Wednesday, March 18, 2015

10k: Merlin Cafano Custom: 1972 Volkswagen Beetle Kit Merlin Dena

The original Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle was produced in such copious quantities (over 21 million produced from 1938-2003) that they became a favorite platform for custom builders to use for a starting point.  The bigger names like Chuck Beck and Tom McBurnie of ThunderRanch have produced thousands of replica Porsches, but the one-off customs from guys like Merlin Cafano have always been a bit more interesting.  Find this 1972 Volkswagen Beetle Hot Rod offered for $13,999 in Gilroy, CA via craigslist.

When you hear the name Merlin Cafano there are a few questions that could spring into your head, like, does earwax taste as sweet as it smells? and who is blazes is Merlin Cafano? The first question is easy, but the second is a bit more difficult because Merlin is not instantly googeable.

Putting Merline Cafano into an internet search will point you in the direction of DreamCarConceptz facebook page, in which they include the above picture of Mr Cafano (the older guy on the right) and a link to the defunct webpage.  Additional googling found a link to that shows some more info on the Merlin Dena from 2011.  It appears there is a company in New York who claims to build the Dena in production quantities. 

What is apparent is that this thing is powered by a 1600 cc dual-port type 1 engine that is pushing out considerably more power than a stock Bug, and the fiberglass body on top of the original VW pan should keep the weight down. 

See another strange one-off for sale?


  1. Not as truly dumb as so many one-offs, probably a fun toy, it'd probably work a lot better on the street if you got rid of those big tires (low-end BFG TAs, I think) and put on something better-quality and narrower. I'm sure those fat meats numb the VW steering quite a bit.

  2. At least you could have fun cruising around in this thing, its pretty unique and small enough to avoid jokes about compensating for your dick size which is a common problem among carshows nowadays.

  3. Quite a nice design. I like it even better with the wrap-around glass and the engine cover, as shown on the page the DT linked to.

    I certainly agree about going to narrower tires. People don't realize how too much tire messes up a car's dynamics.I had a visit from a German guy who was crossing Canada in a Citroen 2CV pickup a couple of years ago. The car had enormously wide tires, and the whole driving experience was spoiled. By the way, the blue 2CV sedan in the photos is mine (all stock, on 125-80/15 tires!)

  4. That's really cool, Bobinott! That site is awesome, too. I'm looking forward to reading more of your articles.

  5. I think it is pretty interesting however I wish it was being driven by the two girls in body suits (think cannon ball run) and not some guy with a goatee looking into the camera.


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