Photography & Words: NickVagner
What sort of memories do you have of your first car? Your very first car; the machine that granted you the liberating freedom to go wherever, whenever. Maybe it was the first car you learned to work on, maybe it was where you got your first ticket, maybe the first car you wrecked. Meet “Dirty Dori”, a car with quite the history. Matt W. is one of the few people I know of that still owns their first car. Matt’s family has a long history with the VW brand of automobiles. His father, while stationed in Germany during his service in the military, raced Beetles in the dirt with his fellow soldiers (and sometimes their wives). It’s only appropriate he purchased his son a ’73 VW Beetle for his first car.
Matt drove this yellow bug throughout his high school days, frequently playing on the dirt back roads of Georgia where he grew up. He managed to not wreck it (at least not too bad) for those few years, but when it was time to leave for college, something a bit more modern was appropriate and the car was parked circa 1999. Sometime around 2004 she underwent her first resurrection, where he drove her to and from work and school for roughly a year, before she was again parked, this time due to not having time or space. It was around this time that the idea for her to be a dedicated “project” car began to surface. It wasn’t for 6 more years until 2011 before the build for an SCCA Rally Cross machine “officially” kicked off.
She had been stored in the back yard belonging to Matt’s brother for over half a decade. Needless to say, she had seen better days. In the time frame of about 2 years, she went from a filthy rat’s nest (quite literally), to a fire breathing, mud slinging, beautiful machine. Photos and stories of her progress through the build (as well as other additional information) can be found on here on Facebook: facebook.com/DirtyDoriRally
The attention to detail is pretty great, considering no one building the car had any professional experience in either restoration or race car building.
The dash panel is probably one of my favorite things about this car.
The naca ducts on the side glass feed both a monster oil cooler (air cooled like a boss?) as well as a custom airbox. The intake plenums and throttle bodies point inside the car, and the filters sit where the back seats used to be to draw in the cleanest possible air.
All of this in the rear makes the rear view a bit busy, or useless to be more honest.
What goes in must come out:
Oh, did I mention it is fuel injected? I didn’t? Yeah, what started life as a 1500cc flat-four is now a 2.1L high compression behemoth, converted to fuel injection with the aid of a Megasquirt MS2 system.
What’s a race car without a few stickers, right?
I’ll let the rest of the photos do the talking for a bit.
She kicked up some dust!
As a side note, I’d like to say hello as this is my first post here with Forward Motion. My name is Nick Vagner, and I hail from Birmingham, AL. I am excited about the opportunity to work with these guys, and hope you all enjoy my words and photos! Thanks for reading.