Home » A New Beetle Owned By Dennis Rodman And George Foreman Is Up For Auction And Yes It Has A Piercing

A New Beetle Owned By Dennis Rodman And George Foreman Is Up For Auction And Yes It Has A Piercing

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I know a lot of us have some really hyper-specific car desires and even fetishes. My taillight obsession likely falls into this category, and I suspect that there’s someone out there for whom this particular 1998 Volkswagen New Beetle checks every little box for, too. If you or someone you love has a car fetish that involves J Mays Retrofuturism design, German engineering at its most unstable and troubling point, cheetah prints that end up as flames, ownership pedigree from basketball stars turned amateur North Korean diplomat and boxing legends who seamlessly transitioned to countertop grilling gurus, and a big, weird pierced wing at the back, then holy crap are you in luck, because the lone car on Earth that embodies all of (gestures) that is up for auction, and the bid is currently dirt cheap.

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Yes, a ’98 New Beetle lightly customized by Carlini Design is being auctioned, a company better known for making Harley Davidson parts like ape hanger handlebars and fancy air cleaners. This Beetle was owned and had its customizations ordered by Dennis “The Worm” Rodman, and at some point purchased by George Foreman, the aftermath of a conversation I’d have very much loved to have heard. The car is part of a 50-car collection Foreman is selling, and you can see the car in the context of the collection in this video:

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You can see the car on the upper rack in the top left corner here:

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What’s more interesting to me in this video is the fact that Foreman states that his most cherished car is a 1977 convertible VW Beetle, and the other cars are just “dressing around it.” That’s the one car he said he wouldn’t ever sell.

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That is a really nice late Beetle convertible! I like that it’s a Super Beetle, since those tend not to get as much love as the standard, especially pre-’68 Beetles do.

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Anyway, back to this New Beetle, named Bugzilla. It’s a pretty goofy car, if we’re being honest, and the cheetah-print-into-flames paint job and cheetah-print seats are very late ’90s looks, as is what is likely the punctum of the car, that pierced rear wing:

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Why is there something sort of unsettling about this? I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there is. There’s something about the associations of a hoop piercing flesh that’s translated and aggrandized in scale to a hoop piercing that wing that somehow, I don’t know, biologicalifies the car in a way that makes me feel a bit weird inside. It’s not rational, but, then again, what about this is?

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Also, looking at that dashboard, I can just feel in my hands the sticky, degrading rubber knobs and buttons, which felt so good when the car was new, and now, on almost all VWs of this era, have degraded down into a strange muck.

Bugz EngineIt’s an automatic, with the base 2-liter four; it’s not the turbo one (my parents had a yellow New Beetle turbo for a while, that was a fun car) so it’s likely making about 115 or so horsepower; the turbo made 150, pretty good for the era, but the base engine was just average. Those cheetah flames are definitely writing checks their fuzzy butts can’t cash.

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Sure, Bugzilla here is kind of a silly car, but it’s important to see it as an artifact of the era, and I don’t just mean all the David Rodmannery spread all over it. The New Beetle was a sensation when it came out, and I was right there, excited alongside everyone. Even though a retro design, it felt new and fresh and exciting, and I was thrilled to see the Beetle making a comeback. Sure, I was disappointed that all of the original Beetle’s mechanical uniqueness was gone, replaced by a Golf in a getup, but I was still happy to see this upbeat and optimistic car hit the roads.

While not an amazing car, I’ll defend the New Beetle’s design, even to this day. There’s a place for fun and friendly general-use, accessible cars, and the New Beetle was definitely all of that.

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This one has under 6,000 miles on it and is currently at this moment bidding for $2,500! Sure, it’s pretty goofy and maybe a bit hard to look at, but that’s still kind of a deal.

You could probably replace that hoop with a stud or a barbell or some other jewelry if you wanted, I bet.

 

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Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
2 months ago

I think the piercing is unsettling because its on the spoiler. We anthropomorphize cars and where the piercing is what we typically think of as the butt of a car. Getting ones butt pierced is also unsettling lol

EricTheViking
EricTheViking
2 months ago

My brother’s former wife bought a 2003 New Beetle in exact colour as above. While she was driving it, the car was very unreliable and had been serviced many times. The TSB got updated very frequently for the technical issues with New Beetle, namely the “inexplicable” stalling and stumbling at the highway speed. After the divorce, she “retaliated” against my brother by dumping her car on him and signed the title away to him. He couldn’t sell it due to the dismal resale value and its notoriety.

My brother started to research into the difference between the US and German versions of New Beetle. The German version has been very robust and pretty reliable according to the German car magazines that did the long-term driving evaluations. He went on and replaced many components with beefier German version, ordering the parts from Germany (courtesy of my parents who brought them in their luggage during their annual visits to the US).

To this day, “his” New Beetle has been very reliable and trouble-free for twelve years and counting. So much that he felt comfortable allowing his daughter to drive it. Her mother got very angry every time she saw the yellow bug motoring in at her home. Then, she bought her daughter a new Toyota RAV4 and admonished her NOT to drive the yellow bug anymore (because it was “dangerous” and “unreliable”). My brother still drives the New Beetle to this day.

Parsko
Parsko
2 months ago
Reply to  EricTheViking

This is COTD material right here, Eric. It has wrenching, divorce, spite, family, every emotion for a great comment. I love this comment and story so much, thank you!

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
2 months ago

Never seen leopard print flames before, that’s… interesting.

I for one unironically love flame paint jobs. Are they silly? Absolutely. Cheesy? Probably. Tacky? Only if you take yourself too seriously while driving it.

Flame paint is fun and looks cool on lots of different cars, especially hot rod type things 🙂 Bring back flame paint jobs!

Dennis Brooks
Dennis Brooks
2 months ago

This isn’t the only yellow 1998 New Beetle that Rodman owned. I have his 1998 custom convertible 2.0L 8v 5 speed Manual, Supercharged by Neuspeed. He called it “Wormwagen”, I call it Wormy. Give me a way to send you some pictures or to post them here and I will. The paint job is quite different on Wormy. Blue airbrushed tribal flames that have a host of beautiful ghosted naked women within the flames. They were done by Dan Scholz, a well known airbrush artist in Orange, CA. I’ve owned Wormy for over 12 years.

Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
2 months ago
Reply to  Dennis Brooks

I found some pics, and WOW! Does it really have leather wrapped side mirrors?

Scone Muncher
Scone Muncher
2 months ago
Reply to  Dennis Brooks

Yo that’s rad as heck, send some pictures.

Nic Periton
Nic Periton
3 months ago

I s’pose it’s alrightish, maybe a jet engine would fit?

Andrea Petersen
Andrea Petersen
3 months ago

As the owner of several piercings, there is something strangely unsettling about the thought of a car being pierced. I suspect it’s the metal on metal thing

Racecar_Steve
Racecar_Steve
3 months ago

How are we glancing over the matching cheetah print/flame Plymouth prowler that Rodman, and in turn, eventually Foreman had in his collection?! You can even see the nose of it off to the right in the picture of the ’77 Beetle. I think the more compelling story to hear is how/why Rodman decided to customize matching pair of cars in this way, and landed on a Plymouth prowler and a VW new beetle as that pair.

Will the new owner buy both cars? It would feel wrong to separate this duo after all this time.

Edit: link to the Prowler in all of its glory:
https://www.hagerty.com/marketplace/auction/4bLOCGSHfZokSGSKYNHB9Z

Last edited 3 months ago by Racecar_Steve
Jack Trade
Jack Trade
3 months ago

New Beetle, nah (though I owned an iMac at the time, so I feel I got a taste of the zeitgeist) but I totally have a thing for the 2012+ Beetle version.

Still think its proportions better captured the dual nature of the original – fun but possibly serious; the New Beetle was too straight up whimsical.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
3 months ago

Is it odd, that, even with all the customization, I still think it’s surprisingly restrained and normal for Rodman’s car?

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
3 months ago

Just wrong! And I can’t believe either owner could fit in it and comfortably drive it.

Rollin Hand
Rollin Hand
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

As a 6 foot 3 guy who is overweight and is almost all upper body, they absolutely could have. I have about six inches of headroom in these cars, when I have next to none or absolutely none in a lot of SUVs. They are seriously spacious.

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

You would be shocked. I learned about it from Car Talk, when Daniel Pinkwater called in to discuss appropriate automotive choices for a guy of his famously large size. A follow-up call revealed that he’d purchased a Beetle and loved it for its easy access. If I recall correctly, he is 6’4″ tall, and he is definitely a rotund man.

This is how I learned that the first generation New Beetle is actually one of the best small cars for big and tall people. With the front seat slid back, the combination of door size, placement, and headroom actually makes a very good car for a large driver. I’m not sure about the second generation.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
2 months ago

Good to know. Thanks

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
3 months ago

Ignoring some cheetah print, that is the cleanest base model MK4 on Earth.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
3 months ago

I don’t know if it was known to others, but I hadn’t known he was really a car guy until the collection popped up recently. There’s a Prowler with similar customization and history to the New Beetle too – you can see it next to the ’77 Beetle. Initially a coworker sent me the SL Benz which seemed mostly innocuous, until you get to the hamburger floor mats (included with sale!).

DriveSheSaid
DriveSheSaid
3 months ago

What the Volks going on here?!

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
3 months ago

I’ve owned a 04 Turbo S for 6 years or so now, and it’s an extremely underrated car. The Turbo S was a limited production version of the beetle that came ONLY with a 6spd manual, lots of billet aluminum bits to class up the interior, heated two tone leather seats, a slightly upgraded 2.0T fluffed up to 180hp, and unique bumpers styled after the Cup race cars. This is basically the equivallent of the 337 edition GTI, which commands a huge premium these days, and is sought after, but for some reason the beetle equivalent is worth pennies. Like I said, super underrated.

As for this car, it’s like most pimp my ride builds, just all flashy tacky garbage with no actual good mods. I will say I really like those wheels though, I think those are TSW Trophies, and I used to have a set back in the day. Cool wheel that looks sort of OEM on some cars from that era.

EricTheViking
EricTheViking
2 months ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

Germans would like to remind you that their RSi with VR6 engine is much rarer than Turbo S. Less than 250 were made for German market. Just saying…

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
2 months ago
Reply to  EricTheViking

Undoubtedly way cooler, but insane prices from what I’ve seen.

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