How to Turn a Classic Beetle Into An LS-Powered V8 Monster

If you dig the VW Beetle but wish they had more power and performance than the wheezy old air-cooled four-cylinder can deliver, you might be interested in this amazing project by a South African company. They have transformed the classic Bug into a V8-powered beast that can outrun most sports cars on the track or strip.

The V8 Stealth Beetle

The company behind this monstrous creation is 3L Engineering and Design, a team of engineers and enthusiasts who specialize in custom car builds. Their flagship product is the V8 Stealth Beetle, a mid-engine conversion that replaces the original rear-mounted air-cooled powerplant with a GM LS engine in the middle of the car.

The V8 Stealth Beetle is not just a simple engine swap; it is a complete reconstruction of the vehicle, with a new aluminum chassis, suspension, brakes, drivetrain, and bodywork. The result is a stunning sleeper car that looks like a classic Beetle but drives like a supercar.

The Engine Options

The V8 Stealth Beetle offers various engine options for different tastes and budgets. The most popular choice is the Chevrolet LS V8 engine, which is widely used in Corvettes and Camaros, and is the crate engine of choice for car builders around the world. Customers can choose from the LS1, LS2, or LS3 models, each with different horsepower and torque ratings. The LS3, for example, produces 430 horsepower and 424 lb-ft of torque, which is more than enough to propel the lightweight Beetle to impressive speeds.

For those who prefer a European engine, there is also the option of an Audi 4.2-liter V8, which was previously used in models like the RS4 or S62. This engine delivers 420 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque and has a distinctive sound and character. Both the Chevy and the Audi engines are paired with a Getrag six-speed manual gearbox, ensuring a thrilling driving experience. Why anyone would choose the Audi mill over the tried and true LS is baffling, but we’re a bit biased.

The Customization Process

The V8 Stealth Beetle project started as a personal passion of engineer Jean Fourie, who wanted to create his own dream car. After receiving a lot of attention for his builds, he decided to turn his hobby into a business and offer his expertise to other car enthusiasts. He also created the V8stealthbeetle YouTube channel where he documents his builds and showcases his skills.

The company offers four levels of completion for the V8 Stealth Beetle. Customers can opt for a turn-key vehicle delivered to their door, or choose to assemble their own Beetle with a TIG-welded chassis and components provided by 3L Engineering and Design. The company also sells the chassis and components separately, allowing enthusiasts worldwide to build their own mid-engine V8-powered VW Bug.

VW Beetle

The lead time for a complete vehicle is approximately nine to twelve months, while the chassis and components can be delivered in four to six months. Shipping and import/customs duties are the responsibility of the buyer. A 50-percent deposit is required to secure a purchase, with the balance due before shipping.

The Future of the V8 Stealth Beetle

The V8 Stealth Beetle is a unique and innovative project that not only revitalizes a classic icon but also offers car enthusiasts a rare opportunity to own a custom, power-packed Beetle unlike any other on the road. The company has received a lot of positive feedback and interest from potential customers and media outlets and plans to expand its production and reach in the future.

VW Beetle

The company is also working on developing new features and options for the V8 Stealth Beetle, such as a convertible version, a turbocharged engine option, and a paddle-shift gearbox. The company hopes to create more exciting and diverse products that will appeal to a wider range of customers and markets.

If you are interested in learning more about the V8 Stealth Beetle, you can visit their website or follow their YouTube channel for more updates and videos. You can also contact them directly through if you have any questions or inquiries.

VW Beetle

About the author

Dave Cruikshank

Dave Cruikshank is a lifelong car enthusiast and an editor at Power Automedia. He digs all flavors of automobiles, from classic cars to modern EVs. Dave loves music, design, tech, current events, and fitness.
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