My dear friend Raphael, of Jalopnik fame, has recently acquired a rather unique vehicle for himself. Despite the fact that we are located about 3,000 miles from the Baja Peninsula, my friend decided that a Baja bug was just what the doctor ordered to conquer the concrete jungle of NYC.When the car shattered the saturday afternoon tranquility of my otherwise sleepy street, sounding like an out of tune 70s motorcycle with no muffler, I was surprised how much I liked it. When we took it down to Red Hook's deserted streets, and I actually got behind the wheel, I was even more blown away by the bug's charms. It was surprisingly easy to drive, despite having a roller ball instead of a gas pedal. The 8 ball shift knob was a tad large for my dainty hand, but the synchros were really good, and the Bug pulled cleanly away in every gear with nary a crunch. And despite probably having less than 75 hp, the car moves! In the confined streets of NYC, it has more than enough power to get the job done, and the raucous exhaust note leaves no doubt that the Bug means business!
The upgraded suspension really soaks up the nastiest potholes making for a delightfully compliant ride that you really wouldn't expect from this Panzerwagen.The Baja bug is really like a big, deranged go kart. I was grinning from ear to ear. It also has a real presence about it. People stop and stare and smile and wave. It's a fine line between menacing and absurd/cute. Like an evil pokemon let loose on the street. The '59 Caddy tail lights are really the coup de grace. Click HERE for the full gallery!