Supercharged By Judson: 1965 Volkswagen Beetle

I’ve always wanted to strap a Judson Supercharger onto something. So when I found a like-new kit for a 40hp Beetle, I couldn’t resist. The kit was supposedly installed on a Karman Ghia back in the day by an American serving in the military in Europe. After his term was up, he removed the kit and threw it in a box for future use. That day didn’t come until I found it and installed it on my ’65 Beetle. It’s been fun but now it’s time to let another enthusiast have a turn so I’ve listed here on eBay with no reserve!

Photo Credit: AutoWeek

Flip through any car magazine from the fifties and there’s a good chance you’ll spot a Judson Supercharger ad. They made supercharger kits for everything from flathead Fords to MG TDs but their big break came when they released one for the Beetle. It was the perfect match. The VW was underpowered and overbuilt so a supercharger was the cheapest and easiest way to add power. Judson claimed you could boost power by 50% without having to open up the engine. Sounds good to me!

The supercharger does make a big difference too. We aren’t talking about massive burnouts or wheel stands but that extra bit of grunt is just what you need to keep up with modern traffic. Plus it takes an otherwise plain-looking Beetle and turns it into something special. Lift that decklid on this thing at any VW event and you’re sure to draw a crowd. This kit even came with the necessary Marvel Mystery Oil oiler and optional oil cooler/filter setup. You can’t see the cooler but it’s basically a coiled section of copper tube. It might not do much but it’s a very cool period piece.

The engine may be the crown jewel here but the rest of this car isn’t too bad either. The interior looks great with new upholstery, floor coverings, and a steering wheel. There aren’t any holes cut in the dash but the next owner may want to cut one for the Judson pressure gauge! The sale includes all the hardware to install it and I even have a Judson Magneto. We installed a standard coil just because it might not work with the Porsche 912 sourced 12-volt generator.

The original paint does have some scratches and dings but has a nice patina. It’s like a well-worn pair of jeans and I hope the next owner never even considers respraying it. Beetles are easy to work on and parts are cheap. They are fun to drive and that iconic shape never gets old.  I’ve loved having this little slug bug around and I’m sure the next owner will enjoy it just as much!

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    That is one special VW. No surprise bidding has exceeded 10.5K. We had a 1200cc engine with Judson supercharger squirreled away in storage at the first shop I worked. Used to drool over ideas to put it to use. Judson also made a kit for the Corvair. I have yet to see one in the wild. Nice Beetle as well white with red interior is always one of my favorites. Such a cool car!

    Like 17
  2. Steve RM

    Nice car. Makes me want the same setup for my 67 Bug.

    Like 3
  3. gaspumpchas

    Nice clean bug, but you have many suspect scam bidders there. I like the way the supercharger is installed and the rest left bone stock. Good luck and happy bidding!
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 2
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      What do you mean by “many suspect scam bidders”? I’m only seeing one guy with zero feedback. Bidding is still below what it’s worth so we will see how it goes.

      Like 2
      • Steve R

        Every bidder who places a realistic bid is “suspect”.

        Steve R

  4. Mikefromthehammer

    I would keep the original “patina” and merely apply a clear coat to avoid any future rust issues.

    I wonder what the output is of the 4 banger with the supercharger?

    Like 1
    • Terrry

      It’s on the info sheet here on the post, at least according to Judson.

      Like 1
      • Elmo

        I own a 64 with Judson, lots of fun, but the ad is optimistic. Just went out on my Main Street did 0-50 12 sec couldn’t get to 60 ran out of road. In NJ, RT280 has 6 degtee incline, back in college early 80s that was a nightmare for my 62 bug. The Judson makes it a breeze 55-60mph… never did that with stock 40hp

      • Mikefromthehammer

        @Terry:

        Thanks.

        So if your bug had 36 HP you would get “up to” 54 with the SC and if it had 40 HP you would get “up to” 60. (Not exactly rocket ship territory, but I assume the difference would be noticeable).

        I wonder if anyone ever dynoed their car to see if those results were achieved?

        Like 1
  5. Bob Mck Member

    I often think I want a vintage bug, but get in them and decide that I like driving my vintage Cadillacs better.
    However, they were perfect when I was in College.

    Like 3
  6. Slomoogee

    This is a nice bug right dow to the extractor exhaust. I had a 58, 36hp back in high school when all the other student cars were hotted up American iron. Mid 60s so some nice Mopars, chevys, and mustangs in the lot. A few things I would do keeping the stock look would be widened rims keep the vehicle caps. A camber compensator and Koni shocks, top it off with a freeway flyer trans. Can you say poor mans 356?

    Like 3
  7. t-bone BOB

    Located in:
    Meridian, Idaho

  8. Terrry

    It’s exactly like the ’65 I used to own, down to the color inside and out..except mine never had a supercharger. I didn’t know they made such a thing for old VW Beetles! Too bad, I would have installed one.

    Like 1
    • Jack Gray

      Bought a used ’65 Beetle 50 years ago. It was a kind of green (teal, maybe) inside and out with black seat covers that I replaced. Metal sunroof, but had plastic handle inside that eventually broke off. When I finally got fed up after replacing the generator 3 times and the starter twice, I traded it off for a 7 year old ’68 Renault R10 .

  9. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    Oh wow the same color combination as my mother’s ’65 Beetle except hers had the pop out quarter windows. That was the car I learned to drive on. Good luck with the sale.

    Like 2
  10. Jack Gray

    Bought a used ’65 Beetle 50 years ago. It was a kind of green (teal, maybe) inside and out with black seat covers that I replaced. Metal sunroof, but had plastic handle inside that eventually broke off. When I finally got fed up after replacing the generator 3 times and the starter twice, I traded it off for a 7 year old ’68 Renault R10 .

  11. Lincoln B Member

    Sweet. Well done Jesse, nice car with a cool enhancement very professionally done to make friendly to drive in modern traffic and unusual. These are the type of vehicle that deserve today’s money.

  12. Rosseaux

    What, if anything, did those superchargers do to mileage? Or long-term engine life? I had a ’63 in high school (same color combo as this) and considered sourcing one to add the extra “umph” to get me safely into the city on the Schuykill Expressway. But I was scared of destroying the only engine I was ever able to figure out.

    • alphasud Member

      Probably didn’t hurt long term reliability. These engines were tough but if you didn’t change the oil and perform valve adjustments often enough they would burn valves especially on the drivers side head as it had to share cooling with the oil cooler. Also rev the snot out of them and you would pound the main bearings into the case. First thing you should do when checking a Beetle engine is grab the crank pulley and push and pull to feel to crank end play. Shouldn’t move.

      Like 3
  13. Kenn

    I can’t imagine doing 85 mph in a Beetle.

    • alphasud Member

      My Beetle does 110mph. It’s like scale speed. I see plaid at times:)

      Like 4
  14. RexFox

    Did the installation of the extractor exhaust require disconnecting the tubes for the heater and defroster? Very cool car, and the power boost should make it very drivable.

    Like 1
    • alphasud Member

      Probably not on this one. This is a quiet pack header that bolts to the heater boxes. You can eliminate the heater boxes by installing J tubes but no HP gain for this engine.

      Like 1
  15. Howard A Member

    Weeeeeeeellll, it’s a pretty clear case of “got to try something”, memory has a habit of fading, but anyone that drove a 40hp VW, knows, being in a hurry is not an option. Oh, they’re fun cars, and have a long list of people trying to get a little more OOMMPH out the poor Bug, but in the end, it’s still a VW Bug, and never asked for any of this. Anytime one tries, usually in vain, it affects drivability so much, to me, it’s just not worth it. Supercharging, like turbocharging, is a cheap way of getting more power, but, and someone may correct me, super or turbocharging is inefficient at low rpms, what a VW motor was designed for, and don’t “kick in” until higher rev’s, right when the flat 4 has reached it’s peak. Not to be rude, but these add-on’s usually pad Jeg’s pockets and I’d have just left it stock, and enjoy the slow ride.

    • Steve RM

      VW engines were not meant to be lugged. It will kill them.
      These little four cylinders were meant to wind. Granted, not
      huge RPM numbers, but they’re meant to live in the upper end.
      When maintained and not abused, they are great little engines.
      Even with minimal attention they’ll run a long time.

      Like 1
  16. Roar Sand

    I installed one on my dad’s Beetle. The clutch could not handle the increased torque. It must have been his first Beetle, the ’53. He had five and bought a new one every 5 years.

    Like 1
  17. Bamapoppy

    My Bugs, a ‘65 and a ‘67 never needed a supercharger. Heck, truth is I couldn’t afford one in college (as my Earl Scheib $50 paint job on my green ‘65 would attest to). I do miss them both, though. Let’s just say they weren’t quite as clean as this one. LoL!

    Like 2
    • Bamapoppy

      My memory is fading. I just had a flashback to my college years from decades ago and realized I never owned a ‘65. I had a ‘69 (the green one) and a ‘67 that was a real light blue, my favorite of the two. Neither one compared to this beauty. Enjoy it, new owner!

      Like 1
  18. Phil Ethier

    I believe the reason you needed to rev the engine was to move the cooling air around it.

  19. jwaltb

    I put a Judson on an almost new ‘61 Beetle. Floored it and immediately had to go home and install a Transporter clutch to handle the increased power. It was fun until I blew it up on the way to my Grandmother’s funeral, with my mother in the car! She was not happy.
    Holed a piston as I recall, so I would say long-term reliability suffered.

  20. t-bone BOB

    Ended:
    Oct 03, 2021
    Winning bid:
    US $11,690.00
    [ 25 bids ]

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