This red 1963 Volkswagen Beetle, known as the “Newman Bug”, isn’t your typical old Beetle, and it’s price tag of $250,000 should reflect that. The drop top Bug, owned by Paul Newman, is fitted with chrome bumpers and a black cloth top in good condition but the beauty of this car is in the rear engine compartment. A mid- mounted 351- cubic inch Ford Windsor engine has been shoe-horned into the little car to make it a deadly hot rod.
Paul Newman bought the convertible in 1963 after he fell in love with racing while filming Winning. He approached renowned Indy-car builder Jerry Eisert to modify the Beetle. Coupled with the 300-hp engine, is a five-speed ZF transmission as well as a high performance suspension components to keep the “Peoples Car” straight under load. The rear gets a custom A-arm setup for racing.
As the story goes, after Eisert finished modifying the car, Newman would speed up and down Mulholland Drive racing anyone who dared to line up with him at the stop light.
The bug has been restored twice. Newman donated the car to Sam Contino at the Chaffey College auto shop in Alta Loma, California. There, the car underwent its first restoration followed by upgrades such as a paint job and four Keystone chrome rims. The car was tweaked to be raced but was mostly used as a show car. After Contino retired, the car was given to him as a gift and was immediately garaged where it slept until 2009. Contino and his son restored the car in April 2009, hoping to show Newman the refinished bug, but the actor passed away before the restoration was completed.