In the world of automotive enthusiasts, there are few things as special as a project undertaken by a father and son. Such was the case with Eric Fernon and his son, who decided to embark on the journey of transforming a 1962 Volkswagen Beetle into a stunning Volksrod. The project began on December 11, 2018, and over time, this humble Beetle would undergo a remarkable metamorphosis.
Eric had always entertained the idea of building a Volksrod, and after much contemplation, he could no longer resist the urge to bring his vision to life. He acquired a ’72 Beetle that had fiberglass fenders and running boards, albeit in a rather dilapidated condition due to rust. However, the car came equipped with a potent 1641cc motor, complete with twin Kadron carburetors, which served as a source of motivation for Eric throughout the extensive build process.
Wisely, Eric opted for a new body altogether, choosing a 1962 shell in remarkable condition. This shell was free from any major damage, boasting an uncut dash, a smoothed rear deck, and one-piece windows with additional regulators and glass. It was a shell that would bring a smile to the face of any purist. The new shell only set Eric back $140, and with only minor repairs required on the driver’s side heater channel, he had plenty of reasons to be pleased with his choice.
To aid in the build process, Eric kept the original red shell as a reference, even though he was committed to modifying the ’62 Beetle without much reliance on it.
The build process of the 1962 Volksrod was well-documented, showcasing meticulous attention to detail. It involved several intricate steps, resulting in a truly unique transformation.
The first step was a 4″ chop in the front and a 2-1/2″ chop in the rear. Additionally, the roof was moved forward by 2″, and the B-pillar was cut and realigned with the body. The rear inner fenders were also modified to align with the body sides. The difference between the chopped Bug and the original Beetle was astonishing when Eric finally had the two cars side by side.
After stripping down the chopped Bug, Eric admired his handiwork, relieved that it had turned out as he had envisioned. He then proceeded to remove the rusted body from his red donor Beetle, affectionately nicknamed “The Onion.” Eric replaced The Onion’s floor pans, made some fabrication modifications to the tunnel, and finally placed the new body on the chassis. He also replaced corroded parts of the heater channels, ensuring functionality before employing cutting, welding, and sanding techniques, sometimes with unconventional safety measures.
With the assistance of his skilled metalworking friend, Eric extended the beam by an additional 10.5″, resulting in a drop of the front end by 2″. The headlights were mounted on custom perforated brackets, complemented by a distinctive tank and a custom VW badge. The overall look exuded an appropriate level of aggression and attitude.
Shifting their focus to the interior, Eric and his son crafted a custom dashboard inspired by a school bus. The steering column was also customized, topped with a billet banjo wheel wrapped in half leather. The cabin boasted a minimalist design, reflecting a Spartan aesthetic.
During a business trip to California, Eric made a pit stop at ProCar and had them create custom seats for his Volksrod. These seats were similar to their low-back series but with a 2″ reduction in the bottom cushion area to accommodate the limited cabin space resulting from the chopped roof. With the seats in place, Eric proceeded to finalize the steering column and front end modifications.
At another car convention, Eric acquired a set of coilovers and a quad-exhaust system. After bringing them home, he disassembled the previous Stinger exhaust and replaced it with an exhaust that would provide a more impactful sound, much to the chagrin of his neighbors. Custom taillight mounts and a perforated license plate frame were added, ensuring the Volksrod possessed the perfect finishing touches to impress even the most seasoned hot rodders.
To enhance the driving performance, new axles were attached to all four corners, along with stainless steel brake lines and a drilled disc kit. Eric achieved the braking performance he desired. Being the industrious individual he is, he took advantage of the opportunity to remove the body from the frame and thoroughly clean any remaining dirt and grime. Some people are just unable to resist the urge to tinker.
With the mechanical aspects addressed, the time had come to apply the finishing touches. Bondo was meticulously applied to achieve a smooth surface. After countless hours spent rectifying various bodywork imperfections, the build was finally complete, aside from some window frame refinishing and additional sanding to achieve Eric’s exacting standards.
Of course, a few unique features were in order. Surprise was in store for those who expected a standard windshield.
With the addition of a few final interior touches, Eric’s chopped Beetle, adorned in a striking mint green finish, was ready to captivate spectators across the country.
The journey from a rust-riddled ’62 Volkswagen Beetle to an awe-inspiring Volksrod was an arduous yet rewarding endeavor for Eric and his son. Their shared passion for automotive craftsmanship and attention to detail ensured that their creation would stand as a testament to their dedication and love for the hobby. The resulting Volksrod is not just a car; it’s a symbol of the bond between a father and his son, and a testament to the enduring spirit of automotive enthusiasts worldwide.