Remember when cars used to vibe harder? It don’t be like that so much anymore huh? Today’s cars are driven by tech… and tech’s got no vibe. Tech’s a nerd. Vibes however, come from casually embracing some inconveniences in your life, rolling with the punches, and keeping your cool. Like when you had to put your pack of cigarettes over the carb to choke it. Or when you’d manually crank back a sunroof & vent the rear windows to cruise. Or brapping the car twice before banging it into reverse & backing into your parking spot. A ‘backup camera’ is not the same thing. And it never ever will be. 

Like I said, vibes are earned. You can reject that… but you’re only cheating yourself. 

New Beetle lowered

Either way, I think we can all agree… 

That rear-engine, air-cooled bugs have an indisputable vibe. They’re one of the most widely modified cars in automotive history. They blew-up the aftermarket, and spawned an artistic & expressive car culture that eventually branched-out to minitrucks & Hondas. 

New Beetle tint

Cody Wilson’s not an old hippy dude… 

He’s only a 20-something hippy dude lol. But he had an old-school ’70 Beetle… black on red. It was super clean. And he recognized least some of the same familiar vibe-potential in Volkswagen’s modern New Beetle. He wanted to pursue it & see where it led. 

fast VW new Beetle

Volkswagen low-key nailed the New Beetle design… 

But it just didn’t stick. By the time the 2nd-generation of front-engine water-cooled Beetles came around, they were already typecast as cutesy secretary’s cars. And despite the New Beetle’s potentially mean looks, car enthusiasts drew the line at the name ‘Beetle’… lacking either the creativity or the courage to see past it. 

As the owner of a Fiesta ST, I get it. As neat as the Fiesta ST is, a lot of people just refuse to take a car with the name ‘Fiesta’ seriously. To each their own I guess. But there’s something about this Volkswagen Beetle that gets the juices flowing, yeah? 

slammed new beetle

See – people used to trust their curiosity more in car culture… 

They were more apt to fuck around & find out… without Googling. The internet has robbed us of a lot of that natural excitement. It spoils the ending before we ever start. And it takes the wind out of a lot of sails. Although to be fair, cars cost a lot less back in the day, so it wasn’t as big of a risk to follow your impulses & have a little fun… for the sake of fun. 

Beetle fender edition

My advice??

Have a little fun dammit. Don’t ask the internet’s permission for everything. And don’t be intimidated to take the road less traveled, if it’s the road you wanna take. Some cars just speak to you… don’t ignore that. And when it comes to your close hobbies & passions, learn to get a feel for when it’s the right time to ease in & out of social media a little bit. Just to keep the flame lit without burning out. 

Photos by Ben Battles

Beetle wing

2013 Volkswagen Beetle 6-speed Fender Edition

Cody wanted to bring the old to the new. So this New Beetle has that old-school raked-stance to it… accentuated by the wing.

ECS Tuning shocks/springs

18” Regan 5s

Battle Aero wing for a 240sx – with custom mounts onto a custom rear bash bar 

Forged carbon wrap on the hood, roof, & OEM spoiler 

NRG Prisma

On the interior, Cody wanted to replicate his former black-on-red OG Bug. So he went with a set of… 

Red NRG seats with…

Custom mounts because nobody makes shit for this car

Grip Royal steering wheel 

The interior has been selectively gutted 

Windows have 3% tint – can’t see squat

grip royal steering wheel


APR blue top ignition coils

3” straight pipe

ECS intake, intercooler, and catch can

TuneZilla tune

The Beetle puked the turbo sometime after this shoot, so Cody is currently scheming a RWD LS-swap because Goonies never say die.  

2.0 Beetle fast

2.0 Beetle

New Beetle manual transmission 6 speed

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ACT clutch