To compete in an event as punishing and exhausting as the SCORE Baja 1000, you need a vehicle that's as rugged and robust as it is powerful and capable. Something like... a 1970 VW Beetle?
That's what the team at ProjectBaja.com has in store for this year's rally raid, and it's doing it with backing from Volkswagen itself.
The vintage bug packs its original 1.6-liter boxer four, air-cooled, with a type-1 transaxle. Fortunately the rest of the vehicle has been beefed up for the rigors of the famously grueling cross-country rally.
The cabin's been stripped out, for starters, and fitted with a full roll cage, buckets, and harnesses – along with essential communication and navigation equipment. The gas tank was also replaced by a 22-gallon safety cell, and the tires with BFGoodrich all-terrain rubber, mounted to 15-inch wheels and a beefed-up suspension with external-reservoir Fox dampers, stiffer springs, and a heavy-duty rear torsion bar.
The modified Beetle will compete in Class 11 when the 50th running of the Baja 1000 kicks off a week from now in Ensenada, Mexico, before finishing 1,134 miles later in La Paz on the other side of the Baja California peninsula.