Home » Someone Combined A Ford Excursion With A Volkswagen New Beetle And Made This V10-Powered Monster

Someone Combined A Ford Excursion With A Volkswagen New Beetle And Made This V10-Powered Monster

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Somewhere in Arizona, a gearhead is driving around a wild creation. Found at a car show, this New Beetle is more Ford than Volkswagen. It’s the body of a  tiny Volkswagen riding on the chassis of a giant Ford Excursion wearing the face of an F-Series and combined with some custom metalwork. To some deranged folks among us, the magical creation is almost perfect; let’s check this thing out.

As many of our readers know, I love seeing creativity at work in custom vehicles. Sometimes, it’s the handiwork of a craftsman put into a motorhome or a tradition of chopped Beetles at the greatest airshow on Earth. Or, it could be as simple as a glorious paint job on a beloved motorcycle. Today, we have another custom vehicle and to my eye, it’s a lot closer to the post-apocalyptic rigs I’ve seen built for Gambler 500 rallies.

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This vehicle was sent in by Jared L, who saw it at the Snowflake Pioneer Days car show in Snowflake, Arizona. We even have a short story explaining this vehicle’s existence! (If you see cool car things or have ideas for car stories, please email us at tips@theautopian.com). 

What You’re Looking At Here

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According to Jared, the young person who built this vehicle scored the Beetle part of the build for free. It’s unclear what state the Beetle was in when it was acquired, but at the very least, it appears to have had a pretty clean body. Under the Beetle’s body sits what is more or less a Ford Excursion without a body. Jared explains that it’s the frame, suspension, and powertrain from an Excursion with a 6.8-liter Triton V10 and rear-wheel-drive. To my eye, it would appear that the Excursion’s frame has been shortened to closer fit the Beetle. The Excursion had a 137.1-inch wheelbase to the Beetle’s 98.9-inch wheelbase.

Here’s what an Excursion looks like, in case you forgot:

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Finally, rounding out the build is a set of fenders meant to fit onto a first-generation Ford F-Series with a set of Harley-Davidson Daymaker-style headlights. Everything else you see is custom metalwork, including the steel dashboard inside.

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We aren’t told if the build is finished or not, but I love what I’m seeing here. It’s parts from three vehicles compounded into one and at this point, two of the donors are basically unrecognizable.

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I’ll give you an image of a 1948 first-generation F-Series so you can see where these fenders started life:

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Ford

Retro-Modern Design Pushed To Its Limits

The 1990s and 2000s were an era when car designers reached deep into history for inspiration for their newest retro-themed vehicles. The Chrysler PT Cruiser emulated the giant grilles and streamlined designs of cars from the 1930s. Meanwhile, the Chevrolet HHR emulated the Suburban of about two decades later. Over at Ford, the 2002 Thunderbird was a nod to the very first Thunderbirds from 1955. Perhaps my favorite example of automakers’ addiction to retro design themes is the Chevy SSR, itself a nod to GM’s Advance Design trucks of the 1940s.

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The Americans were hardly the only ones playing around with retro-modern design. Over in Japan, you could buy a Nissan Figaro, S-Cargo, or Pao, Nissan’s retro-style Pike cars. Of course, the vehicle perched on top of this build is a famous example of retro design. The Volkswagen New Beetle was a nod to the past while also looking forward. Volkswagen was proud enough of the 1998 New Beetle to advertise it with statements like: “The engine is in the front, but the heart is in the same place” and “A work of art with side air bags and a bud vase.”

Volkswagen would go on to sell 1.2 million of the things between 1998 and 2010. Some people complained that the New Beetle was too “feminine” with its cute design and especially since its dashboard sported a three-inch acrylic bud vase. That vase was a nod to the blumenvasen of earlier decades that held flowers in cars to mask engine and human body odors. In the modern day, those vases are apparently a bit too girly for some. The Beetle’s last generation tried to correct this with a more “gender-neutral” design, as Volkswagen says.

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Anyway, this Beetle Excursion creation seemingly takes the whole retro theme to its limit. You have the cute retro-modern Beetle on top, modern power in the middle, and capped off on the ends with the face of a vintage truck. Power comes from a 6.8-liter Triton V10, which should be making 310 horsepower and 425 lb-ft of torque. That’s backed by a four-speed 4R100 automatic. Now, this is probably the least fuel-efficient Beetle ever made. In my experience, those V10s get 10 mpg no matter what you’re doing. Towing a house? 10 mpg. Tailgating a bus? 10 mpg.

I also like the custom metalwork seen here. It’s clear that the builder–who I’ll remind you is described by our reader as a “kid”–had some fun making this thing. Again, it’s unclear if this is a finished build, but I can totally see some metal panels fabricated over that rear end and everything painted up in a glossy blue. Or, go the other direction and rust it out, cover it in spikes, and embrace the Mad Max vibe. I would be plotzing all over that at a car show for sure!

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Either way, I give major props to the builder for taking a free car and doing something different and neat with it. This is the kind of build that makes children smile. I guess it’ll make adults smile, too, because it certainly generated one from me!

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(Photos: Jared L, unless otherwise noted.)

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Jesus Helicoptering Christ
Jesus Helicoptering Christ
9 months ago

Why not keep the Excursion’s original wheelbase, then line up the Beetle’s rear wheel wells with the Excursion’s rear wheels? That would result in a classic hot rod with the body out towards the back, with the engine stretching out in front.

Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
9 months ago

Looks like something from one of those IMDBscore 1 knock off movies. This one could be called “Crazy Matt: Anger Way”

FuzzyPlushroom
FuzzyPlushroom
9 months ago

I wonder whether the spoiler still works? Not automatically at speed, of course, but via the switch under the dashboard.

Boulevard_Yachtsman
Boulevard_Yachtsman
9 months ago

It’s nice to see an option for folks that just can’t afford a Youabian Puma.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
9 months ago

With the right rear sheet metal and finishing touches this could a Herkimer Battle Jitney Sports Coupe.
For VW trivia buff the blue and white bus in the background is probably an ASI Riviera from Beaverton Oregon. The vertical lifting top was a distinctive feature and most were built on standard passenger models hence the two tone paint

Sgtyukon
Sgtyukon
9 months ago

Just because you can doesn’t always mean you should.

Scoutdude
Scoutdude
9 months ago

Kid is definitely a perspective thing, to an old guy like me someone in their late 20’s or early 30’s is still a kid to me, due certainly in part to the fact that my own kids are in their late 20’s.

Regarding this creation I immediately recognized the 48-50 F-series fenders having owned my own frankentruck built by a kid that shares some parallels with this. In that case the guy had a F-1 that had a blown engine and a seriously rusty Travelall that ran great. So as a project to take to the annual Ford truck show the ~15yo with a little guidance from his dad, whom I ultimately purchased it from put the F-1 Body on the Travelall chassis. It mad the one run to the truck show and then the kid decided to change the oil. Forgot to put oil in it, started it up and let it run for a while before putting oil in. That was that and it went up for sale.

Needless to say the engine didn’t like running w/o oil, though being a SV it still ran, just with really low oil pressure. The starter, ignition, brake and headlights were the only functioning thing electrically and the Travelall’s speedo hung under the dash as the only functioning gauge. The front wheels were pretty much centered in the opening while the rear fenders were crudely cut to accommodate the longer wheelbase.

So yeah I kind of like it, from the front it gives off strong vibes of the Cabover F-series that those fenders were also used on. And yes that F-1all was the start of my International Harvester Affliction, though it didn’t really take hold until 5-6 years later.

Alan Christensen
Alan Christensen
9 months ago

I like how the rear fenders are a pair of front fenders turned around. But somewhere, someone trying to restore an old F-series is weeping.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
9 months ago

Time for a Mad Max 2024 reboot.
Just found a worthy participant. Very cool.
Apparently you can still score good peyote in Arizona.

Last edited 9 months ago by Col Lingus
Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman
9 months ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

First thing I thought of as well. “The Last of the V10 Interceptors.”

Frankencamry
Frankencamry
9 months ago

If you view this as about 1/3 of the way through sheet metal, it’s got potential. None of the front seams are complete, let alone leaded. Toss some similarly styled and comprehensive panels on the back, finish all the seams and a lot of opinions will change. Filler, primer and paint would change still more.

It won’t be to a lot of people’s taste, but somehow people are incapable of respecting midway projects, as if doing so volunteers them to finish it.

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
9 months ago
Reply to  Frankencamry

No way bud. The form, the parting lines, the proportions, none of this will work or ever look cohesive, and it won’t look attractive in a brutalist way either. It’ll forever remain awkward looking.

Chronometric
Chronometric
9 months ago

And this is why welder purchases should have 3 day waiting periods.

Prizm GSi
Prizm GSi
9 months ago

Probably the best argument for requiring yearly safety inspections imaginable.

Phuzz
Phuzz
9 months ago
Reply to  Prizm GSi

Honestly, if this thing had functional lights etc. you could probably get it registered in the UK.
If the original truck chassis was “substantially unmodified” then you might not even need ‘Individual Vehicle Approval’, except that I’m pretty sure Ford never sold Excursions over here.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
9 months ago
Reply to  Prizm GSi

This would pass inspection where I am – horn works? lights work? driver window goes up and down? it can stop itself on a skid pad from 5mph? VIN doesn’t come back stolen? passes emissions rules for year of chassis? Done, $40 for one year, or $80 and we’ll see you in two.

Sklooner
Sklooner
9 months ago
  • These sorts of things should be called Goldblums
Rusty S Trusty
Rusty S Trusty
9 months ago

I don’t think this is a project with a clear goal or design in mind so much as an outlet for a youngster to learn and practice metal fabrication. The resulting monstrosity probably kind of just unintentionally happened

Ben
Ben
9 months ago

You should buy this and use it to tow the pirate RV from last week. They’re a match made in heaven! 😉

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
9 months ago
Reply to  Ben

“But I don’t want to tow a pirate ship.” Or something.

Knowonelse
Knowonelse
9 months ago

I’ve been to lots of car shows and seen many signifcantly customized super clean cars, and in order to get to that point, super expensive in time and money. I glance at them and move on. At the most recent car show I went to I spent time talking to the creator of a vintage Falcon sitting on top of a recent Corvette (not sure the year). The fabricator had to move the dashboard back over a foot and widen the fenders a bit to fit it all under the Falcon. It was completed in 15 days. Now that was a creation to talk to the owner. Most of the fancy dancy customs talk about their car, but didn’t do the work. This creator got tired of getting tickets in the Corvette, so created this and doesn’t get the tickets now.

Hats off to the creator this fabuluous BeetleExcursionTruck vehicle of madness, creativity, and whimsy!

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
9 months ago
Reply to  Knowonelse

Yeah. At my age Franken cars sort of rule too.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
9 months ago

It’s a Mad Max world and we’re all just passengers. Bring on the Guzzeline.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
9 months ago

The Ford fenders sparked a bit of a traumatic flashback *, but aside from that familiarity, I’m not enamored of this build. Not saying I could do better, but the transition from the Beetle hood to Ford fenders has a strong resemblance to work I’ve seen from duct guys at 2:30 on a Friday: slap something up & get the hell home. I think a center-fold hood akin to a Model A’s could have been fabricated given the narrowing-to-the-front nature of both the Beetle hood and that of the original Ford one.

I understand needing to use the Excursion tank, and not wanting to fool around with all the sensors & hoses back there, but the rear is an unsightly shame. The angle iron is suggesting some lines back there—maybe something like a ‘37 Businessman’s Coupe? It’s easy for me to critique from a keyboard, tho: I’ve never done anything this ambitious.

*Flashback to trying to shelter under an old jute mat kept in the back of Mom’s early 50s Ford truck (complete with a Flathead Mercury Motor—that’s how the adults said it: all caps) to protect us from the splinters during a thunderstorm with nickel & quarter sized hail. 6 kids & 3 adults, as I recall. Ended up with Mom & 5 kids up front, and the other 2 adults & me as the oldest kid in the bed getting pelted from above and perforated from below. Summer of 75, I think: seemingly tornado warnings every day. Never knew what ‘white-lipped’ meant until that day: even Uncle Larry wasn’t joking. Scary ride with Mom kicking alternate rights & lefts on the quarter-section roads trying to zig-zag us back towards shelter….

funny: I was proud of ( finally) performing the Scandinavian Flick a quarter-century back—but just realized my mother was doing it in an old truck with a 3-on-a-tree a quarter-century before that.

Farty McSprinkles
Farty McSprinkles
9 months ago

If it is a kid, mad props for doing something besides just playing video games all day. Otherwise, I am not seeing it on this one. Just looks like a bad idea poorly executed.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
9 months ago

Just because you can do something doesn’t make it a good idea. That is horrible.

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
9 months ago

As a designer, I love to make things look ‘right’, yet I always lack fabrication skills of some guys out there, even though I’m always trying to learn more.

However.

Design without any fabrication is just sketching that doesn’t go anywhere…. but fabrication without ANY design sense is how you end up with shit like this. It’s terrible. It’s not even so bad it’s good, it’s just bad. I don’t get people like this. Props for being different I guess, but…. seems like a waste of effort.

Outofstep
Outofstep
9 months ago

I am not a fan. I appreciate the effort and work involved but yikes.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
9 months ago

I get that there are creative people out there with time to kill and a welder, but…this?

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
9 months ago
Reply to  MATTinMKE

Yeah this is something out of mad max or a nightmare, good on him for making it his I guess? But it’s awful all around to me.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
9 months ago

That RV frame minivan is so far off the scale that it’s intentionally comical, running it in the Gambler 500 adds some support.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
9 months ago

Thanks for the story and supporting the kid.
I usually rip on stuff like this, but sort of wonder if the work is completed yet? I built a ton of funky shit over 50 years. I would almost want to buy this just to finish it, but I have neighbors with gasoline and lighters. Shit.

Last edited 9 months ago by Col Lingus
MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
9 months ago

I went back to read the article again as I had missed the “young person” part of the story. How old is Jared? I’m not sure where the age cut-off is for giving youth a break, but giving new talent encouragement (and constructive criticism) is encouraged.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
9 months ago
Reply to  MATTinMKE

Jared is me. I’m 19, and the person who built it was around my age.

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