3,514 unique parts in the metal fabrication shop that he owns. It was such an incredible undertaking that even the screws created from scratch because there were none that existed in their size, Tupper says.
Tupper downplays the effort.
“In hindsight,” he told us at a car show here recently, “it wasn’t that hard.” Yet he adds, “I had to make templates for everything.”
This bug is a total beast. It weighs 6,200 pounds. The hood alone is about 200 pounds.
The inside of the car is as perfect in detail as the outside. One fun feature: The dashboard instruments, by design, don’t work. Instead, a digital dashboard drops down when Tupper starts the engine.
After all the work, you’d think Tupper would be a VW fanatic. He’s not.
“I don’t know a lot about VW’s,” he says. “I know about the big ones.”
Driving around town, Tupper says other drivers are startled when they see the Huge Bug. At an intersection, “If you don’t move, nobody moves.” Other drivers, he says, are simply staring in disbelief.