Category: Research

Bed cargo illumination

Background As pickup truck use expanded beyond agriculture, the desire to protect cargo led to the adaptation of tonneau covers, originally a simple canvas top used in classic sports cars. Of course, if you...

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Soft-touch surfaces

Background Volkswagen coated nearly all the plastic trim in the New Beetle with a soft-touch rubberized coating that may have appeared acceptable in the showroom, but hasn’t aged well. These surfaces scratch easily (just...

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Tailgate latch

Latch handle The latch mechanism supplied by the Smyth Performance kit functions well but the latch opening method — there is no actual handle; instead a simple Biothane coated webbing runs through slits in...

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Truck bed finish

Background The aluminum sheet bed walls — including the tailgate inner wall — can be finished a number of ways. First, the walls can be left “natural”. The disadvantage is that aluminum will oxidize...

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Radio

Background The New Beetle radio came in several different flavors just as the media electronics revolution gathered steam — today cassettes and CDs are relics while satellite radio and/or GPS OnStar communication have faded...

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Rear spoiler

Background The rear spoiler doesn’t survive our Ute transformation, but its demise has a few implications that must be addressed. The spoiler moves via an electric step motor controlled with a separate, but integrated,...

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Bud vase

Around the turn of the last century when automobiles were first marketed to wealthy customers, the expected elegance of the carriage was marred by both engine noise and exhaust. The need for some kind...

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ECU upgrade

Background One important advantage of the 2002-04 Turbo S version of the New Beetle is the performance flexibility of its 1.8T turbocharged engine. The AWP configuration in the Turbo S is essentially the same...

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Truck bed

Background The “truck bed” is the rear flat surface surrounded by bed front and side walls, and closed up at the end by the tailgate. Conceived for work, pickup trucks began their evolution in...

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Back end treatment

Background Removing the entire back half of the Beetle’s body opens up options for rear lighting — license plate illumination, reverse, running, brake, and turn signal lights — as well as tailgate and truck...

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